Fresh off of UFC 276 and International Fight Week, the UFC’s 12-week run of events keeps right on rolling this Saturday with UFC Vegas 58, headlined by The Battle of the Rafaels, a lightweight contest between Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev. Outside of the main event, there are 11 other fights on the card and while this event lacks name value, the fights are all competitive, which means the odds are pretty close. Let’s try and break those odds with weekend.
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Rafael dos Anjos, +180
This is a bet that could backfire in a terrible way. Fiziev is one of the most exciting and violent prospects in the lightweight division and dos Anjos is pushing 38, yet I can’t help but feel that the style matchup here favors dos Anjos significantly. For whatever faults RDA has, his losses have primarily come against people who out-grappled him, and that’s not Fiziev. Dos Anjos’ trademark pressure style, with body kicks and takedowns, would seem to be an excellent path to victory for him against Fiziev, and with the small Apex cage as the venue, I like RDA as an underdog.
Cortney Casey, +145
This is a combo bet of fading Antonina Shevchenko and believing that Cortney Casey is better than her record shows. Casey has gotten bad decision luck in her career, losing three split decisions she should have won, and that’s held back the perception of her as a top-20 ish fighter. On the other side of that, because she shares a last name with the greatest female fighter alive, Antonina Shevchenko is consistently overvalued as a competitor. If this goes to the ground, Shevchenko is the better grappler, but on the feet, Casey can simply outwork her to a decision.
Kennedy Nzechukwu, -140
Nzechukwu faces Karl Roberson in the early prelims in a bout that could steal the show. Nzechukwu is a behemoth of a man, even at light heavyweight, and he appears to be developing into a legitimately excellent fighter. Roberson, on the other hand, is a former middleweight who has a background in kickboxing and has struggled when taken down. Based on physicality alone I tihnk Nzechukwu can score takedowns if he wants, or he can simply use his enormous reach advantage to throws hammers on the feet. Either way, I believe Nzechukwu has a great chance to put a stop to his two-fight losing streak.
Caio Borralho to Win By KO/TKO/DQ/Decision, +120
Someone at the UFC likes Borralho and it’s easy to see why. This is Barralho’s second fight in the organization and it’s also his second co-main event. The Brazilian prospect is a competent striker and a sneaky grappler, but it’s his dangerous ground game that figures to be a problem for Armen Petrosyan. Petrosyan is a kickboxer and a solid prospect in his own right, but he had one hell of a time dealing with Gregory Rodrigues when Rodrigues used his grappling, and Borralho should be more committed to that aspect of the game. A submission is the most likely outcome, but Borralho has a habit of finishing people with strikes from the mount, so a simple Inside the Distance prop is the play.
Parlay of the Week
Rafael Dos Anjos/Rafael Fiziev Over 2.5 Rounds, -300
As noted above, I like dos Anjos to get his hand raised by virtue of his pressuring style and his grinding grappling. That means this fight is going to take some time, and while a finish isn’t impossible, a finish in the first half seems incredibly unlikely.
I honestly have no idea how this fight is going to go, but I am fairly certain it’s going to go to decision. Calvillo has not finished an opponent since 2018 and Nunes hasn’t done it since 2017. Both women are durable, so factoring that all in, I like this as a parlay piece.
Parlay these two bets together for -110 odds.
Long Shot of the Week
Chase Sherman to Win By KO/TKO in Round 2, +1000
They say that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. Well, I guess I’m crazy because I am once again backing Chase Sherman to win a UFC fight. Betting on bad heavyweight MMA is a bad idea, but I think Sherman is a slightly better fighter than Jared Vanderaa, and so I’m going to take this flyer on him. Two of his three UFC wins were by second round TKO, and two of Vanderaa’s previous four losses were by second-round TKO. It’s not a lot to go on, but it’s what I’ve got for this week.
We had a marginally losing week last week, taking some shots on underdogs that didn’t pan out, but that’s going to happen occasionally. This week, I’ll be honest, I feel less confident than in many weeks, what with the International Fight Week hangover, but still going to take some swings and see what sticks.
As always, make sure you check out the No Bets Barred podcast this week, enjoy the fights, good luck, and gamble responsibly!
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