MMA Prop Squad for UFC Orlando: 7 Long-Shot Prop Picks With Odds up to +2900

MMA Prop Squad for UFC Orlando: 7 Long-Shot Prop Picks With Odds up to +2900 article feature image

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC lightweight Marc Diakiese

  • UFC Orlando offers 14 fights and a host of prop-betting opportunities on Saturday night.
  • The MMA Prop Squad has pieced together seven bets with long-shot odds of at least +425.
  • Check out all of the prop bets, including a +1200 play on Marc Diakiese and a +2900 Darren Elkins bet, below.

Welcome to the latest edition of MMA Prop Squad, in which we offer an array of prop bets with oversized odds for UFC Orlando on Saturday.

This week marks the return of Prop Squad contributors Manpreet Jhass, Liam Heslin, Bryan Fonseca, Dan Tom and Clint MacLean, who join regulars Billy Ward and Dann Stupp. To date, the squad has posted an impressive 22.7% ROI with their picks.

Check out all of their prop plays for Saturday's event, which airs on ESPN and ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET) from Amway Center in Florida, 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.

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Manpreet Jhass: Stephen Thompson by decision (+425)

Contributor at The Action Network and MMA content creator

In the night's headliner, Stephen Thompson is looking to snap a two-fight skid and is probably thankful that he doesn't have a wrestling-centric opponent this weekend.

Kevin Holland, meanwhile, hopes to bounce back from his loss to Khamzat Chimaev back in September.

Coming into the UFC more than 10 years ago, Thompson was highly touted for his kickboxing and karate style. He quickly made an impression on the UFC world by delivering a highlight-reel head-kick knockout in his debut. He rode that tricky style to two title shots, both of which came up short.

Since then, Thompson has accrued a 3-4 record. That easily could be 4-3 had he avoided the superman punch from Anthony Pettis in a fight he was controlling pretty handily. Unfortunately over his last two fights, he has been grounded and unable to get his striking style going. He has been taken down a combined 10 times and controlled for 19 of 30 minutes.

Everyone remembers the UFC 279 debacle that landed Holland with a much more difficult matchup the day before the fight. He went from fighting Daniel Rodriguez to a completely different matchup in Chimaev. We can't blame him for coming up short in that fight, though.

At his best Holland is able to utilize his reach and size to pick apart opponents from distance. He is a smooth striker with deceiving power. His ground game isn't too shabby, but he does not seem to chase that path to victory often. Like I said at the top of the breakdown, Thompson is likely breathing a sigh of relief knowing his opponent won't look to grapple him as much as his prior two opponents have.

In a striking battle, Thompson is always live. His style is difficult for a lot of opponents to solve. Holland may be best equipped due to his size and reach, but I think Thompson will be ready for it. He is a crafty veteran who is hard to hit.

Unless Thompson has really lost a step and his durability has dropped off, this could look like a vintage "Wonderboy" performance.

Holland will be tough to put away, and I would be legitimately surprised if Thompson is able to finish him, which is why I lean with Thompson winning on the scorecards. His style is very decision-friendly, and the fact that we are getting +425 on this prop is a steal in my opinion.

The Pick: Stephen Thompson by Decision (+425 at BetRivers)

Billy Ward: Bryan Barberena + Over 1.5 SGP (+550)

Staff Writer at The Action Network

While I may be stretching the definition of a prop a bit, this is my favorite long-shot bet of the night. Bryan Barberena is fighting Rafael dos Anjos, with RDA returning to the welterweight division for the first time in nearly three years.

For Barberena, this is the third consecutive fight against an aging fighter who would certainly get the better of Barbarena in his prime. Barberena's current winning streak illustrates the point, though: These fighters aren’t in their prime anymore.

Dos Anjos was on a bit of a run, with back-to-back wins, before being stopped by Rafael Fiziev in his last fight. However, that bout wasn’t as close as a fifth-round stoppage made it seem, with Dos Anjos going 2-for-14 on takedown attempts while being outstruck.

Barberena is no Fiziev, but he’s considerably bigger and younger than dos Anjos, and likely to be far more durable if this one turns into a slugfest. The declining athleticism of dos Anjos will make takedowns hard to come by, especially against a bigger man.

Thus, we get yet another Barberena vs. legend fight – with a likely late stoppage or close decision based on damage optics for Barberena. While there’s a good possibility RDA isn’t as washed as Barberena's past opponents, at +550 odds for a single-game parlay involving Barberena and "over 1.5 rounds,"  it’s worth finding out.

The Pick: Bryan Barbarena & Over 1.5 Rounds SGP (+550 at DraftKings)

Liam Heslin: Eryk Anders via KO (+600)

Contributor at The Action Network and host of Liam Picks Fights

Eryk Anders is a 6-7-1 fighter in the UFC, but his record is deceiving.

He lost a close split decision to Lyoto Machida in Brazil, a split decision to the late Elias Theodorou, and a split decision that many believe he deserved against Jun Yong Park.

Kyle Daukaus, on the other hand, has been a bad bet throughout his UFC tenure. Despite going 3-3 in the promotion, he has produced a -30% ROI for his moneyline backers.

Daukaus is now trying to rebound from a first-round knockout loss to Roman Dolidze in which he suffered three facial fractures.

Anders, though, has big power in his hands and dominant physical strength (which troubled Daukaus in a previous bout against Phil Hawes).

I think Anders can test the chin of Daukaus. He has secured 50% of his UFC wins via KO, and he nearly knocked out Darren Stewart before the fight was declared a no-contest.

