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Last Updated Mar 06, 2022, 02:24 AM

UFC 272: Covington vs. Masvidal Picks, Predictions, Odds

UFC fans can look forward to another pay-per-view event, orchestrated by the biggest MMA promotion in the world, this weekend as UFC 272: Covington vs. Masvidal takes place in the legendary T-Mobile Arena of Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight card is scheduled for March 5, 2022.

UFC 272 is the PPV event not to host a title fight in eight months. However it goes without saying that the UFC is more than capable of producing interesting events nonetheless. 

Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal have one thing in common - they both hate each other. The rivalry between the two has been brewing for the longest time and now we finally get to see them handle their business in the octagon.

In the co-main, a veteran faces a surging prospect. Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Renato Moicano.

UFC 272 features noteworthy appearances from Kevin Holland, Edson Barboza, undefeated Bryce Mitchell and controversial heavyweight Greg Hardy.

UFC 272 BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Saturday, March 5, 2022
  • TV-Time: Early Prelims (ESPN+ 6:00 p.m.), Prelims (ESPN, 8:00 p.m.), Main Card (ESPN+ PPV, 10:00 p.m.)
  • Venue: T-Mobile Arena
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Odds Analysis: UFC 272 Betting Odds Analysis

Odds & Bouts Subject to Change - per BetMGM

UFC 272 Main Card Fights

  • Welterweight bout: Colby Covington (-400) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+300)
  • Catchweight bout: Rafael Dos Anjos (-170) vs. Renato Moicano (+140)
  • Featherweight bout: Edson Barboza (+125) vs. Bryce Mitchell (-150)
  • Welterweight bout: Kevin Holland (-250) vs. Alex Oliveira (+200)
  • Heavyweight bout: Sergey Spivak (-220) vs. Greg Hardy (+180)

UFC 272 Prelim Fights

  • Lightweight bout: Jalin Turner (-130) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (+110)
  • Women's Strawweight bout: Marina Rodriguez (-285) vs. Yan Xiaonan (+225)
  • Light Heavyweight bout: Nicolae Negumereanu (+130) vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu (-165)
  • Women's Flyweight bout: Maryna Moroz (+170) vs. Mariya Agapova (-205)

UFC 272 Early Prelim Fights

  • Bantamweight bout: Brian Kelleher (+400) vs. Umar Nurmagomedov (-550)
  • Flyweight bout: Tim Elliott (+200) vs. Tagir Ulanbekov (-250)
  • Light Heavyweight bout: Michal Oleksiejczuk (+150) vs. Dustin Jacoby (-180)

In total, the UFC 272 card has 14 fights on tap. Early prelims kick off at 6.00 p.m. ET with subsequent preliminary bouts scheduled for 8.00 p.m. ET. The main card is to commence at 10.00 p.m. ET with Covington and Masvidal are expected to make their walks around 12.00 a.m. ET.

Colby Covington vs. Jorge Masvidal Picks, Best Bets

Former teammates turned heated rivals lock horns in the octagon. Covington is going to bring his patented pace and look for consistent takedowns. I have no doubt in my mind that Masvidal will try to counter Covington’s attempts with knees or uppercuts. On paper Masvidal should reign supreme on the feet. He lands just a tad more volume while also receiving less and works with higher striking defense and -accuracy percentages.

However, Covington excels on the ground. He actually lands more takedowns every 15 minutes than he does strikes per minute. That’s big. Masvidal has bad tendencies against wrestlers. Usman was able to outgrapple him as well as Demian Maia and Benson Henderson.  If Colby is consistent he will be able to get this fight to the ground. Cardio totally checks out for Covington, meanwhile the gas tank is a bit iffy for Masvidal. Just in the UFC alone he is 5-7 in fights that have gone to the scorecards. 

The last time we saw Masvidal knocked out viciously by Kamaru Usman. Usman has been improving greatly in the striking department, but he is still a grappler first. Getting knocked out like that against an opponent who mainly specializes on the ground is not exactly a good look. It essentially comes down to this: Masvidal needs a finish, Covington does not. Historically Masvidal has not done well on the scorecards, and he rarely finishes fights late. Jorge has never finished a fight in round three in the UFC apart from a doctor-stoppage TKO over Nate Diaz at UFC 244.

