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MMA handicapper Christian Broughton goes in search of more profit as he looks to this weekend’s massive 15-fight UFC card, UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann

Bet of the Card: (2.5u) Fight Starts Round 3 @ -110 (to Return 4.773 Units)

(1u) Anthony Smith via Submission @ +600 (to Return 7 Units)

Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann

Main Event – Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:45 p.m. EST.

  • Anthony Smith has gone to a 3rd round in 5 of his last 7 fights.
  • 3 of Smith’s last 4 wins have come via Submission.

Anthony Smith (pictured below: on the right, fighting Alexander Gustafsson) is a known commodity at this point in his lengthy 51-fight MMA career. As a light heavyweight, he has shown a well-rounded game with good cardio, and toughness that is virtually unmatched, particularly in the heavier weight classes.

Ryan Spann seemingly has all the makings to be a force within the 205lb weight class. He has a large 6’5” frame with a sizeable 81.5” reach (per Tapology.com), and accompanying that is his athleticism and explosivity. But, for whatever reason, he just can’t seem to put it all together. Firstly, his gas tank is a real concern, and his aptitude for fatiguing, brings about a noticeable drop-off to his pace and striking volume.

As is often the case with any fight, particularly with light heavyweight (LHW) and upwards, this could play out any number of ways, simply due to the power volatility. That said, I see this going one way more often than not, and that’s with Spann dictating the early going as he looks to back Smith up and either throw power shots or clinch him up against the cage. This could also lead to Spann getting takedowns and controlling from top, albeit to little success given Smith’s excellent grappling off his back. Given that Smith’s chin is trustworthy at LHW, I’d be highly surprised to see Spann dispatch of him early, and the same can be said in return, as Smith is more of a volume fighter, as opposed to a one-hitter-quitter. This should lead to a fairly close fight through the opening 2 rounds, and although there will be action moments, I favor both guys to weather any storms they have to face. For this reason, I’m taking the fight starts round 3 prop, at a modest -110, as I see this one going into the 3rd and beyond at a good clip higher than this near-50/50 proposition suggests.

On top of this, I’m also putting some money on Smith’s submission prop at +600, I can see him securing a lot of top position time on Spann as the fight goes later, and his big edge in cardio could lead to plenty of opportunities to chase the finish, particularly with his trusted rear-naked choke.

(1.5u) Antônio Arroyo Moneyline @ +176 (to Return 4.14 Units)

Joaquin Buckley vs. Antônio Arroyo

Main Card Opener - Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 7:15 p.m. EST.

  • Joaquin Buckley has a negative striking differential over the course of his 4 UFC fights (4.58 Strikes Landed per Minute (SLpM) vs. 5.46 Strikes Absorbed per Minute (SApM), whereas Antonio Arroyo has a strong positive striking diff. across his 2 UFC and 2 DWCS fights (3.08 SLpM vs. 1.72 SApM) (per UFCStats.com).
  • Buckley has only landed 1 takedown in the UFC, good for a takedown accuracy of just 16%.

After a disappointing 0-2 start to his UFC career, Antonio Arroyo has left his fans and bettors with a bitter taste in their mouth. On both outings, he was forced into grappling heavy fights through his lack of takedown defense, and that cost him massively against the more accomplished grapplers.

In this fight, however, we should largely see a standing affair, as Joaquin Buckley isn’t the strongest offensive wrestler, and this should allow Arroyo to fight to his strengths. Should it hit the ground, I think I’d actually favor the takedowns to be coming from Arroyo, and if not, I’d expect him to be able to work his way up back to his feet effectively, if not reverse position and start to utilize his sneaky-good offensive submission skills.

Fatigue is always a concern with betting Arroyo, as when he makes it into the 3rd round, he often looks like he doesn’t leave much in the tank. But, given that Buckley isn’t exactly a cardio machine himself, and that we should see less grappling than in Arroyo’s recent fights, it’s fair to predict that he shouldn’t be as drained this time round.

