David Onama

26-year-old prospect with high expectations, Gabriel “Mosquitinho” Santos will fight in the UFC with a full camp for the first time. His debut, which he took on six days notice, resulted in a split decision loss to undefeated featherweight contender Lerone Murphy.

He takes on fellow prospect, 29-year-old David “Silent Assassin” Onama. Onama is 2-2 in the UFC with both wins ending inside the distance and both losses going the distance.

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Betting Odds

Despite being only his second UFC fight, Santos is one of the larger favorites on the card.

  • Gabriel Santos: -250 (BetUS)
  • David Onama: +190 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Santos has the skill set to not only earn a ranking one day; but, likely, one day soon. Santos is a stance-switching fight who primarily throws when in his southpaw stance. He has heavy hands and kicks, especially his body kick, and mixes his strikes with variety. His striking is often explosive without overextending and leaving himself vulnerable. Santos’ natural athleticism and balance help him burst forward with speed and power without overcommitting to his strikes.

Defensively, Santos is a bit slow to react and was stung repeatedly by straight strikes from a technical fighter in his debut. But, he showed excellent heart and cardio, despite fighting on only 6 days notice. Beyond his striking, which is impressive offensively, Santos also has a dangerous ground game. He shows good timing on his takedowns, has lethal jiu-jitsu, and scrambles with the same explosive athleticism as he has in his striking.

Most impressively, when exhausted in the 3rd round of his last fight, Santos was still able to land a single-leg takedown in the center of the canvas, immediately take the back, lock in a body triangle, and looked for chokes in the final :90 of the fight. The ability to do that against a strong defensive grappler is impressive but considering his cardio obstacles on short notice, it is a sign of a truly tough and high level fighter.

Onama has underwhelmed a bit in the UFC thus far. He’s beaten the two fighters he was supposed to beat and finished them as well. But, in the two fights that truly tested Onama, he lost via decision. Just like Santos, Onama has the skillset of a ranked fighter and the finishing ability with striking and grappling. But, he’s shown holes when faced with pressure, especially pressure wrestlers. Both Jones and Landwehr exploited Onama’s less than 50% takedown defense in their wins against the “Silent Assassin.”

On the feet, Onama is also a stance-switch fighter with good power from both stances, especially from his hooks. He strikes with good pop and volume, has shown toughness and an ability to walk through counter shots to keep landing his own, and can land a variety of strikes from a variety of angles. He also has a strong grappling game, from the clinch and on the mat, when he’s in control. Onama primarily looks for chokes while grappling, using his long frame and athleticism to find and squeeze the neck, often after landing slicing elbows and thudding knees from the clinch. Onama’s bottom line is that he is dangerous and skilled offensively but struggles defensively on the feet and on the mat. Still, though, his offensive game is something that can produce finishes with regularity.

Prediction and Best Bet

This fight comes down to the wide line and Santos’ game plan. -250 gives Santos a 71% implied winning probability; that is a high number considering he’s only 0-1 in the UFC. But, if Santos wrestles, a path that should yield consistent success in this fight, those odds are warranted.

If Santos chooses to strikes with Onama, however, then the result will likely be much closer. Onama will likely have the technique and speed advantage on the feet while Santos will likely land the bigger shots. I think Santos should be favored; but, given the similar styles, athletic profiles, and striking skillsets, I don’t agree with the 71% implied odds.

Therefore, I’m going with the underdog in this one. I expect Onama to replicate Murphy’s game plan as closely as he can and counter the aggressive Santos with straight shots for 15 minutes.

Best Bet: David Onama to win (+190)

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