Jorge Masvidal has seen a finished result in four of his last five fights. (AP)

Colby’s striking looked much improved in his most recent time out, and despite it being a losing effort he really did give Usman a run for his money. You could argue that he won the fight, but it was not a robbery per se. Covington has won this fight countless times before. He faces another raging striker that leaves openings for takedowns when overextending. I want to address the betting line briefly. As with all betting, value must be considered. Masvidal’s stock is probably at a historic low after getting knocked out by Usman. At the same time Covington’s stock may be at a career high after losing a close fight against Usman.

This means that if you want Covington on your tickets you’re paying a premium. Personally I don’t have a problem with the chalk however since both fighters have so much experience I think the true line is closer than the odds indicate. Therefore I suggest taking a look at the props to find value. Since I’m on the Covington side I think the Covington by Decision prop is the way to go. Apart from his last time out, Masvidal’s chin is sturdy. The same can be said about Covington. The fight could end up close, however in the later rounds Covington’s wrestling pressure wins him the fight.

Covington-Masvidal Best Bet: Colby Covington (-400) by Decision.

Edson Barboza vs. Bryce Mitchell Picks, Best Bets

In the featherweight division we have another veteran-versus-prospect matchup. The roles are reversed from the co-main however, with the striker being the veteran and the grappler being the prospect.

Barboza obviously has the striking ability to KO anybody from featherweight to welterweight on any given day. However this isn’t a kickboxing fight. Barboza has one of the best highlight reels for any striker in UFC history. His kicking game is sharp and lethal. If you stand in front of him for three rounds you will get chopped down. Just look at what happened to Dan Hooker.

That said, the writing's on the wall for Barboza. Taking him down is a game plan that has worked for lots of his opponents over the years. To my recollection he has faced three wrestling-heavy grapplers on his UFC tenure. Khabib, Kevin Lee and Makwan Amirkhani. Now, he did manage to get the best of Amirkhani but he still conceded three takedowns in that fight. Amirkhani isn’t really known for racking up lots of control time with his takedowns either. If Bryce Mitchell takes you down you’re not getting back up.

Edson Barboza has lost four of its last five fights. (UFC)

Now, looking at Bryce Mitchell, he just seems to have ‘it’ when it comes to grappling. In his last three fights he has spent an average of 82% of the entire duration of his bouts from top control. That’s pretty mind boggling when you think about it.

Going up against a guy like Edson Barboza, the takedowns will definitely be there. The path to victory for Bryce is clear, meanwhile Barboza needs to somehow remain standing for three rounds against a guy with the grappling that Mitchell has or do some damage from bottom guard to win rounds. The latter would require Mitchell to sit in top control and do nothing for 15 minutes so I guess Barboza really only has a puncher’s chance.

Honestly I think the UFC matchmakers are throwing Mitchell a bone with this fight. He gets to fight a big-named striker, and being a grappler himself he can implement his wrestling to win. Meanwhile if you’re Barboza you gotta scratch your head and wonder who is in charge of finding you opponents. This is a horrible matchup for him, being a pure striker with zero grappling.

The only way I see Edson winning is if he lands something big early on. Of course, he has done it before and can do it again, but against a slick guy like Mitchell? I don’t think so. Mitchell only absorbs 1.46 punches per minute. Given Mitchell’s control time average you have to wonder how much time Barboza has to work on the feet, realistically. Furthermore, cardio has never truly been Barboza’s friend and these grapplers are usually more accustomed to doing some solid work in the later rounds.

The betting line is actually a lot closer than I’d imagined. -150 for Mitchell seems like a fairly good deal since he just needs to go out there and do what he always does.  I’ll take the grappler over the striker here.

Barboza-Mitchell Best Bet: Bryce Mitchell ML (-150)

Kevin Holland vs. Alex Oliveira Picks, Best Bets

Kevin Holland takes on Alex Oliveira at welterweight. Holland was, and still is in my mind, one of the more exciting prospects at 170-pounds. However, he was exposed for having terrible wrestling and lost two fights in a row. After losing to Derek Brunson he stepped in on short notice against Marvin Vettori. He lost both fights on the ground. He then fought Kyle Daukaus in a fight that was ruled a no contest due to an accidental clash of heads. 

