Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 59
A bonafide title contender at light heavyweight could be born if Jamahal Hill becomes the first person to knock out Thiago Santos since 2018. However, the wily veteran will be his toughest puzzle to date.
UFC Vegas 59: Santos vs. Hill will take place Saturday from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. Which MMA bets stand out on FanDuel Sportsbook?
Serghei Spivac and Jamahal Hill to Both Win
(-134; 1.25 Units)
Last week's pair of knockouts bumped the two-legger to 14-8 this year. We'll look to keep it rolling this week at the Apex.
There's an appealing trio at identical -310 odds, so pick your favorites between Serghei Spivac (-310), Jamahal Hill (-310), and Bryan Battle. With this being Battle's first UFC veteran, I'll focus on the former two.
Spivac draws fellow ranked heavyweight Augusto Sakai, and this is Sakai's first matchup with a wrestler since the now-retired Alistair Overeem controlled him for upwards of five minutes en route to a finish. Sakai, a Muay Thai striker, will have a deficit in that area to Spivac, who holds a sparkling 60% takedown accuracy and has three UFC finishes that occurred on the mat.
Hill sits in this weekend's main event against 38-year-old Thiago Santos, and Santos' age is key. It's not because he can't strike; Thiago actually has a higher striking defense (55%) than Hill at this point. It's because wrestling ability tends to fade as you age because it's so physical, so Santos likely won't turn around his historical low wrestling volume (0.54 takedowns per 15 minutes) in this one.
In that case, Hill is a dynamic offensive talent for his division. His 7.06 significant strikes landed per minute on 51% accuracy are the gold standard in a light heavyweight division historically built on methodical power punchers. With a knockout in all four official UFC wins, don't worry about his power, either.
These two veterans are in prime spots to keep the momentum surging.
Michal Oleksiejczuk by Decision (+180; 0.75 Unit)
Formulaically, it's bizarre to see Michal Oleksiejczuk (-670) with such a distant points prop. Without an official UFC submission attempt, he's a two-outcome fighter, and the likelier result -- in my opinion -- carries +180 odds.
Even though Sam Alvey is on an 0-7-1 stretch in his last eight fights, he's been historically durable. He's actually still gone the distance in four of his last six bouts.
Oleksiejczuk is a talented boxer, but power isn't his strongest asset. He's only finished three of his eight UFC bouts, and those three opponents are just 5-10 in UFC since the start of 2018. Alvey would be his best opponent finished to date -- which is saying a lot considering his losing streak.
"Hussar" has a huge advantage over "Smilin' Sam" Alvey this weekend in both striking success rate (+0.48) and striking defense (64%), so I would have taken this prop hovering around even money in lieu of backing his -600 moneyline.
The fact it pays out nearly two-to-one odds is gravy.
Dart Throw of the Week: Juliana Miller by Submission (+600; 0.5 Units)
The Ultimate Fighter 30 wraps up this weekend with main event spots for the show's women's flyweight and heavyweight titles. With no official stats on all four fighters, betting them is tricky for our usual process.
Therefore, let's throwback to an old-fashioned "pros against joes" bet with Juliana Miller (-128). 67% of Tapology users and 51% of bettors are siding with the veteran Walker on the basis that she's more technical.
At 34 years old, she probably is. However, she also isn't that dangerous. Six of her seven pro wins have come via decision. That alone is unnerving given the state of judging in mixed martial arts.
Yet, with just 49% of the tickets, Miller is recieving 72% of the money wagered on this fight, and she's ballooned to a -128 favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook as a result.
With just three pro bouts, Miller already has two finishes. That's more than Walker's entire pro career dating back to 2014.
With a six-to-one payout on a finish and tons of grappling experience in her pocket beyond MMA, I'm willing to wager the surprise favorite finds a submission inside-the-distance on the benign veteran likely to hang around for every bit of 15 minutes.