The UFC caps off a busy month with a heavyweight title eliminator match between Ciryl Gane (8-0-0) and Alexander Volkov (33-8-0). Gane is the favorite per the UFC betting odds but it could get grisly. And outside this electric main event, the undercard is filled with serious bangers that could light up the arena.
- Date: Saturday, June 26, 2021
- Times: 1 p.m. ET (Prelims); 4 p.m. ET Times: (Main Card)
- Venue: UFC Apex, Enterprise, NA, United States
- Watch on: ESPN+
Gane To Make Statement Against Volkov
Moneyline: Alexander Volkov +120, Ciryl Gane -150
Totals: Over 4½ (-120), Under 4½ (-110)
Weight Class (Rounds): Heavyweight (265 lbs) (5 Rounds)
It’s rare to find a heavyweight fight that has totals lined at the 4½ mark. But that’s because Gane, the favorite here, is a technical striker who has won two of his last three fights by decision. But there is plenty of value on the under here or for the fight to finish as these big boys have combined for seven finishes in the UFC.
Not to mention, Volkov has flashed some improved power and has knocked out his last two opponents. Even if Gane and Volkov get technical here, it only takes a few shots to put the other away. I suspect that Gane will be able to whittle Volkov with leg kicks and body shots and get a finish some time in the championship rounds.
Pick: Under 4½ (-110)
Valiev and Barcelos to the Judges
Moneyline: Timur Valiev +175, Raoni Barcelos -220
Totals: Over 2½ (-220), Under 2½ (+175)
Weight Class (Rounds): Bantamweight (135 lbs) (3 Rounds)
Raoni Barcelos (16-1-0) continues to fly under the radar and will fight a similarly underrated fighter in Timur Valiev (17-2-0). Barcelos should win handily as he’s the better striker and can wrestle enough to keep the Sambo specialist at bay.
Though both these guys average over 5.50 significant strikes landed per minute (SLpM), that’s for entirely different reasons. Barcelos has finishing ability, but guys like Valiev are made of stone and don’t get finished that easily.
Nzechukwu and Marques Go in for the Kill
Moneyline: Kennedy Nzechukwu -125, Danilo Marques -105
Totals: Over 1½ (-180), Under 1½ (+150)
Weight Class (Rounds): Light Heavyweight (205 lbs) (3 Rounds)
We have as close to a pure striker versus grappler matchup here as the grappler, Danilo Marques (11-2-0) faces Kennedy Nzechukwu (8-1-0) in what should end with someone getting finished. Either Marques takes Nzechukwu down and submits him or Nzechukwu knocks him out.
The lean is for the latter to happen as Nzechukwu has been improving his wrestling and may just stuff Marques’s takedowns. Bet on the “African Savage,’ who has finished four of his last five victories, to finish this fight or die trying.
Pick: Will Fight Go Distance? – No (-220)
Medeiros and Hadzovic Steal Show
Moneyline: Damir Hadzovic -145, Yancy Medeiros +115
Totals: Over 2½ (-160), Under 2½ (+130)
Weight Class (Rounds): Lightweight (155 lbs) (3 Rounds)
As far as bangers go, you can’t do any better than these sluggers. Damir Hadzovic (13-6-0) is aptly named the “Bosnian Bomber” thanks to his heavy hands. And Yancy Medeiros (15-7-0), the author of five Performance bonuses may just humor him by trading with him.
“I wanted to fight more.”
“Okay yeah, then you shouldn’t have submitted me.”
Still hilarious 😂 pic.twitter.com/5kwJ5sRSXC
— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) March 4, 2021
Medeiros is a lively underdog here as he has more tools to win this fight. But his fighting IQ is questionable and he gets goaded into brawls. If he does, someone will get knocked out. But if he fights smart, he can exploit Hadzovic’s nonexistent wrestling and submit him as Renato Moicano did in 44 seconds. Either way, this fight may not last that long.