On the heels of the first week of Dana Whites Contender Series, we move to UFC Vegas 6 headlined by Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik.
First time reading this piece? I go through 3 fights on the upcoming UFC card that you should avoid from a betting perspective and the reasoning why. As bettors, we’re constantly looking to find our betting opportunities but identifying those spots to stay away are just as important.
**NOTE: The perspective being given in this article is from where current odds sit at the time writing. Also, my analysis in regards to passing on these fights is from a straight/total perspective. If you’re looking for sneaky props, check out some of the other content on MMA Oddsbreaker.
Youssef Zalal (-450) vs (+360) Peter Barrett
Zalal’s getting a quick turnaround in this spot and is making is 3 rd UFC appearance in 2020. Peter Barrett will be making his UFC debut after getting a win on the Contender Series last August.
I think Zalal has the edge pretty much anywhere this fight takes place. His striking technique is much more fluid, his wrestling is serviceable and he’s got decent BJJ. Barrett’s a tough guy but where I really see Zalal having success here is in the grappling. He should avoid the firefight with Barrett and look to take this to the mat. Barrett’s defensive wrestling isn’t very good and I’ve seen him give his back on multiple occasions as well. With that, Zalal should be able to find his neck at some point but if he decides to keep this upright, I think the fight could play closer than odds indicate.
As the odds indicate, this is spot where Zalal should roll but I can’t advocate for a bet on him at this steep of a price straight. I was potentially looking to target the U2.5 but the only real finishing potential in this fight is from Zalal via submission so if I’m going to play an Under, I need more boxes to be checked. To boot, a bet on Barrett would be a complete flyer as he hasn’t looked great in recent years (3-3 in his last 6) and his strength of competition has been pretty underwhelming.
I’d look to target some other fights down the line on this card.
Nasrat Haqparast (-230) vs (+190) Alex Munoz
Haqparast is looking to getting back in the win column on Saturday and Munoz will be making his UFC debut.
Haqparast is the better fighter in this spot but there are a few questions I have going into this fight. Munoz is a pretty strong wrestler (head wrestling coach at Team Alpha Male) and we saw Haqparast really struggle in the wrestling in his debut against Marcin Held. However, that fight was also 3 years ago and we haven’t seen any of his recent opponents go to wrestle heavy. So, this fight really comes down to how much the wrestling of Haqparast has leveled up since his debut, coupled with a few other points.
First, if Munoz has success in the wrestling, can he hold Haqparast down and win minutes? Two, can Munhoz hang on the feet with Haqparast whose got a pretty diverse striking attack, who’s also pretty aggressive. I think the line on Haqparast is correct right now but because I don’t have definitive answers to those questions, I wouldn’t recommend a play on either fighter. This is one of those spots where you should just sit back and take in analysis of Munoz’s game as this is a pretty decent step up in competition.
Yana Kunitskaya (-235) vs (+195) Julija Stoliarenko
Kunitskaya was originally scheduled to face Ketlen Vieira but the former TUF vet, Julija Stoliarenko, steps in on less than 2-weeks' notice.
I think this fight’s pretty binary but also very intriguing at the same time. Yana is the better fighter here but Julija has a style that could pose potential problems for her. When this fights on the feet, I think Julija can hang tough but Yana will get the better of the striking exchanges. Yana has TKD and Muay Thai base who really likes the clinch and excels there. However, if the grappling comes into play, this fight could get interesting.
Julija is notorious guard puller and we’ve seen her jump guard numerous times in clinch situations so I would assume she will do the same here if Yana clinches with her. Julija is a BJJ Brown Belt who’s very active off her back and gets to armbar positions with consistency. So, if Yana can’t break the guard jump and follows her down, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Julija snag a sub. Important to note though, Yana was in the guard of Marion Reneau for two minutes in their fight and Marion didn’t come close to getting anything. If Julija posed more of an offensive wrestling threat, I wouldn’t be writing this article as I’d probably be taking the dog shot on her. Ultimately, if Yana can fight at range, I think the line is justified here.
Because of those question marks in terms of how the fights plays out, I don’t think you can back Yana at current price. If you’re betting Julija, you’re pretty much hoping on a guard sub so you can’t play her straight. I also don’t see much value on the O2.5 at –185 with the finishing potential of Julija in this spot.
I would stay away.
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