Written by Winning Willie
UFC 249 went off without a hitch and was very entertaining. Now, UFC is back with UFC Fight Night 171: Smith vs. Teixeira, otherwise known as UFC on ESPN: Smith vs. Teixeira or UFC on ESPN 9. This event will take place Wednesday, May 13th, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. There are some good fights on both the prelims and the main card, although it isn't quite as stacked of a lineup as UFC 249 featured.
*All odds can be found at Bovada*
The opening bout of the Main Card will feature Marvin "The Italian Dream" Vettori taking on Karl "Baby K" Roberson. This is set to be an exciting fight with both guys riding two fight win streaks. Vettori would be considered a submission specialist with eight of his 13 professional wins coming via submission. Roberson is more of a jack of all trades with great striking, although he too prefers the ground game. I'm taking Roberson at plus money. I think that his superior striking will prove to be the deciding factor.
The second bout of this card will see Ricky Simon do battle with "The Tazmexican Devil" Ray Borg. Simon's striking leaves room for some improvement, but he's been able to do enough to still carry a 15-3 record. Borg is more dependant on his ground game as six of his 13 professional wins have come via submission. The best play for this fight is for it to go the distance (-300) because these guys have seen a lot of fights go the distance, but that's super chalky. I wouldn't load up on this, but Borg is worth a shot. Neither of these guys are overly impressive and Simon's inability to finish fights strongly scares me.
Moving along, Drew Dober is scheduled to take on Alexander "The Great" Hernandez. Dober has the upper hand in terms of experience, but there's a reason why the odds on this fight are the way they are. Dober has won two straight, both of which came via quick first round KO/TKOs. Hernandez rebounded from his loss to Donald Cerrone with a decision win over Francisco Trinaldo. I simply believe that Dober is the better fighter here, and I expect his momentum from two quick fights to carry him to another win here.
The co-main event will see two veterans take the ring in Ovince Saint Preux and Ben Rothwell. Saint Preux isn't your normal heavyweight. He features a strong stand up game but also is a solid grappler with decent submission capabilities. What you see is what you get with Rothwell. He's primarily a stand up striker, and he hits really hard. I see Saint Preux being a problem for Rothwell and getting the job done. There's a couple of ways to play this as well. I'm going to take the safe route with the moneyline, but a method of victory prop for Saint Preux may be worth a stab as well for better value.
The main event of this fight card features two veterans as Anthony "Lionheart" Smith is set take on Glover Teixeira. Smith's only loss since Feburary of 2018 came against Jon Jones. He's won four other fights in that time period, including knockout wins over Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua as well as a submission win over Alexander Gustafsson. Teixeira's last loss came against Corey Anderson back in July of 2018. Since then, he's won three straight bouts although they haven't been against the toughest of competition.
Once apon a time, I'd take a chance with Glover Teixeira and the plus money, but I just don't see him winning this fight. Both fighters are coming in with great momentum, but Anthony Smith has been much tougher competition lately. If you're looking to take the safe route and don't mind laying a little extra juice, then Smith's moneyline at -185 is the way to go. However, I'm looking for a little value. Teixeira is a tough opponent, and he won't go easily. I like Anthony Smith to win with one with the help of the judges.