AJ Dobson celebrates his win in the UFC (Zuffa LLC)

Tafon “Da Don” Nchukwi, 28, is 6-3 as a professional and 2-3 following a Dana White’s Contender Series win in 2020. Both of Nchuwki’s wins have come via decision. He’s dropped his last two fights by knockout.

AJ Dobson, 31, also has minimal professional experience with a 6-2 record. He’s also lost his last 2 fights, but both have come by decision.

How to watch: Get ESPN+ and watch every fight live this Saturday night, including Vicente Luque vs. Rafael dos Anjos.

How to bet: Sign up to BetUS and cash in our special sign-up offer of up to $2,500.

Betting Odds

Nchukwi is a slight favorite over Dobson before UFC on ESPN 51.

  • Tafon Nchukwi: -150 (BetUS)
  • AJ Dobson: +120 (BetUS)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Fight Breakdown

Nchukwi has minimal experience yet still has a significant split in his performances. The first two times Nchukwi fought a pure striker he pushed a solid pace, fought on his front foot well, and landed with respectable speed and power. However, in his most recent two fights against primary strikers, Nchukwi fought with a significant decrease in volume, he fought primarily as a counter striker off his back foot, and looked to land a single powershot rather than combinations. In both of those fights, “Da Don” was knocked out.

When he fights tentatively, Nchukwi does not have the output or defensive abilities to dissuade his opponent from coming forward and inflicting real damage. He’s much better at being the hammer than the nail. When he is the one moving forward, though, we’ve seen a powerful boxer with an ability to throw combinations for all 3 rounds.

Dobson has not won either of his UFC fights despite showing an ability to be well-rounded. In his debut, Dobson was out-struck and consistently out-grappled against a cardio heavy and gritty fighter with quality experience. Then, in his next fight, Dobson again was out-struck but landed his own offensive wrestling consistently. In both cases, Dobson’s undoing was his unwillingness, or inability, to throw in volume.

Because of his tendency to fight with low volume, Dobson lets his opponent take control of the cage and the fight. Thus far, in his short career, Dobson has not shown an ability to combine both his striking and wrestling with any consistency. He has, however, had moments in fights where he looks explosive and dangerous. He’s naturally athletic, can be a strong wrestler, and lands with power when he lets his hands go.

Prediction and Best Bet

Both of these fighters have similar major red flags to their game: vastly inexperienced, concerningly low striking volume, and inconsistent defense. Nchukwi used to have more consistent striking volume but in back-to-back knockouts, he’s severely reduced his output. That indicates that he might be tentative in the cage.

Meanwhile, Dobson is consistent with his low output. So, because I expect this fight to be low volume on both sides, with both fighters struggling defensively and with consistency, I want to find plus money. That comes simply with AJ Dobson. I think this fight should be lined as a pick’em and will gladly take dog money on either side. Nchukwi’s recent knockouts and possibly lack of durability are just a cherry on top.

Best Bet: Dobson to win (+120 at BetUS)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *