RFA 22 Betting Odds

RFA 22Back to lead the AXS TV charge in 2015, Resurrection Fighting Alliance puts on their 22nd card this Friday from Colorado Springs, Colorado. The event features a welterweight title bout that will crown the heir to Brandon Thatch and Mike Rhodes’ crown. Former TUF contestant Gilbert Smith takes on striker Chidi Njokuani, younger brother of the UFC’s Anthony. Smith has gone 5-1 since being cut from the UFC in 2013, including wins in MFC, Legacy FC, and RFA. He has also dropped from middleweight to welterweight in the process. His only defeat over that time came to fellow UFC veteran Brian Foster in competitive fight for Titan FC. His grappling base has proven more effective at the lighter weight, and he seems to have made some gains in the cardio department from his time on the reality show. Njokuani has only lost one of his past eight bouts, scoring four first round TKOs over that span. Always dangerous on the feet, he has improved his takedown defense of late to allow him more opportunity to strike with his opponents. He will enjoy six-inch height and four-inch reach advantages against Smith, and the gameplan for both men seems abundantly clear heading in to this one. Also on the card are a pair of featherweight bouts. Former RFA title challenger Mark Dickman looks to rebound from the loss in his title bout against veteran Donald Sanchez. UFC veteran Alvin Robinson hopes to build off a November win at RFA 20 as he takes on Ricky Musgrave, who brings a three-fight winning streak into the bout. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for these top three bouts on RFA 22 today at Several Bookmakers. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (AXS TV, 10pm ET) RFA Welterweight Title Gilbert Smith -190 Chidi Njokuani +150 Mark Dickman -210 Donald Sanchez +160 Ricky Musgrave -285 Alvin Robinson +205 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: It’s nice to have some regional MMA back in my life. This card could present some opportunities too depending on how the public views these fights. Since being cut from the UFC, there have been lines on four Gilbert Smith fights. He’s closed as an underdog three times (two of which saw him open as a pick em or a favorite), and as a small -160 favorite in the other. He’s won three of those, and made me some money in the process. That makes me a bit partial to him as far as regional level fighters go. His style and skill set also make him a comfortable fighter to bet, and I think they’ll serve him well against Njokuani. Njokuani still struggles against the better wrestlers he faces, and Smith might be the best he’s faced in his entire career. The cardio worries for Smith aren’t there in the same way they were early in his career, and I expect him to take Njokuani’s back at some point and find the rear-naked choke. If the public once again comes in against Smith, I’ll be more than happy to take the reduced line. As a sidenote: I haven’t seen weigh-in results yet, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Njokuani misses weight. He’s massive for 170, and has struggled to make the limit in the past. Update: Njokuani missed the 170lb limit by nearly five pounds. The fight will still go on as a five-rounder, but Smith will be the only fighter eligible to win the title. Normally these situations see the fighter still motivated for the title perform better. Donald Sanchez is one of those fighters who started his career as little more than a .500 fighter, but has developed into one of the higher level fighters on the regional circuit. He has a solid striking game, and has only been stopped by Hatsu Hioki and Tatsuya Kawajiri since 2007 (both by submission). Still, I think that he’s going to drop a decision to Mark Dickman here if the former RFA title challenger fights smart. Dickman is a decent striker in his own right — and definitely has more stopping power than Sanchez — but he should have a marked wrestling advantage over Sanchez that he can put to use if he doesn’t like the way things are going on the feet. If Dickman decides to stay with his striking, he could very well lose a decision, as I think Sanchez is more technical, so this fight isn’t without danger, he just has more routes to victory. Update: Dickman made Njokuani’s missed weight seem like the height of professionalism, just barely weighing in for his featherweight bout as a lightweight (155.6lbs). After seeing that, I have to favor Sanchez, as Dickman is either injured, sick, or had a terrible camp. He has never struggled with making weight previously, so this is a huge red flag, and makes what I already expected to be a competitive bout into one that almost requires a play on the dog. This was the first time I’ve delved into any tape on Ricky Musgrave, and while I wasn’t overly impressed, I think he’s got more than enough to handle Alvin Robinson. Musgrave had some decent success stuffing the takedowns of a much better wrestler in Jarred Mercado, and he does well to punish opponents when they can’t score the takedowns. Against Robinson he should have an advantage striking, and it doesn’t take a lot to have ‘The Kid’ question how much he really wants to be in there. One caveat is that Musgrave gives up his back quite a bit when trying to get up from takedowns, so if Robinson can score an early one it could lead to a rear-naked choke. More often than not however, I think Musgrave punishes some weak takedown attempts and scores a stoppage.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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