How to bet UFC Fight Night: Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes 👊

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Mar 6, 2018
How to bet UFC Fight Night: Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes


Just in time for the annual "cold turkey" period for football fans, the UFC has lined up nine straight weeks of action to get us through March. It's the second card into the ESPN era, and the first from Brazil. But in what might normally be a lower-profile Fight Night event in terms of star power, this Saturday's card could actually determine the next title contenders in two divisions.

The final two fights of the night pair top-five ranked fighters at bantamweight and featherweight, bouts that -- depending on outcomes -- could create a new top-ranked contender, or at least secure a fighter's position as next in line for a title shot.

First, we'll take a detailed look at the performance metrics for the main event, a rematch between the current No. 3 and No. 4 bantamweights. Then we'll decide if there's value in the betting line.
UFC bantamweight matchup: No. 4 Marlon Moraes (-170) vs No. 3 Raphael Assuncao (+150)

Tale Of The Tape
Last fight weight classBantamweightBantamweight
Minutes analyzed31.7235.5
Total knockdown ratio3 : 13 : 3
Distance knockdown rate9%1%
Head jab accuracy9%27%
Head power accuracy24%27%
Total standup strike ratio1.21.0
Total head strike defense76%83%
Chin (distance knockdown defense)97%98%
TD attempts per min. standing/clinch0.10.3
Total takedown accuracy25%36%
Advances per top control0.00.7
Opponent takedown attempts544
Takedown defense60%80%
Share of total ground time in control58%62%
Submission attempts per trip to ground0.330.16

The fight is a rematch of a razor-thin split decision 19 months ago, when Moraes made his UFC debut against Assuncao in Rio de Janeiro. The fight was a back-and-forth striking duel, with Moraes offering the flashier striking arsenal, but Assuncao controlling the cage more often and arguably landing the most significant strikes of the night. Both men have since gone on win streaks against the division's top talent, making a rematch both compelling for rivalry reasons and worthy of deciding which fighter could offer a fresh challenge to the bantamweight title.

On paper, Moraes' striking doesn't appear to be highly technical, but only if we ignore the kind of strikes he throws. Moraes, a Tiger Shulman product, uses a high mix of kicks aimed at all levels, including sometimes flashy, yet still effective, head kicks. The higher degree of difficulty in his strikes likely costs him in the accuracy metrics, but his high "knockdown rate" shows the dangerous potential of his kicks. These are the most dangerous strikes in MMA, and they can end any fighter's night regardless of their chin.

Assuncao got the best of the rounds in their first fight while standing, but he is the more vulnerable fighter in terms of age (36) and wear. He might have more safely attempted to win rounds using his wrestling, but he chose not to in their first fight, and that will be the strategic wild card in this rematch.

Insider recommends: Perhaps surprisingly, the numbers lean slightly toward the 30-year-old Moraes, but not above -200. Steady action has sided with Assuncao all week, pushing the lines tighter and keeping some value on the table. Moraes is armed with the greater striking arsenal, but he has given up exchanges and minutes of cage control while trying to time his opponent for a brutal finish. With more rounds to work, and having faced Assuncao already, he might find that opportunity this time around, or at least be more wary of conceding small minutes that can lose him rounds on the cards. This view is tempered by Assuncao's excellent striking defense and his wrestling held in reserve should he get into trouble on his feet.

We'd lean more strongly toward the under 4.5 rounds at +165. Both men delivered hard shots in their first fight all the way to the final bell, and now know they'll need to sit on their punches a little more for a finish. The main event timing offers 10 extra minutes to sling leather, or in the case of Moraes, shins and feet. Assuncao, meanwhile, still offers finishing ability of his own against the looser defense of Moraes should he accumulate damage.
Odds and ends

Picking upsets of Brazilian fighters fighting at home is tricky business. But consider the easily overlooked Lyman Good against veteran Brazilian Demian Maia. Good has the power striking to put away opponents, especially older ones. But like anyone facing Maia across the change, Good must show the fight IQ and patience to keep his distance and, more importantly, keep Maia from back control. Maia has become one of the most extreme one-dimensional fighters in the UFC, but he is so successful at his grappling strength, it maintains him perpetually in the top ranks. Eventually, however, these types of fighters fade, and while his striking has never been much of a threat, at age 41, it's also now a bigger liability against a slugger like Good.

Insider recommends: Good is an underdog, and his TKO prop would offer significant value should he stuff the early takedowns and get a few opportunities to let his fists fly.