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UFC Vegas 74 Gambling Preview: Can Kai Kara-France take advantage of his headlining spot?

UFC 277: Moreno v Kara-France 2
Kai Kara-France
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

After a one week hiatus, the UFC is back and ready to begin its summer schedule. With events planned for each of the next 13 weekends in a row, it all starts on Saturday with UFC Vegas 74, headlined by the first non-title flyweight main event since August 2017. The matchup between Kai Kara-France and Amir Albazi is pivotal in the 125-pound division, and there are also 12 other fights going down, so let’s jump right into things.

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

UFC 277: Moreno v Kara-France 2 Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Straight Bets

Kai Kara-France, -110

The last time we saw Kara-France, he came up short in an interim title fight against now undisputed champion Brandon Moreno. It was the second time Moreno has beaten Kara-France and laid out the main struggle the New Zealand fighter has faced in his career: He’s always fallen short when facing the best of the best. But is Amir Albazi of that same ilk? I’m not sure.

Albazi has an excellent record and has showed a ton of promise, but he has not faced nearly the opposition that Kara-France has, and lost to arguably the best guy he ever fought in Jose Torres. On the feet, I don’t believe Albazi is as powerful or as crafty as Kara-France, and KKF has extremely good defensive wrestling. This is a fight where Kara-France should show Albazi that there are levels to the game, and he’s a notch above.

Andrei Arlovski, +115

Arlovski is the ageless wonder. Second all-time in UFC bouts (behind only Jim Miller), Arlovski made his UFC debut in 2000! And here he is, still rolling with the punches and mixing it up with low-level heavyweight opposition, winning more often than losing. Arlovski has won seven of his previous 10 bouts, all by decision, and he’s got a good shot at making it eight of 11. Mayes is not the sort of explosive athlete that has troubled the former heavyweight champion in recent years, and we just saw Augusto Sakai use a clinch-grappling attack to stymie him in February. Arlovski excels at that same style of fight, and he’s still got enough savvy to avoid anything major coming back at him.

Normally I’d say bet Arlovski by decision, but Vegas has caught on to his penchant for grinding wins, so the line isn’t much better. Might as well just buy the security of knowing any win is a win, and take “The Pitbull” straight up.

MMA: MAR 05 UFC 272 Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Prop Bets

Tim Elliott to Win by KO/TKO/DQ or Submission, +400

Remember two weeks ago when Mackenzie Dern beat the brakes off of Angela Hill and afterward said that was because she took all the anger from her difficult personal life and took it out on Hill? Well, in case you missed it, Tim Elliott has also been dealing with some very difficult personal circumstances over the past few months, and so we’re banking on him doing the same, only actually getting the finish.

Yes, Victor Altamirano has only been finished once as a professional, and yes, six of Elliott’s seven UFC wins have come by decision, but that doesn’t matter. This is a man powered by a different kind of energy this weekend, and I’m riding with him.

Alex Caceres/Daniel Pineda to Win by Submission, +185

The co-main event on Saturday should be a good bit of fun. Both Caceres and Pineda are scrappy, high-pace fighters with clear flaws that good opponents can exploit. Chief among those flaws? Submission defense. Both men are skilled grapplers but they both also get tapped a fair amount. Seven of Caceres’ 13 career losses have come by submission, and that number is six of 14 for Pineda. Add in that Pineda has 19 wins by submission, and Caceres has seven, and there’s a good chance that the grappling goes poorly for one of them.

UFC 284 Official Weigh-in Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Parlay of the Week

Kai Kara-France/Amir Albazi Over 1.5 Rounds, -425

KKF and Albazi have gone over 1.5 rounds in nine of their combined 13 UFC fights. Both men are aggressive, dangerous fighters, but they’re also both durable, and with the way this fight is going to play out, it’s likely to go a little longer.

Elise Reed/Jinh Yu Frey Goes To Decision, -225

Four of Reed’s six career wins have come by decision. Eight of Frey’s 11 career wins have also come by decision, and she hasn’t finished a fight since 2014. Simply put, neither of these women is a big finisher and that’s enough to feel confident on this one.

Parlay these two best together for -128 odds.

The flag of Tajikistan seen in the gallery of flags of the... Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Longshot of the Week

Muin Gafurov +105, Muhammadjon Naimov +370

We’re going full gimmick parlay this week, and can you blame me? As of the time of writing this, the UFC currently has two fighters from Tajikistan on the roster, both at lightweight. But on Saturday night, that number will double when both Muin Gafurov and Muhammadjon Naimov make their promotional debuts at 135 and 155, respectively.

When was the last time something like that happened? Two fighters, from the same underrepresented country but different camps, making their debuts on the same card? If this isn’t a first, it’s definitely rare.

Gafurov actually has a real shot at winning, and while Jamie Mullarkey should beat Naimov, he does hit hard and Mullarkey is not the most consistent fighter in the world. Crazier things have happened, and this is just a fun one to cheer for.

Parlay these two bets together for +863 odds.

Wrap Up

We’ve taken a week off but had a solid showing the week before, so let’s build on things as we start getting ready for UFC 289 next week.

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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