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UFC

Apr 14, 2022

UFC Vegas 51 Picks, Predictions, Odds

A welterweight a potential title-eliminator bout takes place on Saturday between Vicente Luque and Belal Muhammad. The two are scheduled to headline UFC Vegas 51 on April 16, 2022, in the UFC Apex facility of Las Vegas. This will be the second time these men share the octagon. The first meeting saw Luque victorious via first-round knockout. Can Belal get redemption?

Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad Picks

Luque is an attack-heavy offensive finisher. He can submit and knock out opponents. Muhammad is a technical, far more patient, striker with good fundamentals and wrestling. His main path to victory is usually a decision.

The first fight was a quick night for Luque. He found the mark just over a minute into the first round. Since then Belal has gotten better, although power punchers have always been his kryptonite. Usually Belal has no issue backpedaling if he can still stick and move and win on the cards. He runs into trouble when he faces someone who hits significantly harder than he does.

Belal doesn’t exactly have knockout power - he throws light combinations to rack up volume and win minutes. He has issues getting respect from the harder hitters in the division because they will walk him down and fire back with little fear of getting hurt. This happened to him against Geoff Neal and Alan Jouban.

Belal Muhammad has seen 11 of his last 12 fights enter Round 3. (Getty)

We have the rematch aspect which obviously is a significant factor. There’s always a mental advantage to the winner of the first fight in subsequent pairings. Then we have the volume. Belal tends to throw more than his opponents, however Luque has him beat in that area too, averaging over one strike landed more every minute, on average.

Luque is hittable, and he has been bested via decision against a technical striker before, Stephen Thompson, however I’d still argue that Belal is more scrappy as a fighter. 

The takedowns are usually Belal’s plan B when a fight is getting tough, however given Luque’s submission threat I think we will see a striking bout where Belal will get caught sooner or later.

Best Bet: Vicente Luque by KO, TKO, DQ or Submission +130

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Caio Borralho vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev Picks

Both fighters in the co-main event slot are debutants. Caio is a striker with a karate-based style and Gadzhi is a submission-oriented grappler. Both guys passed their test on DWCS in flying colors. 

What this fight really boils down to is can Omargadzhiev take Borralho down? I think the answer to that question is yes. Just rewatching Caio’s two outings on DWCS, it’s evident that he not only is backed up too easily, but mostly moves in a straight line.

Gadzhi Omargadzhiev has won 13 straight fights. (Getty)

What does this mean for a grappler looking to take him down? Well, a little bit of offensive pressure, maybe a few feints on the feet, and you’ve got Borrelho on the fence, trapped. Gadzhi has really good top control and in the fights of his that I’ve seen he rarely needs more than one takedown to seal the deal with a submission, or ride out that round from top guard.

Borralho’s kick-heavy striking approach is also bad news when the other guy wants to take you down. If Caio becomes too content with kicking I think Gadzhi will catch one sooner or later and grapple.

On the feet I won’t act like Borralho doesn’t have the advantage, however given how easily I’ve seen him give up the center of the octagon and end up in a clinching position, I’d say he gets taken down and submitted here. It’s even harder for strikers to fight grapplers in the smaller octagon of the UFC Apex which is another plus if you’re on Gadzhi to get the win.

Best Bet: Gadzhi Omargadzhiev To Win Fight -138

Miguel Baeza vs. André Fialho Picks

Leg kicks will be the determining factor in this one. We have two strikers facing off with one only throwing hands and one kicking the legs. This is a favorable matchup for Baeza, as he gets to take on someone with a very low-level kicking game. Fialho did impress in his debut, giving Pereira a decent run for his money at UFC 270. That being said, zero leg strikes thrown over the course of 15 minutes is not indicative of a well-rounded striker. 

I really hope Baeza doesn’t make this any more complicated than it has to be, for his own sake. The youngster has been getting into some unnecessary brawls in the UFC, when he is in reality far better striking from a range. 

