MMA Prop Squad: +1900 Prop Bet for Devin Clark Among Best Options for UFC San Diego
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC light heavyweight Devin Clark
Welcome to the latest edition of MMA Prop Squad, in which we offer an array of prop bets with oversized odds for Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 41 event.
In this weekly feature, Action Network’s MMA team welcomes in a revolving cast of contributors and fellow combat-sports analysts. Each installment will feature a handful of picks from our squad of prop-betting enthusiasts.
This week marks the return of contributors Tony Sartori and Dan Tom, who both cashed #MMAPropSquad bets at last week’s event – with odds of +430 and +850, respectively.
Contributors Manpreet Jhass and Clint Maclean are also back in the squad this week – and they targeted the same fight, but in different ways – as is full-time writer Billy Ward.
Check out their picks for Saturday’s event, which airs on ESPN (4 p.m. ET) from Pechanga Arena in San Diego, below.
As with all betting, always wager within your means. That guidance is especially important when dealing with prop bets. Although the props often offer tantalizing odds, they also cash far less frequently than standard bet types.
Dan Tom: Devin Clark in Round 3 (+1900)
Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Protect Ya’ Neck podcast
Perhaps I’m pressing my luck from last week with another round prop here, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to certain stylistic angles in MMA gambling.
This fight, for example, features a hyped-up favorite who has seldom been past the first round taking on a wrestling-based fighter who has spent more time grinding against UFC-level opposition.
Don’t get me wrong: Azamat Murzakanov (11-0) is a talented southpaw striker whose skills have a decent shot of getting Devin Clark (13-6) out of there early. However, we’ve seen Clark fight through broken jaws and the like, and I suspect that the American’s chances to win increase exponentially should he survive the initial storm.
Add in the improvements that Clark has shown since switching his camp to Elevation Fight Team, and I believe that the 32-year-old can make Murzakanov work hard with wrestling early in order to tire out the Russian and capitalize late.
Aside from sprinkling on Clark in round 3, I also kicked for coverage by playing his moneyline (+125) for one unit.
The Pick: Devin Clark Wins in Round 3 (+1900 at FanDuel)
Tony Sartori: Da’Mon Blackshear via submission (+460)
Contributor at The Action Network
An exciting bantamweight bout kicks off UFC San Diego as Youssef Zalal (10-5) meets Da’mon Blackshear (12-4). Fighting out of Fayetteville, North Carolina (shout out J. Cole), Blackshear will make his UFC debut.
Possessing a 12-4 professional record, Blackshear enters his promotional debut in great form. Winning all of his past four fights and six of his past seven, the former Cage Fury bantamweight champion has taken Saturday’s fight on short notice as a way to bring his success into the UFC.
Across multiple promotions (Bellator, CES, CFFC), Blackshear has established himself as a dangerous threat on the mat. Of those six wins mentioned above, five have come via submission.
I expect Blackshear’s strong submission game to be a problem for Zalal, who enters this scrap amid a three-fight losing skid. We saw this in his loss to Ilia Topuria, who scored five takedowns against Zalal and gathered a dominating 8:02 of control time.
If Blackshear dominates in a similar fashion, then it wouldn’t be shocking at all if he were to lock in a choke. Despite a strong start to his UFC career, Zalal has produced three straight disappointing performances and could soon see himself out the door if he drops yet another fight.
Zalal (unsuccessfully) shoots at a high rate and attempts to work from the clinch. If he does so once again in this fight, it could be a recipe for disaster against a much more technically sound grappler in Blackshear. We should expect this fight to be similar to the Zalal-Topuria scrap, which quite frankly Topuria should have won via submission after he had Zalal in a deep guillotine choke that he miraculously survived.
I think that if Blackshear gets Zalal in a similar predicament, then he’ll not be as fortunate.
The Pick: Da’Mon Blackshear Wins via Submission (+460 at FanDuel)
Manpreet Jhass: Martin Buday in Round 2 (+550)
Contributor at The Action Network and MMA content creator
This week we have two Contender Series alumni facing off in the heavyweight division. Usually, we expect a quick knockout or a slow drawn-out decision. However, at UFC San Digo, I believe we get something in between.