Kevin is winless in three bouts and he needs a ‘W’. That’s exactly what the matchmakers seem to think too as they have decided to match him up against veteran Alex Oliveira. Oliveira seems like one of those guys the UFC keeps around to feed to young prospects when it fits into the narrative. The UFC recently fed him to Shavkat Rakhmonov, surging prospect with all wins via finish, and Randy Brown, another decent welterweight prospect.

You’ve gotta feel a little bad for Oliveira as he currently sits on a three-fight losing streak while being matched up with Kevin Holland. The move to train wrestling with former champion Johny Hendricks seems to have paid off for Holland. In the opening exchanges of his bout against Daukaus he displayed improved wrestling - it was only when he was seemingly knocked unconscious by the headbutt that Daukaus was able to get his back.

Oliveira is a veteran with good grappling, but he doesn’t have the wrestling to stop Holland. In his last fight, against a striking Niko Price, he actually gets outclassed in the clinch and on the ground, which makes you wonder what chance he realistically has against Holland. One of Kevin’s big advantages is his long reach, and he does have a five-inch reach advantage over Oliveira here. I see the fight taking place on the feet for the most part with Holland catching him at will with his long awkward striking. No path to victory for Oliveira really comes to mind.

This is a perfect spot for Holland to pick up a win over a decent competitor. I don’t mind the chalk at all seeing as Oliveira doesn’t have major advantages anywhere.

Holland-Oliveira Best Bet: Kevin Holland ML (-250)

Sergey Spivak vs. Greg Hardy Picks, Best Bets

Heavyweights take to the stage. We all know Greg Hardy came into the UFC after two first-round knockouts on DWCS. His story was fun, a former NFL player turned MMA fighter and using superior athleticism to rack up some solid wins in the octagon. In his UFC debut Hardy loses by DQ after illegally kneeing Crowder in the head. O.k., he was new to the sport at that point and you kinda gave him a pass. 

After that he racks up two first-round wins and you start to think he might be a nice new addition to the UFC heavyweight roster. Then he faces Ben Sosoli, a fight in which he’s a -350 favorite, and he struggles against a guy who doesn’t belong in the UFC at all. Not a good look. Then after the fight is over it is turned to a no contest because Hardy illegally and blatantly used an inhaler in between rounds. What on earth?

At this point you start to wonder how intelligent the guy truly is. A DQ loss and a no contest in ten months has to be some sort of record. Hardy actually did well in subsequent bouts after his inhaler fiasco, including a decent showing against top-level contender Alexander Volkov. However it is in his 2020 showing against Marcin Tybura where you start to grasp how terrible his cardio is. It’s a competitive first round but Tybura gets top control and pounds him out in the second. Hardy looks like an extra from the walking dead after the ref waves it off. Cardio exposed.

Greg Hardy has failed to win four of his last five fights. (UFC)

Afterwards Hardy claims that his asthma is the cause for his poor cardio, however missing weight on his first attempt against Maurice Greene is pretty bad when you’re already a big heavyweight. It brings up questions about his work ethic as a whole. Spivak is another young addition to the heavyweight division. He has wins over some good fighters and losses to some of the best. 

Losing to Tom Aspinall is not anything to be ashamed of. Hardy does have that one-punch KO power, and this is a heavyweight fight meaning one punch can change anything, but seeing his most recent fight against Tuivasa confirms that Spivak will have advantage that too.  In the later rounds it becomes apparent that Hardy (a) has bad cardio, and (b) struggles to find his composure when not getting the knockout.

Surprise-surprise, Spivak has a great ground game, so he should be able to secure takedowns against Hardy in this fight. Perhaps the UFC are trying to get rid of the guy at this point, who knows. Unless Greg lands something big I see Spivak pounding him out in rounds two or three just as Tybura did. You can also tell that Greg has not been in MMA for a long time. His form is not exactly clean when he throws punches, and he does not fight well on the back foot. 

