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UFC Fight Night: Font v Aldo Predictions

The action will be fast and furious when Rob Font faces former featherweight champion Jose Aldo in a headlining bantamweight bout with title implications at UFC Vegas 44 on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld. 

UFC Fight Night Betting Predictions

The action will be fast and furious when Rob Font faces former featherweight champion Jose Aldo in a headlining bantamweight bout with title implications at UFC Vegas 44 on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld. 

The co-main event at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas is a potential show-stealer between top-15 lightweights Brad Riddell and Rafael Fiziev while a second showdown in the talent-rich 155-pound (70kg) division will see the legendary Clay Guida trade leather with Leonardo Santos.

Plus, dangerous ranked light heavyweights Jimmy Crute and Jamahal Hill will bring the heat and exciting middleweight prospects Brendan Allen and Chris Curtis collide in the main card opener.

MAIN CARD (from 5 AM Sunday SA time):

Rob Font (1.68) v Jose Aldo (2.25) (Bantamweight)

Right off the bat, this pivotal main event match-up is the type that garners plenty of two-way action on the betting front. It’s the fourth and fifth-ranked contenders in the bantamweight division going head-to-head in their quest for a title shot, with both men being in phenomenal form. 

Font (19-4) is on a career-best run of four consecutive victories. His evolution in recent years has been impressive and after claiming a TKO win over former title challenger Marlon Moraes last December, he cemented himself as a bona fide contender by systematically piecing up former champion Cody Garbrandt over five rounds to record the biggest win of his career in May. 

In his prime, a win over a legend and another former titleholder in Aldo would put him right up there as the next challenger for the 135-pound (61kg) gold. With eight knockouts and four submission wins, Font has always been well rounded, but he’s found a lethal weapon as of late in the form of a piston-like jab, which he used to bloody up Garbrandt.

He’s reached the point where he has complete understanding and command of his strengths, has his striking down to a science and has a confidence that only comes with a winning streak. He’ll have the edge in speed and volume and has never been knocked out, all of which will serve him well in a fight that should mainly play out on the feet. 

Aldo (30-7), the former long-time ruler of the featherweight division, is enjoying a career resurgence, the type that speaks not only to the legend’s desire to win another title but more importantly, points to him having completed his transformation into a full-fledged bantamweight. 

Cutting 10 extra pounds and adapting to the increased speed of his new raft of rivals in the lower weight class takes time. It contributed to the losses to Moraes and Petr Yan in his first two fights at 135, the latter for the vacant title, and his back-to-back wins since then over surging Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz proved the “King of Rio” has found the formula.

The most recent win over Munhoz in August, in particular, was vintage Aldo. The vicious striking, brutal leg kicks and savage swagger – Aldo had it all. It led to him causing a minor upset by decision and I see him doing the same here. Yes, it’s five rounds, not three, but with his weight cut and recovery dialled in, going 25 minutes again shouldn’t be a problem.

Aldo’s legendary leg kicks will significantly slow down Font and although the Brazilian has been a striking buzzsaw throughout his career (he boasts 17 knockouts), he has a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt as a trump card. I believe the wily veteran will level change, not to try to force takedowns but rather to keep Font guessing, stifle bids to build momentum and ultimately outfox him.

Prediction: Aldo via decision. 

Best Bet: Aldo at 2.25.

Alternative Bet: With both men being ultra-durable, I’m jumping on the fight going over 3.5 rounds at 1.65.

Brad Riddell (2.00) v Rafael Fiziev (1.83) (Lightweight)

The co-main event promises to be a thriller and will push hard for the Fight of the Night honours. These combatants share many things in common; fundamentally, both are high-level strikers whose aggression and fearlessness make them bonus machines. 

Moreover, both are surging. Riddell has amassed a 4-0 record in the UFC and has won his last seven straight, while Fiziev has won four on the bounce inside the Octagon. They’ve simultaneously established themselves as two of the hottest rising stars at 155, with their streaks seeing them share a 10-1 record and enter the top 15.

As an added layer of intrigue, they trained together at the famed Tiger Muay Thai gym in Phuket and shared coaches in the past, so this will be a technical firefight. A southpaw who sits down on his punches, 12th-ranked Riddell has won half of his fights by knockout and trains with two champions in Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski.

