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UFC Fight Night Hamburg: Betting Odds and Picks

The UFC makes its way to Hamburg, Germany for a Fight Night featuring some heavy hitters within the light heavyweight division. Headlining the card is former champion and No. 8-ranked Mauricio “Shogun” Rua battling Anthony “Lionheart” Smith. Just below Shogun and Lionheart on the marquee is a scrap between two top-10 light heavyweights in No. 3 Glover Teixeira and No. 9 Corey “Overtime” Anderson.

Mauricio Rua vs Anthony Smith

Rua (+180) has been a longtime competitor within the UFC’s light heavyweight division and claimed the title from Lyoto Machida at UFC 113. But the champ’s reign was short as his first defense was against young phenom Jon Jones, and we all know how that worked out. Shogun enters this bout riding a three-fight winning streak, appearing in just one fight per year since 2015 with his most recent fight being a knockout over Gian Villante in 2017. The Brazilian fought five times between 2012 and 2014 and posted a 1-4 SU record, but as mentioned, since switching to one fight a year he has won three straight.

Shogun is known for pushing the pace with a willingness to exchange, winning 20 of his 25 fights by knockout, and averages 3.75 strikes per minute. Recently he has opted to take the fights to the ground more often as he has secured four takedowns over his three-fight winning streak, compared to just two takedowns in his previous five bouts. With his aggressive style, Rua is susceptible to being hit and has been finished by knockout in four of his 10 losses.

Smith (-230) makes his second walk to the Octagon as a light heavyweight and for Shogun’s sake he hopes it lasts longer than his first. Lionheart finished former champion Rashad Evans in the first round of their battle on the undercard at UFC 225. The Texas native has won 12 of his last 14 fights, including going 5-2 since joining the UFC full time in 2016 and winning four of those fights by knockout. Smith is 3-0 SU as the favorite with all three fights ending by knockout.

This will be a real litmus test for Smith within the light heavyweight division to prove whether the jump from middleweight was the right decision. Lionheart does have a three-inch height advantage over the former champion, although they have equivalent 76-inch reaches. I think that Shogun is going to be the aggressor in this bout and will meet his demise at the strong hands of Lionheart.

Prediction: Anthony Smith (-230) via knockout

Glover Teixeira vs Corey Anderson

Teixeira (-165) brings his heavy hands into the UFC cage for the 15th time aiming to get another shot at claiming the light heavyweight championship. Glover has a 10-4 SU record inside the Octagon with his four losses coming against top talent in Jon Jones, Phil Davis, Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson, the latter two fights ending in a knockout.

The 38-year-old has won three of his last four victories by knockout and averages an output of 3.73 strikes per minute. The biggest hole in Teixeira’s game is his takedown defense, which ticks along at just 59 percent, however, many fighters opt not to get in close and take the fight to the mat due to the risk of getting knocked out.

Anderson (+135) grinds his opponents with his top-notch wrestling game and aggressive ground-and-pound. Overtime averages 5.3 takedowns per 15 minutes, including dragging his last foe, Patrick Cummins, to the floor 12 times in his unanimous decision victory at UFC Fight Night: Atlantic City on April 21. The Illinois native has been the dog in just two of his fights within the UFC, both of which resulted in knockout losses to Ovince Saint Preux and Jimi Manuwa.

Overtime is one inch taller than Teixeira and has a three-inch reach advantage as well. The 28-year-old has won the majority of his bouts by decision, pushing the pace and tiring opponents with heavy output, averaging 4.71 strikes per minute. But three of Anderson’s four losses have come by way of knockout.

Glover has only lost to top-level fighters, and I don’t put Corey Anderson on the same level as Jon Jones. I think Anderson is going to be hunting for the takedown so much that when he goes in for the single leg against a veteran like Teixeira, he is going to end up staring up at the lights wondering what happened.

Prediction: Glover Teixeira (-200) via knockout

Abu Azaitar vs Vitor Miranda

Azaitar (-200) makes his first career walk to the Octagon bringing a 13-1-1 record outside the UFC into this bout, including going 8-0-1 in his last nine fights with five wins coming by knockout. Gladiator’s lone loss was a TKO by doctor stoppage in 2012. The Germany native finished UFC fighter Jack Marshman with a first-round knockout in 2014 in Cage Warriors. All seven of Azaitar’s knockouts have come in the first round.

