Welcome back to another UFC card breakdown. If you’re new to Happy Hour Sports or our UFC content, welcome! I’m Rick (@RickHHSports) and I am joined by Andy (@AndyHHSports) as we break down each and every fight on every UFC card (PPV and ESPN+). With years of experience following MMA and the UFC, combined with dedication to watch tape and cover newer fighters in the commercial MMA space, we collectively have a wealth of knowledge and experience that we’re looking to bring to you all in the form of well-informed, winning wagers. Below is our latest iteration covering the latest UFC Fight Night. I hope you enjoy the analysis, and feel free to ping either of us with questions or thoughts on our Twitter’s above, or any of Happy Hour’s social media profiles below. Enjoy!

Jose Johnson (+140) vs Garrett Armfield (-170)

The UFC Fight Night kicks off with Jose Johnson from Dana White’s Contender Series against Garrett Armfield in a battle at 135 pounds. If you don’t recognize Johnson from his two fights on the Contender Series, you could recognize him from his features on Lookin’ For A Fight and Fury FC in general, as well as his one LFA bout before the UFC put him on a Fight Pass basis. Johnson’s story swayed Dana White into taking him in, despite the result going to a unanimous decision over an exciting undefeated prospect in Jack Cartwright. Overall, Johnson’s career has been quite interesting with a 15-7 professional record heading into the UFC, and 36 amateur fights from 2013 to 2016 for the now 27 year old.

Armfield did not get the red carpet rolled out for him like Johnson, and instead had to move up a weight class on short notice to revenge his solo amateur defeat as a professional. Armfield once again lost to David Onama, and is now back in his true weight class of 135 lbs. Armfield is an exciting fighter, with only two of his 11 fights going to decision in his professional career, and 6 of his 7 finishes coming in the first round. Stylistically Armfield has a big wrestling advantage, where Johnson may struggle as he has been taken down plenty of times in the past, including his fights against Mo Miller and Cartwright.

I believe Armfield outmatches Jose here, and I am always a big fan of fading the story. Johnson has already had an MMA career longer than most at the age of 27. The problem is that I don’t know what he has learned along the way, as we have seen a lot of the same thing from a guy who loses a fight for every two he wins. Armfield has continued to improve his striking where Jose should hold the edge, and if he feels he can’t keep up with Jose on the feet there is an easy takedown waiting to happen. -170 are tall odds for a moneyline, so let’s get creative here!

Andy’s Pick: Armfield ITD +125 (0.75u) & Armfield by Dec +350 (0.25u)

Hailey Cowan (-130) vs Ailin Perez (+100)

Two UFC fighters in the infancy of their careers with the promotion square off to establish themself as a potential contender at the 135 pound division. Hailey Cowan makes her UFC debut after winning a narrow decision on Dana White’s Contender Series this fall and will look to make good on the confidence Dana showed her. Ailin Perez fought Stephanie Egger in her debut in the fall and lost via rear naked choke in the third round, and she’ll face a similar threat in Cowan.

Similar because the wrestling is there for Cowan to exploit against Perez, but different because the end goal is beating your face in until you give her something easy to grab ahold of. Cowan is no slouch on the feet, but she’s definitely a step behind Perez there. Perez will look to lean on her aggressiveness to shock and overwhelm Cowan early and often. Expect damage in the clinch situations from Perez, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to beat the more well-rounded Hailey Cowan. Give me the slight favorite in a close one.

Rick’s Pick: Cowan -110 (.5u)

Nurullo Aliev (-185) vs Rafael Alves (+150)

Khabib disciple Nurullo Aliev makes his highly anticipated UFC debut against UFC veteran Rafael Alves. A tough test for anyone, Alves is looking to get back to winning ways after a disappointing loss to Drew Dober. All hasn’t been bad for Alves though with his lone UFC win coming against Ode Osbourne and his debut against currently ranked Damir Ismagulov.

Aliev is a Khabib disciple through and through, fighting just like the Lightweight GOAT. He has power on the feet through looping shots, but those are used more to close distance because when he gets his arms locked you’re going for a ride and much like Khabib will pound you into submission. He’ll have to survive the initial blitz from Rafael Alves, who unloads his entire energy bar early in fights with a wildly aggressive nature. I like Aliev to win but the -185 price scares me. I also don’t see it up yet but Alves to win in R1 would be my hedge because as the fight goes on he will get worse and worse.