It should be Spivak’s fight to lose. Hardy has bad cardio, not really any grappling either. We might be looking at a one-round fighter here. I’ll fade that.

Spivak-Hardy Best Bet: Sergey Spivak ML (-220)

Jalin Turner vs. Jamie Mullarkey Picks, Best Bets

In the featured preliminary bout of UFC 272 Jalin Turner takes on Jamie Mullarkey. Mullarkey is coming off two wins in a row priced as the underdog and now we’ve got him at plus money once again. That doesn’t seem right. Jamie had a rough start to his UFC career with two losses in a row. Granted I did think he won his fight against Fares Ziam, and apparently 88% of all media scores did too, however the three people judging the fight all gave it to Fares. Strange.

Mullarkey has real potential in the division. His pressure is pretty terrifying, and he has a rock chin.  In his most recent time out he beautifully showcased his MMA game by going to the body on Devonte Smith before mauling him in the clinch to get a stoppage win. Once he turns up the pressure he is relentless with takedowns and dirty boxing. Turner is a good striker with a long reach to accompany his game. 

In the UFC he has been getting good results but hasn’t faced the best competition. Callan Potter, retired, Brok Weaver, UFC reject. His most recent win over Uros Medic, a prospect, was impressive. He got the first-round submission in that fight. The thing is, how good of a wrestler is Turner? If Brok Weaver can outscramble you it’s not exactly a great sign. 

Mullarkey was just matched up against Devonte Smith, a striker with a reach advantage on him. That matchup seemed to fit well into Mullarkey’s game. Now, he’s being matched up with a very similar opponent. Turner is a long striker with a reach advantage, however the takedowns will be there for Mullarkey, just as they were against Devonte Smith.

There is a bit of a recency bias affecting this betting line as well and let me address it: If we switch that controversial Mullarkey loss against Ziam to a win, is he an underdog here against Jalin Turner? I seriously doubt it. Come to think of it, Ziam is another tall and lanky striker who Jamie was matched up against. It could seem like the UFC are throwing him bones with these fights, and although he did lose that ZIam fight the path to victory was there. Also the decision was shoddy.

Mullarkey is well-coached, well-versed, and just generally a bit of an underrated contender at lightweight. Turner needs to bank on his takedown defense to win here, and I think Mullarkey is too smart to let Jalin prevail on the feet with a decision. Sooner or later those takedowns will come, and Jamie tends to turn up the pressure in rounds two and three after Turner has thrown his best shots.

Mullarkey has more tools so he naturally wins this fight. Also, if not for Turner’s last win and Mullarkey’s loss against Ziam, this betting line would probably be flipped.

Turner-Mullarkey Best Bet: Jamie Mullarkey ML (+110)

Marina Rodriguez vs. Yan Xiaonan Picks, Best Bets

A great fight between two top prospects at 115-pounds. Initially when I started researching this matchup I thought the value would be on Xiaonan. Why? Well, because just going by the striking metrics both women are extremely good, and if you can get plus money on one side in an even matchup you’ve gotta take it. Striking differential (meaning the difference between what you land and absorb per minute) is 2.05 for Marina Rodriguez and 2.34 for Yan Xiaonan. Both girls have good numbers in terms of accuracy and defense too.

So who has the edge? Watching tape on Xiaonan it becomes apparent that Marina Rodriguez has a huge power advantage here. Marina is one of the few girls at this weight class with real one-punch finishing ability. Meanwhile Yan Xiaonan’s record states she has won five fights via knockout on the regional scene. I guess she’s forgotten to bring that into the UFC because she throws nothing but pitter-patter volume. 

Sure, volume can win you fights, but when damage trumps all, as the new unified rules of MMA state, you need fight-ending abilities. She just doesn’t have that. The key to beating both girls is via grappling. That’s a fact which has been exposed in both of their losses. Xiaonan most recently lost against Carla Esparza in a fight where she was completely blown out of the water. It took something like five seconds for Carla to get a takedown. Also, a bit questionable fight IQ there from Xiaonan.

