After a week without a UFC event, the MMA gods have smiled upon us, delivering a bevy of quality fighting content for our enjoyment this weekend. On Saturday, both the UFC and Bellator are hosting events, with UFC Vegas 61 and Bellator 286 overlapping each other. In an interesting twist of fate, it’s Bellator who arguably has the better card. So with all that action in mind, let’s jump to the suggested plays of the weekend.
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Adam Borics, +120
I’m either going to be a genius or an idiot with this bet, and there’s no in between. Adam Borics is a good contender who faltered the one time he truly stepped up in competition, and now he’s taking on the greatest champion in Bellator history, fresh off of a career-defining win in the rematch with A.J. McKee. But here’s the thing about that rematch, I think it may be the beginning of the end of Patricio Pitbull.
Pitbull is in his 19th year of fighting. That’s a long time – for anybody! Pitbull put everything he had into that rematch, and now here he is, defending his title in hostile territory against another up-and-comer, one with substantially less hype. This just feels like the moment that Pitbull starts to fall off. And on the other side of it, Borics feels ready to finally ascend and stake his claim as one of the top featherweights in the world.
Brendan Allen, +100
Krzysztof Jotko is the Mendoza Line of elite middleweights: if you beat him, you’re destined for a top-10 spot in the division. If you lose, well, you can still end up being a fun fighter. Thus far in his career, Allen has failed these types of tests, but I think “All In” is finally ready to make the jump to top-tier 185er. He’s more dynamic than Jotko and keeps a higher pace, and while Jotko is who he is at this point, Allen is still improving, and we’ll see that on Saturday.
Mackenzie Dern by Submission, -110
I really like Dern’s chances to win this fight. I’ve never been sold on Yan Xiaonan, and while Dern has been overhyped for her entire MMA career, the truth is that she still has one A+ skill, which is one more than Yan has. Dern is not a great wrestler, but she finds ways to force entanglements and get to the world where she wants it, and given how helpless Yan looked when Carla Esparza got her down, I feel confident that Dern will rinse her on the mat. There are only a few women in the world who can grapple with Dern for 25 minutes without falling into some sort of submission, and I don’t think Yan is one of them.
Raoni Barcelos by Decision, +120
I love Barcelos. He’s incredibly fun to watch and super well-rounded. Trevin Jones is also a fun fighter, but I think he’s mostly worse in every area of the game. That being said, Jones is very tough, having only been stopped twice in his career, and Barcelos is on a four-fight decision streak. Instead of betting on Barcelos straight, or putting him in a parlay, I’m just going to take the shot that he makes it to the final scorecards for the fifth time in a row.
A.J. McKee by Decision, +500
Don’t get me wrong, I fully anticipate McKee to dominate Spike Carlyle on Saturday. But here’s the thing about “The Alpha Ginger”: He’s tough as nails. Carlyle has never been stopped, not even as an amateur, and he’s fought some decent guys. Carlyle is the naturally bigger man, he’s game, and he always comes in good shape. McKee should win, but he’s going to have to work for it, and so at these odds, it’s worth a shot.
Parlay of the Week
Randy Brown, -320
While it’s entirely possible that Francisco Trinaldo is on the Yoel Romero end of the ageless athlete spectrum, I don’t believe that’s going to get him very far here. Brown is an excellent fighter with major physical advantages, on top of being 12 years Massaranduba’s junior. His length and volume should give Trinaldo fits.
Randy Costa, -285
No disrespect to Guido Cannetti, but this is a showcase fight for Costa. Like Trinaldo, Cannetti is long in the tooth, but unlike Trinaldo, he’s not an alien athlete. Cannetti is a tough enough veteran, but to paraphrase the great Danny Glover, “He’s too old for this s***.” Pair the Randy’s up with confidence.
Parlay these two bets together for -130 odds.
Long Shot of the Week
Adam Borics To Win By KO/TKO/DQ In Round 2, +1800
The exactas have treated us well for Long Shots of the Week, and here’s another one to spin the wheel on. As mentioned above, I think Borics has a real shot to upend Pitbull here, and part of why I think that is because Pitbull may be slowing down a step, and without the constant threat of takedowns, Borics can let it all fly on the feet. To wit, Borics has two second-round flying-knee knockouts in Bellator, and I have a hunch he’s going to let another one fly against Pitbull on Saturday. If there was a book out there that would give me odds on “flying knee KO,” I’d take a shot. But in lieu of that, this will have to do.
There was a week off in between, but the last time out the money train kept right on rolling as we cashed every one of our tickets besides the parlay, including the +2500 Long Shot of the Week! That’s two Long Shots cashed this year! We’re thriving right now and chock full of momentum. Let’s keep it going this weekend.
Until next week, enjoy the fights, good luck, and gamble responsibly!
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