Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov Odds, Picks for UFC 285: The Prop to Bet on Saturday

Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov Odds, Picks for UFC 285: The Prop to Bet on Saturday article feature image

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC welterweight Shavkat Rakhmonov of Uzbekistan

Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov Odds

Neal Odds
Rakhmonov Odds
1.5 (-160 / +125)
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
11 p.m. ET
ESPN+ Pay-per-view
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via Caesars.

Top-10 UFC welterweights meet at UFC 285 with Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov.

The fight, featuring No. 7-ranked Neal and No. 10 Rakhmonov, is part of the pay-per-view main card on Saturday and precedes UFC 285's two title fights.

Which fighter has the edge? Let's break it down.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time10:146:30
Weight (pounds)170 lbs.170 lbs.
Reach (inches)75"77"
Date of birth8/28/199010/23/1994
Sig Strikes Per Min5.272.54
SS Accuracy51%53%
SS Absorbed Per Min5.281.39
SS Defense60%55%
Take Down Avg0.592.31
TD Acc44%50%
TD Def85%100%
Submission Avg0.11.7

Neal missed weight by four pounds on Friday and was fined 30% of his fight purse.

For most fighters, I'm more concerned with a minor miss (like Mana Martinez missing by a pound) than a more significant miss. I would rather bet on a fighter who stopped their weight cut – and may have a physical advantage – than back a fighter who did everything in their power to make weight and completely depleted their body but still didn't get there.

Neal is a different story. He dealt with multiple illnesses, including a bad case of COVID, septic shock, congestive heart failure and kidney failure in 2020, and he looked like a shell of his former self in losses to Stephen Thompson and Neal Magny that year.

He seemingly regained form in his August win over Vicente Luque, looking as explosive and powerful as ever. Still, Friday's weight miss calls into question whether Neal is dealing with some new, unknown ailment or injury that may affect his performance on Saturday.

Regardless of the weight miss, he is a massive underdog against Shavkat Rakhmonov, the scariest prospect at 170 aside from Khamzat Chimaev (and I might bet Shavkat if those two uber prospects fought tomorrow).

Rakhmonov styled on the likes of Neal Magny in his most recent bout. And he has displayed a beautifully dangerous array of kicks at striking range throughout his fights. Shavkat has finished all 18 of his professional opponents inside the distance.

Neal certainly presents a difficult test, however. The Texas native owns sturdy takedown defense (85%) and – pound for pound – one of the most powerful left hands in combat sports:

Everyone is rightfully hyped for Shavkat Rakhmanov, but let's not forget that Geoff Neal looked like a killer in his last fight, violently KOing Vicente Luque (the first man to do so) after a brutal, extended beating

— Shakiel Mahjouri (@Shak_Fu) February 25, 2023

Still, Neal is a better hammer than a nail; when things aren't going his way, he can get frustrated and shut down.

Rakhmonov is a great pressure fighter, but against Neal, he has to deny the pocket – and either play the outside range game with his reach advantage (two inches) and kicks or look to clinch Neal and drag him down to the mat.

While Neal has solid first-level takedown defense, his defensive jiu-jitsu is relatively untested, which makes analyzing a potential 19th consecutive finish for Rakhmonov so tricky.

Shavkat can turn any opponent into a pretzel and finish him via submission or flatten his face with his brutal hammerfists.

Neal certainly has a puncher's chance; he carries significant power for the division, and Rakhmonov has been wobbled regionally. Still, he will need to alternatively deny the takedowns and find ways to get in boxing range, where he can land flush.

Shavkat still has some questions about his cardio, and while I believe he's a future champion, the straight-up moneyline price dictates a dog-or-pass situation.

Neal vs. Rakhmonov Pick

I do like the under in this spot. I projected the bout to end inside the distance 78% of the time (-354 implied odds). The betting market is closer to 70%, around -230. Technically, I would lay that up to around -300; consider betting it as a parlay piece.

I would need at least +450 to back Neal on the moneyline; I prefer his knockout odds (projected +722, listed +850 at FanDuel) pre-fight.

Alternatively, I would back Rakhmonov by submission (projected +150, listed +200 at FanDuel) or inside the distance (projected -178, listed -135 at DraftKings), which is my preferred play.

I project roughly a 6.5% edge between Rakhmonov's listed odds to finish at DraftKings (57.5% implied) and my projection (64%). It's a similar edge as in the "fight ends inside the distance" market, but I would have to pay substantially less juice.

Moreover, sometimes, you have to back your guys when you see an edge – and I think Rakhmonov (and Ilia Topuria, for that matter) are the guys – and I will keep backing them (at reasonable prices) until they stop brutalizing opponents.

The Pick: Shavkat Rakhmonov wins Inside the Distance (-135, 0.5u at DraftKings)

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