UFC

Betting Guide for UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Muhammad

UFC Fight Night 187 isn't the most exciting card, but if there are betting opportunities, then that's all that matters. Where's the value?

UFC Fight Night 187 comes by a lot of names -- UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Muhammad, UFC on ESPN+ 45, UFC Vegas 21.

It was actually initially UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Chimaev, but Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev once again couldn't meet to fight, this time due to Chimaev's lingering effects from COVID-19.

Overall, the card itself doesn't come with a ton of high-end name value, but that doesn't necessarily mean it won't be exciting or that we can't find betting value based on what's up at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Which fights look most likely to yield returns for us? (All stats via UFCStats.com unless otherwise noted.)

Misha Cirkunov (-120) vs. Ryan Spann (-102)

Despite a 2-3 record over his past five fights, Misha Cirkunov is a slight favorite over Ryan Spann, and the betting data also shows it being close.

Via oddsFire, Cirkunov is receiving just 49% of the bets -- but 58% of the money. Despite that, his odds have fallen from -137 to -120. There are reasons to like Cirkunov to get back to .500 for his rolling six-fight average.

Spann is coming off of a loss to Johnny Walker, the 10th-ranked contender in the light heavyweight division, by way of a first-round knockout. Prior to that, he won a split decision over Sam Alvey at UFC 249, which extended Alvey's loss streak to four fights and drop his record to 3-6 over his past nine fights.

Cirkunov has blemishes, by way of three first-round knockout losses to Volkan Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira in 2017 and then Johnny Walker in March of 2019. In total, seven of his nine UFC bouts have ended in the first round. Spann doesn't particularly profile as a knockout specialist with 4 knockout wins in 24 fights.

Cirkunov holds an edge in significant strikes landed per minute (4.18 to 3.27), striking accuracy (52% to 44%), and striking defense (62% to 46%).

With respectable losses to Oezdemir (8th in the division), the storied Teixeira, and Walker (10th) and better striking data, Cirkunov gets the nod here.

Though Spann has just 3 knockout losses and 1 submission loss (of his 6 total losses), Cirkunov has finished 86.6% of his victories (4 by knockout and 9 by submission) and can be bet at +125 to win by KO/TKO or submission.

Rani Yahya (-340) vs. Ray Rodriguez (+260)

A lot of underdogs could be live for this card, but Ray Rodriguez (16-7-0) doesn't seem to be one of them.

His match log includes a loss to Tony Gravely at Dana White's Contender Series in August of 2019, a third-round arm-triangle submission win over Andrew Perez at the Combate Americas in November of 2019, and most recently, a first-round guillotine submission loss to Brian Kelleher at UFC Fight Night 176 in September.

Rani Yahya, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, has a 26-10-1 (1 no contest) record in his career. That includes an 11-4-1 (1 no contest) record in the UFC. His most recent fight was that draw (against Enrique Barzola) last March.

Yahya has secured a whopping 20 submission wins in 38 fights, and only 2 of those fights ended in knockouts (both losses for him). Only 3 of Rodriguez's 16 wins came via KO/TKO, and 11 of his 23 career fights ended in a submission.

Yahya (2.86 takedowns per 15 minutes) and Rodriguez (2.32) pretty much guarantee this one will go to the mat, and Yahya has an edge in submissions. So the -340 is heavy, but Yahya to win by submission can be had at +100.

JJ Aldrich (-152) vs. Cortney Casey (+124)

This women's flyweight bout is well down the card, but there are trends that point to the underdog, Casey, to come through with a win.

Both fighters are entering off of a loss. For Aldrich, that's a split decision loss to Sabina Mazo at UFC 246 in January 2020. For Casey, it was a rear-naked choke loss to Gillian Robertson last June.

Casey's "Cast Iron" nickname is apt, as she has not been knocked out in 17 fights, but that's not particularly relevant because Aldrich has won just 2 of her 8 victories by knockout. Instead, 6 of her 8 wins went to decision, and 8 of her 12 matches overall have gone the distance.

Casey's 17 fights have relied on the judges 8 times, and her most recent loss came with just 28 second remaining. That's why this fight to go the distance is -430. Casey has two split-decision losses (and a win) in her past six, so the recent record could look a lot better than it does.

These two fighters average an identical (and low) 0.31 takedown-per-15-minute rate, which puts them bottom three among 22 fighters with UFC data. We can virtually rule out a grappling match and a knockout loss for the stone-chinned Casey, and Aldrich hasn't had the submission game to worry about.

Casey's already plus-money outright but can also be bet at +200 to win by points.