John Dodson vs. Merab Dvalishvili Odds, Pick & Prediction: Bet ‘The Machine’ to Win a Competitive Decision

Credit:

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Merab Dvalishvili.

  • Top-ranked bantamweights John Dodson (+205 underdog) and Merab Dvalishvili (-265 favorite) meet on the UFC 252 main card Saturday night.
  • Sean Zerillo sees value in betting one side's method over victory prop instead of the pricey moneyline.
  • See his fight breakdown below, including the bet he's making in the matchup.

John Dodson vs. Merab Dvalishvili Odds

Dodson odds +205 [BET NOW]
Dvalishvili odds -265 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-345/+240) [BET NOW]
Venue UFC Apex, Las Vegas
Time Saturday at 10 p.m. ET
Channel ESPN PPV

Odds as of Friday evening and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


In a fight between two men who are close in the crowded bantamweight division, but at different points of their respective careers, No. 12-ranked John Dodson will face off against No. 15-ranked Merab Dvalishvili on the main card of UFC 252 on Saturday. Dodson is 2-3 in his past five, though he is coming off a KO win, while Dvalishvili has won four in a row entering this meeting at the UFC Apex.

Here’s an in-depth preview of Saturday’s matchup below, including how I’m planning to bet the fight before the value is gone. You can also check out my analysis of all 11 bouts here.

Tale of the Tape

Dodson Dvalishvili
Record 22-11 11-4
Avg. Fight Time 13:32 15:00
Height 5’3″ 5’6″
Weight (pounds) 135 lbs. 135 lbs.
Reach (inches) 66″ 68″
Stance Orthodox Orthodox
Date of birth 9/26/84 1/10/91
Sig Strikes Per Min 3.30 4.01
SS Accuracy 41% 39%
SS Absorbed Per Min 3.59 2.12
SS Defense 61% 59%
Take Down Avg 0.76 8.67
TD Acc 28% 50%
TD Def 80% 80%
Submission Avg 0.0 0.3

Dodson vs. Dvalishvili Betting Pick

Merab dominated in a decision victory over late-replacement Gustavo Lopez on a Fight Night card back in mid-June winning two 10-8 rounds on one of the three scorecards.

The Georgian wrestler is a decision machine with four consecutive UFC wins going the distance, and his split-decision loss in his UFC debut against Cub Swanson was controversial; 10 of the 14 media members scored the fight for Dvalishvili, along with more than 66% of the fans.

He doesn’t have great top control, but Dvalishvili tends to rag doll his opponents the moment that they scramble back to their feet, averaging 8.7 takedowns per 15 minutes inside of the octagon (50% accuracy).

He’s also incredibly durable, and has never been knocked out in his career.

That style could present some problems for former Dodson, the UFC flyweight title challenger whose takedown defense (80% career) has been less effective since moving up to the 135 pound division. Dvalishvili is also the bigger man – three-inches taller with a 3-inch reach advantage.

Dodson packs serious power, and seemingly needs to end this fight with one big shot (10-of-21 wins by KO/TKO), which could be a tall task given Dvalishvili’s chin. The Georgian owns the higher strike output (4.01 to 3.3 per minute) with a superior differential (+1.89 to -0.29) to the American.

A younger Dodson, in a standard 30-foot cage, would likely be able to use his footwork and scrambling ability to keep Merab off of him, in order to set up some big counters to make his opponent pay for his reckless aggression.

The smaller cage at Apex plays to Dvalishvili’s strengths, however, and it’s difficult to envision Dodson winning on the scorecards given Merab’s strike volume and wrestling output.

If Dvalishvili is slightly more measured with his approach, there is almost no path to victory for Dodson, but Merab has shown little respect for opposing offense, and he will likely eat a couple of big punches at some point. Those moments will likely determine the outcome of the fight.

The crowd projection lined Dvalishvili at -300, and it sees the fight going the distance 84% of the time, implied odds of -526. His moneyline was listed around -185 just one week ago.

As a result, Merab by decision (-159) offers a 6% edge relative to a crowd projection at -194 (implied 66%), and is the one bet that offers the most value for this fight. I would also consider using Merab’s moneyline, or Over 2.5 rounds (-345) as parlay pieces.

The Bet: Merab Dvalishvili by Decision (-159, 1.0 unit)

[Bet Dvalishvili -106 at DraftKings with a 50% profit boost]

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