Betting Guide for UFC Vegas 67
The first card of 2023 will end the same way 2022's final one did. A loud-mouthed, brash UFC middleweight is seeking revenge in the promotion's first card of the year.
UFC Vegas 67: Strickland vs. Imavov will take place from the UFC Apex facility on Saturday. Which MMA bets stand out on FanDuel Sportsbook?
YTD: 0-0 (+0.00 units)
Allan Nascimento and Punahele Soriano to Both Win (+102; 1.5 Units)
Last year's two-legger went 23-11. We'll track units this year, too.
This week's lay includes Allan Nascimento (-390) and Punahele Soriano (-164). Neither is facing what you'd call their toughest test in UFC thus far, so we can take a stab at the veterans.
Nascimento, training directly with former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, had an odd UFC debut with Tagir Ulanbekov that's aged just fine. Ulanbekov is now ranked, and Nascimento derailed England's Jake Hadley as a +310 underdog in Hadley's UFC debut.
He's an accurate striker (61% striking accuracy) with Oliveira's patented elite grappling (0.70 submission attempts per 15). His opponent, Carlos Hernandez, has ceded seven takedowns in two UFC-affiliated appearances, and he arguably didn't even win his debut behind a poor 45% striking defense.
Soriano's the riskier bet of these two, but he's still a solid one. Puna's +0.53 striking success rate (SSR) gives him the efficiency edge of Roman Kopylov (-0.37), and he's added 1.02 takedowns per 15 minutes with 57% accuracy.
Kopylov has only mustered 28 seconds of control time in three UFC bouts, so I'm not sure he's comfortable there at all. Plus, while his knockout of Alessio di Chirico was nice, Soriano's scored three finishes in his past five bouts and has the power edge, too.
Abdul Razak Alhassan to Win (-108; 1.08 Units)
The absolute worst thing you can do handicapping MMA fights is to solely look at wins and losses.
Abdul Razak Alhassan (-113) has dropped four of his past five bouts, but his four losses in that time have come to foes with a combined 14 UFC wins. They're all solid.
Now, he's facing a newcomer, Claudio Ribeiro, in a pick 'em, and Ribeiro has zero UFC credentials to hang his hat on. He's never faced anyone with a UFC appearance, and while his 25-second knockout on Dana White's Contender Series was awesome, it's absolutely possible it was a fluke.
Razak Alhassan has a knockout win amidst the four aforementioned losses, and his peripherals are all pretty stout. A 48% striking accuracy, 56% striking defense, and 45% takedown accuracy are all quality marks at middleweight.
Ribeiro's 10 wins have all come by knockout. He's been submitted and lost a decision in his other two bouts. I've seen Razak Alhassan striking and wrestling for extended periods at a UFC level, so this isn't even a steep price to pay for tangible experience.
Dan Ige to Win (-128; 1.28 Units)
"50K" is another buy-low candidate.
Dan Ige (-130) has also lost four of his past five bouts, but I'd be shocked to see the veteran drop this one to Damon Jackson. "The Leech" Jackson has won five of his past six, including an improbable knockout of Pat Sabatini in his last bout.
I felt Jackson's record was inflated before that Sabatini win; he'd beaten three straight guys prior with a combined 5-11 UFC record. He's a grappler (2.10 submission attempts per 15 minutes), so the Sabatini bout was supposed to be an excellent test. He just caught the Pennsylvanian in a mistake on the feet.
Ige won't lose to Jackson striking. He's got a +0.24 SSR to Jackson's -0.18 with better accuracy (45%) and defense (56%). It's Ige's 31% takedown defense that's the concern against Jackson, but importantly, he's never been professionally finished.
In that time, Ige scored two UFC wins via knockout and two via submission. He's the one with greater danger to finish this fight, and fighting five ranked foes in his last six battles, the unranked Jackson should be a welcomed step backward in competition.
Dart Throw of the Week
Jimmy Flick by Submission (+450; 0.25 Units)
At these long odds, I have to take this dart despite personally not expecting it to hit.
If Jimmy Flick (+280) wins this bout, it'll be by submission 99 out of 100 times. Flick has won 14 of his 16 pro bouts via that method, and his 7.20 submission attempts per 15 minutes lead this card -- and would lead most others.
On the other side, Charles Johnson hasn't been professionally finished by knockout or submission. It's very plausible he'll knock Flick (50% striking defense) out cold before "The Brick" can grab a limb. However, I'm still inclined to take this line because of Johnson's poor performance so far in UFC.
Johnson -- by most accounts except the judges in attendance -- didn't even beat Zhalgas Zhumagulov in his last bout. This came after Johnson ceded 12 takedowns to Mohamed Mokaev, whose meteoric rise has stalled a bit after Malcolm Gordon (2-3 UFC) fought Mokaev much tougher than Johnson did.
"Inner G" hasn't shown his regional knockout power in UFC thus far. If Flick has 15 minutes to creatively find a mistake on Johnson, I'll take my chances he can.