UFC 279 PrizePicks: Khamzat Chimaev, Irene Aldanda, ‘The Leech’ Among Best Prop Options
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. UFC welterweight Li Jingliang
(Editor's note: On Friday, Khamzat Chimaev missed weight for the UFC 279 main event, which prompted a reshuffling of the top three fights on Saturday's card. The new matchups now include Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson, Chimaev vs. Kevin Holland, and Li Jingliang vs. Daniel Rodriguez.)
UFC 279 is headlined not by a title fight, but by the last UFC fight for the legendary Nate Diaz.
Diaz is taking on "uncrowned champion" Khamzat Chimaev in what's expected to be a lopsided welterweight affair on Saturday night.
However, there are still plenty of betting angles for this one – even if you don't live in a legal betting state. PrizePicks has a full slate of MMA Player Props for Diaz-Chimaev and UFC 279's 12 other bouts.
Below, you'll find my two favorite selections for the evening. Additionally, I've included two more "bonus" picks for those seeking longer odds and juicier payouts.
What is PrizePicks? A daily fantasy operator — meaning they’re available in more states (30) than sports betting is! — PrizePicks offers a unique opportunity for action on player props in which you parlay two or more plays together.
UFC Fight Night PrizePicks Parlay
Khamzat Chimaev Over 39.5 Significant Strikes
While this pick is technically based on how many strikes Chimaev will land in his main event bout against Diaz, that's not the question we should be asking.
The real question, is how many can Diaz absorb? My guess is it's more than 40. The fan favorite from Stockton has legendary cardio and durability, and he has been finished from strikes just twice in his career.
One of those was a stoppage due to a cut after three rounds, with the other coming from a head kick late in the second round. With Chimaev landing nearly eight significant strikes per minute in his UFC career, one round should be more than enough to get to 40.
Chimaev has also shown a willingness to get into brawls, as he did against Gilbert Burns in his most recent bout. Even a few minutes of a high-paced banger like that should take this one to the over.
While there's a bit of a risk that Chimaev "smesh"es Diaz in the opening minutes, I'm more than happy to put my money behind the gangster from Stockton's durability.
The over on Chimaev is the biggest value in my model for UFC 279.
Irene Aldanda Under 70.5 Significant Strikes
In her five most recent UFC bouts, Aldana has topped 70 significant strikes just once. Even with five rounds to work with against Holly Holm, she was held to 69.
This time, she's facing Macy Chiasson, who is returning to the bantamweight division. Chiasson is massive for a women's bantamweight, standing 5-foot-11 with a 72-inch reach.
That could be a problem for Aldana. Aldana is 3-2 in her last five, with both losses coming against women with more than an inch in reach advantage. All three wins came against fighters with similar or shorter reaches than Aldana's 68.5 inches.
Longer/taller fighters like Aldana tend to struggle when they're suddenly the shorter fighter in a matchup. Chiasson creates that problem for a lot of opponents, as evident in her excellent 2.56 significant strikes absorbed per minute rate.
I'd bet the under on this one even if I knew the fight was going to a decision, but there's an even bigger edge if this one ends early. It's currently around +130 (43% implied) to be decided without the judges, which would almost certainly secure the under as well.
- Heili Alateng Under 2.0 Takedowns: I'm expecting a standup brawl between Heili Alateng and Chad Anhelinger on Saturday. Both fighters are dangerous strikers with little interest in wrestling. Alateng has landed just 1.37 takedowns per 15 minutes in his career, with a 33% success rate. Anhelinger is fairly dangerous in the submission game, as well, so Alateng might be better served to not even try to grapple. Stay away from this one if it drops to 1.5 though; getting a push on exactly two takedowns is a nice safety net.
- Li Jingliang Under 12.5 Minutes Fight Time: I have a hard time seeing Tony Ferguson's chin hanging on into the third round here. Ferguson is stepping up to welterweight (against a fairly big welterweight in Jiangling), four months after a vicious knockout at the hands (or foot, rather) of Michael Chandler. I'd bet the under down to 10.0 minutes here.