Rick’s Pick: Aliev – 185 (1u) & Alves in R1 +400** (.25u) **Odds not available at time of writing

Joe Solecki (-610) vs Carl Deaton III (+450)

Joe Solecki enters as a monster six-to-one favorite against UFC newcomer and long time regional fighter Carl Deaton III, with the debutant taking the fight on short notice after Benoit Saint-Denis backed out just last week. Deaton has made his name on the regional scene through his submissions and solid grappling, but this is a horrible matchup for the rookie.

On the feet neither fighter will astound with technique or power, but there are areas for both to succeed. Solecki is very basic and if he uses his leg kicks in combination with counters he should find opportunities to get inbetween Deaton’s awkwardly timed explosive attacks, but if Deaton is able to use his horizontal movement well he could slip out of them.

Where this fight will be won by Solecki is in the wrestling and grappling exchanges. He’s no BJJ wizard and will not wow you visually with anything he does, but he’s a master at blanketing opponents and not allowing them out from his top control. He’s on another level than Deaton in that department and I’ll take him confidently to beat Deaton out over the course of 15 minutes, and to just wear on Deaton for a while.

Rick’s Pick: Fight to complete 2 rounds -110 (1u)

Ode Osbourne (+140) vs Charles Johnson (-170)

Two big flyweights face off in the prelims in “The Jamaican Sensation” Ode Osbourne against Charles “InnerG” Johnson who you may recognize from my write-up last month. Johnson stole Jimmy Flick’s lunch money in his last time out on January 14th, and a month later on February 14th he stepped in on short notice to fight Ode in the Apex. These two fighters have the skillset to make this bout turn into an all out brawl, and this is one I circled right away as I can’t wait to see it this weekend.

It is no secret that Ode Osbourne possesses great power. Only three of Ode’s fights have gone to decision, and it is due to how hard he can hit his opponents. However, he does not have the best track record at 125 pounds, with a 2-2 professional record compared to a 6-3 record at bantamweight and an undefeated record at featherweight of 3-0 plus a no contest. This where I think Charles has the clear edge over Ode, as Johnson has incredible cardio and a boxing background that will keep his motor running high for all 15 minutes of the fight.

I am concerned about Ode’s weight cut heading into this fight, but we have to respect that the man either gets his finishes or gets finished himself. Johnson could try to repeat his showcase against Flick just a month after the knockout victory, and he has the tools to do it, just like Ode has the tools to shut off anyone’s lights. I am not as concerned about Ode’s threat on the ground, as he has not had a submission victory since his Contender Series win. I think these two guys are going to beat the brakes off of one another until someone drops, which leads me to my bet of this fight not to go the distance.

I also give the edge to Charles on his endurance, being able to take shots, and healthier weight cut over Ode Osbourne. I believe these three factors should make him more of a favorite than -170, making Johnson one of my favorite bets of the card.

Andy’s Picks:
Fight Not to go the Distance -135 (1u)
Charles Johnson -170 (1u)

Jordan Leavitt (-120) vs Victor Martinez (EVEN)

“The Monkey King” Jordan Leavitt returns to the octagon on Saturday to face off against fellow Dana White Contender Series alum Victor “The Brick” Martinez. If you are a casual fan of MMA, you will remember Leavitt getting teabagged by Paddy Pimblett in London last year. However, for many MMA fans, it is hard to remember much about Victor Martinez as he has not fought since earning his UFC contract in September of 2021.

It is no secret that I am a fan of fading the fighter’s who take time off and sticking with the guys who are active. Leavitt is a fighter I am a fan of because of his strengths in wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, where you will see him move his body and his opponent’s body in ways that are confusing or painful looking for both sides. Martinez is a striker which gives him the edge on the feet over Leavitt, but if Jordan can get this fight to the ground it is game over for The Brick.

The Monkey King will get it to the ground in my opinion, and I don’t think that Martinez will get an easy start to his UFC career here. When you take time off, no matter who you train with, it is not the same as getting in the octagon against the best of the best. Martinez has still yet to fight the best of the best, and this won’t be the first time Leavitt has gone up against someone with Victor’s skillset. It won’t be the last time that he defeats that type of fighter on the ground either.

Andy’s Pick: Leavitt -120 (1.5u)

Gabriella Fernandes (-130) vs Jasmine Jasudavicius (+100)

Jasmine Jasudavicius welcomes yet another UFC newcomer to the octagon in Brazilian Gabriella Fernandes in what should be a fairly straightforward fight stylistically. Jasudavicius will look to implement her offensive wrestling, something Fernandes has struggled to defend throughout her career, and if she can land them Jasmine should have a clear path to victory.

