Unlike the last few weeks, I’m really pleased by the amount of good betting opportunities on UFC Fight Night 139. One fight that stands out is an interesting women’s strawweight contest between Ashley Yoder and Amanda Cooper. Both fighters have been struggling and the loser could find herself cut from the UFC.
A former Golden Gloves champion, it’s obvious Cooper does her best work with her hands. When there’s no takedown threat imminent, Cooper puts together fluid boxing combinations and moves lightly on her feet. Her best performance inside the octagon was against another pure striker in Anna Elmose (she also dominated a lower level opponent in Angela Magana).
Unfortunately for Cooper, things tend to go downhill when opponents seek to grapple with her. Against Team Alpha Male star, Cynthia Calvillo, Cooper was easily taken down and submitted in the first round. After eating a bomb from Mackenzie Dern in her last contest, Cooper gave up her back and was quickly choked out. Although a purple belt in jiu-jitsu, Cooper has always looked a step behind in transitions (albeit against high level grapplers). She should look to keep this fight standing at all costs, but I have reservations about her counter-wrestling.
Team Quest fighter, Ashley Yoder, has racked up an unimpressive 0-3 record in the UFC – but if you delve a little deeper, you can see all three fights were highly competitive. You can certainly make a case that Yoder should have got the decision victory over muay thai slugger, Justine Kish. While Yoder was outlanded on the feet, she dominated positionally on the mat.
Yoder’s scrambling ability is smooth and she’s consistently able to sweep her opponents. In her last fight for Invicta FC, Yoder pulled guard against Amber Brown yet was able to work her way to a dominant position. She appears to have a significant ground advantage over Amanda Cooper, so pulling guard could be an option again. That being said, Yoder trains at a renowned wrestling gym and is capable of executing double and single leg takedowns as well as throws in the clinch. She looks to be the physically stronger fighter in this match-up.
A lanky and awkward southpaw, Yoder isn’t out of her depth on the feet. Her best weapon is her straight left hand, but she also possesses decent body and push kicks that she fires at range. These weapons could be useful against a shorter opponent in Amanda Cooper who will be looking to close the distance.
There’s no question that Amanda Cooper has the sharper hands, but this isn’t a boxing match. In order for her to win, she needs to fight at boxing range yet avoid the clinch where she could get taken down. That doesn’t seem likely.
Ashley Yoder can use her length to stay competitive on the feet, but when the fighters inevitably tie up I believe she’ll wrestle Cooper to the mat. On the ground, Yoder should dominate the scrambles and I wouldn’t be surprised if she scored a submission victory. All of Cooper’s career losses have come by way of submission.
Pick: Ashley Yoder -152
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