We’re back, baby!
Hello you wonderful people, it is so good to once again have fights to bet on. The UFC returns from its one month layoff to kickstart the 2023 campaign and while UFC Vegas 67 might not be the best card, it’s still the first fights in weeks and that means it’s time to place some bets! Because this card isn’t particularly good, we’re going with a light menu today, but rest assured that UFC 283 next weekend looks to offer ample wagering opportunities on it.
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Nassourdine Imavov, -130
Imavov is one of the best prospects at middleweight and while the original Kelvin Gastelum fight looked more fun on paper, Strickland presents a better opportunity for Imavov to move up the rankings, which I think he will do here.
The crux of this fight comes down to the short-notice nature of it. Imavov has been preparing for months and though the style is wildly different than what he was expecting, the other pieces should all be there. Meanwhile, Strickland, by his own admission, was not even thinking about fighting before he got the call. Strickland has excellent cardio and is veteran enough to know how to work around any limitations he might have in that regard, but that’s a massive disadvantage when facing a guy who your best path to victory would ostensibly be to outwork him. That’s a tall order now and so I think the superior power of and preparedness of Imavov carries the day.
Damon Jackson, +105
I might be getting caught up in the hype, but sign me up for the new “Action” Jackson. Since getting knocked out by Ilia Topuria (a loss that is aging quite nicely), Jackson has rattled off four wins and looked the most impressive he ever has in his most recent outing against Pat Sabatini, despite suffering a personal tragedy in the lead up to the fight. Meanwhile, Dan Ige has hit a rough patch in his career, losing four of his previous five bouts. Yes, those losses all came against elite competition, but losing begets more losing, and when you factor in Ige’s questionable takedown defense, I think Jackson should be the betting favorite in this one.
Raquel Pennington by Decision, +140
A one-time bantamweight title challenger, Pennington comes into this fight with Ketlen Vieira on a four-fight winning streak, and I like her chances to move it to five. Vieira is a big, physical bantamweight who can do a bit of everything but isn’t brilliant anywhere and sometimes lacks a cohesive plan. Meanwhile, Pennington is a solid boxer, has decent defense, and she’s underrated in the clinch. I expect there to be a lot of clinch work in this one that might shake out even, but at range Pennington is the more polished striker. Given that she has next to no chance to finish Vieira though, the extra value on the By Decision prop is the better bet.
Parlay of the Week
Sean Strickland/Nassourdine Imavov Over 2.5 Rounds (-190)
Strickland has hit Over 2.5 rounds in 12 of his 17 career UFC bouts. Imavov has done it in three of his five. Imavov is the bigger finishing threat but Strickland is very durable, even on short notice. We’re in for a high-volume, low-power kickboxing bout for much of this one, which means we should see the championship rounds.
Ketlen Vieira/Raquel Pennington Over 2.5 Rounds (-375)
Vieira has gone to decision in seven of her nine UFC bouts. Pennington has gone to a decision in 12 of her 16. Neither woman is much of a finisher and they have a combined three stoppage losses across 37 fights. This one is almost certainly going to the judges.
Parlay these two bets together for -108 odds.
Long Shot of the Week
Raoni Barcelos By Decision, +1200
On No Bets Barred this week, Conner Burks and I talked about how big of a underdog Barcelos is to Umar Nurmagomedov and whether or not it’s deserved. Ultimately, we came down on the side that Barcelos is scrappy and can make this a fight, but he probably won’t win. And so for a straight bet, I don’t like him, even at +675. However, no man is unbeatable, even a Nurmagomedov, and Barcelos’ strong takedown defense does present a genuine problem for Umar to solve. If he can, this bet is dead in the water, but if he can’t, Barcelos has a real shot to simply outwork him. Add in that all five of Barcelos’ most recent fights have gone to the cards and this Long Shot has value written all over it.
It’s a new year and new us! 2022 was a profitable one for us, particularly with the Long Shot bets cashing. Here’s to hoping we can do even better in 2023.
Let me know what y’all are betting in the comments. Good luck, and gamble responsibly!
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