Prior to Yan’s fight against Carla I actually thought she was going to get the ‘dub, but in hindsight I’m baffled by the fact that I had that prediction. In her UFC debut she gets controlled for eight minutes against Kailin Curran, a 1-6 fighter with little to offer anywhere. Then she faces Angela Hill and despite winning she almost gets submitted with a triangle choke midway through the fight. 

Finally, her lack of grappling was exposed against Claudia Gadelha who takes down Xiaonan twice and controls her for seven minutes. The writing’s on the wall for her at this point. Anyone worth two cents on the ground can get takedowns against her and control her. UFC stats has her takedown defense listed at 65%, but the devil’s in the details. If your first attempt doesn’t land, just try again. Eventually you will get Xiaonan down. Takedown defense doesn’t mean anything if you’re incapable of getting back to your feet.

Now, this fight is tricky because Rodriguez doesn’t really have a lot of wrestling to go about. However she still has the power advantage which means she will be landing the more significant shots. That’s what the judges like. On the ground she could be capable of controlling Xiaonan too, considering Marina was able to negate the grappling of Mackenzie Dern for 25 minutes and get back to her feet. She can handle herself on the ground.

Honestly it seems like whoever goes for takedowns will win here. Both fighters have close to zero wrestling ability and the other can punish that. However in a straight up striking battle Rodriguez lands the harder shots and does better work in the clinch. Or should I say, does any work in the clinch. Xiaonan prefers to fight at distance and poke at her opponents ever so slightly. Her ‘significant’ strikes are not as significant as Marina’s.

Finally, Rodriguez has been known to kick the legs a little more which is key in a striking fight like this. Mixing it up will help her in this fight for sure. The H2H betting line is probably a little off, so I feel Marina by Decision prop is the way to go.

Rodriguez-Xiaonan Best Bet: Marina Rodrigues (-285) via Decision.

Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu Picks, Best Bets

Moving on down the card we find ourselves at light heavyweight.

Kennedy Nzechukwu is a prospect, I guess. Although his last performance left a lot to be desired for me personally.

Nzechukwu has that zombie thing going for him. His game is built around heavily pressuring and walking forward untill his opponents don't have more gas left in the tank. Then he can start unloading combinations in hopes of a getting a finish.

His strategy has earned him a performance bonus against Danilo Marques, as well as a fight-of-the-night bonus against Carlos Ulberg. However, he was exposed in his most recent time out against Da-Un Jung, getting viciously KO'ed in round one.

Kennedy seems to lack fundamental striking defense. UFC stats have his defensive striking listed at 49%, however his most recent outing makes me question if that number is high enough.

The question is, will Kennedy's striking defensive truly matter against a guy with 38% striking accuracy? That would be Nicolae Negumereanu's accuracy.

Now that I've touched on Kennedy's striking accolades its only fitting that I cover his opponent's too.

Nicolae has insanely bad striking numbers to the point of me actually siding with Kennedy.

The main reason for this is simple: if both fighters throw punches at each other for 15 minutes Kennedy is guaranteed to land more. He averages 4.86 punches per minute, Negumereanu does 2.97.

At the same time Nicolae absorbs a whopping 5.72 whereas Kennedy, being the far more aggressive fighter, actually gets hit less.

Numbers don't lie. Neither fighter has a high level skill set, however Kennedy has impressed me more of the two.

His last showing was not good, but this is MMA. You can only put so much stock into wins and losses. Maybe he had an off night. It happens.

The more effective striker should get it done here.

Negumereanu-Nzechukwu Best Bet: Kennedy Nzechukwu ML (-165)

Maryna Moroz vs. Mariya Agapova Picks, Best Bets

The first fight on the prelims takes place in the women's flyweight division.

Agapova was a highly touted prospect fighting out of Kazakhstan. The hype she picked up by beating Hannah Cifers was probably a bit too much, however she was derailed in her subsequent outing against Shana Dobson, losing as a historic -1667 favorite. Ouch.

As it so happens, in her next fight fans had seemingly completely written her off and she would cash as an underdog in her most recent outing against Sabina Mazo - a fairly decent striker with good volume. That's a good win right there.

