Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 68
This card was originally supposed to take place in Seoul, South Korea, but with UFC's biggest star from there sidelined due to injury, they've pulled this card stateside. However, it'll still happen between 1:00 and 4:00 a.m. Eastern. We'll need some coffee.
UFC Vegas 68: Lewis vs. Spivac will take place at the UFC Apex facility early on Sunday morning. Which MMA bets stand out on FanDuel Sportsbook?
YTD: 0-2 (-3.0 units)
Chalk last week's loss up to parlay composition options. I even spoke about the difficulty of building the two-legger with a heavy favorite and a pick 'em versus two moderate favorites. The heavy favorite, Josi Nunes, prevailed, but we lost a coin flip with Warlley Alves. That decision was tight but ultimately correct.
We're still searching for the first win of 2023. It might happen while most of us are sleeping.
Ji Yeon Kim and Junyong Park to Both Win
(+105; 2.0 Units)
I've upped the unit count here because this is my truly first no-doubt lay of the year.
I couldn't tell you which side I like more between Ji Yeon Kim (-250) and Junyong Park (-176) at their odds, but I love them both. They're productive, efficient UFC veterans taking on -- for lack of a better term -- trainwreck peripherals on the other side.
I'm glad the UFC kept Kim around because she doesn't deserve to be cut despite four straight losses. She's held a +20 striking differential in those four bouts, and the four opponents have a combined 20 UFC wins. They're good fighters.
Kim's pace (16.08 significant strikes attempted per minute) and striking defense (56%) are both really tremendous. She's facing Mandy Bohm, and "The Monster" was an overseas dart for UFC that hasn't panned out. Against two ladies with negative striking success rates (SSR) themselves, Bohm has amassed a poor -1.27 SSR. Kim (+0.02 SSR) is an even stiffer test.
As for Park, he's 5-2 in UFC, and I see this test as simpler than his last against Joseph Holmes. Denis Tiuliulin is a powerful athlete from Russia who used a pair of groin strikes to sneak by Jamie Pickett (3-6 in UFC-affiliated bouts), but he hasn't really done much well. His striking accuracy (47%) and striking defense (42%) are both well below Park's -- and the middleweight average.
These two were given friendly matchups for a hometown fight in Seoul. Even with the card now in Las Vegas, these are slam-dunk opportunities.
Jeka Saragih to Win (+102; 1.0 Unit)
Four Road to the UFC finales will take place on this card with eight fighters I've genuinely never seen fight before. I'm excited about that because it's truly blind data to trust our process and our model.
The closest fight of the four -- by moneyline -- features India's Anshul Jubli and Indonesia's Jeka Saragih (+102), and just from a purely analytical standpoint, Saragih should be favored.
In his two bouts, Saragih amassed a +1.93 SSR. He did this with a solid striking accuracy (50%) and striking defense (58%) for the lightweight division, and he's added 2.98 takedowns per 15 minutes with 100% accuracy thus far.
Theoretically, the level of competition in these bouts is supposed to be decently even. In that event, Jubli's -0.20 SSR and 60% takedown defense are a bit worrisome given Saragih's efficiency thus far. Jubli's pace has been much better (18.49 significant strikes attempted per minute), but that won't help him win if he's absorbing more damage.
This is a unit on the clearest process play of the week. Tread carefully considering I know painfully little about these fighters anecdotally.
Yi Zha to Win (+210; 0.5 Units)
Here's another dart from the model.
Jeong Yeong Lee is a moderate favorite over Yi Zha (+210) this weekend, but Lee is the exact type of favorite profile I tend to fade when betting. It's so obvious where the path to failure lies.
In two first-round wins during Road to the UFC, Lee has just been the assailant of his kill-or-be-killed style. He's held a card-worst 40% striking defense and defended just 50% of takedowns thus far.
The takedown defense woes are especially intriguing considering, so far, Zha's 7.83 takedowns per 15 minutes lead all eight fighters from the show. Those have come on stellar 75% accuracy, as well.
The risk to a favorite like Lee, averaging 10.77 significant strikes landed per minute and 11.50 submission attempts per 15, is if he doesn't get the early finish. That's a ton of energy usage, and when it comes up empty, the end is usually ugly. We don't have those questions with Zha, who went all 15 minutes last time out.
This is a small dart to see if Lee's aggressive finishing streak comes crashing down in short order.
Dart Throw of the Week
Adam Fugitt by KO/TKO/Submission (+440; 0.5 Units)
I've added this guy here on weigh-in day with prop markets now available.
Adam Fugitt (+250) should not be this distant of an underdog to newcomer Yusaku Kinoshita, but I'm going to be greedy and take him to win inside the distance here.
As a +500 underdog, Fugitt actually outperformed expectations in his UFC debut despite the third-round stoppage loss to hotshot prospect Michael Morales. Morales stopped six-time UFC winner Trevin Giles in an easier fashion. Fugitt's 5.74 significant strikes per minute on 56% accuracy was a tremendous offensive showing.
The 22-year-old Kinoshita stopped another youngster (20) on Dana White's Contender Series, but none of his seven professional foes have even faced someone with a UFC appearance themselves. Fugitt has also gone the distance with Bellator veteran Austin Vanderford, so there's a massive gulf in level of competition here.
The athletic Fugitt will have a six-inch edge in reach, and seven of his eight pro wins have come via finish. I'll take the undervalued, experienced veteran in this space.