Betting Guide for UFC 282

Edmen Shahbazyan returns to the octagon in Las Vegas this weekend, and he's a hefty favorite. How can we bet his fight -- and others -- during UFC's final pay-per-view of 2022?

Last week's betting guide was a stinker. The only hits were Angela Hill's convincing win and -- shockingly -- the +550 dart with Eryk Anders.

Typically, I only fire off one bet -- or maybe two -- on Monday morning, but this week, I found five. The final pay-per-view of 2022 appears to be a great card for betting.

UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev on Saturday. Which MMA bets stand out on FanDuel Sportsbook?

Edmen Shahbazyan and Raul Rojas Jr. to Both Win
(-120; 1.2 Units)

Last week stung. Niko Price had Phil Rowe on the ropes, but he punched himself tired to get finished before the bell. That dropped the two-legger to 22-11 YTD, but we'll look to rebound here.

Some weeks, it's difficult to even find two favorites to have confidence in (at their odds). This week, I counted closer to five. Still, Edmen Shahbazyan (-295) and Raul Rojas Jr. (-250) are my two favorites.

Shahbazyan, who fought in a UFC main event back in 2020, is the victim of a tremendously difficult schedule. He's lost three straight bouts to ranked fighters, but steps all the way back to Dalcha Lungiambula (2-4 UFC). We'll take that.

"The Golden Boy" is 5-0 in UFC-affiliated appearances against unranked fighters. Though his peripherals have taken a hit against the ranked foes, he's still a solid wrestler (2.71 takedowns per 15 minutes) with accurate punches (50% striking accuracy). Lungiambula's never faced a ranked fighter, so his negative striking success rate (-0.48) is far more concerning than Shahbazyan's (-0.89).

Rosas Jr. is an incredibly interesting second option. In my opinion, he's been given the softest matchup available in Jay Perrin, who is 0-2 in UFC. Perrin's 44% striking defense and 64% takedown defense aren't world-class, either.

The reality is Rosas, who is just 18 years old, is a budding star with a skill level beyond his years. He nearly pulled off a Suvloev stretch on Dana White's Contender Series, which would have been just the fourth in UFC-affiliated history. His wrestling and grappling are tremendous, and Perrin was submitted regionally for his only career loss via finish.

These two fighters' ages combined (43) are younger than Glover Teixeira, who was originally scheduled to headline this card. That robbed me of the joke I wanted to make, so instead, let's just win some cash.

Chris Curtis to Win (+124; 2.5 Units)

As a stats guy, this fight was made for me.

Joaquin Buckley has plenty of sizzle but very little substance. He's well known for -- admittedly -- the greatest knockout I've ever seen, but he's been fortunate since. Since then, Buckley's +53 striking differential in five fights normally wouldn't amount to a 5-2 record, but it has. I still have concerns about his putrid 32% striking accuracy. He punches himself tired.

Chris Curtis (+124) is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Holding a 58% striking accuracy, the veteran middleweight also posts a tremendous pace (6.00 significant strikes landed per minute). With very similar striking defenses (54% and 52%, respectively), Curtis should have a massive edge on the feet in terms of efficiency.

But it doesn't stop there. Curtis' 100% takedown defense has neutralized better grapplers like Rodolfo Vieira or the ranked Jack Hermansson. Buckley has seven career takedowns, but that changeup likely won't be there this weekend.

Considering "The Action Man" Curtis' legendary durability (1 loss by knockout in 38 pro fights), I just don't see the path he loses this fight. It might take another ninja-like kick. My max UFC wager is three units, so I feel tremendous about the 'dog here.

Bryce Mitchell to Win (+120; 1.0 Unit)

In a battle of grapplers, it was Ilia Topuria's last striking effort that has me backing his opponent.

Topuria was dropped in his last fight by Jai Herbert, who is one of the worst strikers at lightweight on paper. Herbert's volume (2.45 significant strikes landed per minute) and striking accuracy (41%) are both awful.

That's a massive red flag for this fight. Chances are that Topuria won't be able to outgrapple Bryce Mitchell (+120). Mitchell has spent over 35 of his last 49 minutes inside the octagon in control of his opponents, including the once-ranked Edson Barboza. I'd have to see him face a second of adversity on the mat to favor Topuria there.

The unheralded part of this fight is Mitchell's 63% striking accuracy. He is so technical, and most are afraid of his takedown attempts to the point where they don't defend his strikes properly. In that event, if the struggling Herbert connected with a whopper, so can Bryce.

My guy Matt Tanner of the Disciplined Degens Podcast told me he's making his largest underdog play of the year on Mitchell here. I respect Topuria's grappling (2.60 submission attempts per 15) enough to keep this to one unit, but it's absolutely a dog-or-pass scenario.

Dart Throw of the Week:
Chris Daukaus by Decision (+750; 0.25 Units)

Outside of a quick knockout against Augusto Sakai, Jairzinho Rozenstruik's hot stretch has stalled in the rankings.

He's lost three of his last four, including going to a lopsided decision twice. He hasn't had nearly as much success connecting and putting guys out in this area of competition. Rozenstruik has never attempted a takedown in UFC, so I've always been horribly underwhelmed by his 45% striking defense and -0.44 striking success rate. At least be good at the one thing you do.

Now, Chris Daukaus (+146) has the same resume. He's got just one ranked win, and his last two fights were knockout losses to Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes. Neither of those results is embarrassing, but I favor (and have wagered) Daukaus behind striking peripherals that aren't even close. His 59% striking defense and +2.45 striking success rate are both worlds better.

Daukaus is worth a moneyline bet first and foremost, but I find this dart interesting. Coming off two knockout losses, Daukaus should be the more efficient fighter here. Rosenstruik's vaunted power also hasn't been that vaunted with just two knockdowns in his last six fights.

This fight is -550 to not go the entire distance, but against the grain, I think Daukaus measures his pace, pays mind to his defense, and sees the judges for the first time in UFC.