Maryna Moroz is a solid boxing with fundamentals in place. Both mainly operate on the feet with Agapova dishing out more volume on average.

Both girls have trained together prior to this bout and there is some bad blood in between the two. You've gotta wonder how that affects Agapova, the seemingly more emotional fighter in this matchup.

With that being said, from what I've seen Agapova has the more crisp and effective striking. Not only that, she will be the one carrying actual fight-ending power into this matchup - Moroz throws nothing but volume.

In eight total walks under the UFC mantle Moroz has scored one finish, zero knockdowns, zero knockouts. Meanwhile Agapova has gotten finishes in both of her wins and has scored a knockdown in both.

Should this fight go the ground, again Agapova is the one with the seemingly better submission game. She has actually won both of her UFC bouts via 'sub and managed to the the fight there through scoring a knockdown.

So we are looking at two fighters similar on paper in that both are strikers and throw a high volume. The devil's in the detail though as Agapova carries more fight-ending potential and that trumps all on the judges' scorecards.

Finally I'll say that if the fight ends up going the full 15, Agapova is the one with an actual positive striking differential. Moroz actually absorbs as many strikes as she lands on average so the striking numbers are not in favor of her getting the win here.

I think Agapova gets it done.

Moroz-Agapova Best Bet: Mariya Agapova (-205) by Decision

Brian Kelleher vs. Umar Nurmagomedov Picks, Best Bets

Cousin of former lightweight champion and GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Brian Kelleher at UFC 272.

This is a step up in competition for Umar, however his undefeated record tells all. He is ready for this step up.

Nurmagomedov knocked it out of the park in his debut against Sergey Morozov, dominating every second of an almost 15 minute fight and getting the third-round stoppage to win performance of the night.

Kelleher is a savvy veteran, however the path to victory is simple for Umar: just grapple.

Bearing the surname of Nurmagomedov does come with its downsides for us bettors however, and as we can see the betting market is heavily siding with Umar here. You can either lay the chalk and pray Kelleher doesn't land something big or play around with the props.

In this case, I think the chalk is justified. Kelleher is a heavy hitter however the amount of one-punch knockouts we see at this weight class is limited. Also, this fight is one of the matchups where the grappler has such an advantage that should he get dropped, he can just open his guard and welcome Kelleher into his realm. Brian does not want anything to do on the ground here.

In my book Morozov is a respectable opponent, and actually a superior grappler to someone like Kelleher.

Mind you, Kelleher's 60% takedown defense will not stop the consistent chain wrestling of Nurmagomedov.

This fight is one of those cases where Kelleher will have one chance at the beginning of each round, given each round starts on the feet, however the takedowns will present themselves for Umar.

The chalk is justified. I like Kelleher but you've gotta believe this is going to be an uphill battle for him this weekend.

Of course, this is MMA, anything can happen. However I don't see the right things from Kelleher that makes me believe he is eligible to pull off the impossible.

Rolling with the chalk.

Kelleher-Nurmagomedov Best Bet: Umar Nurmagomedov ML (-550)

Tim Elliot vs. Tagir Ulanbekov Picks, Best Bets

Divisional veteran Tim Elliot takes on newcomer and 'prospect' (?) Tagir Ulanbekov.

That question mark is intentional - I have serious questions about Ulanbekov.

Ulanbekov checks all the boxes of a chalky favorite. He has very few losses, he is grappling-heavy in his approach, and he is from Dagestan. All things that, if they apply to you, the bookies will put a minus in front of your betting odds.

The thing is, are the bookies on autopilot here with this betting line? This, in my opinion, is not a Kelleher-versus-Nurmagomedov situation.

We have two relatively close wins on the record of Ulanbekov. His most recent win was a close split decision. Is he ready for this step up in competition?

Elliot has seen it all - competing against the former GOAT Demetrious Johnson when he was champ, and fights against some of the best at flyweight ever.

The only downside for the veteran is consistency - the 5-10 UFC record he has is really not great. That said, he is the one with nothing to lose on Saturday, and that can be a big mental edge.

Ulanbekov is a grappler, and grapplers need takedowns to win. Thing is, Elliot is not too shabby on the ground himself, averaging well over three takedowns per fight and landing at a fairly high clip.

