Charles Johnson vs. Ode Osbourne pick & prediction | UFC Vegas 70
Charles “InnerG” Johnson, 32, is on a two-fight winning streak since dropping his UFC debut in 2022. He has finished 9 of his 13 professional wins inside the distance and has never been finished himself. Ode “The Jamaican Sensation” Osbourne, 31, is 11-5 as a professional fighter and 3-3 in the UFC. All but one of Osbourne’s UFC fights have ended inside the distance.
Johnson and Osbourne will clash at UFC Vegas 70 this weekend.
Johnson, after transferring over from LFA, was touted as someone to keep on the radar for the flyweight division. He is a strong wrestler, primarily defensively, and has crispy boxing rooted in speed and movement. Johnson, typically, looks to fight from range where he can use his height and reach to keep opponents at the end of his punches. He uses a snapping jab that he can land from a variety of angles to dictate the position of his opponents. Johnson, who often stands with a wide boxing base and heavy lead leg, tends to move slowly and plot forward. But, because of his head movement and hip dexterity, he still uses a flashy bob-and-weave defense that requires him to be faster and more reactive than his opponents. Because of his natural speed advantage and reliable jaw, Johnson has implemented this riskier defense successfully throughout his career. He often looks to slip or roll an opponent’s combination and then return with his own fast and powerful counter combination.
When he’s flowing, he looks impressive in the pocket; but, as he’s getting older and facing better competition, Johnson has been caught and forced to eat a few clean shots in each fight. “InnerG” is a strong wrestler as well. He is capable of getting his own takedowns; but, more commonly, he uses his wide base, strong upper body, and wrestling background to keep the fight standing. The bottom line is that Johnson is a well-rounded and athletic striker who tends to win when he’s the faster, more athletic, or sharper boxer. But, he struggles when opponents can match him in those regards.
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Osbourne is an exciting but inconsistent fighter. He has real power for the 125-pound division, impressive hand speed, exciting striking, and a sneaky submission game. However, he is defensively porous, has a shaky chin, and has a questionable gas tank. When he’s “on,” especially early in fights, Osbourne strikes with quick combinations that often include laser straights which he throws without telegraphing or wasted movement. Similarly to Johnson, Osbourne likes a range kickboxing match where his size, length, and speed can all be used to his advantage. Standing southpaw, Osbourne tends to keep his hands low and chin high. This helps him move more fluidly but risks him getting clipped cleanly. Like many tall fighters, Osbourne tends to back straight up on the center line and pull his head back to evade pressure. This allows him to keep countering but allows pressure-centric fighters to find the button and drop “The Jamaican Sensation.” In fights where he is the larger fighter, when opponents let him be all the way out at range or all the way in where he can find a submission, or when he gets his offense going early, Osbourne is dangerous and successful. But, when opponents can pressure him back or force Osbourne to fight in the pocket, he can struggle.
Prediction and Betting Guide
Johnson has fought both extreme ends of the spectrum in the UFC: Mokaev who is an uber-prospect and possible future title holder and Zhumagulov and Flick, the former was cut from the roster and the latter left and came back. So, there really is no telling how Johnson stacks up to a typical UFC-caliber fighter. He is, however, used to being the stronger man, the longer striker, and the more dangerous opponent.
Interestingly, against Osbourne, Johnson won’t have those familiar advantages. Osbourne can match the strength and athleticism of Johnson, has the longer reach, and is powerful in his own right.
I think this fight is a lot closer than the odds suggest. Johnson has not impressed me in any of his 3 fights, but he has a striking and wrestling combination that can propel him deep into his career. Conversely, Osbourne is fragile and has a gas tank issue but his offense, hand speed, long striking, and explosiveness make him a dangerous matchup for anyone.
Because I think both men match up similarly and because Johnson has underwhelmed, I’m siding with Osbourne. I don’t think he’ll find the finish, Johnson is too durable. But, I do like Osbourne to land the more impactful strikes for 15 minutes.
Best Bet: Osbourne to win (+132 odds at MyBookie)
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.