Talented prospect, Ricky Simon, holding a professional record of 18-3, is looking to crack the top 15 of the UFC bantamweight division with a win over tenured veteran, #12 ranked Raphael Assuncao. Meanwhile, Assuncao is seeking to end his three-fight losing streak with a win over Simon. Doing so will begin his climb back to the top where he once was on the brink of fighting for the belt. In the end, the trajectories of both men’s careers will be drastically altered after this bout has taken place, so this is one you do not want to miss!
Simon vs. Assuncao betting odds
The challenger, Ricky Simon, is a sizable -280 favorite over the ranked Assuncao.
- Ricky Simon: -280
- Raphael Assuncao: +220
Simon vs. Assuncao breakdown
Simon is one of my favorite prospects in the UFC. My affinity for him is primarily formulated based on his best attribute as a fighter, his wrestling. Over his current three-fight win streak, Simon landed 20/30 takedowns. Perhaps more important than landing at an impressive 67% rate is the quantity of shots taken, given the sizable amount illustrates impressive fight IQ. Meaning, throughout these bouts, Simon demonstrated the intelligence in identifying a strength over his opponent in addition to showcasing a willingness to take the “easiest path to victory” to win the fight – a sports bettor’s dream. Once on the ground, Simon remains extremely active, constantly looking to get the finish by either ground and pound or submission. This propensity to seek the finish explains why his opponents have been able to get back to their feet, but Simon’s grappling talent and strong cardio enable him to get the fight right back to the mat. Extending beyond his grappling acumen, the attribute that has me further excited about him as a prospect is he is a solid-enough striker on the feet with visible power. Although he has shown in the past that he can get clipped while throwing his hands, the fact that his opponent has to respect his striking ability opens up the takedown attempt. This recipe of hands opening up the takedown is a combination that I believe to be the most difficult to defend, as such, the hype around Simon is definitely warranted.
Although Assuncao has had difficulty of late inside the UFC, he is a well-rounded veteran who has fought the best of the bantamweight division over nearly a decade in the promotion, holding wins over 2 former champions. On the feet, Assuncao emphasizes quickness and explosive bursts to land his 3.26 strikes per minute, only absorbing 2.33 per minute. On the ground, Assuncao, a BJJ black belt, has a dangerous offensive-minded attack, having won 10 of his 27 professional wins by submission. This duality of attacks makes him a difficult fight for any non-elite fighter. The problem, for Assuncao, is that either his sharp skills have faded somewhat or the top-level fighters are simply a notch ahead, given he hasn’t won a fight since 2018 and he has been finished two of his last three fights. The difficulty in ascertaining the rationale behind said finishes is that they have come very early in the fight. For this reason, it is difficult to conclude whether Assuncao has lost a step given he has endured extensive damage from the top echelon of the division or if he has simply gotten unlucky in finding himself in inopportune positions that have resulted in him losing via finish. I tend to lean the latter, as such, Assuncao will need to be a bit more cautious to not find himself in a position that results in being finished once again.
Simon vs. Assuncao prediction
Although Assuncao is a dangerous fighter who has a plethora of UFC experience, I believe he is far more of a top 15 gatekeeper than a high-level bantamweight contender at this point of his career. So, the question is if Simon is a legitimate top 15 caliber of fighter in one of the toughest divisions in the UFC. The answer to this posed question, for me, is an unequivocal yes. His solid-enough striking accompanied by elite grappling with strong cardio makes him an exciting prospect who should be able to bypass any attack Assuncao throws at him, especially when on the ground. As such, I anticipate Simon winning this fight the same way he has won his last three bouts in the UFC, impressively and without much, if any, adversity.
Bet: Simon to win; Simon to win by decision