Miguel does not want to get into a phone booth with Fialho, the harder hitter of the two. How Baeza has recovered from his last loss is another question we will find the answer to on Saturday. Sometimes guys don’t recover well from being flatlined like that. I will say this though: It wouldn’t hurt Baeza to hang back and win this fight with technique instead of throwing leather in close quarters with a guy like Fialho. If he does that he is essentially granting André a far bigger chance of winning then he should have. Like I said, this is a good matchup for Baeza if he plays his cards right.

Baeza doesn’t have the chin or defensive capabilities to beat these guys in brawls. 

With all that being said, I think Baeza will win here. Fialho can take away some of the kicks with his immense pressure, in turn however, given how little volume he throws Baeza will not be in constant danger. That lead leg will expose itself throughout the fight, and after a full round of it getting chewed up I think the pressure will ease up from Fialho, allowing Baeza to get back into the driver’s seat and win the fight.

I am banking on Baeza not to lose his head and brawl here. Fialho’s debut was on short notice but I feel as if we still got to learn who he is as a fighter.

Best Bet: Miguel Baeza To Win Fight -170

Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Wu Yanan Picks

This is an interesting one, mostly due to the betting line. We have Wu Yanan currently priced as a +300 underdog, which is pretty interesting for a number of reasons which I’ll get into.

First of all, neither fighter is a great minute winner on the feet. This means that in fights that go the distance, both of these girls rarely get their hand raised when the scorecards are tallied. If either fighter wins, it’s usually via some sort of finish. At least this holds true under the UFC mantle.

Wu Yanan has lost three of her last four fights. (Getty)

Silva is 2-2-1 under the UFC mantle with both of her wins coming by way of submission. Wu, on the other hand, is 1-3 in the UFC with her sole win also coming by way of submission. 

If we, just for a minute, pretend like the grappling of both cancels each other out, we are, realistically, looking at a three-round striking bout here. In the case of that happening, you have to give Wu a better shot at winning than +300, for the simple reason that her striking differential is far better than Silva’s. In four UFC bouts, Wu has landed just about as many punches as she has absorbed. In turn, SIlva has taken far more than she has dished out in her five UFC outings. Silva absorbs about one and a half strikes per minute for every strike she lands herself.

There is an argument that Silva has faced far better competition in the octagon, but I’ll counter with the fact that she’s gotten dominated every time she faced that step up in competition. She did not belong in there with Manon Fiorot.

Yanan is probably fighting for her job in the UFC here, which adds a bit more motivation to go out there and get the job done. It will be greasy, but I think there is some value on that +300 price tag on Wu. Silva is not a particularly good striker - at least not good enough to warrant such a wide betting line.

Best Bet: Wu Yanan To Win Fight +300

Pat Sabatini vs. T.J. Laramie Picks

Pat Sabitini has repeatedly shown that he is more than just a potent grappler. His wrestling and jiu jitsu is among the best in the featherweight division, without a doubt. He just dominated Tucker Lutz, a guy whose wrestling skills I hold in high regard. That shows the level of guy we are dealing with here.

T.J. Laramie ain’t too shabby on the ground himself, however him getting submitted by Darrick Minner in his most recent time out tells me all I need to know. It took Minner less than a minute to find a guillotine choke against Laramie. Sabatini is a more patient fighter than Minner who has been a first-round-sub-or-bust kinda guy throughout the majority of his career. But the fact of the matter is that Sabatini will push T.J. back and get those takedowns at some point.

From top control Sabatini’s stats are crazy. The guy has spent over 60% of his total UFC octagon time in a controlling, advantageous position. It’s no surprise that he has yet to even lose a round under the UFC mantle.

Laramie has the punching power to keep anyone on their toes, but nothing more than that. Laramie was killing it on the regional scene but he is one of those guys that won’t be getting far in the UFC. His skill set is not well rounded enough. Unless some flash KO happens I think Sabatini is the lock of the night here.

