Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 56
Power can be a great equalizer at heavyweight, but with significant advantages in pace and efficiency, it'll have to be the entire equalizer in Saturday's main event.
UFC Vegas 56: Volkov vs. Rosenstruik takes place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Where are the sharpest places to wager on the card using UFC odds?
Alexander Volkov and Alonzo Menifield to Both Win (+144; 1.25 Units)
Two weeks ago was a perfect example of why UFC can be so frustrating to bet. The two-legger dropped to 9-5 in 2022 after a controversial split decision loss that left Holly Holm in far worse spirits than me for losing a single bet.
This week's card is tricky with three favorites at -450 or shorter odds, but Alexander Volkov (-172) was an easy starting point.
Volkov lost on the road in London to Tom Aspinall via submission, but Aspinall might be the best heavyweight in the world. Jairzinho Rosenstruik won't be throwing any grappling at the Russian. The former kickboxer has never attempted a UFC takedown or submission attempt.
In a striking battle, Volkov should toast "Big Boi". With a two-inch edge in reach, Volkov's +1.79 striking success rate towers over the -0.27 mark of Rosenstruik. While Rosenstruik has a power advantage, it's just a 2.1% knockdown rate, and Volkov is legendarily durable, suffering just 2 knockdowns in 566 career significant strikes absorbed.
The second leg was more challenging, but I can't help but heavily prefer Alonzo Menifield (-178) this weekend. Menifield is taking on UFC newcomer Askar Mohzarov. We know so little about Mohzarov that we can't even get his record correct because he legally changed his name in an attempt to scrub losses from it. Not great, Bob!
From what is most legitimate on Mohzarov's record, he struggles with submissions -- significantly. He's lost via submission in 8 of the reported 12 defeats. Menifield scored a 2021 win over Fabio Cherant via submission, but he's also got a +0.43 striking success rate fighting multi-time UFC winners such as Ed Herman and Ovince St. Preux.
At the bare minimum, Menifield is UFC-caliber, and we can't in our right minds give that to Mohzarov yet. He's a respectable second leg to the strong conviction behind Volkov.
Poliana Botehlo to Win (+102; 1.0 Unit)
Fading Dana White's Contender Series has been a profitable strategy all year. In just the last five fights, you're 8-2 straight up fading fighters making their UFC debut.
That's Karine Silva here. Silva has far from the most impressive record off of the show as well. She was -- by any measure -- getting destroyed by Yan Qihui before she found a miracle second-round submission off of her back. She can absolutely grapple, but a 27% striking accuracy, 0% takedown defense, and -2.23 striking success rate will get you beaten inside the octagon more often than it doesn't.
She's taking on multi-time UFC winner Poliana Botelho (+102). Botelho is not only proven in the win column, but there's a lot to like behind a 57% striking accuracy, 50% takedown accuracy, and an 80% takedown defense that keeps the fight on her terms.
Silva won't win this fight standing with Botehlo with such terrible accuracy against a non-UFC opponent. She also failed to secure either takedown she attempted on the show. I just can't see a path where she bests the veteran in this spot, and Botelho is a slight underdog due to -- I suppose -- perceived athletic disadvantages and Silva's 100% finishing rate regionally.
Dart Throw of the Week: Movsar Evloev by Submission (+900; 0.25 Units)
Movsar Evloev (-460) came out on Wednesday and said he knows he needs to score finishes to enter the title picture. In a fight he's projected to control, I'm willing to fire this dart if he's got that mindset.
In reality, you're getting nine-to-one odds on the massive favorite (82.1% implied odds to win) because Dan Ige has never been professionally finished in UFC or otherwise. That doesn't mean it can't happen.
Evloev has already wilted one of featherweight's best, Hakeem Dawodu. Evloev scored nine takedown attempts and two submission attempts on Dawodu, and Dawodu's 65% takedown defense -- even when factoring in the meeting with Movsar -- is a lot stronger than Dan Ige's (55%).
Ige figures to spend a lot of time in Evloev's control just as he did against "The Korean Zombie". Chan Sung Jung controlled Ige for 10:10 of their 25-minute fight. This issue by Ige just hasn't been tested at this top level. He's been matched with strikers who average less than a takedown per 15 minutes outside of Gavin Tucker, and he blasted Tucker in just one punch. We never got to see that one play out.
I'm fading historical trends in favor of projected dominance in this spot, but a quarter-unit flier on history -- the first featherweight to finish Ige -- seems worth it.