In the UFC’s first double-title card of the year, we’ll see championship fights in the smallest and largest of the men’s divisions.
The flyweight matchup is one we’ve seen twice before, while the heavyweight fight is a showdown we could see coming from the moment Ciryl Gane burst onto the UFC scene.
But there’s another fight further down the card Saturday night that could provide a safer value play.
Preliminary card (middleweights)
Rodolfo Vieira (-275) vs. Wellington Turman (+ 230)
When two Brazilian grapplers face off, it’s always possible their styles will cancel each other out and force a striking war. But few fighters are as focused on getting a fight to the mat as Rodolfo Vieira. The highly decorated grappler attempts takedowns at three times the average rate, and he lands them with above-average success. Those factors lead to Vieira spending more than a third of his fight time on the ground and in control.
Wellington Turman is also an experienced grappler but could leave himself open to Vieira’s takedowns. Turman uses a high mix of power strikes, including body kicks, which can lead to overextending and making an opponent’s counter-takedowns easier. Turman also likes to spend a lot of time in the clinch, which could lead to more takedown opportunities for Vieira.
Bottom line: When Vieira gets ground control, he’s made a career of finding his way to the back and getting a choke.
Betting angle: Vieira to win for parlays, or a prop play on Vieira by submission (more affordable).
Main card (flyweights)
Brandon Moreno (-175) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (+ 145)
I’ve backed Brandon Moreno twice now as an underdog against former champ Deiveson Figueiredo, with positive ROI on a draw and a win. This time, Moreno will be the favorite, having finished Figueiredo in their last meeting. The Assassin Baby seems to keep getting better, and I’ll be backing the 28-year-old again as he takes on an admittedly dangerous opponent.
Betting angle: Moneyline play on Moreno, whose price should not exceed -200.
Main event (heavyweights)
Ciryl Gane (-125) vs. Francis Ngannou (+ 105)
The challenger was briefly an underdog but is now favored, making Francis Ngannou a rare underdog champion. And the champ will provide the greatest test yet of Ciryl Gane’s superior technical striking. Gane will have to win rounds while avoiding Ngannou’s best-in-class power, but he’s well-equipped for exactly this type of challenge, with excellent defense and range control.
Betting angle: Slight lean on Gane, but pass unless his price gets close to even money.