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UFC 277 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Lewis vs. Pavlovich, Mayes vs. Abdelwahab, Kim vs. Edwards (Saturday, July 30)

UFC 277 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Lewis vs. Pavlovich, Mayes vs. Abdelwahab, Kim vs. Edwards (Saturday, July 30) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC heavyweight Derrick Lewis

With two title fights atop a deep 13-fight lineup, Saturday’s UFC 277 event provides ample betting opportunities from American Airlines Center in Dallas.

With early prelims on ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET), regular prelims on ABC and ESPN (8 p.m. ET) and a main card on ESPN+ pay-per-view (10 p.m. ET), MMA bettors have an array of betting angles to choose from.

So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed some fights and picks on Saturday’s stacked card that present betting value.

You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo’s projections below using odds from BetMGM.

Moneyline Projections

Prop Projections

Billy Ward: Derrick Lewis vs. Sergei Pavlovich

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Derrick Lewis opened as a pick’em before moving as high as a +130 underdog currently. He’s fighting fellow heavyweight Sergei Pavlovich, who’s picked up three straight first-round knockout wins since dropping his UFC debut to Alistair Overeem in 2018.

Outside of the Overeem fight – and probably including it, considering Overeem was 38 at the time – Lewis is the toughest challenge for Pavlovich yet. The Russian has looked incredible against far lesser competition, but Lewis has been consistently fighting the best heavyweights on the UFC roster.

I’m a bit torn with UFC 277 being in Texas and because of Lewis’ track record in his home state. There could be something to that, with the added pressures and distractions of being at home compared to the usual routine for fighters on the road.

Even so, I will almost always bet Lewis if I can get him – or his opponent – at plus-money, as is the case here. He produces highly volatile fights, frequently losing until the moment he lands his trademark knockout shot.

You could bet Lewis by knockout at +165, but that’s not enough of a price premium for me. Lewis probably has the better cardio and decision equity here, and he’s undefeated in decisions in his UFC career. He should also benefit from the hometown advantage if it goes to the judges, considering he’s fighting a Russian in Texas.

Pavlovich has never been to a second round in the UFC. I’m also interested in betting Lewis live for that reason, particularly if the Russian comes out strong but fails to finish Lewis. While Lewis visually isn’t in his best shape, there’s an argument to be made that heavily muscled fighters tire more quickly, with all of that muscle consuming far more energy. I’d take Lewis’ pre-fight odds down to +110.

The Pick: Derrick Lewis (+125 at Caesars)

Sean Zerillo: Don’Tale Mayes vs. Hamdy Abdelwahab

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Hamby Abdelwahab is fighting in place of Justin Tafa as a short-notice debutant. He is an Olympic-level wrestler with limited MMA experience.

Meanwhile, Don’Tale Mayes has faced better competition and made significant strides as a fighter, particularly in his wrestling and grappling. And he should be the cleaner striker in this matchup while standing 4 inches taller, with a nine-inch reach advantage.

If Mayes can deny the takedowns (62% career takedown defense) and keep this fight standing, he should pour damage on Abdelwahab. And even if he’s on the wrong end of some wrestling exchanges, I expect him to land the shots when these two eventually return to their feet.

Abdelwahab carries power, and Mayes needs to keep this fight at range and use his length to avoid eating a knockout blow. Ultimately, I expect the more experienced and well-rounded fighter to pull away and Mayes to secure another attritional-based stoppage.

I projected Don’Tale Mayes as a 70% favorite in this fight and would bet his moneyline up to -215 at a two percent edge compared to my number.

Additionally, if you’re looking for another betting, I projected Mayes to win inside the distance 49% of the time (70% of his win condition), and I would bet his odds to win inside the distance down to +125.

The Pick: Don’Tale Mayes (-200 at FanDuel)

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Dann Stupp: Ji Yeon Kim vs. Joselyne Edwards

Senior Editor at The Action Network

Ji Yeon Kim isn’t a great fighter. She’s got plenty of flaws. She’s also got a three-fight losing skid with a 1-4 record in her past five fights.

But for UFC 277, Kim doesn’t need to be a great fighter. She doesn’t even need to be a good fighter. She just needs to be a good enough fighter.

And that’s often the case for mid- to lower-level women’s fights in the UFC. Aside from a few special athletes, the talent level is fairly homogenous in the various women’s weight classes, including the 125-pound flyweight division (where Kim usually fights) and the 135-pound bantamweight division (where she’s moving up to for UFC 277).

But there are a few reasons to side with Kim (9-5-2) in her bout with Joselyne Edwards (11-4), who is a late replacement and actually weighed in a bit heavy for their prelim bout. The primary reason to like Kim in this spot is that she’s still available at plus-money (+110 at BetMGM) at the time of this writing.

Additionally, Kim arguably is the slightly better striker. If nothing else, she’s been the more active striker. And she’ll have a small reach advantage to boot. She’s also fought better fighters. And she recently took fast-rising Molly McCann to a decision, which also speaks to Kim’s durability.

While oddsmakers and bettors are probably assigning too much weight to her recent losses, I also like Kim for another reason: She’s coming off back-to-back Fight of the Night bonus-winning performances. Clearly, this fight is expected to go to the distance (-330 at this writing), and if the judges have to pick between two evenly matched fighters, I want my money on the one who’s recently put on some crowd-pleasing performances. I’d feel comfortable betting Kim down to -120.

The Pick: Ji Yeon Kim (+110 at BetMGM)

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