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UFC Vegas 49 goes down on Saturday at UFC APEX in Las Vegas and is headlined by a short-notice replacement bout between Islam Makhachev and Bobby Green. It’s a shorter event, with only 11 fights on the card, and beyond the main event, there isn’t a lot to make you stand up and take notice. But hey, that’s what gambling is for.
Let’s take a look at some of the best bets available on the card. All odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Misha Cirkunov is a former light heavyweight contender who made the drop to 185 pounds in his previous bout, a split decision loss to Krzysztof Jotko. He should fare much better this time out as he settles more comfortably into the division and receives a favorable matchup. Turman is, in many respects, a smaller and less accomplished version of Cirkunov. Both are primarily grapplers who are capable of striking if need be, but they don’t excel at it, and have slow hands. Given Cirkunov’s size and experience advantage, plus a slightly higher work rate and increased level of comfort in his sophomore middleweight outing, I expect him to get his hand raised.
Armen Petrosyan is a solid kickboxer and athletic dude. Rodrigues, meanwhile, is a former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion and has the grappling you would expect of that accolade. This is a classic striker vs. grappler matchup, and in this instance, I’m backing the striker. Although Rodrigues is a decent takedown artist, he’s not particularly explosive, and he has a bad habit of engaging in brawls. I think Petrosyan will use his speed and athleticism to avoid grappling exchanges and tune up Rodrigues on the feet.
I’m having trouble figuring out why this line is as high as it is. Martinez is a good fighter, but he’s far from a world-beater, and more importantly, he’s not the most defensively savvy fighter alive. Perez has his own shortcomings, to be sure, but he’s a hard-nosed and gritty fighter who’s only lost to top-level bantamweights. When you add that in his previous fight, Perez appears to have noticeably improved at pressuring his opponents, I like him to win outright. He’s certainly worth a bet with these odds.
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Islam Makhachev by Submission or Decision, -225
Like Khabib Nurmagomedov before him, Makhachev is an elite wrestler and top-position grappler; however, Makhachev is not nearly the ground-and-pound artist that Khabib is. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still more than effective there, but Makhachev either submits opponents or rides them out to a decision win. In his UFC career, he only has one KO/TKO, and that was from a standing punch on Gleison Tibau.
If I had to pick between a submission or decision, I would favor a decision. But Green’s tendency to give up his back during scrambles is a concern. Going with a Double Chance line here mitigates that concern and essentially just knocks several hundred points off Makhachev’s betting line.
Islam Makhachev vs. Bobby Green Over 3.5 Rounds, +155
As mentioned above, I think there is a decent chance that Makhachev and Green go the distance (which you can get at +250 if you’re so inclined). But those odds don’t quite match up to the probabilities for me, whereas I think there is much greater than a 50-percent chance this fight makes it past the halfway mark.
Green is a good wrestler, an excellent defensive fighter overall, and exceedingly smart. His best path to victory is surviving the early onslaught and then adjusting to take over later on, which means he should prioritize defense early. On top of all that, while most people think the short-notice nature of this fight affects Green the most, Makhachev is also hurt by the drastic change of opponent. Remember when Khabib fought Al Iaquinta on a day’s notice and could only manage a dominant decision? This is a lot like that.
Ramiz Brahimaj by Submission, -120
While I’m normally hesitant to bet on fighters with such a small track record outside of the smaller circuits, in this instance I will make an exception. Brahimaj is a good grappler who has secured all nine of his career victories by submission. Micheal Gilmore is not a particularly good grappler, with three of his four career losses coming by way of submission. Add in Gilmore’s stint on The Ultimate Fighter, where he also got tapped, and there seems to be one realistic outcome for this fight.
Parlay of the Week
Joel Alvarez is an enormous lightweight, but he still is going to have a tough night. Tsarukyan is one of the best prospects in the lightweight division, incredibly well-rounded, and a substantially better wrestler and grappler than the meat-and-potatoes Alvarez.
Neither Perez nor Martinez are big finishers, and Perez in particular is pretty durable. This fight figures to be a back-and-forth affair that should certainly make it past the halfway point, if not all the way to the final scorecards.
As noted above, this is a striker vs. grappler matchup turned up to 11. I expect Petrosyan to piece Rodrigues up on the feet and take advantage of the latter’s tendency to brawl, but if that doesn’t happen, it will only be because Rodrigues went full Demian Maia on him. Either way, this one won’t make it to the judges.
Long Shot of the Week
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Bobby Green by Decision at +1400
Everything I said above holds true, but if you’re going to ride a long shot this week, this is your best bet. Green is not much of a finisher, but as noted, he’s an excellent defensive fighter and good at adjusting on the fly. Most importantly, though, Green does not mentally break. Makhachev is going to win the early rounds, but Green will still be there later on, and should Makhachev tire or get frustrated, Green will be poised to take advantage.
We’re coming off a very strong week this past week that saw us go 5-2 on our bets, only missing the parlay and our long shot (we’re gonna miss a lot of long shots, that’s why they call them long shots). Let’s try and keep that momentum going this week.
Good luck y’all, and gamble responsibly!
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