Usman Among Fighters To Back In Big UFC Doubleheader

Clint MacLean

Sunday, November 25, 2018 2:31 PM UTC

Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 2:31 PM UTC

After some great action in UFC Fight Night 141, it's time to look ahead to a doubleheader. Let's check out Friday's TUF 28 Finale and Saturday's UFC Fight Night 142 as we ponder some MMA picks.

Clint's UFC picks record: 3-1-0 (+3.61 units)

UFC Fight Night 141 delivered if you got up early enough to watch it. The fights were non-stop action from bell to bell with lots of great show cases. The best part was that our boy Francis Ngannou steamrolled Curtis Blaydes in the first round, cashing that +176 underdog line. Surprising to me, that line moved the other way and Ngannou got as high as +215 before coming back down. For the sake of integrity we will count the line we gave in the pick (+176).

Kamaru Usman vs. Rafael dos AnjosFriday, 11:59 p.m. ET; Las Vegas

This week kicks off Friday with the Ultimate FIghter 28 Finale headlined by rising contender Kamaru Usman facing off against former lightweight champion and current welterweight contender Rafael dos Anjos. RDA looked like a monster at lightweight after capturing the belt and it seemed as though he would reign for some time. His body, however, had other plans and it became apparent that the weight cut to 155 was taking too big of a toll on him and he lost the belt to the Underground King, Eddie Alvarez, by brutal KO.

Since moving up to 170, RDA has looked like his old self. He has a unstoppable gas tank and is far more durable with all of his striking and grappling skills translating to his new home weight class very well. RDA's last fight was a loss to Colby Covington, who appears to be getting the next title shot at current 170 king Tyrone Woodley. This fight is very interesting because in a lot of ways Covington and Usman are very similar. Their greatest strength is their wrestling with their striking developing nicely as they continue to gain experience.

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Unfortunately there are no lines out at the time of writing, so there will be no "official picks," but I would expect Usman to grind out a win over RDA, stuffing his submission attempts in a brutal three-round war. I expect Usman to open as a favorite, so keep you eye out for Usman by decision for some extra value. I do not see Usman having either the striking or submission edge over a veteran like RDA, but his wrestling is going to be the key.

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Spots to look for at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 142 in Australia include the main event, heavyweight prospect Tai Tuivasa taking on former champ Junior dos Anjos. I have no official pick for this fight because Tai has looked very good, but this will be a very large test for him in the savvy former champion and Junior has finally gotten back in the win column. I suggest sitting back and watching because this fight is going to tell us a lot looking forward to next year for both of these fighters.

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The fights I'm most interested for UFC FN 142 are Jake Matthews vs. Tony Martin and, on the preliminary card, Yushin Okami vs. Alexey Kunchenko.

Matthews is a rising star and an absolute machine who just does not quit. Martin is no walk in the park, but I do expect Matthews to be the tougher of the two. Matthews is riding a three-fight win streak and Martin has won his last two. This play will definitely depend on the line, so if it's close or if Matthews is a dog, I would suggest grabbing it.

Okami is a fighter from a bygone era. He managed to get himself into a last-minute replacement fight that got him back on the UFC roster and has looked terrible in his last few fights. This is a perfect spot where the UFC is making a showcase for his opponent expecting him to demolish a named fighter that the fans will remember due to his resume. Kunchenko is 19-0 and made his UFC debut by beating Thiago Alves, who has seen better days but is still a hard fight for anybody. The UFC is holding Kunchenko's hand here and developing him with winnable fights and I expect him to pass the test that they are putting in front of him because Okami is just not the same fighter he used to be.

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