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UFC Vegas 71 and Bellator doubleheader Gambling Preview: Can Curtis Blaydes finally earn a title shot?

Curtis Blaydes
Curtis Blaydes
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Firmly in the middle of its spring run, the UFC machine keeps right on rolling this weekend with UFC Vegas 71, headlined by a presumed heavyweight title eliminator between Curtis Blaydes and Sergei Pavlovich. But before the main event, we’ve got 11 other matchups, plus a Bellator doubleheader, so there are a ton of opportunities available this weekend. Let’s get to my favorites.

As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Bellator 270 Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Straight Bets

Patchy Mix, -115

I’ll be honest, I liked this bet a lot more when Mix was the underdog, but it seems the betting public has caught up. Mix faces Raufeon Stots in the Bantamweight Grand Prix Finals on Saturday at Bellator 295, and for as good as Stots is, I believe Mix to be better. Mix is a lanky, slick wrestler and grappler who works with a tremendous camp and isn’t lost on the feet. The grappling is the key to victory here though as Danny Sabatello was able to hold Stots down for long periods, and Mix is a substantially more threatening offensive fighter in those positions and in scrambles. Ultimately, I think Mix has just the slight edges to get his hand raised on Saturday.

MMA: SEP 25 UFC 266 Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Prop Bets

Curtis Blaydes by KO, -115

There is a false narrative about Blaydes that he’s a lay-and-pray artist. He is not. Twelve of his seventeen career wins have come by knockout, including four of his past six.

Yes, the man wrestles, but once he gets someone down, he puts the work on them. Against Pavlovich, who the one time we’ve seen him get taken down it ended extremely poorly, it’s exceedingly likely that if Blaydes can wrestle, he will also find a finish. Now, we can’t feel positive that will happen, seeing how Pavlovich has annihilated everyone he’s fought since that loss to Alistair Overeem, but I’m betting on the more proven fighter.

Brad Tavares by Decision, +175

Tavares is a small favorite (-155) to beat Bruno Silva and it’s easy to see why. Silva is probably the more dynamic fighter, but Tavares is well-rounded, durable, and a consummate professional. The word “gatekeeper” often has a bad connotation, but it shouldn’t because what it really means is a fighter has some limitations that will prevent them from the top, but they are extremely good at what they do. That’s Tavares, whose losses have come almost exclusively to top 15 talent. I don’t think Silva is that.

But why would you ever bet Tavares at -155 when his By Decision prop is this big? Twelve of Tavares’ fourteen UFC wins have come by way of decision, and there’s no reason to think this won’t be the same, given that Silva was able to last 15 minutes with Alex Pereira.

Matthew Semelsberger by Decision, +250

This might be a bit simplistic, but Semelsberger’s two losses in the UFC have come when opponents have outworked him, and that’s not really Wells’ game. Wells is a dynamic finisher, but Semelsberger is pretty durable and he’s going to have a noticeable size advantage in the cage. When you add in that all four of Semelsberger’s UFC wins have come by decision and that Wells has never been finished, this line looks to have some value to it.

UFC Fight Night: Shevchenko v Carmouche 2 Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

Parlay of the Week

Liz Carmouche, -500

In the past five years, Carmouche has one loss, Valentina Shevchenko at the height of “Bullet’s” powers. Since then she has shown up to work and gone about getting quality wins, time in and time out, including submitting DeAnna Bennett three years ago. Carmouche was actually a bigger favorite in that fight than she is in this one (curiously) and I expect her to win again.

Bobby Green, -250

This is a tale of two journeymen. Green is a borderline top 15 guy who has struggled his entire career to get over the hump. Meanwhile, Jared Gordon is a borderline top 25 guy who has struggled similarly, and that’s bad news for him in this one. Green is equally as well-rounded as Gordon but he’s a much better, more fluid striker. I expect him to pile up shots on Gordon, who doesn’t really possess the power to make Green pay.

Aaron Pico, -720

Pico hasn’t quite lived up to the hype he had when making his MMA debut, but in his defense, it would have been nearly impossible to do that. Instead, Pico suffered some tough lessons by getting thrown in the deep end too soon. However, lately Pico was showing the form that had everyone so excited about him in the first place, only to suffer a shoulder injury in his previous bout. James Gonzalez is a serviceable fighter but this is a setup fight for Pico to get back on track and start building towards something major.

Parlay these three bets together for -110 odds.

UFC Fight Night: Dober v Green Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Long Shot(s) of the Week

Bobby Green To Win And Under .5 Rounds, +1400

Green is not a huge finisher BUT, when he does, it is often early. Six of his 18 career finishes have hit Under .5 Rounds, and 10 have come in the first round. On the other side of things, two of Gordon’s four knockout losses have come under .5 Rounds. Obviously this isn’t likely, but that’s a big number to take a flyer on.

Wrap Up

Boom! Been waiting on a big week all year and last week we finally hit pay dirt. Let’s try and make it two in a row.

Until next week, enjoy the fights, good luck, and gamble responsibly!

All information in this article is provided to readers of MMA Fighting for entertainment, news, and amusement purposes only. It is the responsibility of the reader to learn and abide by online gambling laws in their region before placing any online sports betting wagers.

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