The UFC heads to Moscow for this week’s UFC Fight Night 163 event. The main event of UFC on ESPN+ 21 will feature Zabit Magomedsharipov and Calvin Kattar at featherweight. In all, there are 13 fights on the card and we’ll take a look through all of them with the odds from 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Originally, the main event was supposed to be Junior dos Santos vs. Alexander Volkov, but dos Santos has been dealing with an infection, so Greg Hardy will now slot in for what amounts to a co-main event fight against Volkov.
We start in the bantamweight division with Davey Grant at +165 and Grigorii Popov at -190. This is the second UFC fight of Popov’s career after losing to Eddie Wineland back at UFC 238. The 35-year-old fought in a lot of smaller promotions before getting the Wineland shot and failed to make the most of it in the knockout loss. Grant has one fight since October 2016 and it was a loss well over a year ago against Manny Bermudez in the first round. It’s easy to see why Grant’s odds are so low for this one. This fight is set up for Popov to get a win.
For the second straight week, there is only one women’s fight on the card. That bout features a flipped favorite, as Pannie Kianzad is a -115 price against Jessica-Rose Clark. Kianzad, who lost to Macy Chiasson in the TUF 28 Finale, did not get a contract after her performance on the show, but she did make her debut at UFC 239 against Julia Avila in a losing effort. Now she gets another crack, this time with Clark, who has not fought since June 23, 2018 after a decision loss to Jessica Eye. All we know for sure is that this fight, like most of Clark’s, is likely to go all 15 minutes.
Alexander Yakovlev and Roosevelt Roberts meet at 155 pounds in the next scrap. Roberts is -160 and Yakovlev has +140 on the take back. Roberts is coming off of his first pro loss to Vinc Pichel back in June. This will be his sixth fight since the start of 2018. Two of his three UFC fights have gone all 15 minutes. Yakovlev came off the shelf to beat Alex Da Silva in his first fight in nearly 2.5 years back in April. Roberts is the more athletic fighter and should get a win here.
David Zawada has more UFC experience than Abubakar Nurmagomedov, but that doesn’t seem to matter in the odds for this fight. Zawada is +250 with Abubakar at -300. Nurmagomedov is 15-2-1 in his career and his most recent fight in PFL resulted in that lone draw against Bojan Velickovic. Zawada’s UFC experience doesn’t matter because he is 0-2 with losses to Danny Roberts and Li Jingliang. The latter was by knockout just about a year ago. The same will likely happen in this fight.
Karl Roberson is being given a very good chance to deliver the first loss of Roman Kopylov’s career. Roberson is now the -115 favorite, with -105 on the come back for the 8-0 fighter from Russia. This is a big step up in class for Kopylov, who is coming off the shelf following a long layoff. Kopylov hasn’t fought since March 20 of last year. This is Roberson’s third fight of 2019. He lost to Glover Teixeira, but bounced back well against Wellington Turman, though it probably should come easier than it did. Will the layoff be the difference? The odds suggest that it could.
Sergey Khandozhko and Rustam Khabilov square up at lightweight in the next fight. Khabilov is the -185 favorite in this bout. Khabilov has gone to decision in all but three of his UFC fights, with the most recent finish coming all the way back on June 7, 2014. Khabilov was once fighting guys like Benson Henderson and Jorge Masvidal. Now, he’s fighting a guy getting in the UFC Octagon for the second time in his career. Khandozhko beat Rostem Akman in his debut fight back in June to improve to 27-5-1 with 12 knockouts and seven submission wins. Khabilov, who has gone to a decision in 17 of his 27 fights, is going to have to avoid getting popped in this one.
Magomed Ankalaev is the biggest favorite on the card as a -360 price against Dalcha Lungiambula. Ankalaev is 2-1 in his UFC career, with a debut loss to Paul Craig and wins over Marcin Prachnio and Klidson Abreu. Lungiambula won his debut fight back in June over Dequan Townsend. As the line suggests, this is a huge step up in class. Lungiambula is a bruiser, but you have to wonder about his defense against a much bigger fighter with a more impressive resume. Hence the line on this one.
Klidson Abreu (+165) vs. Shamil Gamzatov (-190)
Speaking of Klidson Abreu, he is on the “main” card, though all of the fights will be on ESPN+ for this event on Saturday with an early start time thanks to the time difference. Abreu is an underdog to UFC newcomer Shamil Gamzatov at 205 pounds. The light heavyweight division could use some prospects. We’ll see if the 29-year-old Gamzatov is one of them. He’s a perfect 13-0 with 10 stoppage wins.
