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Best bets for UFC Fight Night: Costa vs. Vettori

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The UFC Vegas 41 card Saturday will present 12 scheduled bouts with athletes from 10 countries highlighted by a battle of top-ranked middleweights in the main event. Last week Norma Dumont (+ 115) beat Aspen Ladd in a fairly one-sided featherweight snooze-fest to pad this season’s profitability.

Insight the Octagon 2021: 27-18, + 12.72u.

Let’s keep the momentum going as we now focus on the aggressive combatants who will headline this week’s event.

Paulo Costa (+125) vs. Marvin Vettori (-140)

Middleweight (185 pounds), main event

This fight will be a war. Not only are these two of the most forward-charging, power-striking athletes in the division, but they’ll be waging their battle in the smaller 25-foot cage featured at the Apex Center in Las Vegas.

The 25-foot octagon is 30.5 percent smaller than the 30-foot cage at 518 square feet vs. 745 square feet. My numbers show that finish rates in the smaller cage are higher across all weight classes but especially with 185-pound fighters or larger.

Finish rates for 30-foot cages for middleweights or larger are 52 percent, but they run 57 percent in the 25-foot cage. Put these two bombastic strikers against each other while closing the confines of space — and destruction follows.

The second-ranked Costa (13-1) must earn back some respect after his performance in his last outing, an epic championship failure. Being finished by champion Israel Adesanya was one thing, but the manner in which he was beaten and then the excuses used to explain his performance projected poorly on Costa.

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