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UFC Charlotte Gambling Preview: Can Jailton Almeida continue to dominate at heavyweight?

Jailton Almeida
Jailton Almeida
Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images

On Saturday, the UFC returns to Charlotte with a heavyweight main event that could spell big things for the future of the division. In the top spot, heavyweight stalwart Jairzinho Rozenstruik faces off against one of the most exciting prospects in years, jiu-jitsu ace Jailton Almeida. Before that, one-time light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith takes on dynamic finisher Johnny Walker in a bout that could shake up the 205-pound title picture. There’s a lot of other action this weekend as well, so let’s jump in.

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

MMA: JUL 30 UFC 277 Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Straight Bets

Anthony Smith, -110

When I first looked at this line, I was surprised how low Smith was. After all, he’s a well-rounded, one-time title challenger taking on one of the division’s most mercurial talents. But after diving into the tape, I get it. Smith is a little older, coming off a knee injury, and he’s not impervious to getting caught, something Johnny Walker can do to anyone.

That being said, I still think there’s value in Smith simply due to his skillset. Walker is more dynamic on the feet, but Smith is smart and capable there, and good enough defensively to not get drawn into the sort of chaotic mess that Walker thrives in. Plus on the ground, Smith is the much better grappler. Overall, I think Smith has a number of smaller advantages, and so I like him at pick’em odds.

Matt Brown, +190

I’m going out on a bit of a limb here, as Brown is 42 years old and hasn’t fought in over a year, but Court McGee is the exact right opponent to mitigate all that. McGee is no spring chicken himself and coming off a brutal knockout loss which raises questions about his future in the sport. Even if he’s still the same old McGee, this is still a competitive fight, as Brown is the superior clinch fighter and more dangerous striker. McGee’s volume could edge out a decision but I like the power shots of Brown, plus his elbows inside, to win a decision if he can’t finish McGee.

UFC 281: Ulberg v Negumereanu Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Prop Bets

Carlos Ulberg/Ihor Potieria Under 1.5 Rounds, -135

In eight career fights, Ulberg has four first-round finishes, including his last two bouts. Potieria is even more of a Get-Or-Get-Got fighter, with 14 first-round finishes in 21 career bouts. These two gentlemen are going to come in and exchange blows until one falls down. My best guess is that Potieria is the one who will do so, but I’m fairly confident that whoever it is, they will do it before the seven minute mark.

Cody Stamann by Decision, +100

Betting against Douglas Silva de Andrade is always dangerous because he is an incredible finisher who can pull wins out of nowhere, but I feel pretty good backing Stamann here. “The Spartan” is the kind of durable, high-output wrestle-boxer that can limit DSA’s offense and outwork him. On top of that, Stamann has only ever been finished twice, by Aljamain Sterling and a surprise guillotine from Said Nurmagomedov, so I like his chances to survive any burst of offense DSA can provide. But with six of his seven UFC victories coming by decision, there’s no reason to bet Stamann by finish when you can get extra value on the Decision prop.

MMA: JUL 02 UFC 276 Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Parlay of the Week

Jailton Almeida, -500

There’s a reason the MMA world is so high on Jailton Almeida: he’s that damn good. Almeida has looked like a world-beater since joining the UFC and against Jairzinho, who is a competent but limited fighter, that should continue. Rozenstruik has proven to have decent wrestling defense throughout his career, but it’s not incredible, and everyone who has tried to take him down has succeeded, eventually. Against Almeida, that is a major problem as all it takes is one, and suddenly Rozenstruik might find himself on the business end of a choke. I don’t know how long it will take but ultimately Almeida should be able to get the fight to the mat and there, it’s his world.

Daniel Rodriguez/Ian Garry Over 1.5 Rounds, -300

Arguably the best fight of the entire weekend, Rodriguez and Garry are about to mix it up in a compelling striking affair that should go long. Rodriguez has gone over 1.5 Rounds in 13 of his 20 career fights, including in seven of his nine UFC bouts. Garry meanwhile has gone Over 1.5 in six of 11 career bouts, and three of four in the UFC. Moreover, this is a matchup which suggests a full 15-minute fight, as Rodriguez has only been finished once in his career and Garry obviously has never been finished. Add in the fact that in his most recent fight Song Kenan hit Garry about as clean as possible, and “The Future” was still able to fight through it, and I have few questions about his durability.

Ji Yeon Kim/Mandy Bohm Over 2.5 Rounds, -375

In nine UFC bouts, Kim has gone Over 2.5 Rounds eight times. In nine career bouts, Bohm has gone over six times, including in both of her UFC bouts. Neither of these women is a big finisher and both have proven to be fairly durable. This should be a safe leg.

Parlay these three bets together for +102 odds.


Long Shot(s) of the Week

Jailton Almeida by KO/TKO/DQ in Round 2, +1200

For the reasons outlined above, I strongly favor Almeida to win this fight, and when he does, my best guess is that it comes by TKO. While Almeida is an elite grappler, 7 of his 18 career wins have come by TKO, and with a big strong heavyweight like Rozenstruik, I think it’s more likely Almeida assumes dominant position and punches his way to victory instead of looking for a choke. That being said, this is a step up for Almeida, as Rozenstruik survived on the ground against Curtis Blaydes for three rounds, and so I don’t think he simply rolls over Rozenstruik. Instead I’m anticipating a performance like his previous one against Shamil Abdurakhimov, where the finish comes a little bit later. For that reason, I like this Long Shot, and I also like a little stab at Almeida by KO/TKO/DQ in Round 3 at a whopping +3500.

Wrap Up

Another middling week last week where we hit a few and lost a few, including both legs of the parlay (which is always impressive). And we’ve yet to hit a Long Shot in 2023, despite hitting three last year. The luck will turn eventually though, hopefully this week.

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

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