Fourteenth-ranked Fiziev is lighter on his feet and earned seven of his 10 wins by stoppage, six of those by knockout.  

“Ataman” has shown a slightly higher fight IQ than his Kiwi counterpart. He’s more cerebral and his elite counter-striking should give him the edge in an exciting and closely contested affair. 

Prediction: Fiziev via decision. 

Best Bet: Fiziev at 1.83.

Alternative Bet: Fiziev by decision at 2.80.

Clay Guida (2.55) v Leonardo Santos (1.55) (Lightweight)

A battle of evergreen veterans. Guida (36-21) is Hall of Fame-bound. The pugilistic personification of perpetual motion, his high-octane style and unrelenting stamina is the stuff of legend. He has 20 stoppage wins, including 13 by submission, and is a fireball of energy who looks to overwhelm opponents with tenacious wrestling.

Even though he’s won just one of his last four, he showed there’s life in the old dog yet when he nearly ended Mark Madsen’s undefeated streak in August, giving the Olympic wrestling silver medallist all he could handle before dropping a razor-thin split decision. Odds-makers clearly weren’t impressed and have him as a big dog, much to my delight. 

Santos (18-4-1), in contrast, was on a 13-fight unbeaten streak before suffering a last-second knockout loss to Grant Dawson in March. Like Guida, he has solid striking but he likes to fight on the outside, whereas “The Carpenter” fights in close. He’s a submission specialist, though, with 12 of his stoppages coming by tap out.

It’s rare that Guida is the younger fighter but that’s the case here as Santos (41) is the older man by two years. Both men have excellent takedown defence, so it’ll likely be a striking duel for the most part, where Guida’s pace and volume give him the edge.

Prediction: Guida via decision.

Best Bet: Guida at 2.55.

Alternative Bet: Guida by decision at 3.50.

Jimmy Crute (1.62) v Jamahal Hill (2.40) (Light Heavyweight)

Coming off wicked injuries in their last losses, these two top-15 light heavyweights seek to start fresh with a victory over the other. Nerve damage in his leg resulted in the most high-profile bout of 13th-ranked Crute’s career to date, against former title challenger Anthony Smith, ending in a doctor stoppage in April. 

It was just his second loss and ended a two-fight win streak. “The Brute” boasts a dozen wins with nine stoppages. Five of those are by knockout, yet it’s his grappling and submission skills that are most impressive and his clearest path to victory against Hill.

That’s because Hill’s lone loss, back in June, was the result of having his arm dislocated by Scottish submission artist Paul Craig, whom Crute tapped out in his UFC debut in 2018. Fourteenth-ranked “Sweet Dreams” is a striker whose eight wins are evenly split between knockouts and decisions. 

Tall and rangy, the 6’4″ Hill has two inches on Crute in height and will have a five-inch reach advantage in what’s essentially a matador-bull scenario. With average takedown defence (57%), odds are Hill will end up on the ground and with Crute dictating where the fight takes place, he’ll either sink in a submission or ride out a decision.

Prediction: Crute via submission.

Best Bet: Crute at 1.62.

Alternative Bet: Crute by submission at 2.75.

Brendan Allen (1.27) v Chris Curtis (3.80) (Middleweight)

After coming up big in his UFC debut by knocking out Phil Hawes as a sizeable underdog, Curtis (27-8) makes his second trip to the Octagon less than a month later looking to repeat the feat as the biggest dog of the main card. As he showed on debut, “Action Man” is a heavy-handed striker and his power and technique have brought him 15 knockout victories. 

Allen (17-4) is an ace in every aspect of MMA. That alone gives him the advantage. Furthermore, “All In” has looked great inside the Octagon since his arrival in 2019 when he announced himself with a submission win over Kevin Holland. His loss to top 10 standout Sean Strickland is the only blemish of his seven-fight UFC career and he’s chasing his third win of 2021.

Battle-proven and the bigger man, Allen is primed to start the main card with a stoppage.  

Prediction: Allen via stoppage.  

Best Bet: Allen by KO/TKO/DQ/submission at 2.20.

Alternative Bet: Allen by knockout at 7.00.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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