UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan
Our MMA betting expert Christian Broughton has won profit on 5 of the last 6 UFC events. Now he sets his sight on this weekend’s card, UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan.
Bet of the Card: (2u) FOXBet Bet Boost: Markus Perez to Win in Rounds 1-3 @ +170 (to Return 5.4 Units)
Markus Perez vs. Eric Spicely
Preliminary Card Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 7:15 p.m. EST.
- Eric Spicely has lost all of his last 4 UFC fights, with 2 coming by way of KO/TKO and 1 coming via submission.
My bet of the card for this week is on Markus “Maluko” Perez to win inside the distance.
Perez is a well-rounded Brazilian fighter who loves to throw flashy techniques when standing, and a barrage of slick submission attempts when grappling. He throws with decent volume, and although he is not a defensively sound striker, he looks to have one of the low-key best chins in the game. With his aggressive style and great durability, this allows him to force the action on his opponents and put them in tough high-pressure spots during fights.
His opponent this weekend is Eric Spicely, who’s currently in his second UFC stint, following his release and re-signing between mid-2018 and mid-2019. Spicely is predominantly a submission grappler with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He offers very little threat striking against most guys at 185lbs, but even more so when considering the skill gap for this specific matchup against Perez.
Perez has an 80% takedown defense (per UFCStats.com) and has stood the test of much more accomplished wrestlers than Spicely, and as such, this should see Perez dictate whether he wants this to be a striking or grappling affair. With this in mind, he can either piece Spicely up on the feet, landing with ease on Spicely and his less-than-stellar guard, or he can turn this into a clinch battle along the fence. Even if this were to end up on the mat, I don’t see Spicely as a submission treat to Perez, thus throwing out Spicely’s best path to victory.
Ultimately, I think we see Perez dominate and overwhelm Spicely with strikes standing, either leading to Spicely crumpling to the floor for a TKO, or even him giving up a choke submission. Take Perez to win inside the distance at +170 with FOXBet’s boost, I like his -200 moneyline too, but this prop provides even better value.
(0.5u) Will the Fight Go the Distance – Yes @ +360 (to Return 2.3 Units)
(0.5u) Derek Brunson to Win via Decision @ +850 (to Return 4.75 Units)
Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
Main Event Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11:15 p.m. EST.
- All 5 main events recently held at the UFC Apex have gone the distance, and 11 of the last 12 UFC main events have all gone over the set over/under rounds prop.
Saturday’s card sees us get a rare 3 round main event, following the cancellation of the original headliner, Holy Holm vs. Irena Aldana, just last week.
We’ll now see 16-fight UFC veteran, Derek Brunson, collide with surging 11-0 hot prospect, Edmen Shahbazyan. Edmen has a ton of hype coming into this one, and this is reflected by his moneyline price; currently ranging between -304 (best odds) to -340.
Shahbazyan has finished all but one of his fights in the first round, and when he went outside of the first, he was taken to a split decision by Darren Stewart, a middling talent at best within the UFC’s middleweight (MW) division.
Brunson’s been on a little run of his own recently too; he’s currently riding back-to-back decision wins over 13th ranked MW, Ian Heinisch, and Elias Theodorou. In both fights he showed some tremendous adjustments to his game; he was no longer swinging wildly searching for a KO, instead he was calm, patient and calculated. This new approach allowed Brunson to sit back and out-box his opponents on the feet and utilize well-timed takedowns to punctuate rounds in his favor.
If Brunson handles this fight as he did his last two, he should be more than capable of making this a close fight, or at least much more than the betting lines suggest. He’ll have to work well to keep range and drive for occasional takedowns, but ultimately, he has all the tools to make this a razor close fight, should he get through the first round.
With both guys yielding solid knockout power, betting a fight to go the distance (FTGTD) is always daunting, but at +360 the line is simply too wide, especially when considering that this one could coast to the scorecards beyond an explosive opening five minutes. On top of taking the FTGTD, I also like a small play on Brunson’s decision prop at +850. I favor him over Shahbazyan if this fight if it were to go to the scorecards, and because of that, it makes a lot of sense to take some action on his juicy +850 decision prop, over Shahbazyan’s at +600.
(1u) FOXBet Bet Boost: Jonathan Martinez to Win in Rounds 1-3 @ +275 (to Return 3.75 Units)
Frankie Saenz vs. Jonathan Martinez
Preliminary Card Headliner Bantamweight (135lbs) Bout – Approx. Start time: 8:30 p.m. EST.
- Frankie Saenz has been KO/TKO’ed twice in his last three fights against strikers.
My final bet on the card is a small one-unit play on Jonathan Martinez to win inside the distance against Frankie Saenz.
Frankie has been a long-time servant of the UFC, but he’s only competed 10 times over his 6-year tenure, and only 5 times over the past 4 calendar years. He’s now less than two weeks away from eclipsing the age of 40, and questions have to be asked about his durability following his KO loss to Marlon Vera in under two minutes. Saenz has always been a revered grappler, but with his climbing age, one also has to question his ability to “go” for fifteen minutes as well, particularly against a young up-and-coming fighter, such as Martinez.
Martinez will have a distinct speed and striking edge, and although I wouldn’t be shocked to see Frankie get him down to the mat a few times, I still see Martinez working his way back up to the feet and out-cardo’ing Frankie in the later rounds.
Realistically, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Martinez clip Saenz early like Vera did, but with his level of stamina, I think he holds a significant KO threat for the entire fight. In summary, I like Martinez to get the stoppage win here at +275, it’s a big number given all the uncertainty with Frankie Saenz, and well worth a bet.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Shahbazyan / UFC on ESPN+ 31 / #UFCVegas5
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, August 1st, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 9 p.m. EST, Prelims 6 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan Full Fight Card Predictions:
UFC Fight Night: Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan Main Event Prediction:
Middleweight (185lbs): Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan – Brunson via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan Main Card Predictions:
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Joanne Calderwood vs. Jennifer Maia – Calderwood via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Vicente Luque vs. Randy Brown – Luque via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata – Vannata via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Kevin Holland vs. Trevin Giles – Holland via Submission
UFC Fight Night: Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan Prelim Card Predictions:
Bantamweight (135lbs): Frankie Saenz vs. Jonathan Martinez – Martinez via KO/TKO
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Ed Herman vs. Gerald Meerschaert – Meerschaert via Submission
Bantamweight (135lbs): Ray Borg vs. Nathan Maness – Borg via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Markus Perez vs. Eric Spicely – Perez via KO/TKO
Bantamweight (135lbs): Jamall Emmers vs. Timur Valiev – Valiev via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Chris Gutierrez vs. Cody Durden – Gutierrez via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.