Then there's the pressure on the feet. Elliot likes to pressure. In his most recent bout I think he looked great. He went the distance against another one of these highly touted prospects, Matheus Nicolau, and not only landed more strikes but had more control time when it was all said and done.

Meanwhile, you look for data on Ulanbekov's striking and it doesn't paint the picture, at least to me, of a high level fighter. In his last fight he lands 18 punches in 15 minutes. That's not good, especially when you add in the fact that he controlled 12 minutes of that 15 minute fight, and still barely won. He just held position and did nothing with it.

If he fails to rack up that much control time, how does he do striking with Elliot - a guy with a rock chin and good pressure?

Not too good, I imagine.

This is a dog or pass situation. Tim Elliot is definitely live here.

Tagir has given up positions in both of his UFC outings, and he barely scraped by Bruno SIlva in his last time out. Elliot is now cornered by James Krause and I think he has gotten his cardio in check.

The shot on the 'dog is warranted here.

Elliot-Ulanbekov Best Bet: Tim Elliot ML (+200)

Devonte Smith vs. Ludovit Klein Picks, Best Bets

We head down the card to lightweight where two fighters compete for the right to keep the title of 'prospect'.

Devonte Smith was held in high regard by most after winning his first two UFC fights via first-round KO. Then he ended up on the receiving end of one against former training partner, Khama Worthy, at UFC 241. Mind you, Smith was a -1000 favorite in that fight. Again, ouch.

Smith is the more experienced UFC fighter in this matchup with five UFC outings to Klein's three.

Klein kinda shook up the lower ranks of the division with a first-round knockout in his debut over Shane Young. The sky seemed to be the limit for him. He would lose his next two following that impressive win though and now we're looking at a guy possibly fighting to keep his job this weekend. Three losses in a row and he's probably terminated.

Smtih has the striking, Klein has the grappling.

Devonte's best round is historically his first however he has had issues staying ahead in fights that get extended. Essentially it's a Devonte-wins-early-or-Klein-wins-late situation.

I think Smith's last fight is a bit indicative of how this fight will go. Klein is savvy enough to survive the early barrage and from there on out the takedowns will begin to present themselves.

Smith can be folded with pressure when things don't go his way. Klein could exploit that.

In my experience the value is usually on the underdog in the lower ranks of the UFC, however I have a hard time getting a clear read on this fight in terms of who the winner will be.

What I do think will happen is that the fight does not end up seeing the scorecards.

Again, Smith probably folds at some point if he doesn't get Klein out of there early, and Klein will be in lots of danger in the first.

I see a finish on either side.

Smith-Klein Best Bet: Fight does not go the Distance ()

Michał Oleksiejczuk vs. Dustin Jacoby Picks, Best Bets

The first fight of the night takes place in the light heavyweight division.

This is the second UFC stint for Dustin Jacoby who was initially cut in 2012 with an 0-2 record for the promotion.

Michal Oleksiejczuk has a good striking game but most of his attacks are targeted up top. I think a serious kicker will expose him.

Jacoby is not necessarily known for his kicks but he does throw them when he fights. Neither guy really goes for takedowns so I doubt we will see grappling exchanges here.

Oleksiejczuk usually opens with a high pressure, and if he can back up Jacoby for the majority of the fight he could be able to avoid getting kicked to hell. You need to settle in order to kick, and its hard to fire with good form if you're constantly moving backwards.

Size goes to Jacoby though, so you gotta wonder if the physically bigger man will allow himself to be pushed back to the fence for 15 minutes.

In today's modern MMA you need kicking as a part of your arsenal. Michal is a rare case of a fighter that does not throw kicks. That will be exposed sooner rather than later.

Perhaps Jacoby could be the guy to do that.

Maybe Michal wins the first round, however in the later rounds when those leg kicks starts settling into the deep tissue movement becomes compromised. Jacoby will take over from there.

Short breakdown, however I think the writing's on the wall for the fight with Oleksiejczuk and his boxing-heavy approach.

Oleksiejczuk-Jacoby Best Bet: Dustin Jacoby ML (-180)

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