The Pick: Eryk Anders by KO, TKO or DQ (+600 at BetRivers)

Dan Tom: Rafael dos Anjos by KO (+650)

Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Protect Ya' Neck podcast

This weekend's UFC offering is full of matchups that you may want action on – but not necessarily a ton of exposure to (which is why props are always a solid option).

What caught my eye is UFC Orlando's co-headliner between Rafael dos Anjos and Bryan Barberena.

Although dos Anjos is about a -550 favorite to win a high-action affair that is projected to go the distance, I believe there is a tangible path for the former lightweight champion to find a finish.

Barberena may be an insanely tough fighter who has done well for me as an underdog, but he doesn't have the best kick defense and, like many iron-chinned fighters, has shown a past susceptibility to body shots.

I also like how dos Anjos' striking arsenal translates against fellow southpaws, as he is the more experienced fighter when it comes to this kind of stance matchup (going 5-4 against UFC-level lefties as opposed to Barberena's 1-2).

For that reason, I'll take a flier on dos Anjos' consistent bodywork to spark off a stoppage by strikes sometime within the first half of the fight.

The Pick: Rafael dos Anjos by KO, TKO or DQ (+650 at BetRivers)

Bryan Fonseca: Sergei Pavlovich in Round 2 (+650)

Contributor at The Action Network and combat sports host and on-air talent

Surprisingly, the odds on this prop bet are outstanding.

While Sergei Pavlovich’s last five wins have all come via first-round knockout, including one over Derrick Lewis in July, Tai Tuivasa hasn’t yet been stopped that early in his career.

Oddsmakers lean toward the first-round streak continuing for Pavlovich, where such a stoppage is -110 on FanDuel as of this writing, but Pavlovich made it to Round 3 against Cyril Gane in September and to Round 2 against Junior Dos Santos four years ago before losing by TKO.

These two heavyweights have a combined 26 knockouts in 30 career victories, so we’re not expecting to need the judges. But Tuivasa has a chin and the ability to stun the favored and much more wiry Pavlovich early on, which could perhaps delay the anticipated inevitable to the second round.

Overall, we’re expecting Pavlovich to maintain his hot streak and elevate himself into the UFC world heavyweight title picture in time for 2023. I’ll just say it’ll take an extra round than he’s recently been accustomed to.

The Pick: Sergei Pavlovich Wins in Round 2 (+650 at FanDuel)

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Clint Maclean: Marc Diakiese by Submission (+1200)

Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Die Hard MMA Podcast

Marc Diakiese has been flexing his grappling chops hard lately. The stud kickboxer fell on hard times in the UFC and resorted to using his brute strength and physicality to win fights, and he discovered he isn't a half-bad grappler.

In just his last two fights, Diakiese has landed 19 takedowns and essentially mauled his opponents on the mat, giving them no path to victory whatsoever. We could see Diakiese return to his roots and engage in a striking matchup here against Michael Johnson. But with the hand speed and power Johnson bring to the table, if Diakiese feels at all uncomfortable on the feet or gets rocked, we will see him revert to his safety blanket and look to take down Johnson.

Johnson does have an impressive 79% takedown defense rate, but it wasn't long ago that Clay Guida was able to get him to the mat three times in their fight, and Johnson has a history of falling apart late. With Diakiese's size and strength, I do believe that this fight eventually finds its way to the mat, and that is where Johnson tends to fold.

Johnson has surrendered to submission nine times as a professional, and after Diakiese's last fight, commentator Michael Bisping called him out publicly for not finishing a fight he was dominating. I expect a bit more urgency from Diakiese in this fight, and if he applies pressure late in the bout, Johnson can provide him with an opportunity to lock up a finish.

I am thinking this ultimately ends with a late-Round 2 or Round 3 arm-triangle or rear-naked choke.

The Pick: Marc Diakise by Submission (+1200 SuperBook Sports)

Dann Stupp: Darren Elkins in Round 3 (+2900)

Senior Editor at The Action Network

I don't think Darren Elkins is going to win this fight. As much as I like the tough-as-nails and humble-as-apple-pie vet, I think he faces an extremely tough matchup when he takes on surging Jonathan Pearce on UFC Orlando's preliminary card.

But if no other Prop Squad member is going to take this juicy-as-juicy-gets +2900 bet for Elkins to win in Round 3, I'll happily call dibs. (Hat tip to my buddy E. Spencer Kyte for calling out this prop during our recent spot on VSiN.)

Despite his recent 3-1 run, Elkins has taken a remarkable amount of damage in those fights – as he did in the four-fight losing skid that preceded them. Somehow, though, Elkins usually finds a way to hang around. And more than once, he's even pulled off a miraculous late-fight comeback win.

I have a separate bet on this fight to last fewer than 2.5 rounds. Pearce, who's a massive favorite (-500) in this one, is a very active fighter who throws a bunch of punches per minute – while also eating a lot of them.

Ultimately, I think that creates an environment in which he eventually puts away Elkins with overwhelming volume – or he leaves himself open for Elkins to turn the tables and get a stoppage of his own. So, "under 2.5 rounds" (-125) feels like a suitable play with value.

But knowing just how absurdly gritty and resilient Elkins can be, I could see him somehow dragging this fight all way to the third round. And if he can get it there, don't be surprised if he pulls another rabbit out of the hat and somehow nabs the stoppage victory.

At +2900 odds, that suggests Elkins pulls off this feat just 3.3% of the time. But if you've watched enough Elkins fights, pulling off a miracle win just seems like another Saturday night for the old vet. So I'll happily take this 29-1 flier.

The Pick: Darren Elkins to Win in Round 3 (+2900 at FanDuel)

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