Zubaira Tukhugov will help open up UFC 284 as a preliminary fight before his teammate Islam Makhachev looks to become the best pound-for-pound fighter later in the night. In order to set up some momentum for his team, he will have to get past Elves Brenner. The Brazilian submission artist is looking to introduce himself to UFC fans after earning two straight victories on the Brazilian MMA circuit. He is currently 13-3 as he enters the world’s biggest promotion.
Tukhugov is coming in as the major favorite at -555. This means that it will cost $555 to win a $100 profit on the fighter from Chechnya.
- Zubaira Tukhugov: -555
- Elves Brenner: +379
Elves Brenner is a very exciting fighter out of Chute Box and he scraps in the way for which the camp has become famous. On the feet, he will throw spinning elbows and knees up the middle from a square tall stance. The downside to this is he is on the center line to be hit with straight shots to the head, especially once fatigue starts to set in. When he is rocked, he does a good job of shelling up and rolling with shots as he moves away to take off the brunt of impact but at the end of the day, there will be opportunities for Tukhugov to tag him.
Ultimately Brenner’s goal however is to get the fight to the floor and lean on his jiu-jitsu and submission skills. In 13 wins, 11 have come by way of submission, mostly armbars and rear-naked chokes. His game is very dynamic, with good takedowns and a good mixture of building up ground and pound and attacking limbs or the neck. If presented with a closed guard he likes the can-opener where you stack and pulls on the neck to pass, or simply stacking and brutalizing his opponents with elbows until they try to escape. Although he readily falls back to leg locks, most of his success comes when he can maintain control and force his opponents to make mistakes. If in the bottom position himself, he is good at inverting and using the cage to create scrambles and sweeps or once again attack legs to create enough space to get to another position.
Zubaira Tukhugov is not a particularly flashy fighter, he sticks to his bread-and-butter tactics and wins fights. On the feet, he has a slick jab and a good cross. When he does get over-excited and rushes forward, he can end up looping his punches over his shoulder and missing big, at which point he ends up off balance. However it is difficult to take advantage of this as the power is still there, and instead, his opponents have moved laterally leaving him to hit the air. Tukhugov does much better when he leads up and draws out his opponent’s punches in order to counter, particularly parrying with his right and throwing the jab down the middle, the left hook, or a straight right. Tukhugov’s worst enemy in the UFC has been close fights, most recently against Hakeem Dowadu, inactivity and being on the backfoot made that difference, so expect to see a much more aggressive Tukhugov in controlling the center cage.
Tukhugov also has the wrestling advantage, he is good at shooting, but then better at ending his shots by turning the corner and swiveling to the back. Especially against the cage he can hit nice back trips and ride the clinch. Ultimately look for him to secure the far wrist in the “Dagestani handcuff” and slowly beat down his opponents.
Prediction and Betting Guide
At -555, Zubaira is a major favorite, meaning the return on a bet is not going to be very high. However, he is such a big favorite for a reason. Aside from the experience difference, Tukhugov has a sharper more educated stand-up game and has a better chance of keeping it there if he wants to. I am doubtful that Brenner can get the fight down when he wants to and if he does will have to incite some sort of scramble with the risk of Tukhugov ending up in the top position as well. If this happens or Tukhugov chases a takedown, it will be up to him to stay safe from all submission threats as he maintains control and chips away with ground and pound. Although that submission possibility is real from an expert like Brenner, it’s not a hole that Tukhugov has really shown in the past.
At -555 use Tukhugov as a parlay, to raise the value of another bet on the card. Tukhugov parlayed with Makhachev will raise them separately being to -555 and -400 to -213 together, offering a bit more worth it payout at the end of the day. Alternatively, picking Zubaira to win by decision is +130 which is backed up nicely by his majority decision victory rate and Brenner’s losses all coming by way of decision.
Pick: Zubaira Tukhugov to win (-555) or by decision (+130)