RFA 25 Betting Odds

RFA 25The third entry on MMA’s busy Friday night will be RFA 25, which airs on AXS TV at 10pm ET, as per usual. This time, the promotion — one of the best pipelines for talent to reach the UFC — has a pair of title fights on the docket, as Justin Lawrence defends his featherweight belt against talented striker Sam Toomer, and Gabriel Checco vies for the vacant middleweight strap against Francisco France. Lawrence has relied more heavily on his wrestling since being cut from the UFC, and the result has been a pair of decision wins. The second of those victories earned him the featherweight title, and one would think another victory would have him very close to returning to the Octagon. Toomer sports a 9-0 record, and trains at The Arena in San Diego, alongside fighters such as KJ Noons and Joe Duarte. At 6′ he is very tall and long for a featherweight, and puts those physical tools to good use with his striking. Against Lawrence, he’ll be facing the first true step up in his career, and perhaps more importantly, the best wrestler he’s ever faced. If he can navigate that challenge, he’ll be one to watch moving forward. Gabriel Checco rebounded from his first career MMA loss (to now-UFC fighter Jake Collier), by knocking out TUF veteran Joe Henle and earning a title shot here. All of his career wins have come by stoppage, and only three of those have made it out of the first round. His aggression can also be his downfall however, and Collier used it to turn the tables on him in his lone loss. ‘Kiko’ France is a Strikeforce and WSOF veteran, who holds each of his 11 MMA victories by submission, with the arm-triangle proving to be his speciality. Only once has a victim of his made it past the first round. That said, he is just 1-3-1 in bouts that get out of the first round, meaning that perhaps his cardio is not up to par, and two of those losses have come via TKO. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for the two RFA 25 title fights today at Several Bookmakers. Take a look: ——————– RFA Featherweight Title Justin Lawrence -300 Sam Toomer +220 RFA Middleweight Title Francisco France -140 Gabriel Checco +100 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: I think this fight will serve as a learning experience for Toomer. He’s already shown that he slows down in 15-minute fights, and now being asked to go 25 against a strong wrestler, I think he’ll wear down even if he starts strong. Lawrence is no slouch on the feet himself, and I think the striking will be competitive for as long as it stays there, I just expect that to be less and less time as the fight drags on. Lawrence has discovered what he’s good at, and while it doesn’t make for the most fascinating fights, it earns him wins, and could earn him a call from Sean Shelby. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Checco heading into his fight with Jake Collier, and that played out very much like I thought it would. I expected that to carry over to the Henle fight, but despite how short that bout ended up being, Checco showed some technical improvements. My initial reaction to this fight was that France would emerge the new champion, but I’ve waffled on that pick since. I think Checco is dangerous enough early that he can hurt France, and I think that France will wear down more quickly as the fight progresses, meaning that his path to victory is another early sub, and he’ll have to get past Checco’s strikes in order to do that. I’m not sure he’ll be able to, so I may side with the slight dog here.

Written by Brad Taschuk

Leave a Reply

UFC Fight Night 64 Fight Breakdown: Sheldon Westcott vs. Pawel Pawlak

Boxing Preview: ESPN2 Airs ‘Boxcino’ Tournament Semifinals Tomorrow (April 10)