However, if those early takedowns don’t land, the momentum of this fight turns on it’s head. Yes, Jasudavicius has some standup game that doesn’t make her useless, but it’s very basic and doesn’t offer much variety or damage. Fernandes on the other side is the opposite. She throws well from the outside with solid power hooks. She’s the LFA Interim Flyweight Champion and though she might get taken down her grappling from the bottom isn’t bad. She’s beaten her last two opponents by choke and will look to do the same here.

She’s a slight favorite for a reason here, and it’s her versatility inside the octagon that gives me confidence that she can beat out Jasudavicius’ wrestling. Yes, she took the fight on short notice but it’s been over a month to prepare and Fernandes is always active and in shape, fighting twice already over the past 9 months. Give me the newcomer to make a statement.

Rick’s Pick: Fernandes -130 (1u)

Erick Gonzalez (+170) vs Trevor Peek (-210)

Where I faded the storyline of Jose Johnson, I am buying all of the stock in Trevor Peek, and for good reason. If you haven’t watched the man fight before, you absolutely can’t miss this one on Saturday, as the king of Alabama takes on a struggling Erick Gonzalez. Gonzalez has not had a good start in the UFC, with losses to a washed up Jim Miller and a red hot Terrance McKinney in what were both impressive finishes from his foes. Now Erick faces a fighter in Peek who has never seen a fight go the distance, and is coming in with a reputation of being one of the most violent prospects we have seen.

Gonzalez has done his part to try to reset his game. He has switched camps before the fight, he has hired a mental coach, and he has attempted to strengthen his physical and mental skillset. I do not think that Erick has a chance here whatsoever. If you have ESPN+ or just want to search YouTube, Peek is no joke, and the fact we can get him at an affordable price to finish Gonzalez inside the distance is remarkable.

Trevor Peek showed in the first round of his DWCS fight that he is susceptible to some defensive lapses, but his ability to use his strength to change position, get back up if taken down, and defend takedowns will keep his opponents frustrated. Peek has got a chin on him as well, and will not go down without a fight. His gas tank will sustain throughout the fight as we saw against Malik Lewis, and I think that even if he starts rocky he should be able to push through for a finish. Lookout for some spectacular power, a strong chin, and some relentless energy from the newcomer Trevor Peek.

Andy’s Picks:

Trevor Peek ITD -145 (1u)

PARLAY -104 (1u)
Fight Not to go the Distance -425
Charles Johnson -170

Mike Malott (-217) vs Yohan Lainesse (+180)

In the majestic, wise words of Tory Lanez, CANADA! We have some maple leaf warfare on Saturday night between Lainesse and Malott with both fighters looking to not only solidify themselves in the UFC but show fans and fighters alike that they’re for real. Both fighters graduated from Dana White’s Contender Series and have hype behind them, so let’s get into where the edges lie.

Mike Malott has had just one UFC fight since submitting Shimon Smotrisky in just 39 seconds on DWCS, and boy was he impressive in that fight against Mickey Gall. Gall tried to overwhelm the Canadian with pressure early but all it took was Malott planting and firing a quick one-two to put Gall down and out in the fight. Through those two short fights you get a glimpse into what Malott is all about. While he does have killer power on the feet, it’s his speed and versatility that make him special.

Lainesse will have wanted to work on and improve his grappling in camp for this fight because he’ll need it. More of a banger with a larger frame than Malott, Lainesse will look to set up perfect combos to his Malott clean because when he does they usually rock opponents. Malott tends to get hit a few times before getting into a groove which scares me, but I’ll take the talented prospect to get it done via knockout or decision here for near even odds.

Rick’s Pick: Malott by KO/Dec -110 (1u)

Tatiana Suarez (-850) vs Montana De La Rosa (+525)

Tatiana Suarez hasn’t entered the UFC octagon since 2019 and even with 4 years off she re-enters as nearly a 10-1 favorite against Montana De La Rosa. Injuries have been the story of Suarez’s career with her initial Olympic wrestling career coming to a halt because of them and now this four-year layoff can be attributed to neck and knee injuries. Montana De La Rosa has had a decent UFC career so far going 5-3-1, but she’s struggled lately picking up losses to Maycee Barber and Vivane Araujo.

So why is Suarez -850. Well, she’s an olympic level wrestler who is undefeated in the UFC and has beaten former champions and current challengers with ease. She made quick work of Alexa Grasso in 2018 taking her down and finding the back for a choke in just one round. She then parlayed that with a dominant win over Carla Esparza, eventually winning via TKO in the third round.

