UFC Vegas 82 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Luana Pinheiro vs. Amanda Ribas: 2 Underdog-Oriented Bets (Saturday, November 18)
Alejandro Salazar/Getty Images. Pictured: UFC women’s strawweight Luana Pinheiro
Luana Pinheiro vs. Amanda Ribas Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-200 / +154)|
|Venue||UFC Apex in Las Vegas|
|Time||5:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via DraftKings|
Let's preview a featured UFC Vegas 82 main-card bout on Saturday with my Luana Pinheiro vs. Amanda Ribas prediction and betting picks.
Both women come into the Saturday afternoon's fight ranked as No. 9 contenders – Pinheiro in the 115-pound strawweight division, where this bout is being contested, and Ribas in the 125-pound flyweight division.
Ribas has bounced back and forth between the divisions in her career, but she dropped two of her last three in the heavier class, including a TKO at the hands of Maycee Barber in her most recent attempt.
The similarities don't end there between the Brazilian women, who are also former roommates. The fighters, who are both daughters of black belts (jiu-jitsu for Ribas and judo for Pinheiro), started grappling at extremely young ages and hold black belts in judo.
They've both also made strides in their striking as well, making this an interesting fight.
It could be a case of both fighters trying to impose their strength – which would make for some high-level grappling exchanges, particularly as both look for trips and throws in the clinch. Of course, it could also turn into a somewhat sloppy striking battle if either shows too much respect to the other's grappling acumen.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||9:16||11:01|
|Weight||115.5 pounds||115.5 pounds|
|Reach||62 inches||66 inches|
|Date of birth||11/18/1992||8/26/1993|
|Sig Strikes Per Minute||3.9||4.7|
|SS Absorbed Per Minute||3.7||3.2|
|Take Down Avg||2.8||2.3|
As mentioned in the introduction, Ribas is the scion of the Ribas family, where her father Marcelo runs a camp in her native Brazil.
She began training jiu-jitsu at a young age before adding judo to supplement her abilities while eventually obtaining black belts in both arts.
That has proven to be a wise decision. Ribas is now one of the most complete grapplers in the sport, regardless of division. There are plenty of accomplished BJJ black belts who struggle to bring fights to the canvas, particularly in the women's divisions (since far fewer women grow up wrestling).
Ribas, though, has a strong mix of foot sweeps and throws that largely solve that problem.
Her striking has improved significantly throughout her nine fights in the UFC.
Sensing her moment 💪
— UFC (@ufc) March 14, 2020
She has fast hands. She throws clean, straight punches. And she mixes in kicks and spinning attacks sparingly but effectively.
I am especially impressed by her ability to fight while advancing forward without rushing into danger. She consistently manages to keep the fight right at the sweet spot of her reach rather than jamming herself up or staying too far away.
However, she has very limited power and has never landed a knockdown in the UFC.
She also reacts extremely poorly to being hit. Two of her three UFC losses came via knockout with one of the two at strawweight – so it's not just because she was fighting larger women.
Even when she isn't actually hurt, her big reactions to being caught make her opponent's strikes seem extremely impactful, which was a key factor in her split-decision loss to Kaitlyn Chookagian.
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In that fight, Ribas landed more total strikes, and she landed a takedown in every round. While one of those rounds she scored only 18 seconds of control time, you'd still expect two of those rounds to go her way.
While I disagree with the decision, it's fair to question whether that's "bad luck" or her style and reactions playing poorly to the judges.
While Pinheiro is also a capable jiu-jitsu practitioner, she's more known for her elite judo ability.
Whereas Ribas mostly employs lower impact trips and "drag-down" style throws, Pinheiro lands Rousey-esque throws that send her opponents flying.
While she makes use of the classic headlock throw, she has plenty of other options as we'd expect from a high-ranking practitioner.
We know takedowns without damage don't (or aren't supposed to) score anymore. However, her takedowns do a ton of damage in their own right, even when they don't lead to much (or any) ground control time. Which could easily be the case against Ribas as Pinheiro is likely to find success with some of her throws, but she would be wise to avoid prolonged ground exchanges.
Pinheiro's coming off a somewhat controversial split-decision win over Michelle Waterson. Waterson outstruck Pinheiro in that fight and won most of the minutes. However, Pinheiro was able to land some big moments, which were evidently enough to sway the judges to her cause.
Those moments largely came from her hyper-aggressive striking, with which she'll rush forward throwing a flurry of punches at full power. While that's not generally advisable, for Pinheiro it's a feature, not a bug.
It's obviously ideal to hurt her opponents, who will oftentimes react by trying to clinch or initiate a takedown. While that's an issue for pure strikers, that sets up Pinheiro's throws beautifully.
That style leaves her open to counterstrikes, which could be (and were) a problem against powerful strikers like Waterson. However, that's less of a concern this time, given the limited power coming back from Ribas.
I'm also somewhat willing to excuse her defensive struggles against the awkward, karate-based style of Waterson since she's acquitted herself much better in her other matchups.
Pinheiro vs. Ribas Pick
It's tempting to look at the recent split-decision results from both women and conclude that Ribas got robbed while Pinheiro got lucky. While I wouldn't disagree with that assessment, there's a reason I left this fight off this week's Luck Rankings.
That's because the styles of both women had a major factor in those results. Ribas throws relatively light shots while looking to bring her opponent to the mat, advance position, and secure a submission. While that would score tons of points in a grappling match, judges these days don't reward that type of positional fighting the way they used to.
What they do reward is big moments, and Pinheiro provides plenty. She throws all of her strikes at full power, almost entirely to the head. While judges should reward leg and body shots more, broadly speaking they don't. Her grappling is also higher impact thanks to the head-over-heels throws she's able to land regularly.
With this fight -200 to go to a decision, as of this writing, it's pretty likely that the judges' interpretation of these moments plays a factor here. Beyond that, we also broadly prefer to bet on the underdog when we expect fights to be close.
Which is why I'm riding with Pinheiro, even as the less polished overall fighter. I'll be playing her moneyline at +200 on DraftKings, but there are other options.
DraftKings has her spread at +3.5, which means she would need to survive and win just a single round on each scorecard to cover the spread. That feels highly likely here, given the polarizing nature of both fighters to the judges. That bet is -120 on DraftKings, but I prefer her moneyline unless the spread gets to even money or better.
Along a similar vein, I also like this fight to end in a split or majority decision at +400. It's easy to see plenty of scenarios in which a big shot or two from Pinheiro sways some but not all of the judges in a round otherwise controlled by Ribas.
The Picks: Luana Pinheiro +200 (DraftKings) | Fight to End In Split/Majority Decision +400 (DraftKings)