Handicapper Justin Hirst:


Handicapper MikesMMAPicks UFC 270 (Jan. 22)

  • Risking 1.5U on Cyril Gane at -108 
  • The heavyweight strap is on the line on January 22nd. Fantastic matchup here between two former training partners in Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou. This is a dangerous game of inches with the big boys throwing heat wearing 4-ounce gloves. A reality is that Francis Ngannou possesses a death touch. Ngannou could come out early, land one strike and end Gane’s night, as he’s done to many an opponent. He could also catch Gane at any point during the first few rounds. Gane is the more well-rounded fighter with better technique, both defensively and offensively. Gane is extremely nimble, has the superior gas tank, as well as excellent footwork. This fight takes place in the larger Octagon, which must be considered when handicapping where the fight may travel throughout the course of 25 minutes. Although we saw improvements from Ngannou vs Miocic, I believe Ciryl Gane is the deserved favorite here, and should be capped conservatively between 57-59%. Anything can happen at heavyweight, though if Gane can stay defensively sound, he should win the fight more often than not. This free play on Ciryl Gane was posted at -108

UFC Vegas 47 (Feb. 5)

  • Risking 1.9U on Sean Strickland at -188 
  • Sean Strickland vs Jack Hermansson is a solid test for both fighters. Hermansson will likely look to close distance vs the superior striker in Strickland, who has really come on of late after suffering a horrific motorcycle accident a few years ago. Strickland’s momentum is growing every time out, and he appears to be on the verge of becoming a contender. Don’t sleep on Strickland’s takedown defense as well as ground game that continues to develop. Both of these fighters are dogs who will fight hard for your money. I believe we’ll see Strickland eventually stifle Hermansson’s continued attempts at the takedown, and find sustained success at range over time. If Hermansson is able to land takedowns, he’ll likely commit to a submission attempt, and that is when things may get interesting, as Strickland has yet to be submitted. The pick here is Sean Strickland.

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