We start on Friday night in Texas where taking Luis Alberto Lopez to beat the nearly-man of the featherweight division, Joet Gonzalez, at 4/5 | -125 via decision is a standout pick in the Friday night action.
Joet Gonzalez has come up short in all of his big tests and we’re expecting something similar here against Lopez who is on a 11-fight winning streak.
Lopez is pretty effective without setting the world alight and Joet Gonzalez knows how to look after himself. There is no value in the outright markets for a Lopez win at 1/7 | -700, so a points win for the champion is an obvious pick. Gonzalez has never been stopped and Lopez’s KO percentage is a modest 57%, despite looking pretty heavy-handed in recent wins.
The bookies agree with this one going the distance sticking a price of 1/2 | -200 on us hearing the final bell.
Moving onto Saturday night and we are faced with another headline bout with a huge FAV and dog. William Zepeda sits at 1/12 | -1200 to beat Mercito Gesta, with 7/1 | +700 the price if you are willing to back the challenger.
Here, the stoppage is the most appealing when looking to grab some value from Team Zepeda. The southpaw has gotten 24 of his 28 guys out of there, and in Mercito Gesta comes up against a guy with miles on the clock.
35 isn’t ancient, but with 40 fights under his belt, COVID inactivity and recent losses, Zepeda will believe that at 3/10 | -333 Gesta is there for the taking in KO fashion.
Not a great price, granted – it’s almost tempting to swallow the prediction in favour of a 7/2 | +350 price on the cards – but picking the second half of the fight opens up the floodgates a little.
Rounds 7-12 for Zepeda to get the stoppage weighs in at 2/1 | +200 and looks to be one of the picks of the weekend (essentially combining the assumption of Gesta’s toughness yet eventual fragility over 36 minutes).
And so to Monday – yes, Monday! – where Hekkie Budler travels to Tokyo looking to topple the 6/1 | +600 odds slapped on his head to beat hometown hero Kenshiro Teraji.
Budler convinced me in our recent feature that he is feeling the best he has for years after allowing his body to rest and a change in diet. I believe him. Does this mean I think he is going to be able to dethrone Kenshiro Teraji, my current No. 8 pound-for-pound fighter? No.
Sure, we know Teraji is beatable, but at a youthful 31 seems to be getting better each time out.
Here, the outrights for a Kenshiro stoppage at 4/6 | -150 actually offers pretty good value. Teraji is a volume, high-energy puncher and it’s hard to see how Budler is going to hang the distance with him if he is constantly popping off the angles.
If we’re looking to pick a round, it’ll probably come fair late in the fight. Budler throws a lot of punches himself, so Teraji would be foolish to trade too early here. Rounds 10-12 for a Teraji win weigh in at 9/2 | +450.