Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 69
A last-minute substitute opponent will teach us quite a bit more about flyweight prospect Erin Blanchfield. If all goes well, her next UFC bout will be for gold.
UFC Vegas 69: Andrade vs. Blanchfield will take place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Which MMA bets stand out on FanDuel Sportsbook?
YTD: 1-3 (-3.4 units)
There are always unseen risks when betting on this sport, and Tyson Pedro's post-fight comments reminded us of another. He had a verified stomach flu, which helps explain his total exhaustion in the final two rounds while losing on Saturday.
Excuses aside, the two-legger needs to get moving. Luckily, this week has more moderate favorites who better fit the bill for what we like to do.
Zac Pauga and Philipe Lins to Both Win
(-112; 1.55 Units)
Moderate favorites are the theme of this card, and these two seem incredibly well-positioned to keep climbing out of the holes they've dug early in their promotional career.
Zac Pauga (-310) probably wants a redo of his official UFC debut. In The Ultimate Fighter 30 finale, Pauga dusted Mohammed Usman by 22 significant strikes in Round 1 and appeared headed for a dominant win. Shortly after, Usman landed a left counter that turned off Pauga's lights.
That was at heavyweight, and though Jordan Wright has UFC wins via knockout, he's done so at middleweight. Usman was 239 pounds, and Wright's last fight came at 186 pounds. The power gap should eliminate any severe knockout concerns, and Pauga's +3.57 striking success rate (SSR) should tee off on Wright's awful -1.87 SSR. Pauga's takedown defense -- also at heavyweight -- is 100%, too.
As for Philipe Lins (-230), he's favored to add another sad chapter to former 205-pound contender Ovince St. Preux's final stages. Lins' light heavyweight debut was a solid one, taking down Marcin Prachnio 4 times on 11 attempts to score the victory.
He mowed through the multi-time winner, so it's easy to see him plowing through the near-40-year-old "OSP." St. Preux defended just 46% of his strikes against the equally dusty Shogun Rua last time out, and his 66% takedown defense in its prime wasn't world-class and hasn't really been tested recently. He's faced just five total takedown attempts since the COVID break, defending four.
Wright has lost four of his last five, and St. Preux has lost five of his past seven. These slides -- with poor peripherals along the way -- should continue Saturday.
Erin Blanchfield to Win (+116; 1.45 Units)
Given Taila Santos just scored three takedowns and three submission attempts on the champ, I don't have many doubts Erin Blanchfield (+118) can as well.
Blanchfield's dominant wrestling has made waves in UFC all the way to this first career main event. She's scored 4.00 takedowns per 15 minutes on lethal 68% accuracy. Originally scheduled to fight Santos, we were going to size those attacks up this weekend. Santos averages 2.29 takedowns per 15, but it's come on better 88% accuracy.
With Taila injured and out, Jessica Andrade will help answer a different, more debatable question about Blanchfield. How good is her striking?
With a +3.34 SSR and a 61% striking defense, it's been an excellent changeup to her wrestling thus far. That's why I'm inclined to believe she survives Andrade better than Lauren Murphy (55% striking defense) did at UFC 283.
At the flyweight level, Andrade ceded all 7 takedown attempts to Valentina Shevchenko (64% TD accuracy), but she defended all 15 from Murphy (25% TD accuracy). I believe Blanchfield can have the same success Valentina did in grappling Andrade onto the canvas and neutralizing her offense.
Jamall Emmers to Win (+108; 1.0 Unit)
Even though Jamall Emmers (+100) did me dirty as a 'dog in his last fight, I want to return to him again.
Emmers immediately dropped top prospect Pat Sabatini in his last fight, but he made the mistake of lunging toward Sabatini on the ground to submit him. Sabatini, an excellent wrestler, was able to secure Emmers' ankle in a leg lock, and he blew out Emmers' ACL. It was as blatant a win tossed away as I've seen in this sport.
His long journey back culminates in Saturday's appearance. Before the injury, Emmers was a multi-level threat with solid striking (+1.29 SSR) and wrestling (2.76 takedowns per 15 minutes with 53% accuracy). He's also got three career wins by submission.
His 1-3 UFC record is incredibly misleading. Emmers' losses have come against fighters with a combined 18 UFC wins. His opponent this weekend, Khusein Askhabov, is 23-0 professionally, but that's pretty worthless when he's yet to face an opponent with a UFC appearance. Ashkabov also usually fights 10 pounds lighter at bantamweight, so he is ceding some size to Jamall.
With a sizable edge in experience and excellent peripherals despite his record, "Pretty Boy" is a tremendous contrarian underdog to back.
Dart Throws of the Week
Jim Miller by Submission (+500; 0.25 Units)
There aren't many UFC lightweights I wouldn't take this chance on.
Jim Miller (+186) is a submission wizard. He averages 1.80 attempts per 36 minutes, and he's secured 19 of his 35 pro wins in that manner. He's coming off a second-round submission of Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in Cerrone's retirement fight.
On short notice, Miller is taking on Alexander Hernandez. The bulk of Hernandez's career has come at lightweight, but he's now at featherweight (for the most part). There are reasons Hernandez dropped to 145 pounds, including a submission loss to Renato Moicano in his last divisional appearance at 155.
Hernandez's sample at 155 pounds makes this one easier to imagine. He has just a 0.88% knockdown rate in the split, so despite a few knockouts at this weight class, he doesn't hit with overwhelming power. Between his -0.45 SSR and so-so 61% takedown defense, there isn't a lot of "scary" here.
At 39 years old, Miller's fighting as well as he has in any UFC stretch. He's 6-3 in his last nine trips to the octagon. He's also seeing his toughest opponent in this stretch in Hernandez, but Moicano's grappling dominance should provide hope of a finish here for "A-10."
Mayra Bueno Silva by Submission (+220; 0.5 Units)
This might be a sucker's bet, but as mentioned on Friday's Covering the Spread, I'm just showing way too much value on this to not take it.
Mayra Bueno Silva (-520) is the largest favorite on the card, and there's not a snowball's chance in heck that I'd stuff that number even in a parlay. However, this is a two-to-one opportunity to back her in -- by far -- the most likely way she finishes this bout.
Bueno Silva has scored four of her five UFC triumphs by submission, and she averages 1.50 submission attempts per 15 minutes. I believe this number is juiced because Lina Lansberg, her opponent, has never been submitted, but Lansberg has never faced a UFC foe averaging north of 1.0 submission attempts per 15.
The bugaboo with betting MBS submissions is that she doesn't really actively try to get the fight to that position. She's never scored a UFC takedown. If there was ever a time, it'd be against Lansberg's 48% takedown defense. Plus, MBS (54% striking accuracy) will land at will on Lansberg's 44% striking defense but hasn't showcased the power to pull off a knockout.
I have this number as closer to -105, so there's too much value here even despite relatively short odds for an exact finish.