Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.
LAS VEGAS — Before we get to the main event, it’s date night tomorrow with the Ladies in Jacksonville, and we have Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha vs Angela “Overkill” Hill. Now THAT’S a nickname! Gadelha is the favorite at -185 (bet $185 to win back $100), with Hill the underdog at +165 (bet $100 to win back $165).
Claudia Gadelha vs Angela Hill
Back to the Octagon, and looking at the tale of the you know what, starting with “Claudinha,” who is 31 years old from Mossoró, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, but now lives in Vegas.
Actually saw her run past my house the other day, and I can tell you, this lady is IN shape and ready to RUMBLE. I yelled to her and asked if she wouldn’t mind me posting her weight in the column. Some ladies do not like to broadcast their weight. Gadelha just smiled and said, “Tell ’em I’m a buck 15 and ripped!” She’s a buck 15 and ripped.
She is five-foot-four and has a 63-inch reach. Her MMA record is 17-4, with two wins coming by KO, eight by decision and seven by submission. Gadelha’s early career was OFF the charts, Sportsbook up with a 12-0 run. Since that point, the competition has become tougher, and she is just 5-4 since the end of 2014.
“Overkill” is 33 years old from Prince George’s County, Maryland, tips the scale at a buck 15, is five-foot-three and has a 64-inch reach. Her MMA record is 12-7, with five wins coming by KO and seven by decision.
Angela has been a BUSY lady with six fights since 2019, and two already this year. She rolls in with a sweet three-match perfecto and could be a live underdog. And if things don’t go well, “Overkill” can always pull out her bachelor of fine arts degree from the Cooper Union School of Art and quickly find work as an animator.
Some stats for you to chew on that might help you handicap this match. Gadelha lands an average of 3.15 and absorbs an average of 4.38 significant strikes per minute. Hill lands an average of 5.97 and absorbs an average of 5.28 strikes per minute. Gadelha averages 3.34 takedowns landed per 15 minutes, while Hill averages 0.46 takedowns per 15. Hill’s striking accuracy rate is at 50 percent, while Gadelha’s is 42 percent. And Gadelha averages 0.81 submissions per 15 minutes, while Hill averages 0.09 submissions per 15.
Walt Harris vs Alistair Overeem
And now for the main event, it’s Walt (The Vault) Harris, or Walt (The Big Ticket) Harris, or Walt (The Skull Crusher) Harris vs Alistair (The Demolition Man) Overeem.
Harris is the favorite at -145 (bet $145 to win back $100), with Overeem the underdog at +125 (bet $100 to win back $125).
Obviously, the first issue to address is Walt’s three nicknames. Would normally ask you to chime in with a vote but don’t have enough time. Not trying to influence you, but I’m kinda partial to The Vault, mainly because it rhymes with Walt. The Big Ticket reminds me more of Kevin Garnett than Harris, so that’s out. The Skull Crusher ain’t too bad, but there is no rhyming, so bye-bye. Also, on a personal note, people have called me The Vault since the 1980s.
Back to basics, which means the tale of the tape, and we’ll start with Harris, who is 36 years old from Birmingham, Alabama. The Vault tips the scale at 264 and small change, is six-foot-five and has a 76-inch reach. His MMA record is only 13-7, but ALL 13 wins have come by KO. Harris has won three in a row, with one no contest. In that match against Andrei Arlovski, The Vault actually claimed a split-decision win, but it was overturned after Harris tested positive for LGD-4033.
Of course, you’re curious about LGD-4033, and here’s what Siri told me: It’s a novel nonsteroidal, oral SARM that binds to androgen receptors with high affinity (Ki of ∼1 nM) and selectivity. In animal models, LGD-4033 has demonstrated anabolic activity in the muscle, anti-resorptive and anabolic activity in bone, and robust selectivity for muscle versus prostate.
Have NO FREAKIN’ idea what any of that means, but it AIN’T allowed!
The Demolition Man is a great nickname, but also a fabulous movie from the ’90s starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. If you want a quick review, Vincent Canby, the late, great film critic from the New York Times, said, “Typical futuristic action-melodrama. A frozen Sly thaws out like a volcano.” Wow!
OK, back to the tape. Overeem is 39 years old from London, England, tips the scale at 253 and a hook, is six-five and has an 80-inch reach. His MMA record is 45-23, yeah, he’s been around for a while and will be FORTY tomorrow. He has 23 wins coming by KO, 17 by submission and five by decision. Alistair has won only two of his last five matches, but on the plus side, his mother is Dutch, and the family tree connects him to King William III of the Netherlands. ROYALTY, baby!
Now for the money. Not saying that Harris hits as hard as Francis Ngannou, but he does have 13 KOs, and we found out that Ngannou knocked Overeem COLD in the first round back in a 2017 match. Actually, The Demolition Man’s last 10 losses were all KOs, so his chin is a bit suspect. So, gonna load up on The Vault to win, drop some chips on him to win by KO/TKO, and toss a few pennies on Harris to win in Round 1 (+250) and Round 2 (+600). Also gonna throw a handful of chips across the table at Claudia (Claudinha) Gadelha and tickle Dan (Dynamite) Ige.
Enjoy the Octagon, BBAAABBBEEE!!!
Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and over 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him online at www.americasline.com. He is beloved by most, when he picks Sportsbooks, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his email...firstname.lastname@example.org.