All in all, Arroyo is the more durable guy and the longer and more technical striker. He has his shortcomings when it comes to his takedown defense and conditioning, but considering Buckley isn’t likely to come out and put on a wrestling masterclass, it should mean that we get a competitive kickboxing match, for however long the fight goes. With this in mind, it seems a little strange that we’re getting a moderate plus-number on Arroyo in this one, and I’m happy to make a play on him as the underdog here.

(1.5u) Tafon Nchukwi Moneyline @ -122 (to Return 2.73 Units)

(0.5u) Tafon Nchukwi via Decision @ +460 (to Return 2.8 Units)

Tafon Nchukwi vs. Mike Rodriguez

Preliminary Card Headliner – Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 6:40 p.m. EST.

  • Mike Rodriguez has never landed a takedown within his 7 UFC bouts, and his 40% striking defense percentage leaves something to be desired (per UFCStats.com)

Tafon Nchukwi isn’t the most seasoned MMA fighter you’re going to find competing at the highest level, and it was almost a given that he’d be exposed at some point for his lack of grappling ability. That, unfortunately for Nchukwi, was exactly what happened in his last fight against Junyong Park. Only 4 months have elapsed since that fight, and although he will still likely be a prime candidate to get out-wrestled in the Octagon, I’m just not sure “Slow” Mike Rodriguez is the guy to make that happen.

As stated above, Rodriguez is yet to land a takedown within the UFC, and he’s shown us little to suggest that he’d ever plan on doing so, particularly when considering that his losses are largely due to his grappling deficiencies. Rodriguez will however, benefit from a 4-inch height (6' 4" vs. 6’0”) and 5-inch reach (82” vs. 77”) advantage, and although that could prove pivotal in a fight that should almost entirely play out on the feet, I just don’t see him having the technicality and speed to make it count against someone with Nchukwi’s striking pedigree.

I expect Nchukwi to be the more effective fighter, and consequently, I see this paying dividends on the strike count. I see him mixing up his shots to the body, head, and legs of Rodriguez, and this combined with his volume and precision edge, should carry him in this fight. I see that the books favor him to get the stoppage at around +150, and even though we’ve seen Rodriquez knockout out before in the UFC, I kind of lean towards Nchukwi taking this to the scorecards and claiming a fairly clear decision. So, at the +460 mark, I simply have to make a play on his decision prop, in addition to a straight play on his near even-money betting line.

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

Event: UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann / UFC on ESPN+ 50 / UFC Fight Night 192 / UFC Vegas 37 / #UFCVegas37

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

Date: Saturday, September 18th, 2021

Start time: Main Card: 7 p.m. EST, Prelims 4 p.m. EST.

Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN+

UFC Odds: Click here to view the full list of odds for UFC Fight Night: Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann

UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann Full Fight Card Predictions

UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann Main Event Prediction

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann – Smith via Submission

UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann Main Card Predictions

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Ion Cutelaba vs. Devin Clark – Clark via Decision

(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Ariane Lipski vs. Mandy Böhm – Bohm via Decision

Lightweight (155lbs): Arman Tsarukyan vs. Christos Giagos – Tsarukyan via Decision

Bantamweight (135lbs): Tony Gravely vs. Nate Maness – Gravely via Decision

Middleweight (185lbs): Joaquin Buckley vs. Antônio Arroyo – Arroyo via KO/TKO

UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Spann Prelim Card Predictions

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Tafon Nchukwi vs. Mike Rodriguez – Nchukwi via Decision

(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Raquel Pennington vs. Pannie Kianzad – Pennington via Decision

Lightweight (155lbs): Zhu Rong vs. Dakota Bush – Bush via Decision

Lightweight (155lbs): Nikolas Motta vs. Cameron VanCamp – Motta via Decision

Bantamweight (135lbs): Montel Jackson vs. JP Buys – Jackson via KO/TKO

(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Erin Blanchfield vs. Sarah Alpar – Blanchfield via Decision

Welterweight (170lbs): Impa Kasanganay vs. Carlston Harris – Kasanganay via Decision

Bantamweight (135lbs): Heili Alateng vs. Gustavo Lopez – Lopez via Decision

(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Emily Whitmire vs. Hannah Goldy – Whitmire via Decision

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

Click here to check out the all the Best Odds for the Fights!

Article Author


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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