Updated: Jan 14
On Saturday night, the UFC heads back to Nevada for UFC Vegas 27. No belts will be on the line, but with a main event between Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt, this looks to be one of the better free cards of the year.
For this post, we will focus on the main card and provide early previews and picks. Circumstances, including weigh-ins and other health concerns during this pandemic, can greatly impact not only each fight on Saturday, but where they end up on the card. We will keep all of you up to date with relevant information through our social media accounts and then in our Game Picks on Saturday. Picks mentioned in this post are NOT our final picks:
Rob Font (-110) vs Cody Garbrandt (-110)
Cody Garbrandt, a former UFC bantamweight champion, was set to drop a weight class and challenge for the flyweight title, but a torn bicep followed by a positive covid test has left Cody competing at bantamweight again. Garbrandt is known for his elite striking, but also for his over aggressive approach that often gets him caught. A long layoff helps, but Cody’s chin remains questionable. His opponent, Rob Font, will be fighting in the first UFC main event of his career after three impressive wins over Marlon Morales, Ricky Simon, and Sergio Pettis. Font is a fast striker who deserves this opportunity, and he certainly can catch Cody, but Garbrandt at his best is really special. Do not miss this free fight. It’s too hard to pick against Garbrandt here. After an impressive KO win in his last fight, we will believe Garbrandt has another run in him until his chin fails him again.
Yan Xiaonan (-125) vs Carla Esparza (+100)
In the co-main, the inaugural women’s strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, takes on a very difficult challenge in Yan Xionan. Yan is a far superior striker and has won 6 fights in a row, including wins over Claudia Gadelha, Angela Hill, and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Esparza can strike when she needs to, in a much more limited fashion, but she prefers to grind out decisions on top. In this classic grappler vs striker matchup, we are going to take the grappler at plus money, especially in DFS where control time counts towards scoring, but Yan will be a threatening favorite every second that this fight remains standing.
Justin Tafa (-190) vs Jared Vanderaa (+150)
The co-co features two lower level heavyweights in what is a very top heavy weight class. Nothing against Vanderaa, who has shown improvements throughout his career, but he did not look good at all in his UFC debut, a second round ground and pound loss to Sergey Spivak, and he looked equally sloppy on Dana White’s Contender Series in a win over Harry Hunsucker, who went on to get KO’d in under a minute in his own UFC debut. Tafa is no world-beater and is coming off his own loss, a split decision, to Carlos Felipe, an inexperienced fighter, but he does seem to be the better of the two. Tafa will throw and land more heavy strikes and we are interested in a KO finish (-110).
Felicia Spencer (-186) vs Norma Dumont (+150)
After her impressive five round fight with Amanda Nunes, it is almost surprising that Felicia Spencer is not a bigger favorite in this spot against Norma Dumont, who is coming back up a weight after two failed weight cuts. Dumont’s problem is that she is too small to fight at featherweight, especially with her grappling style that relies on pressure from the top. Spencer has proven to be the tougher of the two fighters and we would even consider her the better grappler. We like the favorite here.
Ricardo Ramos (+100) vs Bill Algeo (-125)
This featherweight bout was originally supposed to be our featured fight on the pre-lims, but with Raulian Paiva pulling out of his bout against David Dvorak due to a bad weight cut, there was some late movement on the card. Dvorak will fight on the prelims. This is why we always check lineups and slips as close to the fights as possible. Moving back to the fight, we see another spot where the favorite is not really favored enough. While both fighters are Brazilian Ju-Jitsu black belts, Algeo, who owns his own gym, seems to be the more well-rounded fighter. Algeo was impressive in a debut loss to the very tough Ricardo Lamas and then dominant in a unanimous decision win over Spike Carlyle. Ricardo Ramos, Algeo’s opponent this week, is coming off a much less impressive first round loss.
Jack Hermansson (-162) vs Edmen Shahbazyan (+130)
For the last fight here, but the first on the main card, we get a very interesting choice of opponent for young Edmen Shahbazyan, who is only 23 years old and looks to have a promising future. Shahbazyan, a natural striker, is coming off his only career loss, a ground and pound stoppage against Derek Brunson. Now, this weekend the UFC gives him Jack Hermansson, an established UFC veteran, and grappler, who has wins over Kevin Gastelum and Jacare Souza. Hermansson most recently fought Marvin Vettori, who will be competing for the middleweight title next month. It seems like too much too soon for Shahbazyan.
*Please do not mistake our opinions expressed here as our picks for the card. We will post all picks for this event and all UFC events in the Game Picks section of the website.
**Odds accurate at time of posting
***Also, let us know if you like this UFC preview! Would you want to see a full card breakdown in the future?