Jamall Emmers fighting Khusein Ashkabov in the UFC (Zuffa LLC)

Jamall “Prettyboy” Emmers, 34, is 2-3 in the UFC since joining the promotion in 2020. Both of his wins have come via decision, while two of his losses were narrow split decision losses.

Dennis “The Great” Buzukja, 26, took two trips to the hardest job interview in the world but did not earn a contract with either effort. He stepped on short notice in August to finally get a shot in the big dance and dropped a decision.

Emmers vs Buzukja odds

Emmers opened north of a -300 favorite but was quickly bet down to his current number.

  • Jamall Emmers: -280 (BetUS)
  • Dennis Buzukja: +225 (BetUS)

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Emmers vs Buzukja breakdown

Emmers has struggled to find his identity in the UFC. He is a long and rangy striker with some offensive grappling chops; but, as shown through two split decision losses, struggles to pull away with any clarity in his fights. He pushes a respectable pace, landing nearly five significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 3.7. However, even his pace is inconsistent.

In some fights, Emmers will push forward behind a long jab and nice calf kick as he uses his height and reach advantage to force an opponent to rush into the pocket where Emmers’ hand speed can land a snappy counter on the exposed and frustrated opponent. Then, in other fights, Emmers will stand flat-footed and get backed into the cage, looking again for those counter combinations but gets pieced up in the meantime.

His wrestling is much of the same. In several of his fights, Emmers has been able to land takedowns and hold his opponents down for north of 4 minutes. However, he’s only won 2 of those fights. Part of that is because Emmers doesn’t do much once he gets the takedown or he gasses himself out with his shots and absorbs damage on the feet as a result. The bottom line for “Prettyboy” is that he has the complete MMA skillset to be a solid fighter, but his game plan or fight IQ consistently get in the way of his success.

Buzukja is an easy guy to root for and should have a big crowd cheering for him on Saturday. He comes from Longo’s gym in New York and UFC 295 is taking place at the Garden. Beyond the hometown crowd he’ll have cheering, Buzukja is an all-action fighter who pushes a pace early and wants to throw down for a fight-filled fifteen minutes or until someone drops.

His pressure, power, and persistence have resulted in a bit of a cult following but did not result in him getting a shot in the UFC until recently. That is because, despite his fan-friendly style, Buzukja can be his own worst enemy in the cage sometimes. Like a horse with blinders, Buzukja can get tunnel vision and head hunt the finish rather than taking the path of least resistance to win a round.

He fights with aggression and mixes in calf and front kicks well with his above average in the pocket boxing. His cardio, chin, and forward pressure give a lot of opponents fitz. But, those who are capable of sniping the forward moving Buzukja with well-timed counters, fluid footwork, and patient strikes have given the NY native problems.

In these fights, where Buzukja is caught chasing, he seems to get frustrated and try even harder to find the off-switch. That tunnel vision only makes it easier for technicians to stick’n move en route to a decision win. However, when he’s composed, Buzukja’s mix of powerful boxing, well-incorporated kicks, strong takedown defense, and heart make him a fun fighter to watch and a difficult one to face.

Emmers vs Buzukja prediction

Simply put, I feel the odds on this fight are too wide. Emmers is the more experienced and likely more skilled mixed martial artist; but, he shouldn’t warrant a -280 price tag. Both of these fights have positive skills; but, also and more importantly, concerning gaps. Buzukja will likely be the aggressor in this fight and carry more power.

So, if he can find his range, I expect him to land the higher volume and the more damaging shots. Conversely, if Emmers fights intelligently behind his jab and with footwork, he should be able to stick’n move for 15 minutes, forcing Buzukja to chase and overswing, hitting air more often than not. Additionally, while both men struggle from their backs, both also have some offensive wrestling chops.

However, neither typically can land reliable takedowns nor hold opponents for long periods of time. This fight, to me, comes down to Emmers’ fight IQ- something that has been inconsistent in the UFC- and Buzukja’s ability to stay composed.

Given the wide odds, I’ll be happy to play Buzukja to win and sprinkle a little on him by knockout when those odds come out. I like Buzukja’s persistent volume, pressure, and heavier shots to win a close decision or even get the hometown crowd started with an upset KO.

Best Bet: Buzukja to win (+225 at BetUS)

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