Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 62
My biggest UFC play of the year is always on some random card. A week before one of the most hyped combat sports events ever, of course, it's this week. But, we'll try to complement it with a fifth straight win for the two-legger and an interesting dart in the main event.
UFC Vegas 62: Grasso vs. Araujo will take place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Which MMA bets stand out on FanDuel Sportsbook?
Victor Henry and Askar Askarov to Both Win
(-137; 1.5 Units)
Despite a four-card streak for the two-legger, I'm backing it down thanks to the whale coming next. Still, Victor Henry (-370) and Askar Askarov (-250) are in phenomenal spots as healthy favorites.
Henry shocked all of us -- myself included -- by dispatching the credentialed Raoni Barcelos in his UFC debut. In a full fight, he landed an absurd 12.01 significant strikes per minute with 51% accuracy. He also stuffed six of seven takedown attempts.
His opponent this week, Raphael Assuncao, is just too weak of a challenge. Barcelos was better. At 40 years old, the veteran is on a four-fight skid in which he's been finished thrice. He was outstruck by 9.5 significant strikes on average in those bouts, so it's not like he was winning the fight before the finish, either.
As for Askarov, he's got a tough test with the scrappy Brandon Royval. Royval (2.4 submission attempts per 15 minutes) is always a threat to find a sneaky choke, but Askarov is a master of sport in both combat sambo and judo. He can grapple, and he's never been professionally submitted.
Askarov's 57% striking defense and 66% takedown defense are plus marks, and Royval doesn't mount high-level offense in the UFC outside of his choke attempts otherwise. He's landed just 36% of his significant strikes, and as a submission specialist, 0.70 takedowns per 15 minutes just isn't enough.
Both are in a great spot to cruise past their challenges this weekend.
**Editor's Note: Askarov's fight was canceled Friday. This bet is void.**
Misha Cirkunov to Win (+172; 3.0 Units)
Here's the megalodon.
I can't believe I'm getting Misha Cirkunov (+172) at these odds. I'd lay -172 odds with him in this spot if I had to -- much less the inverse.
There is one path that "Atomic" Alonzo Menifield can beat Cirkunov -- his atomic punch. Don't get me wrong; it's a real weapon. He's got five UFC-affiliated knockouts, but his power has stalled a bit at higher ranks. Menifield hasn't secured a true knockdown in his past six appearances, suffering two himself in that time.
Against a much lower level of competition, Menifield's +0.65 striking success rate still lags behind Cirkunov's (+0.87). That's not a good start when Cirkunov, securing 4.3 takedowns and 1.8 submission attempts per 15 minutes historically, should dominate the grappling exchanges.
Cirkunov's 2-6 skid seems alarming at first, but those setbacks include four ranked light heavyweights, 11-time UFC winner Krzysztof Jotko, and 3-time UFC winner Wellington Turman. Menifield just faced a guy who lied about his record to get into UFC and proceeded to fail a drug test while he was here.
With a totally different level of competition and every significant statistic leaning Cirkunov's way, expect the Canadian to rebound in this fight.
Dart Throw of the Week:
Viviane Araujo by KO/TKO/Submission (+700; 0.25 Units)
This week's main event is a tricky one to bet on.
This fight is -230 to go all five rounds, so a vast majority of the time, this bet won't hit. I prefer to bet Vivi Araujo (+164) on the moneyline, but this sprinkle is kind of fun.
Alexa Grasso has snuck her way up the flyweight rankings, but it doesn't feel sustainable. She's used key grappling situations to skate by Ji Yeon Kim and Joanne Wood, submitting the latter in her last bout. Here's the problem -- Grasso is a boxer, and she won't have that edge this week.
Also, Kim and Wood are 1-8 since the start of 2020. Grasso's other win during this time (Maycee Barber) was a good one, but she was also outstruck by two strikes and ceded three takedowns -- and landed zero -- in that fight. She didn't deserve to win it.
Araujo's last bout against Andrea Lee was either woman's strongest test to date, and she won it despite an early knockdown. Grasso, a former strawweight, has zero career knockdowns. She's got no power for this heavier weight class.
If this fight is going Vivi's way, she has 7 finishes in 11 pro wins. She's the stronger grappler (0.60 submission attempts per 15) and holds the aforementioned power edge on the feet, so I think she can find a finish in a fight where both really need a statement.
Pete Rodriguez by Submission (+950; 0.25 Units)
With this week's two-legger canceled, I wanted to add two more solid value props in addition to the Araujo dart.
Pete Rodriguez (-720) is in a total squash match this weekend. Mike Jackson was brought into UFC as a stunt opponent for former WWE star CM Punk, and to their surprise, he won. He took years between that bout and his real debut in April to get ready, and it still wasn't enough.
He was blasted in the first round by Dean Barry before Barry was disqualified due to an eye poke.
Rodriguez is as fair of an opponent as they can give Jackson. He's got just five pro appearances, and he was blitzed out of his UFC debut in the first round by Jack Della Maddalena. Della Maddalena is making real noise at welterweight, though.
This fight is a raw -- but talented -- MMA fighter against a retired boxer that served as a method actor to be Punk's opponent. Realistically, Rodriguez has a certain level of skill to get sanctioned to fight Della Maddalena in the first place.
This is a perfect chance to show his skills, and while he's more of a brawler on the feet, if he's training MMA on a daily basis, he should be able to submit Jackson with a fairly elementary choke in a fight he'll likely dominate.
Joanderson Brito by Submission (+340; 0.5 Units)
I'll play this dart a bit heavier. I think it's the single most likely outcome of this fight.
Joanderson Brito (-400) showed decent wrestling and grappling in his UFC debut with Bill Algeo. As a whole, he's posted 2.90 takedowns per 15 minutes with 62% accuracy. That's good for a pair of bouts with Algeo and Andre Fili. Both are multi-time UFC winners.
Brito got a last-minute opponent to still fight this week in Lucas Alexander. Regionally, Alexander has faced just one opponent with a UFC appearance -- Jacob Kilburn. Kilburn was 0-2 in UFC, and he's lost five straight overall.
There's no definitive evidence Alexander is a UFC-caliber fighter. He's posted four decisions and three knockouts in wins regionally, and he's lost the same way for both setbacks -- a submission.
Brito has five regional submission wins, and he figures to avoid Alexander's power with a grappling-heavy approach. His knockout odds are short, but this is a quality number for a fight that will take place on the mat if it's going Brito's way.