Suarez is best when implementing her grappling game and will struggle if she meets a striker that has good takedown defense. This isn’t that fighter. De La Rosa is cut from a similar, lower level cloth as Suarez and will get taken down and quickly finished in this fight. The odds are obviously far too heavy to lay, but I’ll take the fight not to go the distance at -110.

Rick’s Pick: Fight not to go the distance EVEN (1u)

Augusto Sakai (-130) vs Don’Tale Mayes (+110)

In a battle of the heavyweights we have Augosto Sakai taking on “Lord Kong” Don’Tale Mayes. Mayes comes in off of a no contest against Hamdy Abdelwahab who was suspended for two years due to illegal substances, while Sakai is crawling into the octagon off of four straight losses via knockout. I have said it before that I am not the biggest fan of the heavyweight division, and today is no different ladies and gentlemen.

Sakai on his best day is the superior mixed martial artist to Mayes. This is why he is favored in this fight. However, I believe Sakai’s best days are behind him, as four straight losses by KO in the 265-pound division is normally damning to anyone’s career in the UFC. I thought Sakai would have been out by now following such a streak, but he gets the challenge of Mayes which could pose some threats to the Brazilian on the feet.

Mayes comes out of Jackson Wink MMA and has likely been training with Jon Jones in preparation for his title fight next weekend against Gane, who Mayes lost to in his UFC debut. Don’Tale’s losses are not very embarrassing, and his wins he has been fairly impressive. I’ll take the well prepared “Lord Kong” over Sakai who is 1-3 in the small Apex octagon and on his way out of the UFC with his best days behind him.

Andy’s Pick: Mayes +110 (.75u)

Andre Muniz (-230) vs Brendan Allen (+185)

In Saturday’s co-main event we have Brendan “All In” Allen taking on Andre Muniz at middleweight. Both fighters have been on nice win streaks, with Muniz’s being the most impressive of 9 wins in a row and a 5-0 UFC start. For Allen, his losses to Chris Curtis and Sean Strickland are the only blemishes on an 8-2 record in the UFC as he looks to build on an 8-2 record in the promotion.

Allen’s wins have been highlighted by his versatility. When Brendan can mix up his style of fighting and take advantage of his opponent’s weaknesses instead of playing into them, he has been at his best. This is to be expected for somebody who isn’t weak in many areas, and continues to improve his game. The one spot I could see Allen faltering against Muniz though is if the fight gets taken to the ground.

Muniz’s style of fighting is now widely known by everyone following his bout against Uriah Hall where he sat on him the entire fight: get the opponent to the ground and work the jiu-jitsu and wrestling. Andre’s edge on the ground is why he is the clear betting favorite in this fight, but I actually think that this gives Brendan Allen a lot of value, as he is not going to be easy to get to the mat. Allen has continued to improve his ground game, and it will be difficult for Muniz to get to the mat with his solid takedown defense.

I like the value on Allen to win here, as he will hold the striking advantage over Muniz with plenty of volume to pick him apart. If Muniz gets Allen to the ground, it won’t be as easy as Andre’s past few opponents to submit him, despite Muniz being an absolute menace on the mat. It is true that Muniz holds the clearest advantage in one specific area, but I like Allen’s Swiss Army Knife of tools here to help him find a way to getting his hand raised.

Andy’s Pick: Allen +185 (1u)

Nikita Krylov (-175) vs Ryan Spann (+145)

Saturday’s main event is between two seasoned, exciting Light Heavyweights in Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann, and both are motivated in that with a win they’re likely only one more win from a title shot. Krylov has fought in double the fights that Spann has in the UFC, good for a 10-7 record. Spann has a better record to date at 7-2, but his strength of opposition is much worse.

Both fighters are pure finishers, and Krylov ranks as one of the best in the UFC. He has 12 wins by KO, 15 by submission, and just 2 by decision. 28 of his 30 wins are by finish and most recently it was a knockout of Alexander Gustafsson. He’s able to get it done at range with kicks and jabs, finish you on the mat with opportunistic submissions, and lay it on opponents until they submit and give up.

For Ryan Spann, it’s not too dissimilar. He’s much more of a wrestler and submission artist, but he has concrete in his fists as well. If Krylov stays in the pocket for too long and Spann lays a clean hook on him, the fight is as good as over. He should be able to have his moments in the grappling against Krylov, but I expect the more versatile Krylov to have his way by the second round in this matchup.

Rick’s Pick: Krylov ITD -110 (2u)