The UFC makes its first visit to Denmark this week for UFC Fight Night 160. If you want to refer to it as UFC on ESPN+ 18, that’s fine, too, as the main event will feature Jack Hermansson and Jared Cannonier in the middleweight division. This is a loaded card with 13 fights and a lot of variety.
We’ll take a look at the odds from 5Dimes and also consider the main card and the prelim card, with some more emphasis and analysis on the six main card fights. The entire card is on ESPN+, so you’ll have to be ready to start this one early on Saturday September 28 with the time change.
Bantamweights Nohelin Hernandez and Jack Shore start off the card. Hernandez lost his debut fight at UFC 239 to Marlon Vera in the second round, but was 10-2 in smaller promotions, including Bellator and LFA before getting to the big stage. Shore will be making his UFC debut as an 11-0 fighting coming from Cage Warriors, where he was the champ. Shore is -160 and deserving of that big favorite role given the body of work so far.
Lando Vannata is +135 to Marc Diakiese in the lightweight division in the second fight of the night. The -155 favorite just got back in the win column with a decision triumph over Joe Duffy. That ended a string of three straight losses. This is a pretty important fight for Diakiese, as Vannata just scored his first win in nearly two years at UFC 234. This may not be an elimination match as far contracts go, but it could be used down the line. It is hard to lay a number with Diakiese, but Vannata has one win in five fights. It’s a stay away.
The line for Macy Chiasson looks light, even at -390, against Lisa Lansberg. Chiasson is 6-0 with five finishes and she’s in line for a sixth finish and a seventh win here. Lansberg has been good enough in her UFC career, but there aren’t many strikers like Chiasson in this division or in women’s MMA in general. Chiasson is a future title contender.
Giga Chikadze and Brandon Davis meet in the lone featherweight fight on the card. This is a very quick turnaround for Davis, who just went 15 minutes with Kyung Ho Kang at UFC 241 on August 17. Davis is a scrapper and a fighter. He’s just not blessed with a lot of power. This is a step up in class for Chikadze, who did fight in front of Dana White in June 2018, but then went back to Gladiator Challenge. With Chikadze’s finishing ability and Davis on a quick turnaround, the dog is attractive here at +125.
Siyur Bahadurzada is +155 against Ismail Naurdiev at -175 in the welterweight division. This is the third fight in UFC for Naurdiev, who is 1-1 thus far, with both fights going the distance. Bahardurzada is 2-2 in his four most recent UFC fights and has had some long layoffs throughout his career. SB lost to Curtis Millender last time out by decision at UFC 232, so it has been a little while. The fact that Naurdiev has been done nothing flashy in his two fights and is still a big favorite is pretty telling.
This is a big moment for Makhmud Muradov as he makes his UFC debut against Alessio Di Chirico. Muradov has been bet into a clear -155 favorite for this middleweight matchup. He is a knockout artist with 15 of his wins coming via KO or TKO. Di Chirico’s last two fights have gone the distance against guys that aren’t thought to be high-end fighters within the division. Muradov slots in for Peter Sobotta and seems to get a good first matchup. There is some unknown, so -155 is a little rich, but it’s worth considering.
Alen Amedovski gets another try after losing in a tough first match to Krzysztof Jotko in his debut back on 4/20. He gets John Phillips, who has lost three straight fights, which makes up all of his UFC fights. He came close last time with a split decision against Jack Marshman last time out, but it was not to be. Amedovski is only -120, but he had eight knockout wins in smaller promotions, including two in Bellator. Amedovski took almost three years off from 2015-18 and didn’t miss a beat when he got back. At -120, this line seems light.
Nicolas Dalby (+130) vs. Alex Oliveira (-150)
What a return to UFC for Nicolas Dalby. This will be his first UFC fight since September 3, 2016 and he will do it in his homeland. Dalby went to Cage Warriors and went 3-1 with a no contest in his five fights. Dalby did beat Alex Lohore for the welterweight title and then had the no contest in his defense.
Oliveira is a hard handicap here. Losses to Gunnar Nelson and Mike Perry are certainly understandable. On the other hand, the 31-year-old beat what’s left of Carlos Condit and also scored a first-round knockout of Carlo Pedersoli about two years ago. This is a step down in class for Oliveira to a degree, as Dalby was 1-2-1 in his UFC career and then had to find himself in CW after a long hiatus.
