UFC 287 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Christian Rodriguez: No Reason to Doubt UFC Wunderkind This Time (Saturday, April 9)

UFC 287 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Christian Rodriguez: No Reason to Doubt UFC Wunderkind This Time (Saturday, April 9) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC bantamweight Raul Rosas Jr.

  • Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Christian Rodriguez kicks off the UFC 287 PPV main card on Saturday night.
  • Rosas, the 18-year-old MMA phenom, is a solid favorite against his most accomplished opponent yet.
  • Below, Billy Ward breaks down the fight and gives his Rosas vs. Rodriguez bet.

Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Christian Rodriguez Odds

Rosas Jr. Odds-225
Rodriguez Odds+190
Over/Under2.5 (-105 / -125)
VenueMiami-Dade Arena
Time10 p.m. ET
ChannelESPN+ Pay-per-view
UFC 287 odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings

(Editor's note: Christian Rodriguez missed weight by one pound on Friday and was fined 20% of his purse, which goes to Raul Rosas Jr.)

On Saturday at UFC 287, the UFC's wunderkind Raul Rosas Jr. makes his second walk to the UFC octagon. He's looking to get one step closer to his dream of becoming the UFC's youngest-ever champion by picking up a second UFC win at just 18 years old.

He's facing a step up in competition in Christian Rodriguez, a Roufusport product who owns a 1-1 UFC record.

Will it be too much too soon for Rosas? Or is Rodriguez just another stepping stone?

Let's break down Rosas vs. Rodriguez at UFC 287.

Tale of the Tape

Rosas Jr.Rodriguez
Avg. Fight Time8:5211:22
Weight (pounds)135 lbs.137 lbs.
Reach (inches)67"71"
Date of birth10/8/200412/17/1997
Sig Strikes Per Min1.303.31
SS Accuracy48%41%
SS Absorbed Per Min0.902.43
SS Defense33%56%
Take Down Avg4.230.88
TD Acc62%50%
TD Def0%56%
Submission Avg2.51.8

Rosas made waves when he debuted on the Contender Series last year at just 17, winning a dominant unanimous decision against future TUF competitor Mando Gutierrez. While it was a bit gimmicky to feature Rosas while still 17 – especially considering he was weeks shy of his 18th birthday – he still showed ability far beyond his years.

Rosas used his elite-level grappling in both his Contender Series fight and his UFC debut, picking up a submission victory in the latter. His statistics in the Tale of the Tape section above consider both fights.

Unlike some grapplers who start in MMA as pure wrestlers or jiu-jitsu players, Rosas has built his game specifically for MMA. He excels at "open-mat" takedowns, but he's strong against the fence as well.

At 17, Raul Rosas Jr impressed The Boss and secured a UFC contract with this performance! 🔥

🔜 El Niño Problema eyes another victory next week! #UFC287pic.twitter.com/IaflQBHheu

— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) March 30, 2023

He also has excellent back-takes and holds position well while patiently setting up chokes.

You can tell he got his start in grappling competitions, though, as he doesn't look to do much damage with strikes on the ground.  That's a part of his game he'll need to improve on as he works his way up to stiffer competition.

Rosas actually started his martial arts training as a boxer, though he's yet to show much standup striking in the UFC. Given his age and athletic ability, I'd expect him to be making rapid strides in that department. At the very least, the takedown threat he presents should keep Rodriguez on the back foot during striking exchanges.

Rodriguez likely needs to keep this one standing to have much of a shot. While he's a solid grappler himself – picking up an anaconda choke in his last fight – he's also a bit green on the ground.

#UFC287 weigh-in results:

Christian Rodriguez 137.5 lbs. pic.twitter.com/OLRXwBFEvJ

— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) April 7, 2023

He was taken down twice in his win, and repeatedly by Jonathan Pearce in his UFC debut.

Although Rodriguez has solid scrambling ability and is capable of getting back to his feet, he has a bad habit of exposing his back when doing so. He's gotten away with it thus far, but Rosas is a far superior submission grappler than his past opponents.

Rodriguez does have strong striking though, mixing aggressive boxing with the occasional flashy kick or spinning attack. He'll probably want to avoid the latter, though, as Rosas would use that as an opportunity to jump on his back or force a takedown.

Rosas Jr. vs. Rodriguez Pick

Sometimes we need to think like the UFC when handicapping fights. UFC officials clearly want to be in the Raul Rosas Jr. business, and they've been giving him stylistically favorable matchups so far.

While this fight is a definite step up for Rosas, Rodriguez's style is ill-suited to contend with "El Nino Problema." His standup is too reliant on flashy techniques that open him up for takedowns, and he makes too many mistakes on the ground.

Rodriguez has used his athleticism to cover up those mistakes in the past, but Rosas won't let him get off that easy. I'm going to continue to bet on Rosas until the UFC gives him an opponent who can match him in the grappling department, and Rodriguez isn't it.

I'm also expecting Rosas to end this one inside the distance, so the under 2.5 rounds is tempting at -125, as is his inside-the-distance prop at +120. I prefer to wait until the DraftKings Same Game Parlay feature is live, though, as we should get solidly plus money on Rosas & Under 2.5.

For now, the -225 moneyline on Rosas at DraftKings is the pick. He's as high as -250 elsewhere, so jump on this line before it's gone as fight night approaches.

The Pick: Raul Rosas Jr. (-225 at DraftKings)

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