Marcos Rogerio De Lima

In a battle of two men who give stenographers nightmares, Marcos “Pezao” Rogerio de Lima fights Waldo “Salsa Boy” Cortes-Acosta this weekend at UFC Fight Night 223.

Rogerio de Lima, 37, has won three of his last five fights, the most recent of which was a submission win over UFC veteran Andrei Arlovski. Cortes-Acosta, 31, left the MLB minor league system and transitioned to mixed martial arts in 2015. He earned a UFC contract with a 1st round knockout on the 2022 season of Contender Series and followed it up with back-to-back decision wins.

Betting Odds

Rogerio de Lima is fluctuating around -165 while Cortes-Acosta is at +135. This means a $165 bet on Rogerio de Lima would net $100 while a $100 bet on Cortes-Acosta would net $135.

  • Marcos Rogerio de Lima: -175 (BetUS)
  • Waldo Cortes-Acosta: +145 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Rogerio de Lima tends to fight one way in round 1 and a different way in rounds 2 or 3 but both strategies are rooted in one thing: size. While Rogerio de Lima is only listed at 6-foot-1 and 260 pounds, in the cage, he looks much larger.

In round 1, Rogerio de Lima will use his size, and subsequent power, to blitz forward and look to entice a brawl where he happily goes blow for blow with a willing opponent. “Pezao” has sledgehammers in his gloves and a remarkably stout chin considering his lack of consistent defense. He typically looks to unload most of his volume and energy in round 1 while hunting the knockout.

If an opponent survives round 1, Rogerio de Lima completely shifts his style from a heavy-handed brawler to a wrestler. Just like his striking, Rogerio de Lima’s wrestling is not technical but because of his size and threat of power, it is effective. He tends to land around half of his takedown attempts and controls the fight on the mat for several minutes once down.

His grappling game on the mat is centered around heavy top pressure and patience. Because he uses so much energy in round 1, Rogerio de Lima seems content to lay on his opponent for rounds 2 and 3, doing just enough work to win minutes and rounds. Evidence of this style is that all but 1 of Rogerio de Lima’s 20 professional wins have come by round 1 finish or decision.

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Cortes-Acosta is an interesting young fighter in the heavyweight division. His style is that of a boxer who accumulates damage through volume, then, once an opponent is hurt, looks to land heavier combinations for a finish.

Concerningly, though, Cortes-Acosta has yet to be able to implement that game plan successfully. He has nice boxing with a decent jab and snappy cross but his hand speed and technique aren’t where a high-level boxers need to be. Cortes-Acosta tends to paw his jab forward and follow it with a right hand that is between a cross and an overhand, almost in a slapping motion. Then, he’ll back straight up on the center line rather than cutting an angle which results in him getting countered cleanly.

On DWCS Cortes-Acosta landed heavy right hands and had an opponent hurt after an impressive amount of volume in the first minute; but, right at the moment he should have unloaded knockout blows, he clinched. That indicates he either didn’t have the cardio to implement his game plan or the fight IQ to recognize the opening.

Beyond not yet putting together his style, Cortes-Acosta is also physically small for heavyweight. He’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds but does not have the girth many other heavyweights do. This, coupled with inexperience, makes defending takedowns even more challenging for “Salsa Boy.” Cortes-Acosta’s game isn’t all negative, he is naturally athletic, moves fluidly when offensive, and can rack up volume impressively throughout a fight.

His issue, like other fighters we’ve seen recently, is in a division with extreme power, without Cortes-Acosta proving he can end a fight at the UFC level, his opponent will always be 1 knockout blow away from winning a fight, even if Cortes-Acosta was up in the round.

Prediction and Betting Guide

I think the biggest issue Cortes-Acosta faces is he doesn’t have a natural division. He’s too slow for 205 but is undersized at heavyweight, meaning he’s stuck between weight classes. His first two wins came against a large but slow heavyweight and then a tall but thinner fighter. Cortes-Acosta has yet to face a true heavyweight with true heavyweight power and the athleticism to move 260 pounds around the cage effectively. That is, until now.

Rogerio de Lima, even though he’s 37, is massive, powerful, and moves well for his size. This is a true test for the undersized Cortes-Acosta and one I don’t anticipate him passing. Rogerio de Lima will have the key edges in size, power, experience, and raw aggression. Cortes-Acosta tends to try and box with clean combinations that score points; but, in what will likely look more like a fistfight, that style will likely struggle.

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I expect Rogerio de Lima to pressure early and go all out for the finish while Cortes-Acosta is still developing his momentum. Then, if Cortes-Acosta survives, I forsee Rogerio de Lima wrestling later and using his size to grind out valuable minutes.

Best Bets: Rogerio de Lima to win (-175) and a sprinkle on round 1 knockout

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