Fight Island is here and we get to see everything go down on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi for UFC 251. In the prelims, we will see Roman Bogatov take on Leonardo Santos in a lightweight bout.
Roman Bogatov is making his UFC debut at 29 years old with a 10-0 professional record, mostly in M-1. Bogatov will be facing his toughest challenge yet in his first UFC bout taking on Leonardo Santos, who is really impressive all over the cage.
Santos is a 40 year old fighter who is 17-3-1, but he hasn’t lost a fight since 2009 and he is 6-0-1 in the UFC including 3 wins and a draw as a significant underdog. Santos’s biggest win came over Kevin Lee in 2015 while being a +450 underdog. While this win was not over the Kevin Lee of today, he did knock Lee out before he had taken as much damage as he has today.
Santos started training BJJ in Rio at the age of 5 and that shows when you look into his grappling experience. Santos won 4 BJJ world championships in the early 2000’s and he did start off in MMA fighting competent fighters because of this past.
A lot of fighters start off with 3-10 fights against pretty bad fighters, but Santos jumped into much deeper water than normal because of his extensive fighting background. Santos would likely be a much bigger name had it not been for injuries and his current age and lack of fight volume throughout his career.
My biggest concern with Santos is the lack of volume and gas tank. We haven’t really watched Santos gas noticeably and lose because of it, but we also have not seen him go 3 rounds and look fresh in the third. Santos is a low volume fighter and I think that Bogatov’s path to victory is pretty clearly to pressure Santos and stay alive until he can take over through volume and utilizing his gas tank.
Bogatov is someone that I am confident in being able to keep the pressure up throughout the fight, even though we cannot be sure about recent training due to current events. Bogatov is a tough, Russian fighter that will keep moving forward and force the action on Santos constantly.
Santos is the better fighter and I think that the line on the first round winner should be upwards of -250 for Santos. However, I think that the questions behind Santos’s long layoffs and age combined with his potential lack of gas tank is enough to keep this line down.
I have trouble betting on Bogatov here because he is pretty clearly outclassed technically, but I think that I will be betting this fight on both sides. Santos is a -180 favorite on MyBookie, but I think that you can play both sides in this fight to cover both bases.
Santos is the safe pick here, but there is definitely the potential that the fight flips if Bogatov survives round 1.
Spooky Express Free Play – Leonardo Santos -180
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