ACB 82 takes place Friday, March 9 at Ginasio de Hebraica in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Here are the opening odds from the offshore sportsbooks:
Thiago Silva -180
Mikhail Kolobegov +140
Carlos Eduardo -155
Daniel Sarafian +115
Nashkho Galaev -130
Matheus Mattos -110
Christos Giagos -175
Herdeson Batista +135
My initial thoughts on the fights are below
– The main event features Silva (20-6) dropping to middleweight after a long and sometimes successful career as a light heavyweight, including a memorable stint in the UFC. Now 35 years of age, Silva has gone 2-1 since signing with ACB including a TKO win in his last fight. But overall, since leaving the UFC, he’s gone a disappointing 4-3 with three knockout losses. Not a good look. Kolobegov (11-3) is 30 and he won his ACB debut via TKO and then got a No Contest in his second ACB bout. The Russian is on a seven-fight unbeaten streak and a win over Silva would give him a lot of credibility. I personally have been fading Silva for a while and this fight is no different. I don’t see the move to 185 being good for him, and I think Kolobegov is going to knock him out here.
– Sarafian (10-6) will finally be making his ACB debut after this fight with Eduardo was cancelled last year and rescheduled for this card. Now 35 years of age, Sarafian went a disappointing 2-4 during his time in the UFC a few years ago, and was cut in 2016 after being knocked out by Oluwale Bamgbose. He returned to MMA in 2017 with a win in LFA, but ACB is his home now. I have never though Sarafian was a great fighter by any means, and he’s a guy who has been finished a bunch of times, but to his credit he does have a ton of experience fighting in big MMA promotions. Eduardo (17-4) is 36 years of age and he’s 1-0 in ACB, winning his last fight. He’s actually riding a six-fight win streak at the moment and has not lost since flaming out of Bellator after a failed stint there in 2014. A little MMA trivia: Edurado fought Jon Jones back in 2008 which is crazy to think about. I think Sarafian is someone to fade, and I’m going with Eduardo get the win here by stoppage.
– Galaev (6-3) is just 25 and he’s 6-2 all-time fighting for ACB, including wins in his last five-straight fights. His last five victories have come via TKO and he’s looking better and better every time he fights. Mattos (11-1-1) is also just 25 and he’s 1-1 in ACB, including a respectable loss to Peter Yan in his last outing in ACB. Mattos is actually a veteran of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4 but never made it to the UFC aftrer losing in the TUF house. This looks like a pretty close fight on paper and the odds are bang on here as I slightly lean towards Galaev to get the win, likely via TKO.
– A few years ago Giagos (14-6) went 1-2 in his only chance in the UFC but got cut and has gone 3-2 since, including a 1-1 record in ACB. He is only 28 and I believe we have still not seen all of his potential, though at this point I’m not sure if he will ever get another chance in the UFC. That’s not to say he can’t have a successful run in ACB, putting on good fights for the fans. Only 25 years old, Batista (13-2) is 2-1 in ACB and had his 13-fight win streak snapped in his last outing. I think both of these guys are pretty decent fighters actually and I wouldn’t be surprised if Batista came away with the upset as this fight is taking place in Brazil. I will slightly lean towards Batista to get the win by knockout here, and I’m not surprised to see that the early action came in on him.