Last Updated Jul 22, 2022, 9:02 AM
UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Rodriguez Picks, Predictions, Odds
Sports Betting Expert
The popularity of MMA and UFC continues to grow around the world. There are now several feeder promotions for the UFC and dozens of regional promotions where young fighters can cut their teeth, and networks are champing at the bit to showcase fights at the highest level. That’s why this week’s UFC promotion will be broadcast on ABC instead of ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPN Plus. Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez are going to headline the card, and both fighters will look to deliver a strong performance.
UFC on ABC: Ortega vs. Rodriguez will take place on Saturday, July 16, 2022, from UBS Arena in Elmont, New York. The preliminary fights are slated to start at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+, while the main card will get underway at 2 p.m. ET on ABC.
Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez Picks
Two-time UFC Featherweight Championship challenger Brian Ortega is a moderate favorite over Yair Rodriguez in the main event. Ortega is 15-0-1 in non-title fights in his career, as his only two losses have come against Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski. He earned bonuses for his finishes of Renato Moicano, Cub Swanson, and Frankie Edgar recently, and he is a great grappler and wrestler who has won nearly half his fights by submission.
Yair Rodriguez first started to turn heads with his knockout of B.J. Penn five years ago, but he has struggled to climb the ladder in the featherweight division. Rodriguez is currently the No. 3 ranked fighter behind division champion Volkanovski, Holloway, and Ortega, and he has yet to challenge for a title due to defeats at the hands of Holloway and Frankie Edgar. A win over Ortega would change that though, setting him up to take on Volkanovski.
Ortega has the better pedigree and experience, but Rodriguez has a few advantages of his own. He is a little younger than his opponent, and he has a two-inch reach advantage with both his arms and legs. The key for Rodriguez will be to stay on his feet in order to mitigate Ortega’s advantage on the mat, and he has a good chance of pulling off the upset if he does that.
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Michelle Waterson vs. Amanda Lemos Picks
The last three years haven’t gone well for Michelle Waterson. The one-time Invicta FC Atomweight Champion has lost three of her last four fights, and her lone victory was an unconvincing split decision win over Angela Hill. That has led to Waterson being a significant underdog by the UFC betting odds against Amanda Lemos on Saturday afternoon.
Lemos lost her UFC debut five years ago, but she is 5-1 since that point with her one loss coming against Jessica Andrade in April. However, while her recent record is nice, Lemos hasn’t fought anyone of note with her best victory also being a split decision win over Angela Hill. She has the reach advantage, but she shouldn’t be this much of a favorite given the strength of her wins.
Li Jingliang vs. Muslim Salikhov Picks
Promotion veteran Li Jingliang will look to stop Muslim Salikhov’s ascent up the welterweight ladder. Jingliang is ranked ahead of Salikhov, but the oddsmakers don’t like his chances on Saturday. Although Jingliang has earned Performance of the Night bonuses in his last three wins, he was unable to stop up-and-coming Khamzat Chimaev in his last match.
Salikhov has not shown the knockout power that made him a star in lesser promotions, but the five-time Sanda World Championship winner knows how to control the Octagon. His kicks make it very difficult for opponents to close the distance and get inside of him, and Jingliang won’t find it easy to take down the veteran.