Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs. Steve Garcia Jr prediction | UFC 287 1

Shayilan “Wolverine” Nuerdanbieke, 28, is currently on a three-fight winning streak after he dropped his debut in 2021 via unanimous decision. During his winning streak, Nuerdanbieke has two wins via decision, and, most recently, a first-round knockout finish.

Steve “Mean Machine” Garcia, 30, has a 13-5 professional record with 10 knockout wins; but, in the UFC, Garcia is 2-2. His last three fights have ended via knockout.

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Betting Odds

Fight Breakdown

Nuerdanbieke is a well-rounded fighter but an overhyped prospect with a unique record. On paper, a 28-year-old fighter with a 39-10 record either looks like a real-deal talent or a typo in the record books. However, in Nuedanbieke’s case, that record is one simple thing: padded.

Prior to the UFC, Nuerdanbieke fought around the Asian circuit racking up quick finish wins with quick turnarounds for fights. But, in the UFC, he’s struggled to find similar success.

“Wolverine” is a solid but not great wrestler who looks to clinch, grind against the cage, and drag opponents down to the mat. He doesn’t use trips well against the cage, like many clinch fighters; instead, he drives his head and shoulders into his opponent and looks to drop his hips for the takedown. After grinding an opponent down with this style, which typically requires an advantage in strength, if Nuerdanbieke lands on top, he smothers well and is difficult to detach from once he gets position. He tends to choose position over finish while racking up control time in the clinch or on the mat. His wrestling is designed to hold, smother, and exhaust opponents.

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Outside of his last knockout win, which was stepped in controversy and caused James Krause to be blacklisted from the UFC, Nuerdanbieke’s grinding style resulted in him racking up 7.5 minutes of control time in back-to-back fights en route to decision wins. Because his striking is basic and his striking defense is porous, we can expect him to follow a similar game plan to those two fights once again.

Garcia is a tough bulldog in the cage who uses his grit and willpower to overcome his lack of athleticism and technique. Garcia is almost exclusively a boxer who lives on his front foot and keeps the pressure up for the duration of the fight. He tends to rush into range, forgoing the typical jab to create combinations, as he looks for wide and powerful hooks. His striking is more “fistfight” than “technical boxing” but it has proven successful against fighters incapable of countering the predictable pressure. Against fighters with a footwork or hand speed, Garcia can often get caught chasing or overextending.

Most important, in this fight, will likely be Garcia’s takedown defense, which currently sits at 100%. That number, though, is deceptive. He stuffed seven takedowns in his debut; but, Garcia has not faced a fighter who has shot more than 1 takedown in 15 minutes since then. His pressure style might back up the wrestler early, but one well timed shot when Garcia overextends will likely end with his shorts on the canvas.

Prediction and Betting Guide

Garcia is 2-2 in the UFC and his only wins have come against a fighter who went 0-3 in the UFC before getting cut and against the 23-year-old Chase Hooper who is 3-3 in the UFC himself. Looking at the caliber of components is only a small variable in handicapping fights; but, in this fight, the caliber of opponents for Garcia, and lack of quality wins, illustrate his limitations as a fighter.

Nuerdanbieke is flawed, overhyped, often overpriced, and on a path toward a profitable fade in the right matchup. But, this is not the right matchup. This fight comes down to which man can implement their pressure.

If Nuerdanbieke can get the first takedown, he should be able to rinse and repeat for 15 minutes. If Garcia can stuff takedowns and ramp up 100+ strike attempts, he might be able to overwhelm Nuerdanbieke.

Nuerdanbieke’s path is more likely to happen; and, even though he struggles defensively, Nuerdanbieke’s counterstriking should find success against the overaggressive Garcia as well. I don’t like Nuerdanbieke as a parlay piece because this fight is more of a fade of Garcia than a bet on Nuedanbieke.

Instead, I’ll bank on Nuerdanbieke’s lack of finishing ability and Garcia’s toughness for two bets.

Best Bets: Over 2.5 Rounds (+110) and Nuerdanbieke by Decision +300

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