Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 37
With Saturday's card originally scheduled for London, there is a British flair throughout the bouts, with a total of five fighters from the United Kingdom stepping into the Octagon.
UFC Vegas 37: Smith vs. Spann takes place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Where is is the sharpest place to wager on Saturday's card using FanDuel Sportsbook?
Arman Tsarukyan, Montel Jackson, and Erin Blanchfield All to Win (-146)
It is not ideal that last time the betting guide parlayed three heavy favorites together, Gerald Meerschaert pulled off the largest moneyline upset (+440) of 2021.
Meerschaert, though, is a dangerous veteran with some plus skills, and that description does not fit the definition of any of the opponents that Arman Tsarukyan, Montel Jackson, and Erin Blanchfield will face as the largest favorites on the card.
Tsarukyan has had issues finding a fight at his own ranked level, which is how he ended up grossly mismatched as a -850 favorite against Christos Giagos. Tsarukyan landed 10 takedowns on solid wrestler Matt Frevola in his last bout, and although Giagos has found some offensive wrestling success after returning to UFC in 2020, his takedown defense is still just 50%. Giagos profiles to spend a majority of the fight on his back versus the elite Russian wrestler. Tsarukyan's +1.92 striking success rate is not a bad fallback if this is a striking match.
Jackson's matchup makes zero sense, and he is fittingly a -650 moneyline favorite. His only two UFC losses in seven fights were to 16th-ranked Ricky Simon and Brett Johns, who was 5-2 in the UFC before leaving due to contract issues. Jackson's peripherals, including a card-best +2.27 striking success rate, are excellent, as well. However, he was assigned newbie JP Buys, who was knocked down three times in an ugly debut. Buys' 43% striking defense against that weaker opponent should terrify him in this matchup with Jackson.
Blanchfield is the smallest favorite of the trio at -325, but her opponent looked out of place in her last bout. Sarah Alpar is fighting Blanchfield in this matchup, and Alpar was controlled for 8:18 of the 14:21 that her fight against Jessica-Rose Clark went last September. Alpar also only defended 32% of her significant strike attempts -- the worst overall mark on this card.
Parlaying these three together allows for a decent profit margin (-146) should disaster not strike again with another top-five moneyline upset of this calendar year.
Ryan Spann to Win (+142)
It is always more fun when a reasonable, profitable moneyline bet is available in the main event.
Now, many at Tapology do not feel it is reasonable, as 77% of the MMA community believes Anthony "Lionheart" Smith brings it home. However, despite his standing as an underdog in this fight, Spann is one of the most confident straight picks in my model this weekend, and a lot of that has to do with Smith.
Smith grades out below UFC average in quite literally every statistical measure. The most notable examples are defensive, as he defends just 42% of his opponent's significant strike attempts and only 47% of their takedown tries. We have seen fighters overcome poor volume output (and Smith lands just 3.00 significant strikes per minute) with efficiency and excellent defense, but Smith is 0-for-3 on those checkboxes.
Spann has likely outperformed his current UFC ranking despite a 6-2 record in the promotion. He produces above-average volume for a light heavyweight both striking (3.55 significant strikes per minute) and wrestling (1.72 takedowns per match). That is more than enough offense to attack Smith's defensive woes.
The cagey veteran Smith has come from behind to win three of his last seven fights. Given that six of seven of those have been main events, his public perception is as a "winner." The sharper process may be to expect he regresses toward his peripheral troubles, and that could start with a loss to Spann -- which could come in a variety of ways, as Spann has 11 submission wins and 5 knockouts as a versatile finisher.
Dart Throw of the Week: Impa Kasanganay by 3rd Round KO/TKO (+2900)
This week's dart is a speculative, quarter-unit type of bet.
One of the most fascinating matchups on the card is a welterweight bout between two hyper-athletic prospects, Impa Kasanganay and Carlston Harris. Both are coming off of submission wins earlier in 2021, and likely, the winner of this fight vaults themselves very close to the 170-pound rankings.
Kasanganay's signature moment in the UFC isn't a great one, but his performance has been. He's blanketed that incident with three wins in three UFC-affiliated appearances, posting a +1.67 striking success rate and solid 59% striking defense to control fights across two weight classes. Harris just made his debut, and it was a sloppy, inefficient one where he landed just five total significant strikes, but he was able to pull Christian Aguilera to the mat and submit him.
This dart throw is on the basis of the far more voluminous, efficient Kasanganay piling up damage on an aggressive, bull-headed Harris. If Kasanganay survives through early advances, Harris has only seen the third round (or later) once in his past seven fights. Kasanganay's first two UFC-affiliated appearances were decisions where he appeared to lack the power to finish his opponents, but that was at middleweight. Now at a weight class 15 pounds lighter, he should have more show-closing potential against smaller fighters.
The dart throw here is that Kasanganay's new weight class and Harris's projected fatigue clash to a messy, third-round finish.
Editor's Note: The original final pick was Cameron VanCamp by Submission (+700), but that fight has been since canceled due to injury.