Matt White returns with another Gambling Guide, exclusive to Fighters Only, this time focusing on the UFC Fight Night 113 event on Sunday (July 16) in Glasgow, Scotland. Headlined by a fascinating welterweight tussle between Gunnar Nelson and Santiago Ponzinibbio, the event also features a crossroads battle between experienced women’s strawweight contender Joanne Calderwood and hot prospect Cynthia Calvillo.
Matt, with the help of 5Dimes, breaks down these two standout fights and tells us who to back when the Octagon door shuts and the referee calls for action.
Calderwood vs. Calvillo:
Glasgow’s very own Joanne ‘Jojo’ Calderwood makes her Octagon return after taking some time out from a crushing defeat at the hands of Jessica Andrade. That fight propelled Andrade to a title shot and Calderwood to the back of the queue. It was the second UFC setback for Jojo after a shock loss to Maryna Moroz in Poland, a fight which was rumoured to lead to a title shot for the Glaswegian if she won. She fought back to win two of her next three, taking her to 3-2 for the promotion. Calderwood is a fan favourite and the UFC would do whatever they could to get her matched with Jedrzejczyk in a striking clinic but she must prove that she deserves it.
Cynthia Calvillo made her UFC debut in March at UFC 209 and made such short work of her opponent that she was immediately drafted in to UFC 210 for her follow-up appearance. In both fights she secured a dominant win by rear-naked choke to move to 5-0 and announce herself as a legit prospect in the women’s 125lb division.
I am a huge fan of Calderwood but this is a bad match-up for her in so many ways. As a striker, Calderwood needs to keep this on the feet and not get dragged to the mat. When this happens, she is eventually outworked and will tap, as her two UFC defeats demonstrate. Calvillo is from Team Alpha Male so has a ground game that is among the best that the women’s division has to offer, and it feels like only a matter of time before she gets this fight into her comfort zone. I’d love to see Jojo with her hand raised, but it’s Calvillo by submission all day long for me. If that line is unavailable, then under 2.5 rounds is the bet.
Recommendation: Under 2.5 Rounds – 2 units at +100 (1/1) @ 5Dimes
Nelson v Ponzinibbio:
Gunnar Nelson steps back into the Octagon for the second time this year, but now in a headline spot. In his last bout, a co-main event in London, he demonstrated his immensely slick BJJ when stunning Alan Jouban and slipping on the rear-naked choke to secure the victory. It was his second win in a row after losing a very one-sided decision to Demian Maia. In all bar a single win, which came via decision, his UFC victories have been by submission, showing that he is one of the most feared fighters at 170lbs when going to the ground. Both losses have come to excellent wrestlers and his opponent on Sunday may prove to be as difficult a hurdle as Maia and Story.
Santiago Ponzinibbio made his promotional debut back in 2013 when he lost to Ryan LaFlare, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. Ponzi was originally a finalist on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, only to be forced out of the finale with a hand injury. This was a tournament that he would have been a heavy favourite to win. The loss to LaFlare was the first of two in the UFC and he has won six, moving to 6-2. Four wins on the bounce have put him on the cusp of the top ten, a position he is likely to secure with a win over Nelson.
A very tough fight to call as their skill-sets are very similar but their fighting styles are very different. Nelson uses striking as a softener for the submission, whereas Ponzinibbio uses his striking as a method of victory. While both are black belts in BJJ, I favour Gunni in this area, but don’t see him out-striking his opponent. Ponzi has never tapped out yet and it would be a major achievement to see that happen this weekend. As a result, I’ll be making a small play on the Argentine as an underdog bet.
Recommendation: Santiago Ponzinibbio – 1 units at +140 (7/5) @ 5Dimes