Grant Dawson and Bobby Green will throw down at UFC Fight Night 229 (UFC Vegas 80) this Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This five-round lightweight bout is the scheduled main event that also features ten other exciting fights.
If you’re looking for expert predictions on Grant Dawson vs. Bobby Green as well as detailed breakdowns and best bets, you’re in the right place. Continue reading for all that and more.
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Dawson vs. Green Betting Odds
Grant Dawson enters as a heavy favorite for this five-round main event bout to the surprise of many, including our experts. Read on for our fight predictions and best bets for this fight.
Dawson vs. Green Predictions
Grant “KGD” Dawson’s move to American Top Team coincides with his recent improvement in the cage. Prior to that move, Dawson floated between featherweight and lightweight while struggling to consistently implement his game plan. He struggled to beat an elderly Leonardo Santos, securing the victory with a TKO at the 4:59 mark of round 3 and then followed it up with a draw against Ricky Glenn, who also fights on this card.
Once “KGD” transitioned to a new camp, his skillset started to become more consistent. Dawson is a pressure grappler with improving striking and a relentlessness when hunting his opponent’s back. Dawson’s goal is to get the fight to the canvas as quickly as possible and hold his opponents down with his natural strength and wrestling fundamentals. Then, Dawson tends to land heavy ground and pound while maintaining top pressure.
Dawson puts his opponent into a difficult position when he gets on top. They can either accept the position and suffer Dawson’s damaging ground and pound. Or, if they try and get up, Dawson fluidly moves with his opponent and takes the back. Once on the back, Dawson looks for and often finds the rear naked choke quickly. His wrestling and grappling, especially since joining ATT is genuinely impressive. However, his striking is still a question mark as is his gas tank if he enters rounds 4 and 5.
Green, who has been a mainstay in the UFC for over a decade, has not really grown much as a fighter. That is not a criticism, rather, an impressive accomplishment to fight with the same style for 10 years so successfully. While Green’s UFC record, 11-9, is not impressive on paper, it is when context is considered. He lost as a late replacement to the now champion, Makhachev, and lost 2 decisions that many, myself included, had Green winning.
Considering the level of competition, his record looks much better at 13-6 if the late replacement fight didn’t happen and those narrow losses when Green’s way. However, the fact of the matter is, Green’s record is salty and part of the reason for that is his style. Green is an excellent boxer with lightning fast hands and impressive precision. But, one of the reasons for his striking success is also a reason for his close fights and tendency to lose on the scorecards: low hands and shoulder rolls.
Green carries his hands down by his knees which helps him land his combinations with accuracy since his strikes come from below his opponent’s eye line. But, since Green’s hands are down by his knees, he relies on head movement to avoid strikes and the famous Mayweather shoulder roll to absorb them. In the eyes of the judges, at times, it looks like Green is getting hit cleanly when he’s actually evading the strikes. More importantly, in this fight, is Green’s defensive grappling.
His low hands, wide stance, and natural athleticism help him stuff takedown attempts with impressive consistency. Despite facing strong wrestlers, Green’s takedown defense is still at 74%. However, if he is taken down, Green struggles to survive off his back. He tends to curl up, give up his back, and get finished if he hits the mat. He’ll likely need to keep this fight standing against Dawson.
I’m torn in this fight. On one hand, I’ve been waiting to fade Dawson as he gets closer or into the rankings. While he has three third-round finishes in his last five fights, I’ve been concerned about his cardio for a while. Dawson’s wrestling and striking look labored the later the fight goes and his pressure-heavy style does not appear replicable over five rounds. Moreover, his striking, albeit improved, is a liability against ranked level strikers.
However, since his move to American Top Team, Dawson’s grappling has leveled up and he appears more aware of his striking limitations- he looks to wrestle right away rather than waste time on the feet. Additionally, since Green’s payday as a late replacement for Islam Makhachev, Green’s motivation to be the best seems to have decreased. Instead, he seems more concerned with a fan-friendly fight that includes more showboating than normal.
