UFC 302 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Jailton Almeida vs. Alexander Romanov: How to Bet Heavyweight Clash (Saturday, June 1)

UFC 302 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Jailton Almeida vs. Alexander Romanov: How to Bet Heavyweight Clash (Saturday, June 1) article feature image

Pedro Vilela/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC heavyweight Jailton Almeida of Brazil

Jailton Almeida vs. Alexander Romanov Odds

Almeida Odds-298
Romanov Odds+240
Over/Under1.5 (-105 / -115)
LocationPrudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
Time9 p.m. ET
UFC 302 odds as of Saturday and via DraftKings. Use our DraftKings promo code to bet on UFC 302.

Here's everything you need to know about the Jailton Almeida vs. Alexander Romanov odds for UFC 302 on Saturday, June 1 – our expert UFC prediction and pick.

For the first five minutes of his last fight, a Jailton Almeida title shot seemed inevitable. He took down Curtis Blaydes nine times in the first round, and he was well on his way to a 7-0 UFC record.

Looking for takedown No. 10, Almeida ran Blaydes into the fence with a single leg – where Blaydes finished him with hammerfists to the side of the head.

Now Blaydes is fighting for an interim title, and Almeida is holding the line between the heavyweight contenders and the rest of the division.

That group includes Romanov, who's currently the No. 13-ranked UFC contender with a 6-2 promotional record. For Almeida, this is a chance to prove the loss to Blaydes was a fluke, and for Romanov, it's a chance to jump into the upper part of the division.

Here's my Almeida vs. Romanov pick and prediction.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time7:388:42
Weight (pounds)241 lbs.265 lbs.
Reach (inches)79"75"
Date of birth6/26/199112/11/1990
Sig Strikes Per Min2.544.06
SS Accuracy64%52%
SS Absorbed Per Min0.742.20
SS Defense40%50%
Take Down Avg6.884.32
TD Acc59%54%
TD Def75%20%
Submission Avg2.20.9

During his tenure in the UFC, Almeida has been primarily known for his grappling. He debuted as a light heavyweight, picking up a submission on the Contender Series in 2021. In his second UFC fight, a last-minute opponent switch led to him accepting a heavyweight bout – and he's stayed in that division ever since.

Almeida correctly assessed the talent pool in both divisions and decided he'd have an easier time of it against the big boys, where high-level grappling ability is in short supply.

Before running into Blaydes, Almeida had five finishes and a dominant decision over Derrick Lewis, against whom he racked up over 20 minutes of control time in a five-round right.

The loss to Blaydes raises an interesting question about Almeida's ceiling, though. Blaydes was the first UFC opponent for Almeida who's known primarily as a grappler. Blaydes was able to withstand the early takedowns by returning to his feet before catching Almeida getting sloppy on a single-leg attempt from range.

That makes this an interesting matchup against Romanov, who has an extensive grappling and wrestling background of his own. Before transitioning to MMA, Romanov was a high-level freestyle wrestler, and he even briefly competed in sumo.

In eight UFC bouts, Romanov has been taken down by only one man: Juan Espino, a multiple-time world gold medalist in submission grappling. Of course, that's partially due to Romanov's dangerous submission game leading to most of his opponents keeping fights standing.

However, Romanov could be in trouble if this one turns into a striking match. Almeida trained heavily in boxing before switching to jiu-jitsu, and he has fairly pronounced advantages in speed, length and power. While he hasn't displayed them much in the octagon, he's had brief moments of very impressive boxing combinations. Plus, the move up to heavyweight has allowed him to pack on even more muscle to his massive frame.

I'm interested to see what Almeida weighs in at for this fight. His first two planned heavyweight bouts saw him hit the scales around 230 pounds, but he's steadily worked his way up to the 241 pounds he weighed in at against Blaydes. Especially in this post-USADA era, that number may continue to go up. Romanov briefly leaned out to around 240 pounds for a pair of fights, but he weighed in at more than 280 pounds for a December grappling match.

Almeida vs. Romanov Pick

Given the matchup dynamics – and the wakeup call he got from Blaydes – I wouldn't be surprised to see a different game plan from Almeida than we're used to. While he probably could take down Romanov, I'm not sure that he'll want or need to in this matchup.

Which is why I was extremely interested to see DraftKings' offer "player props" for UFC 302 (under the "Fight Props" section). The one that immediately caught my eye was Almeida's takedown line, which is set at 2.5 with plus-money on the under.

That's the way I'm leaning here, because we have multiple paths to get there.

The obvious is Almeida choosing to strike with Romanov. I'm not convinced he'll default to his typical grappling-heavy approach as we've discussed above.

Even if he wants to, will it be so easy against Romanov? It wouldn't shock me if the Moldovan is able to stop some or all of his attempts.

Finally, Almeida could get a takedown (or two) but finish Romanov along the way. I'd expect him to be hunting for stoppages, given the problems created by letting Blaydes off the hook and criticism he received for not finishing Lewis.

I'd take the Under 2.5 takedowns down to even money, and I also like Almeida inside the distance at -135 on books that don't offer the takedown prop.

The Pick: Jailton Almeida Under 2.5 Takedowns (+120 at DraftKings)

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