Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 61

Whenever I begin to doubt UFC, usually a tremendous card is on the horizon. Sure, Mackenzie Dern and Yan Xiaonan aren't the most glamorous main event of the year, but it's actually a really interesting stylistic clash where both women have the chance to dominate. Plus, there are some fine wagering spots on this 13-fight slate.

UFC Vegas 61: Dern vs. Yan will take place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Which MMA bets stand out on FanDuel Sportsbook?

Raoni Barcelos and Mike Davis to Both Win
(+111; 2.0 Units)

Trevin Giles never makes anything easy, but the two-legger did prevail two weeks ago to bump our record to 18-9 for 2022. This week, we're looking at plus money with this pairing.

I chose these two faster than Bo Nickal's last two squash matches. Raoni Barcelos (-245) and Mike Davis (-200) are in phenomenal spots this weekend.

Barcelos was 16-1 -- and a sneaky title contender -- before back-to-back losses to relative newcomers in Timur Valiev and Victor Henry. Those two drew Barcelos early into their careers, so those wins are more an indication of that pair's talents. This matchup might be an apology.

The defensive gap in his fight with Trevin Jones is astonishing. Barcelos' 61% striking defense is one of the best marks you'll see at 135 pounds. Jones, with a 41% mark, has one of the worst you'll see for a dude who has actually won multiple fights.

Both of these guys have a strong takedown defense, so this one profiles to be a striking match where Barcelos gets hit significantly less.

However, the star of this parlay is Davis. At worst, he'll do to Viacheslav Borshchev what Marc Diakese did to him in London. Diakese landed 11 takedowns in a fight that wasn't close, and Davis has landed 5 takedowns in his last two bouts. His 33% takedown efficiency is just enough to believe that's a decent route for him.

Davis could also just box him up. Considering he's faced Sodiq Yusuff and Mason Jones in UFC, a 53% striking accuracy and 57% striking defense are both remarkable. Borshchev is behind in both categories, so his one path to a win may be via knockout.

The problem is Davis has never been professionally knocked out. Barcelos has also been finished just once in 19 pro appearances. These guys -- with efficiency advantages -- will be around for the long haul, and they could score a finish themselves if things get ugly.

Yan Xiaonan to Win (+190; 0.75 Units)

I just don't understand Mackenzie Dern's standing as a large favorite when she doesn't have the ability to get where she wants to go.

Dern's 9% takedown accuracy is the worst mark in UFC history for someone with at least 30 attempts. That's right -- she's -110 to win this fight by submission and has failed to get the fight to the ground 30 of the 33 times she's tried. Make it make sense.

Now, part of those odds is the fact that if she were to score a fourth takedown, it's probably over for Yan Xiaonan (+190) the way she waffled against Carla Esparza on the mat. She's clearly not comfortable there.

Still, Dern has to get this fight there in order to make it happen. Yan defended 8 of the 10 takedowns she faced from Claudia Gadehla, and Gadelha is also a black belt with a much better takedown efficiency (42%).

That has to give Yan a modicum of confidence entering this one, and it's obvious she'll dominate in the striking department. Her +1.89 striking success rate is the best on this card and dwarfs Mack Dern's (-1.19).

If Yan keeps her feet, she'll cruise to a win. That's a worthwhile enough "if" to invest at this number.

Dart Throw of the Week:
Randy Brown by Submission (+550; 0.25 Units)

I didn't love Randy Brown (-340) at his number to toss him in the two-legger, but he should still dominate this matchup with Francisco Trinaldo.

At 44 years old, Trinaldo is on a 5-1 streak where he's out-landed his six opponents by a total of just four significant strikes. He's the MMA equivalent of a pitcher who doesn't get strikeouts, lets up a ton of hard contact, and is still spinning scoreless starts.

This matchup with Brown is cruel. Seemingly at the peak of his powers, Brown is on a three-fight streak himself with a +61 striking differential in that span. That's far more normal to see from someone winning consecutive fights.

Brown's +1.10 striking success rate is a good bit ahead of Trinaldo's (+0.55), and "Massaranduba" isn't ascending at this point. Trinaldo also fought the bulk of his career at 155 pounds, and he's facing Brown, whose 6'3" frame is massive even for more organic welterweights.

"Rudeboy" Randy Brown has three UFC wins via submission, and Trinaldo has been submitted professionally three times. In a fight Brown is pegged to dominate, this outcome isn't overly likely, but five-to-one odds are just too long for a superior fighter with Brown's grappling skills who might be willing to turn to a "club and sub."