Another week, another fight night. Hot on the heels of the biggest event of the year, the UFC returns to the APEX for UFC Vegas 63. Headlined by a top-10 featherweight between Calvin Kattar and Arnold Allen, this Saturday’s event is short on name value, but still, you can’t beat Saturday night fights (oh, and we’ll also touch on the Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva boxing match).
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Anderson Silva, +160
First bet of the week, and it’s not even in MMA. Still though, I’m stunned Silva is this big of an underdog to Jake Paul. Yes, Silva is pushing 50 years old, and yes, Paul has overachieved in boxing. But Silva has also overachieved in boxing while seemingly turning back the clock on his combat sports career. Paul may be better than some give him credit for, but he’s still a far cry from a good boxer, and Silva is absolutely one. He has a layered defense and knows how to feint, two things Paul has never faced in the squared circle before. With absolutely no disrespect to “The Chosen One,” going from Tyron Woodley to Anderson Silva is like fighting a tabby cat as a warm up for a tiger. And even old tigers are still a tough damn out, as Paul is about to discover.
Khalil Rountree Jr., +145
In the main card opener, Khalil Rountree faces Dustin Jacoby in what guarantees to be an exciting kickboxing match. Jacoby is on a tear right now, having gone unbeaten since returning to the UFC in 2020, while Rountree just scored a sensational knockout over Karl Roberson earlier this year. Some fans may look at this fight and say, ‘Jacoby is an accomplished kickboxer from GLORY, he will obviously win a striking battle!’ I’d like to counter by pointing out that Rountree has twice faced fighters with GLORY experience — the aforementioned Roberson (who actually lost to Jacoby in GLORY) and former GLORY light heavyweight champion Gökhan Saki. In both instances, Rountree delivered performance bonus-winning knockouts. Rountree is a mercurial fighter at times, but he also has a habit of rising to the occasion in situations like this, and you can never doubt the man’s talent. At underdog odds, I love this as a play.
Joseph Holmes, +190
This line baffles me. Holmes is not an elite fighter, but to be frank, neither is Jun Yong Park. “The Iron Turtle” is a solid middleweight who has only lost to quality opposition, but he faces a major problem on Saturday: Holmes is a friggin’ light heavyweight! Holmes is six inches taller and has a seven-inch reach advantage on Park. The sheer size disparity in this one will be cartoonish, and historically, that’s really tough to overcome unless the bigger man is a trash fighter. Whatever his flaws may be, Holmes is not a terrible fighter, and his only loss since his debut came against Jamie Pickett, who could match his physical advantages. There is no way Holmes should be this big of an underdog.
Arnold Allen By Decision, +240
Though this entire fight card is unheralded, the main event on Saturday is an awesome fight. Calvin Kattar and Arnold Allen are two of the eight best featherweights on Earth, and we could be in for a real treat. In all honesty, I’m not sure who is going to win. Kattar is the better boxer and has faced better competition, but Allen has the hallmarks of a champion, and is coming into his athletic peak. That last part is important, as Allen may well make “The Leap” in this fight, and so I give him a very slight edge to get the victory. That being said, Kattar is unreasonably tough, and I’m not sure Allen could finish him with a baseball bat, so getting a prop line this long is a much, much better play than taking Allen at straight odds.
Parlay of the Week
Waldo Cortes-Acosta (-195) and Carlos Mota (-165)
Last week, the “Father’s Plan Parlay” was one of the few bets that cashed, while the other parlay failed. So it’s time to get back to our roots with another slightly gimmicky parlay: “The LFA Champion Parlay.”
LFA has been one of the premier feeder leagues into the UFC for years, with former champions still loaded throughout the promotion (basically every middleweight champion is still in the UFC, on top of a bunch of other names). While winning an LFA title doesn’t guarantee success, it does mean you are at least a decent fighter, and as it so happens, two former LFA champions are on this card, with favorable matchups.
Cortes Acosta is (or was, I guess) the LFA heavyweight champion, having won the belt via third-round TKO back in April, and he faces Jared Vanderaa. He’s decently athletic and hits hard, a combination that has proven to be kryptonite for Vanderaa during his UFC run.
Meanwhile, Mota won the flyweight belt in August and now faces Cody Durden, who sports a 2-2-1 record in the UFC and is best known for getting instantly submitted by Muhammad Mokaev at UFC London. Mota has good standup and decent enough grappling, and he should be able to get the job done, despite the short-notice call up.
Parlay these two bets together for +142 odds.
Long Shots of the Week
Jared Vanderaa by Submission, +1100
Though this flies in the face of the “Parlay of the Week,” I can’t talk myself out of this bet. Make no mistake, Jared Vanderaa is not very good, and he almost always fights in the worst way possible for his chances. But what if he didn’t? Cortes-Acosta is not a great defensive wrestler nor grappler, and Vanderaa is big, strong, and a BJJ black belt. With his UFC career on the line, perhaps this will be the one time Vanderaa fights smart, goes for the takedown, and gets the submission. At these odds, I’m willing to take a shot.
Well, it was bound to happen eventually. After an awesome run of profitable weekends, UFC 280 bit back. You can’t win them all, though, so let’s hope to start a new streak this weekend.
Until next week, enjoy the fights, good luck, and gamble responsibly!
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