UFC Fight Night 37 Fight Breakdown: Gunnar Nelson (-310) vs. Omari Akhmedov (+280)

Gunnar Nelson The opening main card bout for UFC Fight Night 37 is a welterweight bout between Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson and Omari Akhmedov. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Nelson as a -310 favorite (bet $310 to win $100) while Akhmedov is a +280 underdog (bet $100 to win $280). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Nelson at -270 and Akhmedov at +190, meaning all the betting action is on the favorite Nelson. I agree with the line movement as I am also picking Nelson to win the fight. Here’s why. Nelson (11-0-1) is one of the most talented welterweight prospects on the planet. Just 25, Nelson is already a two-fight UFC veteran and picked up impressive wins over Jorge Santiago and DaMarques Johnson in his two Octagon appearances. However, the last of those outings took place over a year ago as Nelson has spent the last 12 months on the sidelines with injuries. But he’s healthy again and ready to do damage, and he should make an immediate impact in the division when he returns this weekend. A talented grappler who has won numerous medals and tournaments all over the world, Nelson said he spent his layoff improving in the striking department and that makes him even more dangerous going forward. Undefeated through his first 12 pro MMA fights, Nelson is someone to keep an eye on and this weekend at UFC Fight Night 37 he has a chance to move to 3-0 when he takes on Akhmedov. Akhmedov (12-1) made his Octagon debut last fall at UFC Fight Night 32 and picked up an impressive knockout win over Thiago Perpetuo in a Fight of the Night-winning performance. Just 26, Akhmedov has been nearly flawless in his career outside of an early loss to former Bellator combatant Michail Tsarev. A heavy-handed striker, Akhmedov displays excellent fighting instincts and has the heart of a lion, as we saw in the Perpetuo bout. However, he gets hit a lot and against Perpetuo had to rally from two knockdowns to come back and win. Although he is a solid grappler in his own right, he isn’t even close to Nelson and if this fight hits the mat Akhmedov is going to be in big trouble. His best chance to win is to keep the fight on the feet and land the knockout blow, but that won’t be easy to do against someone as elusive as Nelson is. With all that being said, this is a tough matchup for the Russian. Although Akhmedov is a dangerous fighter, Nelson is even more dangerous and I believe the UFC has given him a very winnable matchup in his return to the Octagon as Nelson should be superior in every facet of the game except for maybe pure KO power. Look for Nelson to get the takedowns on Akhmedov early on, get him to the ground, and sink in a submission — possibly a rear-naked choke — for the victory. At -310, Nelson is just within betting ranges for a parlay. He’s not a lock by any means, but he really should win this fight and I’d be surprised if the Russian upset him. This is a favorite or pass situation, so either put Nelson in a parlay or just pass altogether. Either way, I do lean the fight to end inside the distance, and that prop is at -180 so that’s definitely something else to consider for a bet on this fight, one that shouldn’t last long.

Written by Adam Martin.

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