Best Bets On The UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Askren Card
The UFC will head overseas to Kallang, Singapore and the Singapore Indoor Stadium for the upcoming UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Askren card. While the event isn’t exactly loaded with elite talent and will not feature a title fight, that doesn’t mean it won’t be a highly entertaining card. The outspoken Ben Askren is often trolling others on Twitter and finding ways to get under other fighter’s skin, so it’s always entertaining to see whether he backs up the trash talk in the Octagon.
Let’s take a look at his fight and three others for this Saturday’s card:
DEMIAN MAIA (27-9) VS. BEN ASKREN (19-1)
ODDS: ASKREN -172
The former ONE Championship star Askren has failed to live up to the hype since his arrival in the UFC. After nearly getting knocked out by Robbie Lawler only to end up beating him via technical submission, Askren was knocked flat out just five seconds into his fight with by a flying knee from Jorge Masvidal. Everything will be on the line for Askren heading into this bout, which won’t be an easy one versus Maia. The 41-year-old Maia is coming off back-to-back wins but he is running out of time to prove that he is a legitimate contender in the welterweight division.
The winner of this tilt will get a major boost in the welterweight rankings while the loser will have to deal with some major question marks. Considering that Maia has relied heavily on submission wins throughout his career and that Askren is actually pretty good at countering those, it makes sense to take Askren here. I just don’t believe in Maia’s striking so much. A version of him probably wins this fight but we’ve seen him wear down in bouts against Rory MacDonald and Ryan LaFlare, so I’m expecting more of the same here.
CYRIL GANE (4-0) VS. DON’TALE MAYES (6-2)
ODDS: GANE -300
These two heavyweights have no issues with standing in the middle of the Octagon and going strike-for-strike with their opponents. Both fighters pack incredible punching power and a willingness to attack relentlessly, so this has Fight of the Night or Knockout of the Night potential.
Mayes certainly appears to be the slower of the two fighters and that is major cause for concern. Gane is extremely athletic and quick. While his power is his biggest strength, the fact that he can move so quickly and deliver it at close proximity with accuracy and speed is truly what will make the difference in this bout. Mayes is more of a plodder and while he has impressive power, so does Gane and the latter has a much more well-rounded game. I’m expecting him to win here but if you don’t like the juice, take a look at the ‘win by knockout’ prop.
MUSLIM SALIKHOV (15-2) VS. LAUREANO STAROPOLI (9-1)
ODDS: SALIKHOV -170
One of the most intriguing fights on the board for this fight card, these two welterweights will enter the Octagon with a combined five UFC fights between them. Staropoli is an intense striker that doesn’t back down while Salikhov is coming off a pair of knockout wins of his own. Simply put, this showdown has the potential for some major fireworks. Staropoli is taller than Salikhov and will have the reach advantage, so a lot of what happens in this fight depends on the range of which it’s fought. Salikhov has been the better finisher throughout his career, though, registering brutal knockouts over Nordine Taleb and Ricky Rainey in his last two fights. Even before he got to the UFC, he had impressive knockouts over Melvin Guillard and Ivan Jorge.
Considering Staropoli’s all-out approach to every fight and the fact that he hasn’t had to face any top-tier opposition, it might make sense to fade him here. It feels like Staropoli could leave himself open to taking some serious punishment. This will be close but take Salikhov to win this bout via knockout.
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