World Victory Road is quickly becoming an also-ran promotion in my mind, but still has many elite fighters in various weight classes existing in an unfortunate limbo of fighting prospects or squash matches.
The 185-lb tournament to face Kazuo Misaki is very ho-hum, but it’s still a must-watch if you want to keep up with the careers of some talented fighters.
It also offers some attractive betting lines to repair my Public Bet History, now down -1.42 units across four events.
I will not be breaking down all the fights on the card, but most will be added to my General Public Prediction Record currently sporting a 60% prediction rate at 21W-13L-1NC.
Main Event: Xande Ribeiro vs. Takashi Sugiura
It’s interesting how often Japanese promotions feature utterly non-competitive fights as main events, although EliteXC is trying to close the gap on that. Ribeiro should submit an old pro-wrestler with little MMA experience early. The only danger is if Xande’s chin turns out to be a better fit for BJJ than MMA, since old pro-wrestlers are usually at least a little bit tough and brawly. Expecting anything other than a quick and pointless first-round submission is foolishness, however. Ribeiro by submission round 1.
Siyar Bahadurzada (-150) vs. Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos (+120)
Cyborg is flawed–he gasses badly, tends to get out of control, is weak on the floor, and gives up if he takes a lot of damage. However, the guy can bang, and trashes opponents if he can find an opening.
Siyar is very stiff on the feet, leaning and throwing wildly. He’s not great wrestler, and does not have a lot on the ground. His biggest weakness in this fight will be his movement. He’s very flat footed, leans quite a lot, and otherwise leaves himself open to brawling.
I expect Cyborg to be able to pile up the damage until Siyar is simply done. Cyborg by TKO Round 3.
Since Cyborg is a decent underdog at +120, I have placed a unit on him to win. He’s incomplete as a fighter, so there is risk, but I think the extra juice of him being an underdog should cover that risk.
Yuki Kondo (-120) vs. Yuki Sasaki (-110)
Yuki Kondo is a has-been, but Yuki Sasaki is a never-was. Sasaki has 21 wins, but none of them are against a fighter even at Kondo’s level. Sasaki’s only weapon here is going to be his submissions, but it’s very difficult to submit Yuki Kondo if you’re not ten times his size like a Roger Gracie or Josh Barnett. Kondo can only ever finish an opponent if he lands a clean headkick, so expect a lackluster decision. Yuki Kondo by Decision.
I think Kondo’s experience is being undervalued at -120. He’s done being a top fighter, if he ever was, but he hasn’t lost his skill set and can still beat the likes of Sasaki.
Paul Cahoon (+550) vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura (-750)
Cahoon is your prototypical British brawler with no ground game, and recently lost to Ian Freeman, which really just about says it all. Nakamura is far more well rounded, although he has extreme difficulty finishing fights. He is tough enough to survive on the feet, and has surprisingly good boxing with his stubby little arms. Unless Cahoon gasses badly and Nakamura takes mount and just lands 100 unanswered strikes, this fight is going to be a control decision for Nakamura. At these extreme odds no bet is worthwhile. Nakamura by Decision.
Logan Clark (+280) vs. Jorge Santiago (-350)
Clark’s weakness, like many talented fighters that never make it over the hump, is that he simply cannot find a way to finish most of his opponents. His strikes merely bruise most fighters, and his opponents slip out of his submissions. Santiago is technically excellent, but fragile and prone to disintegration. The problem for Clark in this fight is that Santiago is going to be winning most of the time due to technical superiority, so unless Clark can dig deep and find a way to hurt Jorge badly, the decision is going to come against him. I think Clark is going to have to work harder and harder to control and avoid getting submitted, in addition to his takedowns becoming more and more desperate. It will be close, but I think the ATT product will finish him off late in the fight, and given Santiago’s well-rounded skills and striking power, a submission is almost as likely as a KO. Jorge Santiago by KO round 3.
There is value on Clark if you think Santiago’s chin is bad enough to be hurt by him, but I am avoiding wagering on this fight.
Jorge Masvidal (-190) vs. Ryan Schultz (+155)
Masvidal has a ton of power in his kicks and has the toughness and endurance to go late into fights. Schultz has the unfortunate habit of going deeper into fights than his cardio can tolerate, fading badly, and getting knocked over. Masvidal will have trouble off the bat, but will land something show-stopping late in the fight. Masvidal by KO round 2.
I think -190 isn’t enough to account for the advantages Masvidal enjoys in this fight, given how well-rounded he is and Schultz’s near-journeyman status. I have a play here.
1u on Jorge Masvidal at -190
1u on Yuki Kondo at -120
1u on Cyborg Santos at +120