UFC Vegas 69 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Jordan Wright vs. Zac Pauga: No Need to Go Contrarian (Saturday, February 18)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC light heavyweight Zac Pauga
Jordan Wright vs. Zac Pauga Odds
The UFC Vegas 69 co-main event on Saturday features a light heavyweight affair between Zac Pauga and Jordan Wright.
Pauga, who was a recent heavyweight finalist on the 30th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” will be returning to his natural weight class of 205 pounds after coming up short against Mohammed Usman in August of last year.
Wright, on the other hand, is a middleweight staple who is looking to stop the bleeding of a three-fight losing skid by moving up a division.
This matchup isn’t exactly a meaningful one despite its designation as the UFC Vegas 69 co-headliner, but it is a must-win for both men, making it interesting – for as long as it lasts.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||2:58||5:36|
|Weight (pounds)||205 lbs.||205 lbs.|
|Date of birth||10/7/1991||2/25/1988|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||5.67||5.71|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||7.54||2.14|
|Take Down Avg||3.60||0.00|
From a styles perspective, we have a classic battle between a frantic finisher and a more process-based fighter.
As flamboyant as he is affable, Wright appears to be what you get when you raise a child on nothing but family-friendly martial films from the ’90s.
But the fact that Wright probably has imaginary conversations with Chuck Norris aside, you can always count on the 31-year-old to come out swinging in the opening frame.
"HE'S IN DEEP TROUBLE!"
Jordan Wright (-112) knocks out Jamie Pickett 💰pic.twitter.com/pjIWPWQq1J
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) May 16, 2021
Taking a wide stance and looking to throw power from the rear, Wright favors a decent array of head kicks and an intercepting right cross that occasionally doubles as an uppercut. When in closed quarters, Wright is quick to go to his collar ties, where knees usually follow.
Although Wright has been looking to wrestle a lot more in recent outings, I’m not sure how successful he’ll be when it comes to grappling the bigger man in Pauga.
Despite fighting for only a fraction of the time as Wright has, Pauga’s MMA game appears to be well beyond what his resume would suggest.
Perhaps it’s his background in athletics, but Pauga seems to have the ability to pick up skills and put them together fast.
🙌 We can't wait to see @ZacPauga do his thing on #TUF30!
👊 "The Ripper" earned two wins at CW 126 and CW 130 last year and received a nomination for Breakthrough Fighter of the Year as a result! pic.twitter.com/BMVdwXAvW4
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) February 5, 2022
Whether he’s competently countering his opponent’s jabs or rolling his head off of a superman punch and parlaying his momentum into a double-leg, there are a lot of directions in which Pauga can potentially take a fight.
That said, Pauga’s time training with names like Curtis Blaydes and Alistair Overeem appears to have paid off because his skills in the clinch and on the floor are what impress me most.
Wright vs. Pauga Pick
Public money continues to come in on the bigger man, listing Pauga -310 and Wright +230 as of this writing on Thursday.
Even though lines are becoming a bit inflated at this point, I see no real disagreement in the betting spread above.
Many have written off Wright as a glass cannon of sorts, but Pauga is not beyond being stung early or caught by spinning attacks (which is probably why the line shouldn’t get much wider than 3-1 come fight time).
Nevertheless, I still have a hard time putting stock in a possible Wright upset.
Not only does “The Beverly Hills Ninja” lack the consistent jabbing or lead-hand countering presence that has troubled Pauga in the past, but Wright’s durability and negative cage positioning will likely make life more difficult for him inside the smaller octagon of the UFC Apex facility.
Add in Pauga’s size and superior wrestling, and I suspect we see this fight finish on the floor – probably via a crucifix position. Despite line movement on the totals possibly tempting contrarian looks on the over, I believe that this fight still finishes under 1.5 rounds (but you’ll need to be willing to pay for it).
I, on the other hand, am not looking to invest heavily in this sort of matchup, and I will probably just stick to a small sprinkle on Pauga to win in round 1 at +130.
The Lean: Zac Pauga to Win in Round 1 (+130)
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