Best Bet: Pat Sabatini by KO, TKO, DQ or Submission +137

Mounir Lazzez vs. Ange Loosa Picks

After an awesome performance against Abdul Razzak Alhassan, unranked bogeyman of the welterweight division, I was really high on Mounir Lazzez to break into the top 15 at some point. In his subsequent bout those thoughts where laid to rest as he was completely blown out of the water by aging veteran Warlley Alves. I was left scratching my head thinking what happened. 

In Mounir’s two UFC outings he looks night and day. Against Alhassan he was cool, calm and collected, not scared to engage and trade in a phone booth with a guy like Abdul. In his most recent time out he was wide-eyed and almost looked like he didn’t even belong in a UFC octagon.

Loosa is a hard-hitting guy who is super explosive. On the regional scene he has picked up a few good wins. He has shared the octagon with current and former UFC fighters. 

If we are to believe the true level of Mounir Lazzez is what he gave in his last outing he is in for a rude awakening against Loosa. Alves, the guy he just lost to, is by no means a physical specimen like Loosa, yet he was able to completely control the octagon and win the clinching game against Lazzez who was the far bigger man. 

Mounir Lazzez has seen three of his last four fights end in Round 1. (Getty)

Lazzez can not just give up the center here against Loosa. Against powerful guys you need to fire back with something to gain respect, otherwise your opponent will dominate the physical space and out work you. This fight being in the smaller octagon doesn’t favor Lazzez who might get on his bike for the first couple of rounds.

This could just be a case of Lazzez having an off night against Alves, and perhaps I’m putting too much stock into one performance, however if there's one thing I’ve learned watching UFC for years it is that you don’t have off nights and make it at this level. You need to perform when you’re in that cage, and if your composure and focus is lacking there is a hungrier guy on the opposite side of the octagon.

Lazzez is no spring chicken either at 34 years old. I’m getting the notion that fans and bettors are viewing Lazzez as a prospect. What prospect is 34 years old and 1-1 in the UFC? Not many. Loosa is the youngster in this matchup who is looking to break into the UFC with a good performance. 

At underdog odds I think Ange holds great value. Lazzez might make me look stupid but I’m willing to fade him for his seemingly poor consistency. 

Best Bet: Ange Loosa To Win Fight +170

Devin Clark vs. William Knight Picks

After breaking the record for biggest weight miss, Knight’s last fight was moved to heavyweight where he was taken to school by Maxim Grishin for three rounds. Not sure he wants that record in his trophy case.

Clark isn’t exactly on a hot streak himself, as he’s dropped two in a row heading into this weekend’s fight. He most recently lost a lopsided decision against heavy handed light heavyweight Ion Cutelaba.

This fight being at heavyweight boggles my mind. Of the two, I’d say Knight is the bigger man however neither guy has the frame for heavyweight, truthfully speaking. Clark started out his UFC tenure at middleweight and Knight is way too small for light heavyweight. Since both guys are undersized for the division, neither holds a significant size advantage over the other though.

Clark is a pretty good all-around fighter with good abilities everywhere. Knight mainly excels on the ground but has displayed great power on the feet too. The guy, Knight, is a powerhouse, evident by his bulky yet muscular physique.

Knight is a fast twitch muscle fiber guy, meaning he can seriously hurt you if you’re out of position for just a second. All the muscle he carries comes with a price however, and he is rarely as sharp in the third round as he is in the first. Clark’s cardio might be slightly better in this fight, but stuff like that isn’t always binary.

Knight doesn’t do well when he’s outsized and can’t dictate where the fight takes place. This is why his two losses in the UFC have come against guys that were significantly taller than him. 

We’ve seen that in fights where Knight faces guys his own size, he can muscle them around and utilize his clinching game to its full effect. Clark is a good fighter at light heavyweight, but he has no business competing at heavyweight against William Knight. 

Clark has insanely little punching power for the weight class too, and has only won two fights via TKO in his entire career. This means that Knight will back Clark up pretty quickly and take the center of the octagon. The guy pushing forward will naturally be the one getting takedowns too, so Knight takes this in my mind.

Best Bet: William Knight To Win Fight +140

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