UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev

MMA handicapper Christian Broughton provides his best bets for this weekend’s UFC card, UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev
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UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev

Khalil Rountree vs. Karl Roberson Prediction

Khalil Rountree vs. Karl Roberson

Main Card - Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11:15 p.m. EST.

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Taking a shot on Karl Roberson never fills you with a great deal of confidence, but against just about any non-grappler on the fringes of the UFC middleweight or light heavyweight (LHW) division, it’s hard to feel too bad about it either.

All 4 of his losses have come inside the UFC and via submission against notable grapplers, and he’s facing Khalil Rountree, who hasn’t even landed a takedown in any one of his 11 bouts within the promotion, and much less pulled off a submission.

With this in mind, it’s fairly safe to assume that this will be a striking affair for its duration, unless Roberson is the one who looks to force it to the ground, which he has been known to do when he has the grappling edge.

On the feet, look for Roberson to be the cleaner and more precise striker. His volume isn’t off the charts, but in a calculated distance striking match, he should be the fighter landing more, and with the better quality of strikes. Rountree does pack some ungodly power, but with Roberson being a defensively sound striker who has never been KO/TKO’ed, I have faith that he’ll be able to avoid most of the big shots early.

One of the factors I particularly like about Roberson in this spot is that I favor him on the feet, in the grappling, and in regard to his conditioning and durability. And this translates into me thinking he could win in a number of ways: via knockout or submission (at any point throughout the fight), or on the scorecards.

Khalil Rountree vs. Karl Roberson Pick

 Drew Dober vs. Terrance McKinney Prediction

Drew Dober vs. Terrance McKinney

Main Card - Lightweight (155lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:45 p.m. EST.

I feel like I’m buying into the hype and falling straight into the dreaded clutches of recency bias by betting Terrance McKinney here. He’s fresh off the heels of not one, but two, lightning quick finishes against decent opposition (one of which was just two weeks ago), and now he’ll be facing his toughest opponent to date in Drew Dober. If things couldn’t get any more damning towards the perception around this fight, Drew Dober is entering this on the back of two losses, albeit to solid top tier competition.

Putting the narratives and cries of potential biases aside, this should be a stylistically favorable fight for McKinney. He’s primarily a wrestler with a strong submission game, and he’s fighting Dober, who is a hard-hitting striker with deficiencies in his takedown defense and submission defense.

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My two biggest concerns are that McKinney can’t take the power of Dober, and that he won’t be able to get the early finish, and as a result, he’ll fatigue and Dober will take over down the stretch, either leading to a finish or a decision loss. I can’t really speak for the first point, as that is a problem, but with the latter, we don’t really know the level of McKinney’s conditioning as his fights often end early, so it’s very difficult to quantify exactly how the fight plays out in the later rounds.

All things considered, McKinney looks to be a solid athlete and a decent enough prospect, with a solid matchup for him to do his best work. Dober’s consistency and grit could end up pushing McKinney into a style of fight that we’ve never seen him test with before, but as we’ve ‘dog odds greater than +125, I’m just happy to make a play on him as the fighter with the higher career ceiling. 

Drew Dober vs. Terrance McKinney Pick

Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev Prediction

Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev

Main Event – Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 12:45 a.m. EST.

I'm taking a very small shot on Thiago "Marreta" Santos' decision prop here. At 38 years old, and still seemingly hindered by the sheer damage he’s had to recover from following his admirable title challenge against Jon Jones a few years back, it seems safe to say that he's a little over the hill at this point. That said, the man is still extremely dangerous, and can go strike for strike with the very best.

Magomed Ankalaev has looked to be the complete package throughout his impressive run in the UFC. His range striking and controlled wrestling is effective and risk-averse. His conditioning and durability both look solid. There really isn't much to fault with Ankalaev technically or physically to this point. This being said, I do have some mild, lingering question marks with his pacing, and how he will fare against fellow polished strikers, such as Santos. These mainly stem from seeing him go to a competitive, albeit clear, 3-round decision against Nikita Krylov just over a year ago, who I'd say is still a step below the talent level of 2022 Thiago Santos.

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I'm not in love with this spot, hence why I'm only making it a very small play, but I think Santos has got the technicality on the feet, and veteran savvy to draw out a very tight and close striking match. Both fighters do have fight ending ability, of course, but neither fighter has looked to really force the action much recently, and I think that bodes well for the over and the underdog. Ankalaev has got the x factor with his wrestling, but he has shown to be reluctant to use it, and without it, his upside is seriously hindered. I'm taking Thiago Santos to win via decision, 12-to-1 seems wide, and I'm happy to take some to keep the bookies honest.

Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev Pick

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Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.

Event: UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev / UFC on ESPN+ 61 / UFC Vegas 50 / #UFCVegas50

Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Date: Saturday, March 12th, 2022

Start Time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims: 7 p.m. EST.

Where To Watch: Main Card on ESPN+, Prelim Card on ESPN+

UFC Odds: Click here to view the full list of odds for UFC Fight Night: Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev Full Fight Card Predictions:

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev Main Event Prediction:

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev – Santos via Decision

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev Main Card Predictions:

Bantamweight (135lbs): Marlon Moraes vs. Yadong Song – Song via KO/TKO

Featherweight (145lbs): Sodiq Yusuff vs. Alex Caceres – Yusuff via Decision

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Khalil Rountree vs. Karl Roberson – Roberson via KO/TKO

Lightweight (155lbs): Drew Dober vs. Terrance McKinney – McKinney via Submission

Middleweight (185lbs): Alex Pereira vs. Bruno Silva – Pereira via KO/TKO

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev Prelim Card Predictions:

Welterweight (170lbs): Matt Semelsberger vs. AJ Fletcher – Semelsberger via Decision

(W) Flyweight (125lbs): JJ Aldrich vs. Gillian Robertson – Aldrich via Decision

Bantamweight (135lbs): Trevin Jones vs. Javid Basharat – Basharat via Decision

Featherweight (145lbs): Damon Jackson vs. Kamuela Kirk – Jackson via Decision

(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Sabina Mazo vs. Miranda Maverick – Maverick via Decision

Middleweight (185lbs): Dalcha Lungiambula vs. Cody Brundage – Lungiambula via KO/TKO

Bantamweight (135lbs): Kris Moutinho vs. Guido Cannetti – Cannetti via Submission

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Tafon Nchukwi vs. Azamat Murzakanov – Murzakanov via Decision

*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.

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A former sportsbook trader with a passion for mixed martial arts. If there is value to be found then Christian is the man to find it.

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