Miranda (+160) enters the cage for the first time in over a year looking to put an end to his two-fight losing streak. Lex Luthor has three victories in the UFC, all coming by knockout, while his three losses have all been by unanimous decision, including his loss to Antonio Carlos Junior in the TUF: Brazil 3 heavyweight final. Following the show Miranda dropped to middleweight where he has a 3-2 record. The Brazilian has a 1-2 record in fights out of his home country and is 2-2 when entering a fight as the underdog. One of the best attributes the 39-year-old has is his ability to avoid strikes with his defense marked at 57 percent averaging 2.89 strikes absorbed per minute.

Azaitar is the younger and faster man. I think he beats Miranda to the punch but the Brazilian has the ability to handle the power. This will be a back-and-forth fight but Azaitar has what it takes to edge Miranda on the scorecards, perhaps with the help of the hometown crowd.

Prediction: Abu Azaitar (-165) via decision

Marcin Tybura vs Stefan Struve

Tybura (-250) mixes high tempo with above-average cardio, for the heavyweight division, to hunt the knockout, racking up nine first-round finishes over his career. The 32-year-old has dropped his last two fights to top-ranked opponents – a five-round unanimous decision loss to Fabricio Werdum and a third-round knockout loss to Derrick Lewis. The Poland native landed 220 strikes combined over those two battles and averages 3.75 strikes per minute. Tybura also has a great knack for catching kicks and punishing his foes with vicious ground-and-pound afterwards.

Struve (+195) has been in the UFC for nearly 10 years and has shown flashes of greatness, followed quickly by disappointment. In more recent times, the Skyscraper has dropped five of his last eight fights including being knocked out three times. He has never lost three fights in a row and enters this bout on a two-fight losing streak. At seven feet tall, Struve has long limbs, providing an advantage in his kickboxing style and submissions if the fight goes to the mat. The Netherlands native has an 84-inch reach but at times seems a little confused about how to use it when a fighter pressures him, which will be the case against Tybura. Seven of Struve’s 10 losses have been by knockout.

Struve just looks clueless at times when he is pressured and Tybura is known for bringing the fight. I think Tybura is just too much to handle and will test that weak chin of the Skyscraper and put him to sleep.

Prediction: Marcin Tybura (-230) via knockout

Marc Diakiese vs Nasrat Haqparast

Diakiese (-175) is aggressive and awkward, swinging for the fences from unorthodox angles searching for the knockout. Bonecrusher began his UFC career with three straight wins, including two by knockout, but has dropped his last two bouts. With his wild attempts for the highlight finish, Diakiese has a significant striking accuracy of just 39 percent, averaging 2.38 strikes per minute. But his great reflexes allow him to go a little crazy with little fear of getting finished himself as he absorbs just 1.93 strikes per minute and has a 56 percent striking defense. The 25-year-old had three fights in 2017 and this is his first scrap in 2018 so we should see some improvements from his third-round submission loss to Dan Hooker in December.

Haqparast (+145) has legit knockout power in the lightweight division, posting an 8-2 record with all eight of his wins coming by knockout, including six in the first round. The Germany native took his Octagon debut on short notice and took a unanimous decision loss to Marcin Held at UFC Fight Night: Poland on October 21, 2017. Held took Haqparast to the mat three times, doing his best to avoid the heavy hands and just hold on for a victory. The 22-year-old now has a game opponent in Diakiese to stand and trade in his second UFC fight. Much like Diakiese, Haqparast absorbs just 1.27 strikes per minute while landing with an accuracy of just 36 percent. Don’t blink with these heavy hitters doing battle.

This on paper is one of my favorite fights of the entire card. Two young and talented prospects willing to stand and brawl is sure to bring fireworks. I think because of both of their abilities to avoid the heavy strike with great head movement that this fight goes to a decision but definitely a fight of the night candidate and I’m giving the nod to Haqparast to earn his first UFC victory.

Prediction: Haqparast (+165) via decision

UFC Fight Night: Rua vs Smith Betting Odds
  • Anthony Smith -230
  • Mauricio Rua +180
Odds as of July 20 at Bovada
  • Glover Teixeira -165
  • Corey Anderson +135
  • Abu Azaitar -200
  • Vitor Miranda +160
  • Marcin Tybura -250
  • Stefan Struve +195
  • Marc Diakiese -175
  • Nasrat Haqparast +145
  • Danny Roberts -400
  • David Zawada +300
  • Nick Hein -170
  • Damir Hadzovic +145
  • Emil Meek -175
  • Bartosz Fabinski +145
  • Nad Narimani -265
  • Khalid Taha +205
  • Justin Ledet -120
  • Aleksandar Rakic -110
  • Manny Bermudez -240
  • Davey Grant +190
  • Darko Stosic -270
  • Jeremy Kimball +210
  • Pingyuan Liu -105
  • Damian Stasiak -125