On one hand, it feels like this fight is set up for Dalby to beat a fighter trending in the wrong direction, but he still has to do it.
Pick: Alex Oliveira
Ovince Saint Preux (+190) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (-230)
With three losses in his last four fights, we may be seeing the end of an outstanding MMA career for Ovince Saint Preux. The 36-year-old OSP just seems slower and it seems like his takedown defense is waning. He tapped for the second time in four fights last time out and also has a unanimous decision loss to Dominick Reyes in there. Reyes is undefeated and a great fighter, but OSP mounted very little in that fight and certainly took some punishment.
That’s why Michal Oleksiejczuk is a -230 favorite here. He is coming off of consecutive first-round knockouts. Physical freak Khalil Rountree, who is also on this card, took him the distance. Oleksiejczuk won, but had the win overturned for a banned substance in post-fight testing. OSP isn’t the physical talent he once was and that was Oleksiejczuk’s first UFC fight.
Pick: Michal Oleksiejczuk
Ion Cutelaba (+110) vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. (-130)
This has Fight of the Night potential as the physically gifted Khalil Rountree takes on a real good wrestler and striker in Ion Cutelaba. Cutelaba can get himself caught at times, as he has with a couple of UFC losses in his last five fights, but he’s also capable of some spectacular knockouts. He’s also had issues when stepping up in class. While Rountree may not be exactly the prospect Dana White thought he was getting, he’s been an exciting fighter overall.
This is a tough handicap. Rountree should have the better gas tank and may look the part a bit better if it goes to the judges. On the other hand, we saw Rountree get caught by Johnny Walker two fights ago and Cutelaba has 11 career knockouts. This is a high-variance fight. It could end with a highlight reel knockout or could be a long war of attrition that ends with the judges. Because Cutelaba has struggled against comparable or better fighters, the nod goes to Rountree.
Pick: Khalil Rountree Jr.
Gunnar Nelson (+120) vs. Gilbert Burns (-140)
Gunnar Nelson was preparing for Thiago Alves, but now the Iceland native has been forced to get ready for Gilbert Burns. Nelson, who has an exceptional ground game, is coming off of a tough loss to Leon Edwards that featured split outcomes from the judges. It was a particularly tough setback for Nelson, who inexplicably got caught by Santiago Ponzinibbio for a knockout loss on 7/16/17.
Burns is taking the fight on short notice after a win over Alexey Kunchenko on August 10, 2019. Burns went 15 minutes in that fight, but didn’t take a ton of punishment. As a result, he’s willing and able to take this fight and is also a favorite in it. Burns hasn’t fought a great crop of fighters in UFC and Nelson is a guy that seems to have a ceiling, so this is a fight he clearly wanted and will get.
Pick: Gilbert Burns
Danilo Belluardo (+440) vs. Mark Madsen (-580)
What an opportunity for Mark Madsen. The 35-year-old will make his UFC debut in his home country of Denmark. Madsen was a medal-winning wrestler up until he decided to switch over to MMA. He won his first fight, but missed weight. Danilo Belluardo lost his UFC debut and looks like a lamb being led to slaughter per the odds for this fight.
Pick: Mark Madsen
Jared Cannonier (+190) vs. Jack Hermansson (-230)
Give credit to Jared Cannonier. After losses to Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes, the now 35-year-old could have folded a little bit. He didn’t. He’ll go into a hostile environment here against Jack Hermansson. Cannonier isn’t exactly a fan favorite and Hermansson is from nearby Norway, so he’ll get the crowd’s support. Cannonier scored a nice win over David Branch and then beat what’s left of Anderson Silva last time out.
The win over Silva didn’t go how most people expected, as Silva got hurt again and that was about it. Hermansson has ripped off four straight wins, including an easy win over Branch and a 25-minute decision against Jacare Souza. That was a turnaround of less than a month for Hermansson and he showed a lot of heart and a lot of gas tank.
Hermansson’s stock does seem to be on the rise and he’ll have the crowd support here as well. This just looks like a chalky main card, which isn’t a big surprise for a first visit to Denmark for the UFC.
Pick: Jack Hermansson