We are back! After a brief, one-week hiatus, the UFC returns this weekend for the start of a 12-week campaign that will feature four pay-per-view events, including next week’s UFC 275. But before we get to that, the UFC has a 14-fight Fight Night event at the APEX headlined by heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. While there are a couple of other interesting bouts on Saturday, most of the card is uninspiring. But there are still some fights worth paying attention to from a gambling perspective, so let’s take look.
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Alonzo Menifield, -235
Initially, this was not a fight I was circling for a bet. However, news has come out this week that makes me absolutely want to have action down against Askar Mozharov. Apparently, according to the good folks at Sherdog, Mozharov has been a bit shady with his record, attempting to pad his resume with wins and to remove losses. This week alone, Mozharov has already had several changes made to his record, and given the speed with which this is developing, more could be coming. Now, this shouldn’t really affect a bet here, but how can it not?
Menifield isn’t a great fighter, but he’s never once had to lie about anything that has happened on his resume. Given everything at play here, I’m taking a stab at Menifield, if only for the principle of it.
Alex da Silva, +145
I understand why Joe Solecki is the favorite here, but I think that’s just straight up wrong. Yes, Solecki is the better wrestler, but he’s an incredibly stiff striker, and da Silva is a solid grappler in his own right. I think that on the feet, da Silva can ding up Solecki, and he’s a good enough wrestler and grappler in his own right to make Solecki work for anything he does get. Add in that da Silva is only 26 years old, and I think we can project a level-up for him in this fight, which gives him a great opportunity to cash an underdog ticket.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik by KO/TKO/DQ, +200
Coming off his shellacking by Tom Aspinall, I was surprised to see Volkov installed as a favorite in this bout. Volkov looked noticeably slow against Aspinall, and while Rozenstruik may not have the same speed, he is the better athlete and should still have an edge in that area. Certainly, Volkov has more tools in the belt to go to, but Rozenstruik’s power, leg kicks, and general craft should make this close to a 50-50 fight.
Rozenstruik is sort of a blend between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane, two men that Volkov has lost to, and I think he has a great chance to win this fight. That being said, why bet Rozenstruik straight when 11 of his 12 career wins have come by KO? The KO prop for Rozenstruik provides some extra value that makes it too good to pass up.
Movsar Evloev by Decision, -200
Evloev is a huge favorite in this fight for a reason: He’s one of the very best prospects in MMA. Futhermore, this is a great style matchup for him. God love Dan Ige, but he’s not a tremendous wrestler, and Evloev is relentless in his takedowns and top control. That being said, Ige is tremendously durable, and that’s where the value comes in here. All five of Evloev’s UFC victories have come by decision, and Ige has never been stopped before. Yet the odds for Evloev by decision are still remarkably low compared to where a straight bet is. I love the value you’re getting with a prop bet here, and would be fine with this serving as a parlay piece as well.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz by Decision, +165
This fight is the one I’m the most concerned about, because someone has to know something I don’t. Kowalkiewicz and Felice Herrig fought back in 2018, and Kowalkiewicz won that fight. Since then, neither woman has won a bout, and Herrig has been out for nearly two years. Given all that, I do not understand why this bout wouldn’t either be a pick’em, or Kowalkiewicz as a slight favorite. But here we are. Add in that Kowalkiewicz recently moved to American Top Team and seems to be reinvigorated, and all this lines up toward another Kowalkiewicz win. But like with the other prop bets this week, why bet Kowalkiewicz to win when you can bet her to win by decision? Nine of her 12 career wins have been by decision, and Kowalkiewicz has NEVER finished a fight inside the octagon. I’m taking the extra points, and I feel great about it.
Parlay of the Week
Kowalkiewicz/Herrig Goes To Decision, -280
As discussed above, Kowalkiewicz is simply not a finisher and moreover, neither is Herrig. Nine of her 15 careers wins have been by decision, and only two of those stoppages have come in the UFC. Also, both women are extremely durable, with Herrig only having one stoppage loss, and Kowalkiewicz with only three. Two women who are tough to finish and aren’t great finishers, adds up to one parlay leg cashed.
Erin Blanchfield, -490
This line is flirting with being a bit too high simply because JJ Aldrich is a solid fighter and Blanchfield is so young, but I think Blanchfield is a future champion in the flyweight division (once Valentina Shevchenko retires) and I’m ready to strap on the boots and ride the rocket ship to the top. Blanchfield should be able to win this on the feet or on the floor, and continue her meteoric rise.
Parlay these two bets together for -158 odds.
Long Shot of the Week
Volkov/Rozenstruik Ends Between 00:00 and 00:59 of Round 4, +10,000
This is a total shot in the dark, but man is it a fun one. I’ve never done one of these before, but for a card where there is very little value, now feels like the time to give it a whirl. I’m not going to pretend to have any real reason for this time either. This is straight vibes. It probably won’t hit, but the first minute of the fourth round of the main event is going to be absolutely RIVETING for me, and that’s what I’m in it for with this one.
It was a good week last time out, cashing three underdog tickets and netting a tidy profit. This week we are taking a few more fliers but hopefully we can still bank some units. Make sure to check out No Bets Barred for an even deeper discussion about some of these bets if you haven’t already. Otherwise, let’s go!
Good luck y’all, and gamble responsibly!
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