Fares Ziam (+122) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (-150)
Weight Class: Lightweight (155 lbs)
Both Jamie Mullarkey and Fares Ziam will be searching for their first Octagon victory at UFC Fight Island 6. Each fighter came up short in their respective UFC debuts. For Mullarkey, the Australian earned a Fight of the Night bonus for a highly entertaining bout with Brad Riddell. The 26 year-old took quite a bit of damage in the fight, but his granite chin was on full display. He mixed in take downs that thwarted finish attempts and wobbled Riddell more than once.
Nobody is going to criticize a loss by decision to Brad Riddell in a UFC debut performance, nor would they criticize a loss to Alexander Volkanovski. The current featherweight champion and Riddell teammate at City Kickboxing is another one of Mullarkey’s three professional losses. Jamie Mullarkey was 20 years old when he was KO’d by Volkanovski at Australian FC 15.
After another loss in his following fight, Mullarkey managed to string together a four fight winning streak leading up to the Riddell fight at UFC 243.
Jamie Mullarkey has shown lots of growth in his game since his 2016 bout with Volkanovski. He is a very well rounded mixed martial artist and has demonstrated great take down ability over his previous two fights. He’s not particularly big for the division, so Jamie Mullarkey can’t be considered a power wrestler. However, he shoots at opportune times and can add that dynamic to the fight. On the feet, the Australian has great head movement and solid boxing. He typically keeps a wide boxing stance and has excellent hand speed.
As for Fares Ziam, he too came up short in his first UFC appearance. Ziam took the fight on short notice and ended up essentially being clinched to death by Don Madge. Prior to the bout with Madge, Ziam had racked up five straight professional victories with all but one coming via stoppage.
A former glory kick-boxer, Fares Ziam has excellent striking. He is very tall for the division and is used to having a reach advantage over his opponents. Ziam’s combinations look great and he does an excellent job of punctuating them.
Physically, there isn’t much of an edge. Reach is practically identical for these two, though Mullarkey doesn’t always opt to work off his jab. He tends to bob and weave forward, which could be an advantage if Ziam isn’t used to fighting off of his back foot.
This is a match-up between two great strikers, and perhaps Ziam has the edge in that department. Ultimately, however, I have to give the edge to Jamie Mullarkey in this one. He just has more tools in his arsenal and this could be one of those fights where one take down secures a round. Plus, Mullarkey has been in there with some big names. The damage he’s taken is somewhat concerning, but on the other hand, taking losses early on isn’t such a bad thing in MMA. Mullarkey has shown that he can hang with a top 20 fighter in Brad Riddell and he’s going to be hungry. These things can’t be quantified but they matter a-lot when betting on MMA fights.
Building off that, there has been tremendous movement on this line since it dropped. Fanduel Sportsbook (PA) opened with Mullarkey (+120), who has since become the favorite at (-150). Money has come in big on Jamie Mullarkey, which is generally a good sign.
Prediction and play: Jamie Mullarkey moneyline (-150)
Previous: UFC Fight Island 5 Breakdowns