Marlon Moraes vs. Merab Dvalishvilli UFC 266 Odds, Pick & Prediction: How To Bet Featured Prelim (Saturday, September 25)

Marlon Moraes vs. Merab Dvalishvilli UFC 266 Odds, Pick & Prediction: How To Bet Featured Prelim (Saturday, September 25) article feature image

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

  • Marlon Moraes will take on Merab Dvalishvili in the featured prelim of UFC 266.
  • Dvalishvili enters the fight as the favorite (-240 odds) and is riding an impressive six-fight win streak.
  • Sean Zerillo explains why there is value in betting this fight live.

Marlon Moraes vs. Merab Dvalishvili Odds

Moraes Odds
Dvalishvili Odds
2.5 (-186 / +144)
T-Mobile Arena
Approx. 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute UFC odds here.

Bantamweights Marlon Moraes and Merab Dvalishvili will face off in the UFC 266 featured prelim. Moraes is seeking to snap his two-fight losing streak, while Dvalishvili is hoping to make it seven wins in a row after Saturday night's scrap.

Below I preview the betting odds and break down the matchup. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can also check out my projections for the entire slate.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time8:1815:00
Weight (pounds)135 lbs.135 lbs.
Reach (inches)67"68 "
Date of birth4/28/881/10/91
Sig Strikes Per Min3.384.02
SS Accuracy39%39%
SS Absorbed Per Min4.112.22
SS Defense56%61%
Take Down Avg1.007.38
TD Acc41%43%
TD Def66%78%
Submission Avg0.40.4

This fight has an almost hilarious cardio discrepancy since Merab Dvalishvili may be the best-conditioned athlete in the UFC and Marlon Moraes is virtually guaranteed to fade by the end of the first round.

As a result, a live bet on Merab is a clear entry point after Round 1 since almost all of Moraes’ win condition is tied to his Round 1 prop (+1000 at DraftKings), which is an enticing line.

Merab exhausts his opponents with a seemingly unbelievable pace, completing 7.4 takedowns per 15 minutes at a 43% clip. While Moraes has decent takedown defense (66%) and a deadly jiu-jitsu game, I doubt that he’s going to avoid going to his back in the opening frame.

And while the Brazilian should be able to scramble back to his feet, all of that activity should serve to exhaust him and reduce his chances of finishing with each scramble.

The constant threat of the takedown forces Merab’s opponents to limit their output — out of fear of creating openings. And he tends to out-strike his opponents as a result.

All of that said, this is still a big jump up in competition for Merab, relative to his previous opponents. If Moraes can stuff some of those early takedowns, he could put Merab in serious trouble on the feet.

At his best, Moraes is the far better and more technical striker, but he’s better at applying pressure than fighting off of his back foot. I don’t think that he’ll be able to handle the pace of pressure of the Georgian.

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Moraes vs. Dvalishvili Pick

The moneyline on this fight looks about right to me, but I think this fight goes the distance 60% of the time (-152 implied), a bit more frequent than the listed odds (-148 at FanDuel).

As a result, I value Merab to win by decision (projected -102), and I would play that prop at any plus money price.

While you could hedge that position with a stab on the Moraes Round 1 prop, if Merab finishes a tiring Moraes, then you would lose both wagers.

The Pick: Merab Dvalishvili wins by Decision (+125, 0.5u) | Live bet Merab Dvalishvili after Round 1

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