Best Bets for Contender Series Week 8: +600 KO & +850 Submission Props Among Top Picks

Best Bets for Contender Series Week 8: +600 KO & +850 Submission Props Among Top Picks article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. MMA middleweights Ikram Aliskerov and Mario Sousa

Dana White's Contender Series is back with its Week 8 event on Tuesday, where 10 UFC hopefuls will look to secure a contract.

They're part of the five-bout lineup that kicks off at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on ESPN+.

We're focused on two fights – each of which has multiple betting angles – for this week's event.

Check out those best bets for the card below.

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Women's Flyweights: Bruna Brasil vs. Marnic Mann

Women's flyweights Bruna Brazil and Marnic Mann compete in the women’s in the second bout of the evening.

Brasil is a former professional soccer player, a regional kickboxing champion, and a multi-talented finisher in MMA with more than 50% of her wins coming by finish. She also has an equal share of submissions and knockouts among her wings (two of each).

Mann is representing Montana MMA, and she will bring a lower center of gravity, offensive wrestling, and pressure against the fence.

I have been burned several times this season betting on women's MMA bouts not to go the distance, but showing +170 for FDGTD in a fight in which both athletes have greater than 50% finishing rates and a dynamic clash of styles doesn't make much sense to me.

Brasil has two submission wins on her record while Mann has one win via submission (as a pro) and a second via rear-naked choke as an amateur.

Brasil is primarily a kickboxer, and Mann will look to force wrestling and grappling exchanges. But the most danger she has been in during recent fights involved putting her head into dangerous guillotine attempts, the submission of choice for Brazil.

I think this fight is being mispriced to end by submission at +450, and I don't hate a shot on the favorite (Brasil) to win via submission since Mann is likely to shoot into guillotine attempts as an athlete with a much smaller frame and shorter arms.

Prediction: Bruna Brasil def. Marnic Mann via submission – Round 2 (guillotine choke)

Bets: Brasil-Mann does not go to decision (+170) | Brasil-Mann ends by submission (+450) | Brasil wins by submission (+850)

Middleweights: Ikram Aliskerov vs. Mario Sousa

Ikram Aliskerov is one of the most highly touted prospects in the orbit of the UFC. His record shows an impressive third-round submission win over recent UFC winner Dennis Tiuliulin, as well as an unfortunate first-round KO loss at the hands of phenom Khamzat Chimaev.

Chimaev himself has described Aliskerov as "good" and said "he has to be in the UFC." Aliskerov will get his chance opposite Mario Souza, a Brazilian martial artist making his Contender Series appearace. Souza carries big power and a lengthy frame for the division, but he was soundly outwrestled and outgrappled by Chidi Njokuani, who's primarily a kickboxer, in his most recent DWCS appearance.

Aliskerov opened as a significant favorite in this fight, and money has continued to pour in on him for obvious reasons. Souza is a credited Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, but Aliskerov should have the frame, the grappling skills, and the tenacity to force Souza into an uncomfortable ground fight.

Unlike Njokuani, who has one career victory via submission, Aliskerov has a mix of eight wins by finish – an even four by submission and four by KO.

I believe there may be value on the Aliskerov ITD prop at -200 (FDGTD is -300) as well as the Aliskerov via sub prop at +200. Souza is a tough competitor, but I believe the skill deficit will be too great for him to overcome in this spot.

Prediction: Ikram Aliskerov def. Mario Souza via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2

Bets:  Aliskerov wins Inside the Distance (-200) | Aliskerov wins via Submission (+200)

Bantamweights: Allan Begosso vs. Farid Basharat

Farid Basharat and his brother, Javid, have the world at their feet this weekend. For the Basharat Bros., winning is everything, and that has been backed up by their performances to this point.

Farid, the younger (25) of the two, is 10-0 between pro and amateur competition while 27-year-old brother Javid (already in the UFC) has amassed a 13-0 record between pro and amateur competition.

However, Farid Basharat was not given an easy matchup to contend with during this week's Contender Series event: He is tasked with fighting Brazilian finishing machine Allan Begosso, an aggressive submission grappler with big power in both hands.

The line movement for this fight has been a fascinating tug of war, with the betting public seeming interested in the underdog shot on Begosso since he carries big power, he shows aggression in all positions, and his cardio checked out during a 25-minute regional championship fight.

Sharp markets in the US and offshore are undercutting the offerings on Basharat, hanging out around the -260 opener give or take 10 cents in either direction. Begosso to win by KO seems like the most popular bet on the underdog, as the KO line opened +800 and has nearly been halved market-wide, sitting at a market average price of +550 with +400s and +500s showing on the sharpest markets.

As for the fight going or not going the distance, the fight is juiced not to go the distance at -165 on the sharpest markets with a market average of -195. Several books have the "under 2.5 rounds" juiced to nearly the same extent as the fight not to go the distance, so several bookmakers are indicating this fight is likely to end inside the distance. This is also supported by the extremely low lines on Basharat Inside the Distance, which can be found at chalk on several books and a market average of +100.

For me this fight will be decided by the more process-driven, clinical approach of Basharat as well as his wrestling superiority. I expect Basharat to find dominant positions, posture up, and capitalize with ground-and-pound for a stoppage by the accumulation of strikes or snatching a slick submission in transition.

Begosso is the more aggressive submission hunter, but I believe that will lead to positional mistakes that someone like Basharat can punish.

I've got three betting angles below, though I'm still considering FDGTD (-165) as a hedge.

Prediction: Farid Basharat defeats Allan Begosso via TKO (ground-and-pound) – Round 2

Bets: Basharat (-230 or better) | Basharat wins Inside the Distance (+125) | Basharat via KO (+600) 

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