Betting Guide for UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Waterson

The UFC card slated for May 8th is going to be a bit wonky.

It was initially scheduled to feature T.J. Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen as the main event, but Dillashaw "voluntarily [relinquished]" the bantamweight title after an "adverse finding" during a drug test.

Now, the headlining fight is between the sixth-ranked contender in the women's strawweight division, Marina Rodriguez, and the ninth-ranked contender, Michelle Waterson. But given the late notice, they'll be fighting this one at flyweight.

A few other priorly postponed fights are now on the card, as well.

So, anyway, it's a pretty wild card overall, but we can still find the best bets to make on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Marina Rodriguez (-220) vs. Michelle Waterson (+176)

Let's look at the main event.

Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2) holds the advantage both from a betting standpoint and a UFC rankings standpoint over Michelle Waterson (18-8-0).

Rodriguez's loss was two fights ago against Carla Esparza, the fourth-ranked contender in the strawweight division by split decision. Waterson, two fights ago, also lost to Esparza by split decision. Wild stuff.

The striking data favors Rodriguez -- who averages 4.86 significant strikes landed per minute -- over Waterson (3.58), according to UFCStats. The grappling data is better for Waterson: 1.52 takedowns per 15 minutes to 0.36 for Rodriguez.

In all, my model anticipates Rodriguez winning 63.6% of the time, and the public picks at Tapology are favoring Rodriguez even more heavily: 72%.

As far as early finishes go, we do have six knockout wins for Rodriguez but just one knockout loss for Waterson, who is more susceptible to submission losses (three), which isn't really Rodriguez's game (one submission win).

If we want to, we can shave off some of the juice if we just go with Rodriguez by points (-105).

Amanda Ribas (-188) vs. Angela Hill (+152)

This main-card bout is actually taking place at the strawweight division between Amanda Ribas (10-2-0) and Angela Hill (13-9-0). Ribas ranks as the 11th-contender in the strawweight division, and Hill is 12th.

These are two fighters who recently lost to the fighters in the main event (Rodriguez knocked out Ribas in January, and Waterson beat Hill by split decision in September).

Hill can scrap it up, as her 5.66 significant strikes landed per minute is top-three on the card, but she also eats 4.98 significant strikes per minute. That adds up to the most combined strikes landed and absorbed per minute among fighters on this card who have more than two UFC fights.

Ribas defends 71% of significant strikes against her (the highest rate on the card) and absorbs just 1.78 per minute (the lowest rate on the card). That could pose a problem for Hill.

My model gives Ribas a 65.8% chance to win, making her a fair moneyline value at -188. Tapology's picks are even higher on Ribas at 75%, with 32% of those picks anticipating a submission finish.

Of Ribas' 10 wins, 4 have been by submission, though just 2 of Hill's 9 losses were by submission (and none in her past eight fights). Hill also hasn't been knocked out before.

I'm leaning toward just taking Ribas outright at -188, but Ribas by points at +135 is also a good value.

Ben Rothwell (-114) vs. Philipe Lins (-106)

This is a fight that was initially scheduled earlier (back in March), but Ben Rothwell (38-13-0) withdrew due to injury. The 39-year-old vet enters favored despite a 2-3-0 record since 2019 after returning from a two-year suspension.

Philipe Lins (14-5-0) has had a disappointing 0-2-0 start in the UFC, losing to Andrei Arlovski by unanimous decision in May 2020 and then by first-round knockout to Tanner Boser in June.

Lins has eaten more strikes (3.68 per minute) than he's landed (2.66), as has Rothwell (4.57 to 3.55) in the Octagon.

Overall, my model projects Rothwell to win this fight 63.1% of the time, making him a lovely value at -114. But we can probably play an early-stoppage angle.

Rothwell has ended 28 of his 38 career wins by knockout, and 4 of Lins' 5 losses were by KO/TKO, so that's intriguing. Rothwell has been knocked out in 4 of his 13 losses, and Lins has 8 KO/TKO wins in 14 fights of his own. In total, then, 62.9% of their combined 70 fights ended by knockout of some sort.

It's worth noting that Rothwell did beat Stefan Struve by TKO in December 2019, his only early finish since returning.

I love Rothwell at -114 but certainly am not against the fight to end by KO/TKO at +240. The picks at Tapology suggest a KO/TKO should be +192.