Fight Breakdown: The FX prelims portion of UFC 163 brings us a womens bantamweight scrap, as 25 year old Strikeforce and Invicta FC veteran Amanda “Lioness of the Ring” Nunes takes on 23 year old Cage Warriors veteran, “The German Tank” Sheila Gaff. Nunes is the heavy favorite at -295 ($295 to win $100) while Gaff is a nicely sized underdog at +265 at Several Bookmakerss.
Amanda Nunes (7-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) steps foot in the Octagon with hopes of making history as the first female Brazilian to get a win in the UFC. She makes her debut six months after taking a Unanimous Decision loss against Sarah D’Alelio at Invicta FC 4, a fight in which she was being controlled on the mat and delivered an illegal upkick that resulted in a point deduction. Nunes is skilled both on the feet and on the ground, but she prefers to keep the fight standing where she uses her boxing and Muay Thai to damage her opponents. She has good footwork and throws solid combinations. Her takedown defense isn’t very good, but I don’t think takedowns are a concern for her in this bout, since Sheila Gaff also prefers to stand and trade. Being a former featherweight and the taller fighter with the longer reach, Nunes will have the size advantage going into this bout. She has a good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, both offensive and defensive, so she’s never afraid to hit the mat. Despite holding her own on the mat, Amanda Nunes much prefers getting the knockout and her resume reflects that sentiment, as 6 of her 7 career victories have come by way of TKO/KO. Sheila Gaff (10-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) makes her second trip to the Octagon hoping to quickly rebound from her first round TKO loss to Sara McMann at UFC 159 only three months ago. McMann took her down and wound up in the crucifix position and rained down punches until the referee stepped in to call it off. The loss didn’t sit well with Gaff, as she got back in the gym and immediately booked this match. Gaff is a powerful striker who loves to throw leather. Much like Nunes, Sheila Gaff loves to finish fights. All 10 of her career victories have come inside the distance; 6 by TKO/KO and 4 by submission. She prefers to stand but isn’t afraid to go to the mat, as she is confident in her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. Gaff lacks sportsmanship and is a bit of a dirty fighter; she used the glove-touching opportunity in the opening round of her fight vs Jennifer Maia to get shots in, which not surprisingly worked to her advantage, as she dropped Maia with a straight punch during the sudden-exchange and finished her off with hammerfists. Also, I think she takes performance enhancing drugs. I don’t see Sheila Gaff having a fruitful career in the UFC; I think they brought her in to make Sara McMann look good and she will possibly be released from the organization if she loses this bout — but perhaps not, since the womens bantamweight division is thinner than a bullimic Kenyan on prom night. Fight Prediction: This fight will take place on the feet and I think it will be an exciting battle; likely an early candidate for the Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night bonuses. I expect Gaff to run out of gas and Nunes to finish her off with her fists. Nunes doesn’t have very good cardio, but that isn’t a problem since Gaff’s cardio is atrocious. I think Sheila Gaff is on the juice, plus she is the lesser-skilled fighter, so I am siding with Amanda Nunes to end up getting her hand raised. Gabe’s Pick: Amanda Nunes by TKO (punches, 4:53 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: A moderate play on Amanda Nunes -3.5 -170 and a MAX BET on Under 2.5 rounds -225 — my second max bet on this card. — The Fight of the Night prop at +650 is worth a play, too. (I think the award will either go to this fight or Aldo/Jung +225, so there’s enough value to make a play.)