Jone Jones makes his comeback on Saturday night in Houston, Texas as he takes on surging undefeated light heavyweight Dominic Reyes. We've found some serious value on the card, both in straight bets and a few prop bets. We lost a play in Antonio Arroyo, but we were able to hop on his 24 hour replacement, James Krause, at the opening odds of -130, and they have steadily climbed to -170 4-5 hours later. Consider that a 2nd free bet for this card. The one we were planning on releasing is a solid play on Andre Ewell, and we outline below why we like him in this fight.
Andre Ewell (-115) 2.5 units
Andre Ewell (15-6, 2-2) claimed the CES Bantamweight title with a d’arce finish of Dinis Paiva before besting Renan Barao by split decision in his Octagon debut. Since that impressive debut victory he has lost two of three, falling to elite prospect Nathaniel Wood and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Latin America” veteran Marlon Vera, who is a legit fighter in his own right. Ewell has lost against some top competition, and this is something to keep in mind, as Martinez has fought nowhere near the level of competition that Ewell has.
Ewell is a lanky striker who has very quick hands, better than average power, and a questionable wrestling game. He owns seven professional wins via knockout and another four by submission. Ewell almost always has the reach advantage in his fights, and this one is no different, as he'll possess a 5 inch reach advantage over fellow American, Jonathan Martinez.
Ewell has a quick straight left that is his best weapon. He does a great job countering with his left as well. He's most effective at range; darting in and out, and landing through speed and athleticism. He's looked super impressive in some of his fights. Against Dos Santos he looked like he had elite level striking skills, battering the Brazilian over the course of 3 rounds. Then there's been other fights when grappling has come in to play where he has looked overwhelmed and in over his head.
Through our tape study we've noticed that if Ewell can dictate the pace and spacing that the fight takes place, then he is very effective on the feet. When he has an opponent who moves forward and pressures him, he has a very difficult time implementing his striking game. Ewell's big weakness is his takedown defense and his ground game on his back. His grappling has definitely improved, but it's still a weakness as it evolves.
Jonathan "Dragon" Martinez makes his 4th trip to the Octagon, and is looking to improve his record to 3-1. Martinez is a tough, gritty fighter who's proven to have a solid chin, and a very sound striking game. Martinez returned from a year away to face Andre Soukhamthath on short notice in Moncton, showing some impressive durability but ultimately dropping a decision. A decision over Wuliji Buren followed, after which he scored a bonus-winning upset knee knockout of Pingyuan Liu in Sacramento.
Martinez has a very calm, patient striking game that is extremely efficient. Martinez is susceptible to getting swarmed and overwhelmed in chaos, turtling up against the cage, praying he survives the onslaught. Martinez has never been finished though, so he knows how to survive. He's got a solid grappling game, and has proven to be an effective scrambler as well. He's not a huge submission threat, but he will threaten when in position. His best traits are his cardio and his heart.
This fight comes down to the pressure that Martinez is able to apply. If he can't back Ewell up and force him into a chaotic affair, then there is little chance that he can out strike Ewell. Martinez has the strong grappling game, but I don't believe he'll be able to get Ewell to the ground. Ewell's takedown defense has consistently improved throughout his time in the UFC. He's a very good athlete who learns and adapts well, so I'd expect to see his wrestling game improved even more since the last time we saw him against Chito Vera.
Martinez's slow, laid back striking style plays right into the hands of Ewell, allowing him to fire at will from range, and counter Martinez easily as he finds it difficult to get within proper range to effectively damage Ewell. Andre will land his piston-like straight left with regularity, and possibly dropping Martinez with it. This could be a firefight, and so long as Ewell can stay upright, this is his fight to win.
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