Paige VanZant (+610) vs. Amanda Ribas (-900)
When: July 11th, 10pm Eastern Time
Where: Yas Island, United Arab Emirates
The first bout on the main card will feature the biggest underdog of the night in Paige VanZant. This will mark the last fight on VanZant’s UFC contract and will be her first trip to the Octagon since January of last year. As for Ribas, she last fought at UFC Brasilia back in March.
The Brazilian born Ribas looked stellar en-route to a unanimous decision victory over Randa Markos that night. This has largely been the case for Amanda Ribas thus far, who is 3-0 in the UFC with a notable victory over Mackenzie Dern.
As for VanZant, a series of arm injuries have sidelined her more than once since 2016. She’s only fought twice since then, in January of both 2018 and 19. Her last fight resulted in a submission victory over Rachael Ostovich.
The problem with VanZant, aside from the injury issues, is that she’s always lost when facing that next level of competition. Outside of Felice Herrig (4-3), all of VanZant’s victories have come against opponents with sub .500 records in the UFC. When she’s faced the upper echelon of the division, it hasn’t gone well. She was largely dominated and then submitted in the fifth round by Rose Namajunas and was submitted in the first round by Michelle Waterson.
Unfortunately for Paige VanZant, Ribas is certainly ascending to that upper echelon. She is insanely quick, has great head movement and throws a great output. She also has solid power for the division. The BJJ edge also has to go to Ribas.
I just can’t see a path to victory for Paige VanZant, who has hinted at testing free agency. “I’ve added up all the money I’ve made in the UFC over six years, and I could have just had a regular job with the same pay,” she told MMAFighting. “I’m so thankful for everything the UFC has done for me, the platform they’ve given me. This is nothing against the UFC. But the contract I signed is what I signed and I know I need to honor it. That’s why I’m fighting this last fight out and I was never trying to break it early.”
It’s hard not to think that Paige VanZant is eyeing life after the UFC, either with another promotion or something else. She has 2.6 million followers on Instagram and was on Dancing With The Stars, so she certainly has options. It’s not a good mentality to have going into a fight, however. Obviously I can’t speak for Paige VanZant, but she really does seem to be looking beyond this fight.
With that said, I feel like Ribas is going to win by decision. A-lot of people are saying submission, and I could totally see that as well. I just think that VanZant has enough quickness and scrambling ability to avoid getting choked out.
I see Amanda Ribas cruising to unanimous decision victory over Paige VanZant. The line for such an outcome is fantastic (+120) while a double chance, points or submission, sits at (-350). I’ll definitely roll the dice on the decision prop in this one, though. Plus, with the line at (+610), hedging with VanZant is absolute cake.
Prediction and play: Amanda Ribas by points (+120)
All odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.