UFC

Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 55

Holly Holm returns to the octagon in Las Vegas on Saturday. How should we bet her fight, and which wagers stand out from the other 10 bouts?

A women's bantamweight pioneer makes her long-anticipated return to the octagon against an explosive, athletic challenger.

UFC Vegas 55: Holm vs. Vieira takes place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Where are the sharpest places to wager on the card using FanDuel Sportsbook?

Holly Holm and Jonathan Martinez to Both Win (-102; 2.0 Units)

Though Davey Grant was fading late last weekend, he found a seminal blow to push the two-legger to 9-4 in 2022. This week is much stronger than the one-unit lay last week.

Holly Holm (-260) being a foundational piece will be fun. Holm's 7-5 record doesn't tell the story of her illustrious career. With the five losses to four former titleholders and Germaine de Randamie, she's perpetually fought an insane level of competition. Even so, she's navigated it to a +0.36 striking success rate with a sharp 57% striking defense and 76% takedown defense.

She's a sizable favorite here because of how easily she dismissed Irene Aldana, who's seen as a superior challenger to Ketlen Vieira. "The Preacher's Daughter" added five takedowns to a +85 striking differential to squash Aldana. While Vieira's surprise win over Meisha Tate has her next in line to challenge Holm's top contender status, she has scuffled to a -1.00 striking success rate entering a matchup with the greatest striker in the history of women's MMA. Yikes.

In the second leg of this, "The Dragon" has another matchup he can exploit. Jonathan Martinez (-205) struggled with takedown defense early in his UFC career, but with that resolved and his career mark now at 73%, he's set sail on a 6-2 run at bantamweight.

He'll draw another striker in Vince Morales this weekend. It's not just that Martinez has a higher striking accuracy (47%), striking defense (59%), and striking success rate (+0.76) than Morales, but he's also got the kryptonite Morales hasn't overcome -- leg kicks. Martinez landed 15 of 18 leg kicks in his last bout, and Morales was infamously finished via compounding leg kicks in 2020.

Even with both of these fighters expected to see a decision on Saturday, don't be surprised if either finishes their opponent inside the distance.

Michel Pereira to Win (-120; 1.2 Units)

This is a huge step in my recovery program.

Michel Pereira (-120) burned me -- and so many -- as a -460 favorite against Tristan Connelly on short notice back in 2019. Pereira danced his energy away before entering the cage, did multiple backflips showing off on his inferior opponent, and then was so fatigued from it all that he lost the second and third rounds to Connelly. Connelly now fights in UFC at featherweight 25 pounds lighter. It's the worst loss in UFC history in my book.

In addition to that, Pereira threw away a comfortable decision win against Diego Sanchez in 2020 with an illegal knee in the final round. I've since called him the biggest dummy in UFC. The problem is this dummy can absolutely fight.

Pereira has stellar marks everywhere. His 55% striking accuracy and 60% striking defense are lethally efficient, and he adds 1.84 takedowns per 15 minutes on impeccable 55% accuracy. Everything is so easy and efficient for him that he messes around.

Still, this is the biggest fight of his career, and he's gone several bouts without any showmanship. He's on the precipice of the rankings after impressive wins over multi-time UFC winners Khaos Williams, Niko Price, and Andre Fialho.

Santiago Ponzinibbio lands just 40% of his strikes on the other side, and he's shown historical lapses with his takedown defense (60%).

Antics aside, Pereira is one of the most well-rounded fighters in all of UFC, and he has more than enough tools to dispatch the aging veteran and finally enter the title conversation.

Dart Throw of the Week: Chase Hooper by Submission (+500; 0.5 Units)

I'll stick to the same scientific method as last week's successful dart -- the most likely single outcome of this fight has a huge number attached to it.

Chase Hooper (+152) is just 22 years old, and he made his UFC debut at the ripe age of 20. He's got tremendous grappling skills, locking up two submission wins in his first four fights. He's posted 1.5 submission attempts per minute in those four bouts.

The problem? He's 22. Physically, he's been overwhelmed by UFC veteran featherweights Alex Caceras and Steven Peterson. They are grown men with a combined 17 UFC wins. Felipe Colares is a bit different test for Hooper, and it gives him a shot.

Colares has been competing 10 pounds lighter at bantamweight. He's amassed a 2-3 record, but he's honestly lucky not to be 0-5. Colares has an unsightly -2.38 striking success rate, 37% striking defense, and 43% takedown defense. None of the grappling skills he showed regionally have translated to UFC.

Therefore, it's actually Hooper -- for the first time in his career -- who is the larger fighter with equal defensive metrics (36% striking defense; 50% takedown defense). Hooper has five inches of height and reach on Colares because he's a natural featherweight.

Colares likely thinks he can bully the younger Hooper. However, it's "The Dream" with two UFC finishes to his name. Colares has zero. If Hooper's size indeed is an advantage for the very first time, I have no doubts about his ability to lock up a slick submission.