MMA Prop Squad for UFC Vegas 63: The +950 Submission Prop Bet for Saturday (October 29)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC fighter Phil Hawes.
- Our MMA Prop Squad is back with five bets for Saturday's UFC Vegas 63 fight card.
- The team's picks are all tied to prelim fights and range from +460 to +1100.
- Check out our picks for round props, method props, inside-the-distance plays and more.
Welcome to the latest edition of the MMA Prop Squad, in which we offer an array of prop bets with oversized odds for Saturday’s UFC Vegas 63 event.
In this weekly feature, Action Network’s MMA team welcomes in a revolving cast of outside contributors and combat-sports analysts. Each #MMAPropSquad installment features a handful of picks from our team of prop-betting enthusiasts.
This week marks the return of contributors Cline Maclean, Dan Tom, Manpreet Jhass, Tony Sartori and Billy Ward.
Check out their picks for Saturday’s event, which streams on ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET) from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, 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.
Clint Maclean: Christian Rodriguez by Submission (+750)
Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Die Hard MMA Podcast
We are back in the UFC Apex for a wonderful night of fights at UFC Vegas 63 and I have a feeling we are going to cash a few of these Prop Squad picks. This card smells of chaos to me.
We are going to get our prop early this week. Kicking off the card is Christian Rodriguez vs. Joshua Weems and I fully expect violence in this bout. We saw Weems on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2021 and he got KO’d by Fernie Garcia.
Since that loss, Weems has put together back-to-back submission wins on the regional scene and has earned another crack at the big show. Weems is aggressive and likes to chip at his opponents, forcing them into near brawls and scrambles. Most of his fights end up on the floor and he has nine wins by submission.
Rodriguez made his short-notice UFC debut against Jonathan Pearce in February and even though he lost that fight as a +295 underdog, his performance was impressive. Rodriguez nearly pulled off the upset by choking JSP out in the first round, but eventually got out worked by the UFC veteran.
I have been waiting for this man to return to the cage. Rodriguez trained at Rufus Sport and has a slick and vicious striking game that leads his opponents to doing everything they can to get him on the mat. He moved to Fight Ready to work on his all around game, especially grappling, and I expect a whole new version of Rodriguez.
Weems weighed in heavy and looked soft on the scale. He is once again filling in on short notice for this fight, so we have to wonder how much training he got in and what his gas tank will look like.
I am playing Rodriguez Inside the Distance at +100 because he absolutely can win via KO, but we see exhausted fighters look for the door and give up their necks pretty regularly. I don’t see why the Fight Ready version of Rodriguez can’t submit a tired Weems. Give it to me.
The Pick: Rodriguez by Submission (+750, BetRivers)
Dan Tom: Chase Hooper By Submission — Round 1 (+600)
Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Protect Ya’ Neck podcast
A featherweight fight between Chase Hooper and Steve Garcia caught my eye on this week’s UFC card.
Although both fighters are officially 1-1 against fellow UFC southpaws, I suspect this matchup favors Hooper from a stylistic perspective. Him being the UFC’s favored son aside, the small cage of The Apex will likely funnel Garcia’s aggressive game right into Hooper’s sticky submission grappling.
A majority of Hooper’s finishes (five) come in the first frame and that number doubles if you include his five first-round finishes that came via submission during his amateur career. Couple that with Garcia’s history of struggling on the scales, and I suspect this is the perfect spot for Hooper to flex his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
You can still find Hooper by submission at plus money should you want more coverage on that angle, but taking a flier for him to score it in Round 1 ain’t bad at upwards of +400 odds.
The Pick: Hooper Round 1 Submission (+400, BetRivers)
Tony Sartori: Phil Hawes by Submission (+950)
Contributor at The Action Network
To cap off the preliminary card, we have an exciting middleweight bout between Phil Hawes and Roman Dolidze. Since losing his first attempt in Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2017, Hawes has been on a warpath and has won five of six fights since.
His lone loss was to Chris Curtis last November, a fight Hawes was winning before getting caught with a left hook. Considering how Hawes looked in that fight and that Curtis is a legit top-15 contender in the middleweight division, I don’t hold that loss against him as anyone can get caught in this sport, especially in the 185 division.
Additionally, Hawes looked incredible in his bounce-back fight against Deron Winn, out-striking him 118-32, while scoring a knockdown and a takedown. In fact, he has landed seven takedowns over his past three victories.
We are getting incredible value on Hawes’ submission prop, which is so long because he has never made an opponent tap in the UFC. However, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt and former NJCAA National Wrestling Champion is more than capable of winning a fight on the mat, as evidenced by his submission win over Dominic Schober under the BRAVE Combat Federation promotion in November 2019.
I would not be shocked at all if he tries to take the taller Dolidze to the mat, especially considering Dolidze’s mere 37% takedown defense in the UFC. At +950, Hawes to win via submission is absolutely worth a play.
The Pick: Hawes by Submission (+950 at FanDuel)
Manpreet Jhass: Jun Yong Park by KO, TKO, or DQ (+460)
Staff Writer at The Action Network
On the preliminary portion of this weekend’s card, a middleweight bout between Jun Yong Park (14-5) and Joseph Holmes (8-2) has my attention.
Park boasts a 4-2 UFC record with his only losses coming against tough outs such as Anthony Hernandez and Gregory Rodrigues.
In his fight with the latter, Park was close to finishing Rodrigues on the feet when he stunned him multiple times. Unfortunately, Park threw the kitchen sink and could not get Rodrigues out of there.
When Park is on, he does a great job of mixing the martial arts. His boxing is crisp, his takedown game is efficient and he mixes it all together with solid pressure and cardio. This allows him to wear on his opponents and break them down the stretch, which I think will be important in this fight.
Holmes rebounded from his first UFC loss by making quick work of Alen Amedovski back in May. Trained by the wizard James Krause, Holmes had some high expectations coming into the UFC. I believe his loss to Jamie Pickett showed us his ceiling, though.
A lot of the success Holmes has had in his MMA career can be pointed to his physical gifts more than his actual technical abilities. He’s a big middleweight with solid athleticism, but I think that’s where it stops for him.
As we saw when he lost to Pickett, when that athleticism is matched, he falters. I also think when his opponent’s skill set is higher than his own, he falters and that will be on display this weekend.
I think the pace and pressure of Park will be too much for Holmes to handle over a 15-minute fight. Holmes is live to get an early finish, but Park’s durability usually holds up well. I think Park will chip away at Holmes and could find a finish from the top position later in this fight.
A submission is just as live as a knockout for Park, but I’ll lean with ground and pound from Park to get Holmes out of there late as Holmes begins to slow.
The Pick: Park by KO/TKO/DQ (+460 at BetRivers)
Billy Ward: Carlos Mota by Submission (+1100)
Staff Writer at The Action Network
LFA champion Carlos Mota makes his UFC debut as a short notice replacement against Cody Durden. Mota has four of his eight professional wins by knockout, with the other four coming via decision.
He is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt though, and that was on full display in his loss to Charles Johnson. While Mota eventually lost the fight, he aggressively hunted for submissions in the early going, very nearly catching Johnson on a few occasions. Like Johnson, Durden is primarily a wrestler and 2-2-1, with both of his UFC losses coming via submission.
He has a tendency to wrestle himself into trouble and his submission defense is somewhat lacking. Mota is the better striker here, but the hope is that once he’s able to hurt Durden on the feet, Durden takes an ill-advised shot and finds himself caught in something.
That was essentially what happened in his fight against Mohammed Mokaev, and Mota is arguably a more talented submission artist.
The Pick: Mota by Submission (+1100 at DraftKings)