The UFC continues its seven-week run of events this weekend with UFC Vegas 53, headlined by a bantamweight contest between Rob Font and Marlon Vera. Font is coming off a loss to Jose Aldo this past December which, for now at least, has upended his title aspirations. “Chito” also lost to Aldo somewhat recently, but he has since won back-to-back bouts and is now looking to make a legitimate title run.
Outside of the main event, the card this weekend is a little thin, with only a few known commodities making the walk on Saturday. Nonetheless, there are still some betting opportunities so let’s get to it.
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Rob Font, -130
There was a time not that long ago where I though Font was a legitimate dark horse in the bantamweight division. A decisive loss to Aldo ended those thoughts from me, but Font remains one of the more underrated fighters in the sport. He’s got a sharp jab and a high work rate and he was only undone by Aldo’s otherworldly defense and power striking. Vera is a solid defensive fighter and packs some punch, but he’s no Aldo. Font should be able to find a lot more success here and get back on the winning track.
Jake Collier, +125
Collier faces Andrei Arlovski in the co-main event this weekend, and while Collier is not a world-beater, I still struggle to see why he would be plus money against Arlovski. Don’t get me wrong, I have argued that Arlovski is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history, but the man is 43 and getting by almost entirely only guile and stubbornness. He really shouldn’t be minus money against a guy 10 years his junior and one who usually works at a pretty high pace. Give me the underdog value on Collier.
Daniel Lacerda, -120
Lacerda takes on Francisco Figueiredo, who isn’t nearly as talented, skilled, or athletic as his brother, UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo. Lacerda is an extremely aggressive fighter, both on the feet and on the floor, and Figueiredo struggles to consistently apply a coherent game plan, especially as the fight goes on when he starts to tire. I like the activity and offense of Lacerda to get the job done here.
Rob Font by Decision, +165
We’re doubling down on Rob Font because I feel great about his chances this weekend. It’s always a riskier proposition to bet that five-round fights will go to decision, but Vera has never been stopped in his entire career and Font only has one stoppage win since 2018.
Krzysztof Jotko by Decision, +180
Jotko faces Gerald Meerschaert in the main card opener in a fight that is more than likely going to be the middleweightiest of middleweight fights. Meerschaert is going to try to take Jotko down, but he’s not a good wrestler so he’s not going to succeed, and Jotko is mostly going to stay at range and use his speed and athletic advantages to outwork Meerschaert. I also think there’s a world where Jotko takes Meerschaert down, and while Meerschaert is a dangerous grappler, Jotko is probably capable enough to stay safe from the top position. Either way, this feels like Jotko is simply going to outwork Meerschaert over 15 minutes.
Alexander Romanov Wins in Round 2, +475
This flies in the face of my Long Shot of the Week, but I also really like this bet. The overwhelming likelihood in this fight is that Romanov beats Sherman, but he’s juiced so heavily for a Round 1 win and Romanov isn’t someone who forces things. I could see him taking his time against Sherman and Sherman being a little scrappier than most people are giving him credit for. I like a value bet here.
Parlay of the Week
Andre Fili, -260
This fight is set up for Fili to succeed. Joanderson Brito isn’t a bad fighter, but Fili is simply better everywhere and also has all the physical advantages. I’d be pretty shocked if Brito pulled off the upset here.
Gina Mazany, -180
Not to put too fine a point on it but Shanna Young just isn’t a very good fighter. There’s a reason she’s lost to all the good fighters she has faced. Mazany isn’t a world-beater but she’s an enthusiastic scrapper and has some ability to grapple, which should be more than enough to get her hand raised here.
Parlay these two bets together for +115 odds.
Long Shot of the Week
Chase Sherman by KO/TKO/DQ in Round 3, +7500
When this fight was originally supposed to take place last week, we were feeling spicy and put Chase Sherman with the upset in our Long Shot of the Week — and we’re doing it again, baby! Yes, Alexander Romanov is a good prospect who looks even better now that he has traded in the baby fat for muscle, but Sherman remains a decent defender of takedowns, and it’s heavyweight. Moreover, Sherman isn’t supposed to be here. The man was cut from the UFC earlier this year before stepping in on short notice last week. And to paraphrase the legend, Jimmy McGinty, there is no tomorrow for him, and that makes Sherman a very dangerous person.
If Sherman can survive the first round, Romanov will have a harder time scoring takedowns in the second, and Sherman’s volume gives him a chance to start wearing down on the prospect. For odds saying there’s about a 1-percent chance of it happening, I’ll take a flyer.
We had an up-and-down run last week, nailing all our straight bets but missing all our props and the parlay. However, for the second time this year we spiked our Long Shot bet. Well, sort of. Mike Jackson pulled off his upset, but Chase Sherman was forced out of action, meaning our Long Shot essentially just turned into a straight bet on Jackson. Still, +700 is a damn fine win. Let’s keep it up.
Good luck y’all, and gamble responsibly!
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