On a fight card with plenty of betting opportunities, I’m intrigued by this bantamweight showdown between two surging prospects: Said Nurmagomedov vs. Ricardo Ramos.

Said Nurmagomedov

Unlike his legendary cousin, Said Nurmagomedov is not a smothering top control wrestler (although he’s certainly capable of landing takedowns). Instead, he’s more of a measured kickboxer, picking his shots carefully as well as throwing the occasional spinning technique. Nurmagomedov shoots takedowns now and again, which gives him a good style for winning rounds in the eyes of the judges.

In his UFC debut, the Dagestan native may count himself lucky, as many people (myself included) believed the fight should have gone to his opponent, Justin Scoggins. Despite his penchant for diving into guillotines, Scoggins is a highly skilled striker with great takedown defense – so it doesn’t say much that Nurmagomedov had a difficult fight against him.

I believe Nurmagomedov will look to stay at range, throw lots of kicks and try to earn some top control time in order to win two out of three rounds. His opponent, Ricardo Ramos, will look to stop that from happening.

Ricardo Ramos

A black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Ramos showed excellent transitional awareness on the mat against Aiemann Zahabi in his second UFC fight. When taken down, he will fire off elbows as well as threaten with submissions.

Despite his grappling accolades, his striking looked crisp in his most recent bout with Kyung Ho Kang. He has blistering hand speed and throws a clean 1-2. He’s also known to attack the lead leg of his opponents with low kicks. On the feet, this feels like a competitive match-up but I would give the slight edge to Ramos due to his clean boxing technique.

One criticism of Ramos is that he slows down in the second half of fights. Against Zahabi, momentum was swinging in his opponent’s favor before Ramos was able to finish him with a spinning elbow from hell in the third round. He evidently cuts a huge amount of weight and I suspect his future is at featherweight.

Who Wins?

When you weigh up the advantages for each fighter, this seems like one of the most competitive matches on the card. Ramos has the superior striking and submissions whereas Nurmagomedov has the superior wrestling and cardio.

I’ve gone back and forth with this one but I’m going with Ramos, I think he can land the cleaner strikes in rounds one and two before fading. Given that Nurmagomedov isn’t likely to finish, Ramos NSC (scorecards = no action) feels like a safe play at -216.

Pick: Ricardo Ramos -115

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