Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 49

A UFC veteran gets his long-due shine on short notice against the wrestling protégé of the sport.

UFC Vegas 49: Makhachev vs. Green takes place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV. Where is the sharpest place to wager on the card using UFC odds?

Ignacio Bahamondes and Ji Yeon Kim to Both Win (+118; 1.25 Units)

On the week of 2/22/22, it's only fitting to shoot another two-leg winner.

Ignacio Bahamondes (-230) gets this weekend's featured prelim bout as one of featherweight's brightest striking prospects. Bahamondes is 2-1 in three UFC-affiliated appearances, posting an absurd 7.56 significant strikes per minute in a growing sample now over 37 minutes. That's come on a +2.24 striking success rate, so don't hold the close decision loss against John Makdessi against him.

His opponent, Rongzhu, has just a 46% distance striking defense and has struggled on the feet in two UFC appearances. His path to victory will be via his wrestling, but Bahamondes has stuffed all 21 takedown attempts he's faced. If that holds, he should dominate Rongzhu striking with a four-inch reach advantage.

My most confident win pick on the card would be Ji Yeon Kim (-198), though. Kim's -0.34 striking success rate isn't great, but her individual performances versus two of strawweight's best boxers were solid. She posted just a -25 striking differential combined against Molly McCann (+0.80 striking success rate) and Alexa Grasso (+1.35).

She'll face no such difficult competition this weekend. Priscilla Cachoeira has a -3.15 striking success rate with a 40% striking defense. She's earned her nickname, "Zombie Girl," to power through the poor defense to two wins in six UFC appearances, but she's a poor striker with zero career takedown attempts. Against a modest striker like Kim, she's going to struggle should she not earn a finish.

The two are strikers with clear efficiency advantages, and neither should face a substantial takedown threat given the levels they've passed already so far.

Misha Cirkunov to Win (-122; 1.0 Units)

This isn't the UFC's strongest card, but the co-main event is a solid job of matchmaking.

Misha Cirkunov (-122) is a talented Canadian middleweight with durability issues. Of his 5 UFC losses in 11 UFC fights, 4 came via first-round finish. His only other loss was last time out; it was a split-decision loss to Krysztof Jotko where the pair tied in strikes and he landed four more takedowns. Riddle me that one.

Importantly, all five of Cirkunov's losses came to fighters currently or previously ranked in UFC. No such task exists with Wellington Turman this weekend.

Turman has scuffled to a 2-3 record in UFC. His lone victories came against Markus Perez (2-5 and now cut from the promotion) and Sam Alvey (0-7-1 in his last 8 bouts). It's not exactly a glimmering record.

Both Cirkunov and Turman prefer to grapple. They both average over 2 takedowns per 15 minutes, but both have a takedown defense of 100% when fighting at middleweight. In that event, this likely turns into an ugly striking match between two combatants forced to plan B.

Cirkunov has a clear advantage in that domain. He has a +0.69 striking success rate compared to Turman's -0.92 mark, and to this point, Turman has shown no such power to shut off the former light heavyweight. He has a 0% knockdown rate on 164 career significant strikes landed. Without that weapon to exploit Cirkunov's key weakness, expect Misha to turn things around with a key advantage in high-level experience.

Dart Throw of the Week: Bobby Green to Win (+540; 0.25 Units)

I'm fully aware betting against Khabib Nurmagomedov's shining pupil could blow up in my face, but I can't pass on the value Bobby Green (+540) appears to present in this weekend's main event.

Green, first and foremost, has a 72% takedown defense. Keep in mind, that's in a 24-fight sample of UFC-affiliated bouts. Green is amongst the hardest lightweights in the world to get to the mat. Most don't even try.

Second, Bobby "King" Green should have a pronounced advantage striking. Green's +2.28 striking success rate comes with volume (5.93 significant strikes per minute), accuracy (51% striking accuracy), and a solid 62% striking defense.

Everything is set in the correct direction for Green to have success with that strategy. This fight is at a heavier catchweight of 160 pounds, so Makhachev has a larger guy to bring down. Makhachev also only has a week to prepare for Green's truly unique, hands-low style that naturally lends itself to better grappling defense.

If Bobby can stay on his feet, he could welcome Makhachev to a domain in which Islam just isn't experienced. Makhachev has never attempted more than 95 significant strikes in a fight. He's been on the mat and in close.

That's a huge "if," though. It's the same one we gave Conor McGregor against Khabib with this same dynamic, and he was largely unsuccessful. Still, the 15.6% implied probability it happens is far, far too low when Green's analytical toolkit gives him the best chance of any Makhachev opponent thus far.