UFC

Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 40

Aspen Ladd stepped in on short notice to save this weekend's main event. Which side of her fight is a better bet?

This is quite literally the least prestigious UFC card of all time. There are no ranked fighters competing from any of UFC's divisions on Saturday, and the main event takes place inside a weight class division that basically no longer exists. Fear not, as there are still plenty of interesting unranked bouts -- as well as a pair of UFC's all-time fight leaders -- to help keep the octagon action exciting.

UFC Vegas 40: Ladd vs. Dumont takes place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Where is the sharpest place to wager on Saturday's card using FanDuel Sportsbook?

Manon Fiorot and Julian Marquez to Both Win (-101)

Although not near the largest betting favorites on the card, Manon Fiorot (-260) and Julian Marquez (-250) seem as well-positioned as any fighters entering Saturday's event.

"The Beast" Fiorot has absolutely blistered her first two UFC opponents. She is averaging exactly 8.00 significant strikes per minute while absorbing basically no damage behind her 80% striking defense. Those two early finishes have her primed with a date with the UFC veteran Mayra Bueno Silva. Bueno Silva is a grappling ace, with three UFC wins by submission, but she has never actually secured a UFC takedown. If this fight stays standing, it may not last particularly long with Bueno Silva's poor striking defense (49%) against the accurate Fiorot.

Marquez's spot comes without that same one-condition danger. Jordan Wright's two UFC wins were quick knockouts against two fighters with a 2-7 combined record. Marquez is a massive step up in competition, as "The Cuban Missile Crisis" is 4-1 in UFC with four finishes -- all versus fighters with UFC wins. Marquez posts knockout power behind a +1.07 striking success rate, and his 3.2 submission attempts per match indicate he is not to be trifled with grappling, either.

Netting these two heavy favorites to win inside-the-distance returns delicious +285 odds, but the -101 mark for outright wins is always available for the risk-averse.

Norma Dumont to Win (+112)

Wagering hard-earned dollars on the first unranked main event in UFC history inside of a division that does not really exist -- what could go wrong?

Norma Dumont (+112) was initially scheduled to face former bantamweight champion Holly Holm in this fight, but Holm is out with injury. Dumont is now a slight underdog to natural bantamweight Aspen Ladd. Ladd's fight with Macy Chiasson was canceled two weeks ago after Ladd failed to safely make it through weigh-ins. She now moves up to this higher weight class to face Dumont on short notice.

After the embarrassing weigh-in debacle, Ladd needed a quick turnaround, but Dumont is not the easiest hurdle to clear. After a KO loss to Megan Anderson that left many -- myself included -- counting the days to her UFC departure, Dumont has responded with back-to-back impressive wins over Ashlee Evans-Smith and former title challenger Felicia Spencer. Spencer gave featherweight champion Amanda Nunes the most competitive title fight of her career, as she went all five rounds with "The Lionness."

In those fights, Dumont accumulated a +2.12 striking success rate (significant strikes landed minus significant strikes absorbed per minute) and added a razor-sharp 67% striking defense mark. Most notably for this matchup, she has never been taken down in three UFC fights, and Ladd is a wrestling specialist (2.45 takedowns per match).

Ladd's only career loss came to the larger, 5'9" Germaine de Randamie at bantamweight. It was a knockout on the first punch after a weight-cut scare. That outcome seems to imply Ladd is a bit overvalued, as she has failed to outstrike her opponent in four of five UFC fights, and her 49% striking defense is incredibly worrisome. The pick is that the longer, larger Dumont picks apart the wrestler at range.

Dart Throw of the Week: Nate Landwehr by Decision (+600)

Some knockouts are a result of poor defense, but some are just a result of truly remarkable timing.

Nate Landwehr (+310) is the largest underdog on the card because of a perception that he struggles defensively. Herbert Burns landed an impeccable knee to knock out Landwehr, and Julian Erosa did the same. Those knees required insane timing, but in Landwehr's only extended UFC fight against Darren Elkins, Landwehr posted a respectable 53% striking defense. His 51% overall mark is not terrible, either.

Sure, "Mr. Highlight" Ludovit Klein has those same tricks inside of him, but if this fight goes an extended length, Klein (49% striking defense) has had more trouble defending punches in his sample than Landwehr has. Landwehr, in those 15 minutes with Elkins, also proved himself to have far more gas in the tank offensively.

Landwehr averaged 7.02 significant strikes per minute in the three fights, whereas Klein's 3.32 significant strikes per minute lag well behind. Klein added four takedowns in his last fight against Mike Trizano, but "Nate the Train" has historically defended wrestling well -- an 85% takedown defense mark against 14 attempts.

In a fight he must win to save his UFC contract, Landwehr should have the pace to score points in this contest. Klein's offensive output slowed significantly in his last fight against Trizano, and while Klein's -165 odds to win inside-the-distance imply a quick knockout, this dart is accounting for the range of outcomes where Landwehr does indeed survive and out-points the Slovakian prospect.