Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 57
The world's fight leader is back inside their own building this weekend, and what this card lacks in name value should be made up for plenty by the stylistic clashes that await bettors this weekend.
UFC Vegas 57: Tsarukyan vs. Gamrot will take place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Which MMA bets stand out on FanDuel Sportsbook?
Arman Tsarukyan and Shavkat Rakhmonov to Both Win (-159; 1.75 Units)
A clean sweep of the board last week in Austin included the two-legger moving to 11-5 in 2022. Let's keep it rolling; we'd be on a four-card streak if not for the ugly Holly Holm decision.
On a card without prestige, the best samples are later in the fight, so I'm combining two of the brightest prospects in UFC -- Arman Tsarukyan (-310) and Shavkat Rakhmonov (-430) -- for this week's lay.
Tsarukyan is in the main event against Mateusz Gamrot, and his position as a heavy favorite is due to his most impressive fight -- which was a loss. On short notice in his UFC debut, Tsarukyan gave Islam Makhachev his most recent challenge in UFC. To this day, Arman is still the only UFC fighter to control Makhachev for more than 60 seconds.
Since then, Tsarukyan has rattled off five straight wins on the strength of his elite wrestling (3.47 takedowns per 15 minutes). While Gamrot has a pair of decent UFC wins over Jeremy Stephens and Diego Ferreira, he also lost a close bout to Guram Kutatelatdze. Tsaruykan has looked flawless against better competition, a level of competition that has at least given Gamrot some resistance.
As for Rakhmonov, he's won all 15 pro fights via finish, and he's already mowed through three former UFC winners to prove he's legitimate. Rakhamonov is equally dangerous standing (+1.38 striking success rate) as he is on the mat (1.90 submission attempts per 15 minutes).
I love and respect veteran Neil Magny, but he was dominated by Michael Chiesa in 2021 before going to a split decision with Max Griffin in 2022. He's got just a 58% takedown defense, and that's a nightmarish flaw to give a grappler as strong and respected as Rakhmonov is.
These two proven finishers -- even against respectable opponents -- are your two safest favorites on the card. Their samples have proven to be incredibly legitimate at higher levels of competition.
Tafon Nchukwi to Win (-102; 1.0 Unit)
City Kickboxing has tossed several key fighters into UFC, including middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. That's why I expect most believe Tafon Nchukwi (-102) loses this weekend.
Nchukwi is facing Adesanya's teammate, Carlos Ulberg. Ulberg has been an offensive stallion against two entry-level opponents thus far, racking up 8.76 significant strikes per minute on tremendous 61% accuracy. But, Nchukwi is inarguably Ulberg's toughest test; Ulberg's previous opponents are just 3-7 in UFC overall.
Ulberg also has a terrifying weakness against someone as powerful as Nchuwki -- a 51% striking defense. Nchukwi's 56% striking defense is higher, and while you could criticize Nchuwki's 52% accuracy for being lower than Ulberg's, he has also faced harder competition. "Da Don" has three UFC wins, and all came against multi-time winners.
Ulberg has also not faced a grappling challenge at all thus far, and Nchukwi at least has displayed that skill with 0.96 takedowns per 15 minutes on 57% accuracy. As the more well-rounded mixed martial artist of the two, Nchukwi could be levels above Ulberg in that domain.
With a better resumé overall, Nchukwi should be favored here. I love getting him at just short of even money.
Dart Throw of the Week: Vanessa Demopoulos by Submission (+600; 0.5 Units)
I've never gone back-to-back weeks hitting the dart, and I'd like to thank oddsmakers for this opportunity.
I have no idea how Vanessa Demopoulos (+210) is the underdog. When looking at her work outside of UFC, she went the distance with strawweight bulldog Loopy Godinez, and she submitted now-multi-time UFC winner Sam Hughes. Inside of UFC, she just added a submission win to a game effort on short notice against JJ Aldrich at flyweight -- 10 pounds above her normal weight class -- in her debut.
Demopoulos has never been finished in 11 pro fights, and she's finished 5 of her 7 wins.
On the other hand, Jinh-Yu Frey hasn't done very much well in UFC besides staying on her feet (90% takedown defense). She's got a -1.20 striking success rate, and the only time we've seen her effectively grapple was controlling Gloria de Paula (1-4 in UFC). In fact, Kay Hansen submitted Frey for her only UFC victory. Hansen lost four straight fights after that and got cut from the promotion.
Frey has exploited two critical weaknesses -- de Paula's grappling and Ashley Yoder's poor striking -- to consecutive wins. While she likely still has the edge in striking in this clash, Demopolous has shown an ability against UFC-caliber opponents to get them to the mat and submit them.
If Hansen got this done, I'll take a swing that Demopoulos -- the overall better prospect -- can as well.