MMA fighting

UFC Fight Night 208: Quick picks and predictions

MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the UFC Fight Night 208 main card.

MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the best UFC fights. Today we take a look at the UFC Fight Night 208 main card.

UFC Fight Night 208 takes place at The O2 in London on Saturday. The card airs on ESPN+.

Last event results: 3-3

Overall picks for UFC main cards in 2022: 70-40-1

Welcome to MMAJunkie’s quick picks and predictions, where I’ll give brief fight day breakdowns for the UFC main cards.

With that in mind, I hope these articles aren’t dry or dismissive, as my goal here is to offer quick picks and analysis in a digestible format. All odds quoted are provided by Tipico Sportsbook.

If you want a more detailed analysis from me, feel free to check out my weekly show, The Protect Ya’ Neck Podcast.

So, without further ado…

Paul Craig (+120) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (-155)

March 19, 2022; London, UK; Paul Craig (blue gloves) defeats Nikita Krylov (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

While there are a ton of potential openers on the foreplay that former UFC matchmaker Joe Silva would have placed here, I don’t necessarily hate this light heavyweight offer between Paul Craig and Volkan Oezdemir.

Part of me thinks Oezdemir is in a prime position to upend Craig’s current winning streak with a vicious first-round knockout, but I’m not sure the Swiss native can safely keep up with an injured foe in ground without exposing themselves here.

For that reason, I’ll side with the Scotsman in Craig to weather the initial storms and score another classic third-round comeback submission victory.

Molly McCann (-420) vs. Hannah Goldy (+300)

March 19, 2022; London, UK; Molly McCann (red gloves) defeats Luana Carolina (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Filling out the main card is a women’s flyweight bout that should be stylistically a firework display.

Molly McCann and Hannah Goldy are both offensively active once the action hits the ground, but I suspect their size parity also makes for fun exchanges on the feet.

Unless Goldy is able to injure McCann with a well-timed kick or good ground and ground stance, then I see the Scouse fighter’s superior boxing and volume allowing her to pull away for a win on the dashboards.

Nikita Krylov (-210) against Alexander Gustafsson (+160)

Nikita Krylov

Light heavyweight mainstay Alexander Gustafsson returns to this card against Nikita Krylov.

Although the line is reversed from what it would be if this fight had taken place three years ago, I can’t say I disagree with the spread shown above. Gustafsson is the more skilled fighter with a higher ceiling, but it’s hard to trust him given his self-proclaimed struggles as he adjusts to the later stages of his career.

I will encourage Gustafsson to get back in shape, but the choice is for Krylov to continue his wrestling tendencies this weekend with a decisive win.

Paddy Pimblett (-270) vs. Jordan Leavitt (+200)

March 19, 2022; London, UK; Paddy Pimblett (red gloves) defeats Kazula Vargas (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at The O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC appears to be investing in another polarizing figure as Paddy Pimblett battles Jordan Leavitt on the main card.

Both fighters have similar wrestling sensibilities, whether we’re talking about their appreciation for catching grappling or their propensity for headshotting on the outside in singles, but I suspect Pimblett is the better athlete and striker.

While I wouldn’t be surprised if Pimblett is able to storm the gates at the American in the first round, I think Leavitt can survive and make things pretty competitive late on. For this reason, I will reluctantly take on Pimblett to sweep the scorecards for the win.

Jack Hermansson (-110) vs. Chris Curtis (-114)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JUNE 25: (RL) Chris Curtis knocks out Brazil’s Rodolfo Vieira in a middleweight bout during UFC Fight Night at UFC APEX on June 25, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The co-main event on ESPN+ is an impromptu middleweight clash between Jack Hermansson and Chris Curtis.

Although Hermansson was already training for a southpaw fighter in Darren Till, I suspect Curtis is quietly a tougher match.

As we saw in his last outing against Rodolfo Vieira, Curtis has excellent shot defense and counter grappling to boot, thriving in those spots on short notice. I’m a huge fan of Hermansson, but I suspect he crumbles in the third frame if he doesn’t find a finish in the first.

Curtis Blaydes (+110) vs. Tom Aspinall (-140)