Joe Pyfer UFC

This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 236 main event is a middleweight showdown between Joe Pyfer and Jack Hermansson.

With contrasting fighting styles and trajectories, this bout is set to test both fighters’ mettle in the octagon but could also shape the future landscape of the UFC middleweight division.

Read on for the latest Pyfer vs. Hermansson betting odds, as well as our detailed analysis and staff picks.

Betting Odds

Pyfer’s a decent-sized favorite heading into the UFC Fight Night 236 main event against Hermansson who is listed as high as +195 before the fight.

  • Joe Pyfer: -235 (BetUS)
  • Jack Hermansson: +195 (BetUS)

Pyfer vs. Hermansson Predictions

Braeden Arbour

This will be a huge test for the surging Joe Pyfer. Not only is Jack Hermansson a large jump in competition, he is also an awkward moving high paced fighter set to work for a potential five rounds. Pyfer, although having been scheduled for five rounds once before, has only gone the distance in any fight just once, and it was six years ago at the beginning of his career.

Joe Pyfer utilizes a simple fighting style applied extremely well. He moves easily on his toes, but is evidently grounded whenever he throws shots. He likes to march his opponents down with his jab, and lead cross as well as his right body kick and low kicks. He will do so looking for an opportunity to freeze his opponents as they shell up, or hit the cage and then he will sit down on combinations.

Jack Hermansson will be much more difficult to find, however; the Norwegian fighter is constantly bouncing outside at kicking range, looking to kick to all targets and explode his way in with punches. A lot of the punches he throws, especially starting from outside, have no intention of landing, instead they allow him to bridge the gap and land the follow up kicks at the end of the combinations. For example, Hermansson has consistently used his right superman punch to left low kick to almost burst across the octagon and land at times. He also uses a stiff front kick down the pipe to maintain his preferred range while keeping up his output.

It will really be on Pyfer to make the already smaller octagon of the APEX seem even smaller for Hermansson. Both men should look to attack the legs early, Pyfer in order to slow down some of the bouncing and awkward movement of Hermansson, and Hermansson to take out the roots of Pyfer’s punching power.

The grappling exchanges will be something to watch out for. At the level of competition we have seen Pyfer compete at so far, it seems he has the timing and physicality to penetrate straight into power doubles and deep body lock slams with relative ease on almost everybody. Hermansson tends to do his own takedown work more from entanglements and turning off on angles in order to drag his opponents down, but he does have a lower takedown accuracy than the up-and-comer. That being said, if the two end up in a scramble, especially late in the five rounds take a toll on Pyfer, Hermansson’s ground and pound is easily the most dangerous part of his game. I do not expect him to take Pyfer down with ease but later on in the fight look for him to have success if they engage in scrambles.

This fight is not an easy one to pick. It’s truly a chance for Pyfer to rise to the occasion, however I could see either man getting it done. Pyfer should have an advantage in the smaller octagon in the Apex, but against someone as awkward as Hermansson, it may take a few moments for him to pin down the timing and range he needs to land with consistency. At the same time, the longer the fight goes, the more unknown territory the American will be in, albeit he has been shown to have a very calculated and efficient pace thus far. At the end of the day, I believe it is a much closer fight than the oddsmakers would make it seem. With Pyfer sitting at -270, I would prefer to take Hermansson at +215.

Pick: Jack Hermansson to win (+195 at BetUS)

Michel Pounders

Joe “Bodybagz” Pyfer, 27, is getting his first main event shot after only three fights in the UFC. He’s earned this opportunity because of his in-the-cage style and production coupled with the viral “Be Joe Pyfer!” rant that Dana went on after Pyfer was the sole bright spot on the first week of Contender Series in 2022.

In the cage, Pyfer has proven to be an animal, running through opponents with violence and aggression. Pyfer is the epitome of a power-focused wrestle boxer. On the feet, Pyfer has basic but effective striking, primarily using a calf kick and an overhand right. His goal is simple: back and opponent up with a calf kick and forward pressure, then unload a devastating power shot to shut out the lights. He can throw in combination and with more variety but really hasn’t needed to much during his early UFC career.

Pyfer is also a powerful wrestler and grappler, an aspect of his game we’ve only sparingly seen, because he’s often knocking opponents out. Just like his striking, Pyfer’s wrestling and grappling are basic and rooted in power, but still effective. He trains a quality grappling gym and has participated in grappling only competitions between UFC fights; so, it is reasonable to presume his wrestling and grappling are improving.

Jack “The Joker” Hermansson, 35, is a mainstay in the middleweight rankings, doing Yeoman’s work for the UFC for much of his career. Alternating wins and losses over his last seven fights, Hermansson has served as the litmus test in the division. If a fighter can beat him, they often earn a shot a top-five opponent. If they can’t, they likely aren’t a ranked level fighter. Hermansson is so good at his job as a top 10 gatekeeper because he is a challenging puzzle to figure out for up-and-coming fighters.

“The Joker” is not exceptionally athletic, dynamic, or dangerous. But, he is skilled, battle-tested, and well-rounded. Hermansson has a full gambit of mixed martial arts skills- boxing, calf kicks, lateral movement, offensive grappling, takedown defense, and cardio- that he can turn to and exploit any gap in his opponent’s game. Often, it takes an opponent to be as well-rounded and more dangerous in order to win.

This fight is a challenging one to handicap. Pyfer is making a significant step up in competition, is in his first main event despite only having three UFC fights, and is fighting someone who can exploit Pyfer’s biggest question mark: cardio.

Meanwhile, Hermansson has far more experience and a proven track record but has historically struggled against what Pyfer does best: early aggression and power. To make things even more complicated, Hermansson has recently beaten and lost to a power striker in his last 2 fights, making his skills when facing power even more unclear.

Ultimately, this fight requires handicappers to take a leap on Pyfer. Either his powerful striking, well-schooled grappling, and buzz saw aggression are at the level of a ranked fighter, or they’re not. We don’t have any historical data to point to one way or the other. So, we have to make a call. In a fight that requires taking a leap or making a call- imbuing an outcome that has not been previously seen- I look for money.

There are two +money plays I’m considering. The first is what the odds and matchup suggest is the most likely outcome in the fight: Pyfer wins in rounds 1 or 2 +130. Pyfer is an over 2:1 favorite and is a fast starter who has starched all but one of his opponents inside of 2 rounds. Plus, Hermansson is vulnerable early, especially to power shots.

The other number I like is simply Hermansson to win at +225. +225 gives Hermansson only a 30% chance of winning. Given the questions that surround the level of Pyfer’s skills and his ability to succeed in deep water, I think Hermansson’s implied odds should be closer to 40% or 45%. I see value on the veteran to find a way to win.

I have gone back and forth on these two plays all week and eventually settled on Hermansson’s money line. The number is bigger and it provides more paths to victory than Pyfer in rounds 1 or 2. Hermansson will likely have to survive an early storm, use his lateral movement to avoid the one-hitter-quitter, and then weaponize his cardio to pull the prospect into deep waters in order to win. We’ve seen “The Joker” do it before and I’m picking him to do it again.

Best Bet: Hermansson to win (+195 at BetUS)

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