Best Bets for Contender Series Week 6: Submission Props of +330 and +400 Among Top Plays
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: MMA welterweights Yusaku Kinoshita and Jose Henrique
- Ten fighters audition for the UFC as part of tonight's Contender Series event.
- The main event features 6-foot-5, 170-pound Jose Henrique against Yusaku Kinoshita.
- Liam Heslin breaks down all five fights, which stream on ESPN+.
We are back with a fully loaded Contender Series offering this week complete with potentially violent fights, fun prospects, and interesting clashes of style.
Let’s take a look at each Dana White Contender Series Week 6 fight and the potential betting opportunities on the table.
As always, DWCS events stream on ESPN+ (8 p.m. ET) with 10 fighters looking to impress White, the UFC’s president, and earn a contract to fight in the world’s most prominent MMA promotion.
(Don’t forget that you can track your Contender Series bets in the Action App.)
Featherweights: Alex Morgan vs. Blake Bilder
The first fight of the night will be contested at 145 pounds between Canadian top prospect Alex Morgan and America’s Blake Bilder.
Morgan has fought a bevy of UFC-level fighters, including Charles Jourdain and T.J. Laramie, in the TKO promotion in Canada. Bilder, meanwhile, recently secured his CFFC title via submission, so he will be looking to run his finishing rate over the 70 percent mark.
Morgan opened as a favorite of about -145 and has taken action at the betting window, pushing him out to a current market average price of -212. Bilder, on the other hand, opened as a +125 underdog before climbing all the way to his current market average of +175, meaning we have seen a correction of 50 cents or more on the favorite and underdog moneylines in this contest.
Morgan is a seasoned kickboxer who will be looking to keep the fight upright and test the chin of Bilder, who has been dropped numerous times in his seven-fight professional career. Bilder will be looking to test the submission grappling of Morgan, who has been submitted in three of his four losses.
Prediction: Alex Morgan def. Blake Builder via KO – Round 1
Bets: Either Fighter Wins by Submission (+330) | Alex Morgan to Win Inside the Distance (+110)
Women’s Strawweights: Viktoriya Dudakova vs. Maria Silva
The second fight of the evening is the only women’s bout on the card.
The bout will be contested in the 115-pound strawweight division and will feature the returning DWCS talent Maria Silva and her opponent, Viktoriya Dudakova.
Dudakova has been fighting on a fairly low-level regional scene, but she has been securing grappling-based victories, winning all of her fights inside the distance and many via submission in the very first round.
Silva, on the other hand, is primarily a striker who has been improving her grappling over time and recently found a submission win in the third round of her Ares FC bout.
Silva opened up as a -180 favorite in this spot and has seen virtual one-way traffic across the market, with her average money line price ballooning to -295, a correction of more than a dollar since the soft opener. Dudakova, on the other hand, has been bet from a +155 opener to a +233 underdog, a correction of nearly 10% on her implied win probability.
I expect Silva was brought back in this spot to have another chance at securing the UFC contract, and I think she will be able to do so. Silva is the more physically imposing woman on tape despite her slightly smaller stature.
Prediction: Maria Silva def. Viktoriya Dudakova via submission – Round 2
Bet: Maria Silva Wins Inside the Distance (+165)
Lightweights: Mateusz Rebecki vs. Rodrigo Lidio
The third fight of the night features two highly talented lightweight prospects in Mateusz Rebecki and Rodrigo Lidio.
Rebecki likes to crash forward while swinging big punches so he can get his hands wrapped around his opponents’ waist, take them for a ride, and put his BJJ black belt and smothering top-side pressure to bear on his opponents.
Lidio, on the other hand, is a talented defensive grappler with deceptive power in his lanky frame. In many of his fights, he is losing on the scorecards or spending large portions of the bout controlled before he finds his kill shot.
This bout is another example of a favorite who has taken action on this card – but to a much lesser degree. Rebecki opened at -230, and he has been bet just above the -250 threshold market-wide. Lidio, meanwhile, opened as a +195 underdog and can now be had for as high as +215.
The fight is also being priced to end inside the distance at a high clip with the market average price on fight does not go to decision sitting at -275, higher than the favorite’s money line.
The books are heavily correlating the Lidio moneyline with his KO prop for good reason, as the vast majority of Lidio’s win equity in this bout will come from his power counters. However, Lidio has been submitted before, and I believe that Rebecki is one of the most dynamic and threatening top players Lidio has ever faced.
Prediction: Matuesz Rebecki def. Rodrigo Lidio via submission – Round 1
Bet: Matuesz Rebecki Wins by Submission (+400)
Middleweights: Matej Penaz vs. Sedriques Dumas
Next we move to the co-main event of the evening, where Matej Penaz will be taking on Sedriques Dumas in the middleweight division.
Penaz is a former Glory kickboxer with a huge frame for the division, long strikes, and solid cardio to go 15 minutes. Dumas also styles himself as a dynamic kicker, but he is the party more likely to pursue takedowns and grappling exchanges in this fight, particularly if the striking is going poorly for Dumas, as I imagine it may.
Dumas looked considerably smaller than his opponent at the weight class, and that may account for the status of Penaz as a -140 favorite at open. Penaz has now been bet to a market average of -170. As for Dumas, he opened a short +125 underdog and has been bet out to a market average price of +140, so the adjustments by the market have been to a much smaller degree on this fight.
I believe that Dumas will struggle to get his wrestling game going in this fight, and if I am correct, I think he will struggle to win the fight. Dumas has big power, strong kicks, and nasty outside low kick, but he is a bit predictable at times, and his defense falls apart in extended exchanges. I think Penaz will look to take his time, pick him apart and find the finish.
Prediction: Matej Penaz def. Sedriques Dumas via TKO – Round 3
Bets: Patej Penaz (-163) | Patej Penaz Wins Inside the Distance (+165)
Welterweights: Yusaku Kinoshita vs. Jose Henrique
The final fight of the evening will be contested by two lightweight prospects younger than I am. Neither man has yet reached his 23rd birthday, but that hasn’t stopped them from pursuing their UFC dreams.
Kinoshita has quickly accrued five first-round finishes as a pro, preferring to land violent strikes. But he is not opposed to shooting a quick takedown or dominating an opponent on the mat. His opponent, Henrique, is undefeated, but his last bout was well within the margins of his opponent winning as Henrique was nearly knocked out in the second round.
Henrique will have a massive height advantage in this fight, coming in at 6-foot-5 in the 170-pound welterweight division, a feat of epic proportions.
Kinoshita opened for this bout at -140, and he has seen the bulk of the betting action, dropping steadily to his current market average of -205. The comeback on the Henrique side began as low as +120, and he can now be had for as high as +180 at some books, another massive correction by the market of more than 50 cents.
As for the totals, this fight is once again slated to end inside the distance at a -225 clip.
I expect this to be a good scrap, but there are many open questions about these fighters that make the matchup difficult to predict. Kinoshita has yet to make it out of the first round as a professional, and his opponent has only had one fight so far against high-level opposition, and he arguably should have lost the split decision.
Now layer on top of that the fact that 6-foot-5 Henrique is cutting to pounds for the first time, and you have a recipe for either disaster or a massive advantage in the fight.
Prediction: Yusuaka Kinoshita def. Jose Henrique via KO – Round 1
Bet: Kinoshita Wins Inside the Distance (+110) or pass.
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