Jimmie Rivera vs. Petr Yan
|Date & Time||Saturday June 8, 2019, 10:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Yan -336 / Rivera +294-- Over/Under:
Jimmie Rivera and Petr Yan fight Saturday during UFC 238 at the United Center.
Jimmie Rivera enters this fight with a 22-3 record and has won 73 percent of his fights by decision. Rivera has won six of his last eight fights and is coming off a February loss to Aljamain Sterling. Rivera is averaging 3.98 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 41 percent. Rivera is averaging 0.81 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 28 percent. Rivera is coming off a convincing loss where he was pretty much dominated for three rounds, and he’s now lost two of his last three bouts when you throw in that nasty head kick from Marlon Moraes. The good news is Rivera has never lost back-to-back fights in his career, but it’s fair to say he needs this fight here based on his recent results. Rivera needs to keep his name in the mix if he’s going to get a possible title shot. Rivera is a violent power striker who relies on combinations and hooks to the body, and he mixes in his leg kicks well where he lands 25 percent of his strikes. Rivera can be a bit wild, but his wrestling background allows him to scramble well and stay on his feet despite being off balance at times. Gritty is a good word to describe Rivera’s fighting style. Rivera will go for takedowns sometimes, but he’s far more effective with his stand up due to his powerful combinations and background in Kyokushin. Rivera is also very well conditioned and it’s allowed him to win 16 of his 18 career decisions. This will be Rivera’s first career fight in Illinois.
Petr Yan enters this fight with a 12-1 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by decision. Yan has won each of his last seven fights and is coming off a February win over John Dodson. Yan is averaging 6.46 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 52 percent. Yan is averaging 1.73 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Yan is now 4-0 under the UFC banner and quickly heading toward a title shot if he stays on this path and keeps building the hype. Yan is coming off a dominating performance against Dodson where he landed 80 significant strikes to just 30 from his opponent. Yan is your typical tough Russian who has a strong chin and is willing to trade strikes, as he’s walked down all of his opponents up to this point. Yan grew up fighting in the streets and comes from a boxing background. That’s been Yan’s fighting style up to this point, as he keeps his hands up, walks down his opponent and follows up his jab with a strong right hand. Yan also has a dangerous elbow that he likes to throw in the clinch. Yan has been impressive up to this point and has a bright future, but he has to show more of a ground game if he’s going to takeover the bantamweight division. This will be Yan’s second career fight in the United States.
This is going to be a test for Yan, as Rivera is a gritty fighter who can muck things up with his scrambling and wrestling, forcing No Mercy out of his comfort zone. Yan did defend takedowns well against Jin Soo Son and was able to get back on his feet quickly, but Rivera has a deeper wrestling background and could drag him into deeper waters if he chooses. This price isn’t showing much respect to Rivera and it’s one where I could argue picking the other side due to the big plus money. With that said, I’m still going to side with Yan, who is just a tough dude and his boxing is some of the most technically sound in the UFC. As long as Yan can stay on his feet, he should win this fight and take a step closer to a title shot.
I don’t love the price, but I like Yan to win his eighth straight bout.