UFC Fight Night Best Bets & Prop Picks: Two Underdog Bets & A +500 Prop Bet
With the UFC in full swing throughout 2021, we here at Odds Checker will be looking to have you covered when it comes to betting on MMA. As a longtime martial arts analyst and gambler, I'll be providing you with everything from technical analysis to my favorite lines in the form of parlays, props, and more for upcoming fight cards.
UFC Fight Night Main Event: Barboza VS.Chikadze
The main event for UFC on ESPN 30 features a striker's delight at featherweight between Edson Barboza (-115) and Giga Chikadze (-105).
Although I was initially hoping for Chikadze's hype to flip the betting line from the initial opener, the public seems to have somewhat smartened up in regards to the experience differential at hand.
Don't get me wrong: Chikadze is a very skilled and explosive striker who can certainly end Barboza's night early, I just can't trust his padded record and lack of experience in a five-round affair, especially given his propensity to gas (which, by Chikadze's own admission, he can be susceptible to due to the weight cuts he puts his large frame through).
Add in the fact that Chikadze appears to be a somewhat emotional fighter who seems intent on returning hard shots, and I suspect that it's do-or-die for the Georgian representative this Saturday. For that reason, I played the under 4.5 rounds at -130 as my official prop play, a line that originally opened at -145.
Not only is the under 4.5 prop one the best angles as far as kicking for coverage goes, but it's also something you can use in a bit of a hedging effort for both money line plays or "inside the distance" sides (which are currently going off in the neighborhood of +180 for both parties).
I may wait to see how the early underdog plays I'm about to share with you shake out on the undercard before I play the Brazilian headliner straight up, but the official pick is Barboza via a third-round knockout.
UFC Fight Night Underdog Bets
1st Underdog Play: Sam Alvey +116
Yes, you're reading your screen correctly, as I do have a bet on Sam Alvey, who is currently 0-5-1 in his last six outings.
That said, for as inconsistent as Alvey can sometimes be, there are some consistent hard lines to his style that I believe bodes badly for his opponent, Wellington Turman.
Turman is an aggressive Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who is reliant on getting things to the ground via body locks, which could be problematic considering that Alvey's wheelhouse is the clinch, as the Team Quest captain has not been submitted in well over a decade.
Add in the fact that Turman is making an unhealthy two-month turnaround after being knocked dead by Bruno Silva in June, and I suspect that Alvey's check right hook finds the invitation that his Brazilian counterpart is subconsciously sending with his striking style. Should the money line price or angle not be as appealing to you, then I suggest looking at "Alvey inside the distance" or "Alvey by KO/TKO" props for some fun plus-money sprinkles.
2nd Underdog play: Pat Sabatini +130
For my second underdog shot, I decided to go with a dogged submission grappler in Pat Sabatini.
Sabatini faces the longtime prospect, Jamall Emmers, who is a very well-rounded fighter from the Pinnacle MMA gym. Emmers also comes from a wrestling base and is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, but has really trended his game toward striking since working closely with his training partner, Bobby Green.
In fact, Emmers displayed an uncharacteristic uptick in his pace during his last outing, as I could certainly see him utilize jabs and leg kicks to outpoint Sabatini if he's able to maintain his range. That said, Sabatini also seems to be making his own jumps in the striking department, showing a propensity to launch head kicks from his left side that could pay off when you look at Emmers' habit of drifting off to the right.
More importantly, Sabatini is the more accomplished wrestler and submission grappler of the two (Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and Pan-American champion), as I suspect his grapple-first game will serve him well in the smaller octagon.
It's a gritty fight no matter how you cut it, so I'll take the better on-paper wrestler at plus money. But if you're looking for a fun prop to sprinkle on instead, then I suggest taking a look at "Sabitini by submission" at +500, as the Daniel Gracie black belt has both submitted and out-grappled plenty of fighters who were thought to be his rank or level (something we arguably still haven't seen from Emmers).
Regardless of what you're betting, good luck and bet responsibly, my friends!
And if you'd like more of my analysis, feel free to check out my weekly show, The Protect Ya' Neck Podcast.