Noche UFC Luck Ratings: Back The Champ Before It’s Too Late (Saturday, September 16)

Noche UFC Luck Ratings: Back The Champ Before It’s Too Late (Saturday, September 16) article feature image

Jordan Jones/Getty Images. Pictured: UFC women’s flyweight Jasmine Jasudavicius of Canada

Let’s look into some mispriced betting lines for Noche UFC on Saturday and see which fighters are overvalued and which are undervalued heading into tonight's special event.

Noche UFC ("UFC Night"), which celebrates Mexican Independence Day, takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and the entire 11-fight card streams on ESPN+ beginning at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT). The five-fight main card commences at 10 p.m. ET.

One of the first “aha!” moments I had in gambling (generally, not just MMA) was to start thinking about why markets might be wrong, rather than just trying to predict what I think will happen.

At its core, that’s what a betting line is: a market where we can “buy” or “sell” events happening. For the most part, these markets are efficient, with the “price” eventually reflecting the true odds of the event.

While this is less true in MMA – where there are far more information asymmetries than in major markets like the NFL or NBA – it’s still broadly (and increasingly) the case. Therefore, to beat the markets over the long term, we need to figure out spots where they’re wrong.

That’s the point of this piece. Inspired by our NFL “Luck Rankings,” I’ll be looking into spots where variance has favored one fighter more than another, causing the line to be inefficient. The biggest input will be split and/or controversial decisions, with short-notice fights, fights that are later overruled, fluke injuries, and out-of-weight-class fights considered, as well.

The focus will be on fights reasonably likely to see the scorecards here, or where one fighter holds most of the finishing upside.

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Valentina Shevchenko (-180) vs. Alexa Grasso (+150)

This line is already a lot tighter than I was anticipating with early money coming in on the underdog champion Alexa Grasso.

Immediate title rematches are always a tricky betting spot since they generally come when a long-reigning champion suffers a shocking defeat. Bettors need to decide whether that was a fluke – or the end of an era.

That's no different here with Grasso snapping Valentina Shevchenko's nine-fight winning streak as a +750 underdog to win the belt earlier this year. However, Shevchenko's prior fight was an arguably undeserved split decision win, so I'm more in the camp of "end of an era" than "fluke upset."

Past instances of this scenario have produced mixed results. Israel Adesanya won his title back from Alex Pereira (then recently lost it to Sean Strickland in a more shocking fashion). Kamaru Usman was defeated twice by Leon Edwards with a dominant performance from Edwards in the second fight.

Point being, it's more of a case-by-case basis than a trend we can follow.

With Grasso winning two of the four rounds in their previous fight (counting her finish in the fourth) and the 35-year-old Shevchenko showing some cracks in her game prior to the Grasso fight, I'm leaning toward the champion.

Grasso was firmly undervalued at the opening line but is still a slight value now.

Verdict: Alexa Grasso slightly undervalued

Jack Della Maddalena (-148) vs. Kevin Holland (+124)

Both Jack Della Maddalena and Kevin Holland generally avoid the judges' involvement in their fights.

Holland is 4-2 in the UFC since moving down to welterweight with all of those fights ending inside the distance.

JDM is a perfect 5-0 in the UFC with four first-round finishes before his last fight, a split decision win. While the fight was close, he pretty clearly edged out two rounds in my eyes – and there were extenuating circumstances.

By the time the cage door locked against UFC newcomer Bassil Hafez, Della Maddalena was on his third opponent and second weight cut in a two-week span.

The initial lines for Saturday's UFC Noche bout seemed to be reacting to Della Maddalena looking vulnerable against a last-minute opponent, but Hafez is more than UFC level, and Della Maddalena arguably had the tougher circumstances to deal with. Additionally, Hafez had success by grappling Della Maddalena – something we know Holland isn't likely to do.

After opening as an underdog on early books and a pick'em elsewhere, this line has shifted heavily to the Australian. However, Della Maddalena is still -135 on BetMGM, and he will likely close as a heavier favorite elsewhere as well.

Bet Della Maddalena now before it's too late.

Verdict: Jack Della Maddalena undervalued

Loopy Godinez (-425) vs. Elise Reed (+330)

I'm always looking to target fights that are going to a decision with the Luck Ratings. After all, we can't bet based on decision regression if a fighter gets finished.

That's why this fight stands out as the heavily favored Loopy Godinez has just one finish in five UFC wins and two finishes in 10 professional wins.

Godinez's likeliest win condition here is a decision, which is where luck could come into play.

Godinez is 1-1 in split decisions in her career, but the loss was her debut, and the win was far more recent – and thus influential to the line. That's part of the thesis here, but the biggest one is structural: When fights are likely to go to a decision, it's almost always better to be holding the underdog ticket.

Which is why Reed is undervalued here as she could pay this off by performing better than expected or with some help from the judges.

I'll be taking a sprinkle on Reed's moneyline while considering her spread bet when those open later in the week.

Verdict: Elise Reed undervalued

Tracy Cortez (-112) vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius (-108)

This fight is also highly likely to go to a decision, though it's roughly a pick'em, so blindly betting the underdog doesn't do us much good.

Therefore, we need to dig a little deeper.

Tracy Cortez is 4-0 in the UFC with all decisions including one split. She also holds a pre-UFC split decision win over top flyweight Erin Blanchfield, thought Blanchfield was just 19 at the time.

Cortez's UFC opponents have a combined promotional record of 9-12, and two of the four have since been released from the promotion.

Compare that to Jasmine Jasudavicius, who is 3-1 (all unanimous decisions) against tougher competition. Her opponents are a collective 10-8 in the UFC. Her only pre-UFC loss was also a split decision to a future UFC fighter, Elise Reed.

All told, Jasudavicius has had worse luck and a tougher road to this point, and I'd make her a slight favorite here.

Verdict: Jasmine Jasudavicius undervalued

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