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UFC 253 Picks and Predictions: Our Favorite Bets for Riddell vs. Da Silva, Reyes vs. Blachowicz (Saturday, Sept. 26)

UFC 253 Picks and Predictions: Our Favorite Bets for Riddell vs. Da Silva, Reyes vs. Blachowicz (Saturday, Sept. 26) article feature image

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Jan Blachowicz of Poland.

  • Not sure what to bet at UFC 253? Our MMA experts Sean Zerillo and Reed Wallach have some suggestions.
  • They lay out three bets worth making on tonight’s card, including moneylines and parlays.
  • Check out their analysis and picks on those fights below.

UFC 235 has two championship fights slated to take place on the 11-fight slate, which starts at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN 2 and moves to ESPN PPV at 10 p.m. for the main card. With a card this stacked, the intrigue isn’t only at the top of the card, though. So where should be looking to place your bets for the UFC’s return to Fight Island?

Our crew has pinpointed two fights on Saturday’s card that present the awesome betting value. You can find their analysis and picks on those matches below.

Sean Zerillo: Brad Riddell vs. Alex Da Silva

Betting Analyst, The Action Network

Among the City Kickboxing contingent fighting on Saturday, Riddell’s stock could rise the fastest. He is a former professional kickboxer and slick striker who has netted a +2.17 strike differential in two UFC fights and could absolutely pick apart Alex Da Silva (-0.35) on the feet.

Da Silva (2.59 takedowns per 15 minutes, 57% accuracy) is meant to test Riddell’s takedown defense and grappling acumen, but I think he passed a similar test in his last bout against Magomed Mustafaev where Riddell proved difficult to keep down and took a split decision.

This is an exciting stylistic and developmental matchup between two intriguing prospects, but Riddell could absolutely brutalize Da Silva if he keeps this bout standing.

I’ll be including Riddell’s moneyline in a parlay with one of his teammates, but his prop to win by decision at +150 (implied 40%) offers as much value as any bet on the card relative to the projection at -153 (implied 60.5%).

Silva has never been finished in his professional career – though he does have 20 stoppages in 21 wins, and after recently winning by a decision I’m comfortable with his stamina to last three rounds.

The Bet: Riddell to win by Decision (+150, 0.5 units) | Parlay: Brad Riddell/Kai Kara France (-106, 0.5 units)

[Bet UFC 253 now at PointsBet risk-free up to $250]

Reed Wallach: Dominick Reyes vs. Jan Blachowicz 

Contributor at The Action Network

The light heavyweight title fight may not have as much hype around it without Jon Jones in the octagon, but I believe that the lack of build up to this scrap is generating value for the underdog.

At 37, Blachowicz is getting his first title shot in the UFC after stringing together seven wins in his past eight fights. He was next in line to fight Jones before the champ moved up to heavyweight following his victory over Reyes.

Blachowicz is a well-rounded fighter who has shown he can do it all. With seven KO’s, nine submissions and 10 decision victories, the Pole is not going to be an easy out like the odds may suggest — his +230 on the moneyline odds translate to a 30% implied probability.

Reyes has the edge in significant strikes landed per minute (4.88 to 3.45), according to UFC Stats, but Blachowicz is content fighting a clinch battle and working in level changes. He comfortably leads all active light heavyweights with his 52% takedown accuracy.

A strong part of Reyes’ game is his ability to stunt takedowns, defending 82% of opponent takedown attempts, but Blachowicz, fighting in his 35th professional fight, can still shoot for takedowns and give Reyes different looks to keep him honest.

What also has me siding with the dog here is the pre-fight comments. Reyes has said that he is unhappy with the six-week camp leading up to this fight after losing a split decision to Jones in February. In many people’s eyes, Reyes won that fight and should be the champ now.

I think that he may be overlooking his opponent and could get caught off guard. I’m playing the dog and looking for Blachowicz to humble Reyes.

The Pick: Jan Blachowicz +215 (would play down to +210)

[Bet UFC 253 now at PointsBet risk-free up to $250]

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