Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST
Alex Perez +225 over Deiveson Figueiredo
UFC APEX - Las Vegas, NV
Streaming: Prelims ESPN, PPV BT Sport 1
12:30 AM EST. This was not supposed to be the fight to headline the UFC's final PPV of 2020, but the injury to Cody Garbrandt has forced #4 ranked Alex Perez into championship contention on about six week's notice. That's longer than many replacement fighters and with so much time until Deiveson Figueiredo was scheduled to make his first UFC Flyweight Championship defense, many have questioned why Perez leapfrogged #1 ranked Brandon Moreno. Moreno is fighting on this card, by the way, against #6 ranked Brandon Royval.
That Perez is a relative unknown in a position that it might be perceived he should not be in should work to our advantage here, as he is more than capable of not only competing but taking home the title. Perez has racked up three straight wins, including back-to-back finishes over Jussier Formiga and Jordan Espinosa earlier this year. In fact, Perez has won 11 of his last 12 fights going back to his days on the regional circuit, with his only loss coming to perennial flyweight title contender Joseph Benevitez back in 2018. Perez brings an All-American wrestling background into this fight, which should serve him well if we are to believe the old cliche that "styles make fights."
There was a time when the wrestler in the "grappler vs striker" matchup had a clear advantage, but those days are long gone and so, too, is that perception in the market. There are also many new fight fans that never saw the likes of Matt Hughes or George St. Pierre wrestle-fuck somebody into oblivion. Even today's best wrestlers have had to evolve to become solid strikers. But what about the strikers? Sure, their ground games are much better than they used to be, but they usually never lean on that aspect of their game unless it is necessary. A striker wants to hit and be hit.
Enter the champion, Figueredo, who will be making his first title defence (technically). Figueredo won the vacant 125 lb championship in a rematch against the aforementioned Benavidez, but it was a fight that was out of necessity and nothing more because "Daico" missed weight in their first fight for the title. He stopped Benavidez dead in his tracks in that fight too but had one too many donuts for it to be official. Those two impressive stoppages are going to carry weight here because we've not seen much from this remaining crop of 125 lb fighters and Benevidez is easily the most recognizable since he's been hanging around the top of the flyweight division since its inception. The division was gutted with the trade of Mighty Mouse and the retirement of Triple C, so we have a hard time spotting a price like this with anybody. The truth is, we don't really know who the best flyweight is. Figueredo has the strap at the moment, but you are going to pay a premium to back the champion. Perez's value cannot be ignored here and we're willing to bet the longer this fight goes, the better chance he'll have to drag the champion into the deep waters and finish him.
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Alex Perez +225 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 4.50)