The experienced Tim Elliott puts his two-fight winning streak on the line against hot favorite Matheus Nicolau on Saturday night.
UFC Fight Night matchup between Mackenzie Dern vs Marina Rodriguez is set for fireworks while the undercard fight of Elliott vs Nicolau could set the tone early.
UFC Vegas odds have Nicolau at -200 to win, so the younger fighter has attracted plenty of attention with bookmakers.
Nicolau Not Happy with Opinion
There was plenty of contention with Matheus Nicolau’s win against Manel Kape. UFC commentator Daniel Cormier was firmly in the camp of Kape winning the third round, which didn’t make Nicolau happy.
Despite winning the fight, the 28-year-old was adamant that numerous critics had it all wrong.
“The third round, if you watch it, I beat him for four minutes and he landed two good knees in the end of the round, and I took them well, and then I landed a spinning elbow,” Nicolau told MMA Fighting. “Watching the third round all five times, it’s pretty clear I won, man.”
Cormier had swayed public opinion on who won the fight, but Nicolau should be focusing on his next opponent. He is 1-1 inside the Octagon and is on the verge of a top-10 UFC flyweight ranking.
Nicolau is 16-3-1 overall and there has been plenty of support at the sportsbook. He is the dominating -200 favorite, and many believe he can make a run for a potential title shot later in his career.
However, he showed his vulnerability when getting knocked out by Dustin Ortiz. The first-round knockout was a tough introduction to the UFC, and facing an experienced opponent could cause him problems.
Elliott Bounces Back
Losing three consecutive fights isn’t easy to come back from, especially for an aging fighter. However, Elliott bounced back with wins over Ryan Benoit and Jordan Espinosa.
The level of opposition might not have been as strong as his previous fights, but getting wins on the board only helps the 18-11-1 Wichita native.
Elliott has fought the likes of Deiveson Figueiredo, Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez throughout his career, which can’t be overlooked, even in the twilight of his career.
A fight I’m really looking forward to at #UFCVegas39
Tim Elliott vs. Matheus Nicolau 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/HYNpTjqJ6z
Joe Gravel (@JoeGravel20) October 3, 2021
His recent success has come via decision, so we’re not expecting a knockout blow. This is reflected in betting markets, with the over 2½ rounds at -230. Bookmakers expect the fight to go into the third round, which gives Elliott his best chance to win.
He likes to get his opponents to the ground, as he showed when beating Espinosa. Elliott converted four takedowns from seven attempts, and he landed 91 of 120 punches. Due to the time on the ground, Espinosa got off only 35 punches, which is an incredible statistic.
It might not be exciting to watch, but Elliott’s tactics work and it could give Nicolau fits.
“I feel like at any given time that I’m good enough and awkward enough that I could give anybody trouble,” Elliott said. Even Henry Cejudo, one of the greatest athletes of all-time, he’s so good and so much technically better than me, but I have the intangibles and I feel like I could maybe catch him and maybe beat him. Before, it was like a crapshoot. Maybe I’m gonna win, maybe I’m not.”
Elliott throws caution to the wind, which is why the +160 odds could be worth taking with betting online markets.
Elliott vs Nicolau Pick
We can’t turn down the value with Elliott. Nicolau might be the up-and-coming fighter, but Elliott has the experience edge.
Taking Nicolau at -200 is a big risk for a fighter who hasn’t proven himself inside the Octagon. Therefore, the value is with Elliott to win and it will likely be via decision.