UFC

Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 35

UFC's The Ultimate Fighter concludes with the championship matches at bantamweight on Saturday. Those fighters without data -- plus five massive favorites -- can make this card a little tricky to bet.

UFC Vegas 35: Barboza vs. Chikadze takes place Saturday night from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. So where is is the sharpest place to wager on Saturday's card using FanDuel Sportsbook?

Makhmud Muradov, Andre Petroski, Edson Barboza All to Win (+154)

On a card littered with heavy favorites, parlaying them together is one way to take advantage of lofty odds.

Makhmud Muradov is currently -620 to win on FanDuel Sportsbook, which is 86.1% implied odds. With Muradov's +2.40 striking success rate entering a matchup against Gerald Meerschaert, whose striking defense has been just 32% across his last three fights, it is evident to see why he's such a big favorite.

Petroski enters with no UFC data after appearing on this season's Ultimate Fighter, but Petroski was winning his semi-final match with four takedowns and two submission attempts before fatigue set in. Questionably, the UFC aligns him with Michael Gillmore, who performed poorly on the show but was a late addition. This may be Gillmore's "second chance." That explains how Petroski is -270 inside-the-distance for Saturday, which implies he finishes this fight early 73% of the time.

With those two nearly automatic wins, Barboza is the cornerstone of the parlay, which essentially converts his -116 odds to +154 with minimal risk. Barboza has a significant gap in experience over Giga Chikadze entering their showdown -- with eight fights against currently ranked competition for "Junior" Barboza, compared to just one for Chikadze. Given that Barboza also has the edge in volume (5.12 significant strikes per minute since transitioning to featherweight; Chikadze at 3.55), he should dictate the pace of the main event.

Sam Alvey to Win (+116)

Picking a fighter who is 0-5-1 in their last six bouts to win seems terrifying at first, but Sam Alvey is not only due, he also has the best possible matchup that could be drawn up for him.

Alvey is a low-volume light heavyweight who averages just 3.20 significant strikes per minute on poor 43% accuracy, and he does not wrestle or grapple. His two positive traits are his takedown defense (82% across 21 UFC fights) and his power. Therefore, a wrestler with poor striking defense would be the best possible opponent.

Enter Wellington Turman.

Turman averages 2.31 takedowns per match and does his best work with his offensive wrestling, but Alvey has been stout at preventing that. Where Alvey's opening comes is Turman's card-worst 43% striking defense, which has gotten him knocked out in back-to-back fights. While Alvey making it three knockouts in a row is available at a fair +330 price, the safe play is to also account for a decision at +116.

Dart Throw of the Week: Daniel Rodriguez by Points (+380)

Late-notice fighters are not typically betting targets, but one of UFC's most active welterweights signed the dotted line here for a reason.

"The Motown Phenom" Kevin Lee has a wildly inconsistent career at lightweight, largely stemming from his weight cut, according to his media session. He will now make his second appearance at the heavier welterweight class, and originally, this fight was set against the undefeated wrestler Sean Brady. But Daniel "D-Rod" Rodriguez steps in for the injured Brady.

Rodriguez has the perfect toolkit to defeat Lee, who is a strong wrestler. Rodriguez is tops on the entire card in significant strikes per minute (8.07) on a 48% accuracy -- and that has stabilized in a seven-fight UFC sample. His 83% takedown defense is the key to this fight, because if Lee cannot wrestle, Rodriguez should be able to separate on the scorecards due to volume. Lee averages just 3.90 significant strikes per minute, usually working from the ground.

With decisions against durable welterweights like Nicolas Dalby and Mike Perry, Rodriguez's weakness in this echelon of welterweight appears to be his power. His only two career knockouts have come against opponents with less than a week's notice in advance of fighting him. We should feel good taking Rodriguez to win this fight by a decision, which is available at nearly 4-to-1 in this spot.



Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.