We have a lot of fighters on this card coming off the shelf. Gamzatov hasn’t fought in almost 14 months. Many of the fighters on long layoffs are underdogs. Gamzatov is one of the biggest favorites on the card. That feels pretty telling. Abreu did have a nice win over Smilin’ Sam Alvey last time out in July, but that doesn’t seem to have impressed the oddsmakers and early bettors.
Pick: Shamil Gamzatov
Anthony Rocco Martin (+115) vs. Ramazan Emeev (-135)
Give credit to Anthony Rocco Martin. Taking Demian Maia the distance and losing in a majority decision is not a bad outcome. The 29-year-old American Top Team member has not showcased a lot of striking power in his career, but he does have nine career submission wins out of his 16 career victories. You have to give Martin credit for getting better, with four wins in his last five fights and that valiant effort against Maia.
It doesn’t seem like a lot of credit is being given, though. Ramazan Emeev is the -135 favorite in his fourth UFC fight. Emeev has won all three of those fights by unanimous decision. Yet again, we have another fighter coming off of a substantial layoff, as Emeev hasn’t fought in 14 months after beating Stefan Sekulic. To me, Martin’s better resume of opponents and lack of cage rust is enough to take a small shot on the dog.
Pick: Anthony Rocco Martin
Ed Herman (+135) vs. Khadis Ibragimov (-165)
It seemed like it was just about the end of the line for Ed Herman. Then his fight against Patrick Cummins happened. Herman turned back the clock for his first knockout in almost 3.5 years to snap a three-fight losing streak. The 39-year-old will be participating in his 40th fight in this one. Was the last performance a one-off type of thing?
We’ll find out, as Khadis Ibragimov has a lot on the line in this fight. After being a titleholder in M-1, Ibragimov lost his first fight last time out against Da Un Jung. That was Jung’s UFC debut as well and he got Ibragimov to tap out. Herman is a really well-rounded fighter. He’s giving up a lot of youth and athleticism here, but he makes up for it in fight IQ. Will he be able to get Ibragimov to chase him around long enough to get a decision win? That would have to be the hope, since it would be a surprise to see Herman win by stoppage.
Pick: Ed Herman
Danny Roberts (+185) vs. Zelim Imadaev (-225)
What happened to Danny Roberts? Thought to be a pretty good prospect, Roberts is a big dog to avoid an 0-for in 2019. He’s lost both fights by stoppage to Michel Pereira and Claudio Silva. He just hasn’t materialized as hoped. We see that here as he is a massive dog to Zelim Imadaev, who lost his UFC debut to Max Griffin back in April. This isn’t the type of fight you would expect to see a $2 favorite in, especially one with Imadaev’s unproven questions, but the market is very low on Roberts.
Pick: Zelim Imadaev
Greg Hardy (+220) vs. Alexander Volkov (-260)
Greg Hardy is back in the Octagon in short order. There is a lot to say about Hardy and how he got to this point, but he sure is trying to make a name of himself in MMA. This is his fifth fight of 2019. His win over Ben Sosoli back on October 18 at UFC on ESPN was overturned because he used an inhaler between Rounds 2 & 3. I’m not sure how he’s supposed to have the gas tank to keep up with Alexander Volkov if he needed assistance in the fight against Sosoli, but here we go.
Volkov is coming off of a loss to Derrick Lewis over a year ago. Originally, Volkov was set to face Junior dos Santos, but now he gets Hardy. That comes after Volkov missed out on a fight with Alistair Overeem back in April. Volkov is easily the best opponent Hardy has faced and the line may even be light here. On the other hand, Hardy hasn’t been beaten yet. He was a loser because of an illegal knee against Allen Crowder in a fight that he was going to win. He had that last fight overturned.
Hardy hasn’t faced anybody with Volkov’s striking power. We’ll find out a lot about his chin in this fight and it is fair to be skeptical of that.
Pick: Alexander Volkov
Calvin Kattar (+250) vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov (-300)
Calvin vs. Zabit is your main event at this UFC Fight Night 163 event. Zabit is 17-1 in his career and hasn’t come close to losing any of his five UFC fights. He’s won by submission three times and unanimous decision twice. This is a step up in class for Kattar, but you have to give him credit for back-to-back first-round knockouts against Ricardo Lamas and Chris Fishgold.
Of course, those guys aren’t Zabit. That’s why this line is where it is. Kattar only has three losses to his name. In 23 fights, he has 10 knockouts and two submission wins. He’s tapped out once. Will this be the second time? Zabit has 13 stoppage wins in 17 victories and appears to be on quite an upswing in the featherweight division. We’ll find out if Kattar is for real here.
Pick: Zabit Magomedsharipov