UFC 182 Fight Breakdown: Omari Akhmedov vs. Mats Nilsson

Omari-AkhmedovOne of the prelims at UFC 182 is a three-round welterweight bout between Omari Akhmedov and Mats Nilsson. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Akhmedov is a -160 favorite (bet $160 to win $100) while Nilsson is a +140 underdog (bet $100 to win $140). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Akhmedov at -135 and Nilsson at -105, and early action has come in on the favorite Akhmedov. I agree with the betting public backing Akhmedov as I am also picking him to win this fight. Here’s why. Akhmedov (13-2) is so far 1-1 in the UFC with a knockout win over Thiago Perpetuo and a submission loss to Gunnar Nelson. Prior to the loss to Nelson, the 27-year-old Russian was riding an 11-fight win streak and his UFC debut win over Perpetuo was impressive, with Akhmedov winning a share of Fight of the Night for his performance in the fight. In his career Akhmedov has 11 finishes, six by knockout and five by submission, making him a very dangerous out for anyone in the division. He showed in the Perpetuo fight his one-punch knockout power, although he was rocked badly in that fight and nearly lost himself. Still, credit to him for storming back with a vengeance and getting the comeback win. Akhmedov looked poor against Nelson, but everyone except Rick Story looked bad against Nelson so I don’t think we can hold that against him too much. Still, his back is against the wall here and he needs a big win over Nilsson, who is a solid veteran. Look for Akhmedov to try and keep this one standing and get the knockout, and with a sizeable advantage in the power department in a fight that is likely to play out on the feet, it makes sense he is the favorite going into it. Nilsson (11-3-1) made his UFC debut against Luke Barnatt as a middleweight and suffered a brutal first-round knockout loss. The 31-year-old native of Sweden made the correct choice to drop down to 170lbs, where he won’t be as outsized, and he could definitely have some success in the weight class if he fights smart, and by fighting smart I mean looking for the takedowns in his fights because he is a very talented grappler. All told, he has five career submission wins in MMA, as well as numerous medals and awards in grappling competitions. He is a black belt in judo and a black belt in BJJ so he’s no joke on the ground, and he has ways to get it there. However, should his takedowns fail he will be forced to stand and trade, and while he is actually an underrated standup fighter, it’s clear his best path to victory lies on the ground. If he can get Akhmedov on the ground he will have a good chance to pull off the upset, but if this one stays standing there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be at a disadvantage, and not surprisingly he is the underdog heading into the bout. I can see this fight ending in two scenarios: Akhmedov by T/KO or Nilsson by submission. Nilsson is dropping to 170lbs and should be stronger at this weight class and he could catch a sneaky submission. But if he doesn’t get the sub, then I don’t see how he wins. He is a tough fighter but Akhmedov is a powerful finisher with proven knockout power, and he absolutely has the finishing ability to stop Nilsson on the feet. I am definitely worried about Akhmedov’s defence, both striking and submission-wise, but overall I think he should be able to keep the fight on the feet and score the knockout. It’s not an easy one to call but I do lean towards Akhmedov at -160, although I am iffy on a bet. One play I do like, though, is the fight does not go the distance at -205. It’s not a lock, but I think that prop cashes as I see a stoppage either way.

Written by Adam Martin.

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