In short, I don’t trust either of these fighters in a 5-round main event at this point in their career. Dawson should win this fight with regular takedowns and fairly easy back takes against the aging Green; who, despite his strong takedown defense, tends to give up his back when he hits the mat. But, if Green comes in motivated and can put Dawson on his back foot while using his uniquely low hands as natural underhooks, Green can push Dawson into deep waters and pull away late.
I think Dawson should be favored but don’t like the -450 number next to his name, his lack of experience and unreliable cardio give me pause in his first main event. I’d much rather find a +number to back in this fight. As far as +numbers go, there aren’t much better than +1000. Green to win by decision is currently +1000. That translates to 9% implied odds. I feel that is simply incorrect.
Both Green and Dawson are durable and have conflicting styles. If Green is to win this fight, I think a decision win, on the back of stuffing takedowns and landing a consistent jab, is the most likely path for him. Given that is his most likely path, I handicap Green by decision at better than a 9% chance of happening.
Best Bet: Green to win by decision (+1000)
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Grant Dawson is an underrated lightweight who continues to improve fight-over-fight. The rate of improvement has accelerated since his move to American Top Team, as he is now the 10th-ranked lightweight with his eyes set on the top echelon of the division.
Given his underrated nature, it comes to little surprise to note that while he is 8-0-1 in the UFC, he has yet to face the top of the division. While the case, a win over a fan-favorite of Bobby Green, particularly one that is convincing in a main event, will surely get him a top-tier fight, so I expect Dawson to be highly motivated and look better than he ever has.
If Dawson enters the octagon in improved form, I expect that improvement to come in the form of surprising striking as his grappling is known to be relentlessly effective already. Moreover, while the wrestling and mat game are his pillars of success, and have shown to be against touted grappling opponents, the style of Bobby Green may prove to be more challenging to successfully implement this traditional game. Because of these two things, first being the desire to showcase a well-rounded game, and second, an opponent forcing to show a well-rounded game, I fully anticipate the southpaw Dawson to use technical boxing to garner respect on the feet early, and then, use this boxing to work his way into his bread and butter of wrestling, mat control, and ultimately, submission attacks from top position.
Whereas Dawson is predominately a grappler with potentially improved striking, Bobby Green is a hyper-unique boxer. The uniqueness of Green’s attacks cannot go understated, as he will keep his hands extremely low throughout the duration of the fight. The benefit of doing so is the ability to throw quick punches that are not easily seen given the unique angles of attack. The potential pitfall is wearing damaging strikes given the lack of traditional defense. While the case, Green has extremely good head movement, a strong understanding of distance, and most importantly, comfort in his proven style to have surprisingly good striking defense.
The benefit of keeping his hands extremely low has another benefit beyond throwing punches from non-traditional angles, that is, is inherently ready to stuff takedown attempts — 73% for his UFC career. This benefit will be extremely important in this fight given the strong wrestling game of Dawson, and while Dawson may get the fight to the mat over a 5-round fight, the degree of effort will likely loom large. This effort loss is something that Green will likely count on in this fight because his style excels as the fight goes on given he strikes with output over power and can trust his cardio the entire duration of the fight. So, while Dawson may want to get the fight to get mat after showcasing early striking, Green will want to deplete the gas tank of Dawson, even if it is through a defensive lens in the early rounds of the fight.
Dawson being priced greater than a -400 is initially somewhat surprising, particularly with knowing Green has comfort fighting wrestlers. But, when you look into recent performances, the age of Green is beginning to show; inversely, Dawson looks to be just now entering his prime. This differential in career paths cannot be understated, as a prime Green would be priced far differently than it is here. But, because a prime Green is not fighting here, I am electing to back the surging prospect of Grant Dawson, and while Green can stuff takedowns and knows how to get up off the mat, I am trusting that Dawson will either show improved damage on the feet or, implement his tried and true grappling attack to eventually find himself in a controlled position on the mat where he then can find a finish.
Pick: Dawson to win inside the distance
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