Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 70
How far can a freak athlete in UFC get without training? Apparently into the top-15 rankings if you believe Ryan Spann. We'll see if Spann -- now allegedly training full-time -- can continue his meteoric rise to the top this week against the equally dangerous Nikita "Miner" Krylov.
UFC Vegas 70: Krylov vs. Spann will take place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Which MMA bets stand out on FanDuel Sportsbook?
YTD: 2-3 (-2.0 units)
Zac Pauga turned in a pretty poor showing, but he still got his hand raised in unanimous fashion to cap the two-legger's first complete cash of the year. The other "win" included a voided leg.
With debutants littered across the card as favorites between -150 and -250, it was a bit tougher than usual to find this week's lay, but two worthy candidates emerged.
Andre Muniz and Mike Malott to Both Win
(-102; 1.5 Units)
Though these grappling-minded fighters are at different stages of their UFC careers, I think we can trust both to emerge with wins on Saturday.
Andre Muniz (-245) is a name that most casual UFC fans know at this stage. He followed the breaking of Jacare Souza's arm with a dominant win that retired Uriah Hall. Muniz is a handful on the mat, evidenced by 3.71 takedowns per 15 minutes with modest 40% accuracy. He also leads the card in submission attempts per 15 minutes (2.1).
Muniz's path to victory is obvious against Brendan Allen's 50% takedown defense. Unranked middleweight Jakob Malkoun landed 7 of 14 takedown attempts on Allen just eight months ago. Plus, an underrated storyline here is Allen's striking defense (44%) is poor, and Muniz has been quietly on point (55% striking accuracy) when throwing shots.
As for Mike Malott (-245), he's paired with fellow Canadian Yohan Lainesse, but the two Canucks have had very different paths to this stage. Malott knocked out six-time UFC winner Mickey Gall in his debut, and Lainesse barely squeaked by Darian Weeks (0-3 UFC) in a fight he landed just 23 significant strikes and 17 seconds of control time. Yikes.
Malott landed 63% of his significant strikes and defended 57% of Gall's attempts in his debut. Lainesse landed just 34% of his own strikes yet did defend 60% of incoming attempts from Weeks. The problem is, behind Malott's superior overall performance, the level of competition also favors "Proper". Malott's only career loss came to six-time UFC winner Hakeem Dawodu.
Expect both of these guys to go to the ground early -- and often -- to secure wins this weekend.
Ryan Spann to Win (+142; 1.0 Units)
I couldn't make sense of Erin Blanchfield as the underdog in last week's main event, and I feel the same about Ryan Spann (+142).
Spann and Nikita Krylov are also set for the five-rounder to end the card this week, but don't expect it to take that long. Spann's last five bouts all finished in the first round. I think he's a terrible matchup for Krylov.
On the feet, Spann's 3.43% knockdown rate is enormous. For context, champion Jamahal Hill -- with plenty of power and five finishes by knockout himself -- has a rate of just 0.66%. Krylov's is just 0.93%, aided by the fact the wrestler has never eclipsed 60 significant strikes in one fight. With two striking defenses below 50%, you have to favor the harder hitter.
On the mat, Krylov has been submitted in four of his last six UFC losses, and Spann (1.8 submission attempts per 15 minutes) is incredibly aggressive in that area. Krylov may find success wrestling against Spann 50% takedown defense, but Spann is wholly dangerous even planted onto the canvas.
In a fight profiling closer to a pick 'em for yours truly, the value is with Spann every time.
Rafael Alves to Win (+148; 1.0 Unit)
Tajikstan's Nurullo Aliev's performance on Dana White's Contender Series has apparently stuck with many.
The 23-year-old is a sizable -192 favorite this weekend despite never having defeated an opponent with a UFC appearance. His ground-and-pound finish of Josh Wick on the show didn't qualify. As a result, we're getting plenty of juice with veteran Rafael Alves (+148) on the other side.
Alves has been swallowed by lightweight's gauntlet since making his UFC debut in May 2021. His 1-2 record has come against three foes with a combined 24 UFC wins. He's really got solid analytical elements considering the tough schedule, including a 50% striking accuracy and 58% striking defense.
Alves' 60% takedown defense is a concern given Aliev's dominant ground performance on the show, but breaking it down, he was taken down twice on four attempts by Damir Ismagulov, and he defended Marc Diakese's attempt with a fight-ending choke. Averaging 1.2 submission attempts per 15, that's a concern for the youngster Aliev.
Alves is a slight favorite in my stuff, so these +148 odds provide massive value.
Dart Throws of the Week
Tatiana Suarez by KO/TKO (+400; 0.25 Units)
Tatiana Suarez (-850) is such an overwhelming favorite that her +125 inside-the-distance odds provide immense value. Anyone projected to dominate like such shouldn't be ruled out for an early stoppage if the referee has seen enough.
However, I'm taking my greed a step further with this prop. I feel comfortable that Suarez avoids a submission win here. Though she does have two submission wins in five UFC-affiliated appearances, her attempt rate (0.6 per 15 minutes) is quite low. She just secured both attempts.
On the other side, the durable veteran Montana De La Rosa -- a ground specialist herself -- has only been submitted once, and it was back in 2016. She's gone the distance with the dangerous Mayra Bueno Silva since.
As a result, Suarez via ground-and-pound seems like the far more likely outcome, and there's a reason to target her this way. There is plenty of variance in this fight given that Suarez has never competed at 125 pounds, and she's been inactive since June of 2019 due to neck injuries.
We don't really know what Suarez -- arguably the most dominant strawweight wrestler ever at 6.47 takedowns per 15 minutes -- will bring to this new weight class. I'd rather just play this small dart to encapsulate her chances of looking like the dominant finishing machine she has been for the bulk of her UFC career.
Don'Tale Mayes by Points (+500; 0.25 Units)
More likely than not, someone will take a face-first trip to the canvas in the main card heavyweight bout between Augusto Sakai and Don'Tale Mayes (+108), but this seems to be the clear outcome if that is avoided.
There's a significant level of competition gap here, but it's appropriate. Sakai has been knocked out in four straight losses with a -44 striking differential, and Mayes has won four of his past six outside of two losses via submission -- a threat that Sakai doesn't bring.
The book on how to defeat Sakai is published, and Mayes might have perfectly shown the ability to exploit it at the right time. Sakai's been taken down nine times during the losing skid with a 54% takedown defense overall. Mayes landed six of eight takedown attempts on Josh Parisian two fights ago before a no-contest bout last July.
Even if Mayes' wrestling doesn't pan out, he's live to outpoint Sakai on the feet behind his four-inch reach advantage. Though Sakai (+0.66 striking success rate) would likely still be favored in that scenario, Mayes (-0.19) hasn't been horrible on his feet, and we've seen fighters develop a mental block when striking before after getting put out in multiple, consecutive fights.