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Devonte Smith vs. Dong Hyun Ma - 2/9/19 UFC 234 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Devonte Smith vs. Dong Hyun Ma
Date & Time Saturday February 9, 2019, 10:30 PM (EST)
Rod Laver Arena
Melbourne, Australia
The Line
The Line: Smith -229 / Hyun Ma +201 -- Over/Under:
TV Channel
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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Devonte Smith and Dong Hyun Ma fight Saturday during UFC 234 at the Rod Laver Arena.

Devonte Smith enters this fight with a 9-1 record and has won 88 percent of his fights by knockout. Smith has won each of his last five fights and is coming off a November win over Julian Erosa. Smith is averaging 16.96 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 68 percent. Smith is averaging zero takedowns with an accuracy percentage of zero percent. Smith won his UFC debut in a first round knockout in which he landed 26 strikes, 18 of which were to the head area. Smith has produced knockouts in each of his last four wins and all nine of his victories overall have been finishes. Smith is a violent striker who uses his knees and elbows extremely well and simply unleashes these power shots that can knock his opponent out cold. At some point I’d like to see what Smith is working with in terms of his ground game, but as for his stand up striking, the guy is extremely dangerous and it’s the one thing that has many combat sports fans excited for him on UFC cards. This will be Smith’s first career fight outside of the United States.

Dong Hyun Ma enters this fight with a 16-8-3 record and has won 44 percent of his fights by knockout. Hyun Ma has won five of his last seven fights and is coming off a February win over Damien Brown. Hyun Ma is averaging 3.77 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 45 percent. Hyun Ma is averaging 1.67 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 60 percent. Hyun Ma has bounced back nicely after being knocked out in his first two UFC fights, as he’s won his last three bouts and is fresh off probably the biggest win of his career at UFC 221. Hyun Ma is a polished stand up striker with obvious knockout power, and he’s proven to be effective in the clinch as well. Hyun Ma has also had a great deal of success with takedowns on the UFC level and is somebody who enters this bout with six submission victories. Hyun Ma has finished 12 of his 16 career victories and has enough balance to his attack to where he should be comfortable no matter where this fight ends up. This will be Hyun Ma’s second career fight in Australia.

Hyun Ma has value in this fight as an underdog when you consider he’s the bigger fighter and has more balance to his attack. Hyun Ma probably has the edge if this fight goes to the canvas, and there’s reason to assume it will at some point given his takedown success. Smith has shown to be primarily a standup striker at this point and I’m not sure how he’ll do if forced to dig into his wrestling bag. With that said, I can’t bet against Smith. The American is so violent with his strikes and once he gets going, it’s all but over. At just 25 years old, Smith can quickly fly up the rankings and put some serious fear into the lightweight division given his relentless and brutal power. There’s not many guys capable of trading with Smith or even surviving a clean shot..

I’m driving the Smith bandwagon, and after this fight it will be a lot more full.

Devonte Smith

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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