Jerome Rivera (+150) vs. Tyson Nam (-178)
Weight Class: Flyweight (125 lbs)
Initially slated to face off against Matt Schnell last weekend, Tyson Nam will be getting a last minute opponent in Jerome Rivera at UFc Vegas 11. Schnell was forced to withdraw following a bad weight cut.
Fresh off a win on week 1 of this year’s Dana White’s Contender Series, Jerome Rivera will be getting a tough test for his UFC debut. With 31 pro fights to Rivera’s 12, the experience edge clearly goes to Tyson Nam. Rivera is at a much earlier stage in his career, however, and currently holds a professional record of 10-2.
Rivera’s August 4th fight on the Contender Series was certainly entertaining. The New Mexico native was able to edge out a decision over another highly touted prospect in Luis Rodriguez. Rivera was able to bounce back from some heavy shots and used his range effectively. He racked up points with teep kicks and had great volume.
Rivera ultimately out-struck Rodriguez 93-27 overall. His grappling was also solid, as the 25 year-old was able to defend submissions and reverse bad positions. There wasn’t much offensive grappling out of Rivera in the bout, but he proved very capable against a fighter with more center mass.
Overall I like Rivera as a prospect and am curious to see what he can do. With that said, his style could prove to be costly against Tyson Nam.
Though 1-2 in the UFC and 19-11-1 overall, Tyson Nam’s record is very deceptive. His two UFC losses were to very high level fighters in Sergio Pettis and Kai Kara-France. After starting off 0-2 in the UFC, Nam was able to secure a crisp KO of Zarrukh Adashev back in June. A beautiful counter right from Nam floored Adashev within a minute of the first round and was good for a $50k performance bonus.
Much like his UFC record, Nam’s overall record is also deceiving. The Hawaiian has gone 7-3 since 2015, with his last loss outside the UFC coming to Zhalgas Zhumagulov, who is currently on the UFC roster himself.
Stylistically, Nam has heavy hands and tends to look for a big shot. This obviously has pros and cons, as inactivity has cost Tyson Nam fights in the past. The power is certainly noteworthy, however. Despite being out-stuck 78-52, 50 of those 52 were counted as significant strikes. Kara-France doubled Nam’s strike totals in rounds one and two but was certainly wearing the power. Kara-France’s face was red after just 10 strikes landed.
Kara-France, much like Sergio Pettis, defeated Nam (much better outcome for France than the first match-up) with activity and high level boxing. The good news for Tyson Nam is that Jerome Rivera’s striking is not on the level of Kai Kara-France or Sergio Pettis. Kara-France in particular was able to punch his away out of bad positions up against the fence. Though Jerome Rivera is an active striker, this could be to his detriment against Nam. He will be open to getting countered and eventually, I think he will get cornered. Rivera likely won’t be able to punch his way out like Kara-France did if this happens.
Again, on the flip side, Rivera certainly has a path to victory. If Nam can’t find his shots and lets the numbers run away from him by the end of round 2, Rivera could easily lock up a decision. However, I do think he will get caught against an underrated veteran such as Nam. The fact that Nam – now 36 – is coming off of a huge KO win only adds to the likelihood of him finding that shot.
Gambling wise I do lean Tyson Nam knockout (+155), but the moneyline is good enough. At the very least I think we see Rivera get knocked down and if Nam can chop up the lead leg, his movement will slow as well. Slowing down against Tyson Nam will only make the power shots appear more pronounced. I see either a clear KO for Nam or a close decision due to overall strike numbers. Power and experience will ultimately secure this one for Nam, however, and at (-178), the line is solid.
A Tyson Nam knockout bet hedged with a Rivera decision is also a solid strategy here.
Prediction and play: Tyson Nam moneyline (-178)