UFC Charlotte: Picks, Predictions & Favorite Bets

The UFC will be returning to North Carolina this weekend, as well as the bright lights of ABC network, with UFC Charlotte. After another round of fight week changes and cancellations, which is becoming all too familiar at this point with the promotion, the card is currently down to eleven fights and will be headlined by Jailton Almeida and Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a ranked heavyweight matchup.

Natan Levy vs Pete Rodriguez has unfortunately been cancelled due to Rodriguez being unable to make weight (or a catchweight, for that matter). Not sure why the promotion tried to let Rodriguez drop to 155 in the first place, but I imagine that won’t happen again assuming he isn’t cut from the roster entirely. Bryan Battle and Daniel Rodriguez also missed weight; however, both of their fights will still proceed. Rodriguez made weight on his second attempt after initially missing by half a pound, while it appears Battle will not try to cut additional weight and will likely be fined as a result.

With a hectic morning on the scales finally over with, let’s proceed with the OddSmokerMMA picks and predictions for this weekend’s UFC Charlotte card:

Jessica-Rose Clark – Clark is 11-8 with five stoppages and she will be facing UFC-newcomer Tainara Lisboa to open up the card this weekend. Lisboa is 5-2 with a 100% finish rate in her wins and is a multi-time Muay Thai world champion. Clark has gone 2-4 in her last six fights, but she will have a massive experience advantage in this matchup. While Lisboa has put together a solid record early in her MMA career, her competition level hasn’t been that high. Clark should be able to get this one done on the cards via decision, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend trusting your money on this fight.

Bryan Battle – Battle is 9-2 with seven stoppages and will be looking to bounce back from a one-sided decision loss in his last fight when he takes on Gabe Green. Prior to his lose in his last fight, Battle had won his previous eight fights and had looked impressive to start his run with the promotion. Green is 11-4 overall and 2-2 in the UFC, and while having a lot of power in his striking, he hasn’t been overly impressive beyond that in my opinion. He leaves himself open to being hit more than he lands and that’s not good against someone who will have three-inch height and four-inch reach advantages. Battle should get this one done via decision or late stoppage.

Ji Yeon Kim – Kim is 9-6 with five of her wins coming via stoppage and she’ll be looking to halt a four-fight losing skid this weekend against Mandy Bohm, who is 0-2 thus far in her UFC career. I have absolutely zero interest in betting this fight as I find it impossible to trust either one of these fighters. Kim has the higher striking volume between the two and should be able to outland Bohm on the feet. I definitely expect this fight to go the distance, and I’ll lean with Kim picking up the close decision.

Natan Levy – Levy is 8-1 with three wins coming via submission and is coming off back-to-back wins as he faces 5-1 Pete Rodriguez. This fight was originally scheduled to take place two weeks ago, but Rodriguez dropped out due to illness forcing the reschedule. Rodriguez has all five of his wins via first round KO/TKO and all under three minutes. Levy is very durable and will be the much more well-rounded fighter in this matchup. He will need to survive the initial threat from Rodriguez on the feet in the opening minutes and should cruise comfortably after that. I expect Levy to get this done via stoppage in the second round, most likely via submission.

Cody Stamann – Stamann is 21-5-1 with nine wins via stoppage and is coming off back-to-back wins. He’s facing Douglas Silva de Andrade, who is 28-5 with 22 wins via stoppage and 20 of them by KO/TKO. While Silva de Andrade will likely be the more dangerous fighter overall on the feet, Stamann is more well-rounded with the ability to get this one to the ground while holding his own in the striking exchanges. Both fighters average over 12 minutes per fight in the UFC and I expect this one will likely end up going the distance with Stamann picking up the win by decision. It should be noted this bout is being contested at a 140-pound catchweight.

Karl Williams – Williams is 8-1 with three stoppages and he will be making his second trip to the octagon this weekend against Chase Sherman. This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 287 when Williams accepted during fight week as a short notice replacement. However, Sherman dropped out of the matchup on the day of the fight, and it was rebooked for this event. Williams will have a massive wrestling advantage here and will almost certainly look to ground Sherman in this fight. Sherman has dropped five of his last six fights, and barring an early KO in this one, that skid is likely to continue. I like Williams to get this one done via comfortable decision or possibly a third round KO/TKO.