Martin Buday (10-1), a former 20-hour-a-day gamer who used to weigh upward of 375 pounds, came into the UFC with a dominant victory over Chris Barnett. He grinded Barnett against the cage and chipped away at him with knees to the body, which actually broke one of Barnett’s ribs. But he also had an unfortunate stoppage due to an inadvertent shot to the back of the head. Luckily for Martin, the referee deemed it unintentional, and he was still able to pick up the win.
That is Buday’s style: He puts on a relentless pace, almost never taking a step back, until he is able to break his opponents and get them out of there. He does his best work in the clinch, a place where I think he can go with relative ease here.
Lukasz Brzeski (8-1-1) benefitted during his Contender Series bout by fighting a short-notice step-in, which helped him earn his UFC contract. I don’t think he is anywhere near UFC-level, and he’ll be out of the UFC by this time next year. Lukasz has been prone to slowing down in fights that go deeper than four minutes, and I’m expecting Buday to take full advantage of that.
I wanted to target the Round 3 prop here, but I really don’t expect Lukasz to survive 10 minutes in there with a workhorse like Buday.
The Pick: Martin Buday Wins in Round 2 (+550 at FanDuel)
Clint Maclean: Ariane Lipski via submission (+575)
Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Die Hard MMA Podcast
Ariane Lipski and Priscila Cachoeira – The Queen of Violence and the Zombie Girl – have been booked to fight twice before. Now, after last week’s latest postponement due to Lipski’s bad weight, the flyweights are scheduled to meet on Saturday – at bantamweight.
The way these two women fight often produces high-powered violence. Both women look for the finish from the opening bell, and it’s hard to see this being anything but a banger.
The key to this fight for me is going to be the time that Lipski has spent with top-level talent and coaches at American Top Team. When we first saw Lipski, we found out very quickly what she is all about. She’s more than willing to fight fire with fire, and she came into the UFC facing the likes of Molly McCann and Joanne Wood.
After facing a few setbacks, Lipski (14-7) has bought in on her fighting career and moved to one of the best gyms in the world to work specifically on her MMA wrestling and grappling. Lipski was always an aggressive finisher, but giving her offense the extra wrinkle of solid wrestling and stronger positional grappling will make her even more of a dual threat.
Cachoeira (11-4), meanwhile, is known for her durability and willingness to brawl, but the one area in her UFC career where she’s struggled has been her defensive grappling and submission defense. Two of Cachoeira’s four losses have come by submission, and should Lipski put her new skills to the test or simply end up on top after a scramble or knockdown, we could see Lipski shift gears.
I love attacking submission props for fighters who are too tough to go down due to strikes, and Zombie Girl fits that mold. We missed with our previous #MMAPropSquad sub pick. Let’s get back on track here with The Queen of Violence by submission.
The Pick: Ariane Lipski Wins by Submission (+575 at BetRivers)
Billy Ward: Priscila Cachoeira ITD (+500)
Staff Writer at The Action Network
As we know, Priscila Cachoeira’s fight against Arianne Lipski was supposed to happen last week, before Lipski missed weight and then wasn’t cleared medically to go through with the fight. Now, they’re fighting up a weight class at 135 pounds, but only one week later.
However, I’d be surprised if Lipski doesn’t still need to cut some weight this time around. She officially weighed in at 128.5 last week, but that was a hard enough cut, and she wasn’t able to fight following it. That suggests she walks around well heavier than 135 since a seven-pound cut is unlikely to have caused her to be unable to fight.
Generally following weigh-ins, fighters rehydrate and refuel immediately thereafter, and then tend to rebound in weight somewhat higher than their normal weights. Having to cut weight again seven days following that experience is a tall order, especially with Lipski’s weight-miss being blamed on a bout of COVID during this camp.
That’s a problem against Zombie Girl, who comes forward aggressively in all of her fights. Cachoeira is 3-1 in her past four, with two knockouts and a loss on the ground. I don’t expect Lipski to bring her down, so the combination of Cachoeira’s power and a depleted Lipski could spell another TKO win for Zombie Girl.
With her knockout odds being only slightly higher at +550, I’ll cover the chances of a “club-and-sub” situation by playing the “inside the distance” (ITD) line.
The Pick: Priscila Cachoeira Wins by Finish (+500 at DraftKings)