UFC on ESPN+ 31: Vince Cachero vs. Jamall Emmers, breakdown + gambling analysis

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Jamall Emmers will be getting a last minute switch up in opponents in a night of many cancellations. In the case of Emmers, Vince Cachero will be stepping in to make his UFC debut in place of Timur Valiev on a couple days notice. Cachero most recently fought this past July, securing a first round KO of Marvin Garcia at LFA 81. Interestingly enough, this was actually an LFA card headlined by Jamall Emmers. Emmers – now 31 – secured a third round arm triangle against Rafael Barbosa in the main event.

Emmers would of course debut with the UFC less than six weeks later, losing a razor close decision to Giga Chikadze at UFC 248. Emmers closed as a 2-to-1 favorite and won the third round rather handily, but Chikadze was able to get in to a striking rhythm early, which is always dangerous. Chikadze is one of the most technical strikers in the division, and many thought the path forward for Emmers was in the wrestling department. He did manage to secure take downs and rack up top control later in the fight, but ultimately it was just a tiny bit too little.

Chikadze was able to flip Emmers and get out of a potential ground and pound situation, which arguably won him the fight.

With that said, Jamall Emmers was a highly billed prospect coming in for a reason. A debut loss to Giga Chikadze looks more respectable with each passing day, as Chikadze has an opportunity to improve to 4-0 in the UFC next weekend. I like Giga’s chances to win there against Alex Caceres, which again, would further improve Emmers’ stock.

I think that following such a close fight, Emmers will be very eager to get the W tonight. He’s had a full training camp while Cachero, while training, is stepping in on such short notice. Last week we cashed Nathaniel Wood by points due to similar circumstances, and it’s hard not to go that route again here in regards to Emmers.

Short notice fighters are always at a disadvantage and this has been next level amidst the pandemic landscape. Making your UFC debut is tough enough, but doing so on a couple days notice, all while a pandemic is ongoing, is a mountain to climb. Of course it cancels out when both fighters are debuting, as is the case for Johnny Munoz and Nathan Maness on tonight’s card (sleeper fight). Most of the time, however, the prepared fighter has come away with the W in recent weeks.

Emmers is also bigger for the weight class and has more high level MMA experience. This will mark just 10 fights for Cachero, who was on a two fight skid prior to his January victory. This is simply too much of a mountain to climb for a UFC debut, so I’m going with Emmers.

The line on Emmers will likely close somewhere near 4-to-1, and I think it’s a lock if you wanted to do something with that information. With that said, I think that Jamall Emmers by points (+160) has the best value. I expect him to play it safe and not get overeager in search of a finish, ultimately cruising to a unanimous decision.

Prediction and play: Jamall Emmers by points (+160)

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