Matt Brown – Brown is 25-19 with 23 of those wins coming via finish and 16 of them via KO/TKO. He will have a chance to tie Derrick Lewis for the all-time UFC KO record in this matchup against Court McGee. McGee is 22-11 with 11 wins via stoppage and will be trying to bounce back from a nasty first round knockout loss in his last fight. Both fighters have positive striking differentials and better takedown defense than offense, so I expect this one to mostly stay on the feet. Brown opened as a -160 betting favorite in this one before the line completely flipped, so that’s definitely worth noting. In a matchup that I expect to be close anyway, I’ll take a shot on the underdog in this one with Brown getting a decision win.

Alex Morono – Morono is 22-8 with 12 wins coming via stoppage and he’ll be facing Tim Means to open up the main card. Means is 32-14-1 with 24 stoppages and is coming off back-to-back losses. Morono is coming off a loss as a short notice replacement but had won his previous four in a row prior to that. Means will have decent three-inch height and reach advantages in this matchup, but Morono will be six years younger. Both fighters average over ten minutes per fight in the UFC and I would be surprised if this one doesn’t go late or to decision. I expect this one to be pretty close but giving the slight lean to Morono by either decision or late submission.

Carlos Ulberg – Ulberg is 8-1 with six stoppages and he’ll be facing 20-3 Ihor Potieria. Ulberg has won three straight with the last two by first round KO/TKO and I love his chances of adding another stoppage to the streak here. While Potieria has a solid record on paper, it’s very heavily padded upon deeper inspection. Ulberg is an extremely technical striker who does an excellent job of mixing his weapons well and attacking all three levels. Potieria has decent power in his striking, but he isn’t very technical and will leave himself open to being hit here. I expect Ulberg to set a high pace early in this fight and will get this one done sometime in the first two rounds via KO/TKO.

Ian Garry – Garry is 11-0 with seven stoppages and will be making his fifth trip to the octagon this weekend when he faces Daniel Rodriguez. Garry arrived in the promotion as a touted prospect who has steadily shown improvement in all of his UFC appearances. Rodriguez, who is 17-3 with 12 stoppages of his own, will be the toughest opponent Garry has faced during his run. Both fighters are extremely talented strikers, and this fight will almost certainly stay on the feet. While Rodriguez is an excellent boxer, Garry does a better job of mixing up his weapons and attacking all three levels. I expect Garry to land the more damaging blows and higher volume to pick up a decision win here.

Johnny Walker – Walker is 20-7 with 19 wins via stoppage and he will be facing Anthony Smith, who is 36-17 with 33 stoppages of his own. This should be one of the more exciting matchups on the card with both men sporting ridiculously high finishing rates while also being prone to being stopped themselves (19 of their combined 24 losses have come via stoppage). Walker is going to have a two-inch height advantage and a sizeable six-inch advantage in reach, which I expect to be huge in the striking exchanges. Walker also has the better striking ratio with higher volume and his last six wins have all come in the first round. I expect him to catch Smith early and get this one done sometime before the halfway point.

Jailton Almeida – Almeida is 18-2 with a 100% stoppage rate in his wins (7 KO/11 sub) and will be headlining his first UFC event in this one. While Rozenstruik is one of the most powerful strikers in the promotion, this is a terrible matchup for him. Almeida has a dominant wrestling and grappling advantage here and he should look to take advantage of it early. I expect Almeida to take this one to the ground at his first opportunity and immediately start looking for the stoppage. It’s always tough to nail down a method in Almeida’s fights, but I think Rozenstruik will hold up to the ground and pound long enough to get caught up in a submission by Almeida sometime in the first two rounds. For more information on this fight, check out my WagerWire Prop to Watch for this card.

My favorite picks for this card are Jailton Almeida (R1/2), Ian Garry, Carlos Ulberg, and Karl Williams. There aren’t very many betting upsets that I love for this card, however, I do like Matt Brown to pick the win in his bout. Some of my favorite bets for this card are Almeida by Sub (R1/2), Garry R3/Decision, Ulberg by KO/TKO, and Williams R3/Decision.

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