UFC Atlantic City Odds, Pick & Prediction for Andre Petroski vs. Jacob Malkoun: Snatch This 2-1 Underdog (Saturday, March 30)

UFC Atlantic City Odds, Pick & Prediction for Andre Petroski vs. Jacob Malkoun: Snatch This 2-1 Underdog (Saturday, March 30) article feature image

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa via Getty. Pictured: UFC middleweight Andre Petroski

Andre Petroski vs. Jacob Malkoun Odds

Petroski Odds+205
Malkoun Odds-250
Over/Under2.5 rounds (-190 / +145)
LocationBoardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Bout Time7:20 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via Caesars Sportsbooks. Bet on UFC Atlantic City with our Caesars bonus code.

Here's our Andre Petroski vs. Jacob Malkoun pick for UFC Atlantic City on Saturday, March 30 – with our expert prediction.

A pair of middleweight grapplers meet in preliminary-card action this weekend as Renzo Gracie Philly brown belt Andre Petroski takes on Australian black belt Jacob Malkoun.

Both men are technically coming off a loss, though Malkoun's was via questionable disqualification in a fight he was dominating. Additionally, Petroski's loss came on less than a week's notice, so he deserves an asterisk there too.

Both men were charging towards the middleweight rankings prior to their recent setback. Which one will get back on track on Saturday?

Read on for my Petroski vs. Malkoun prediction and breakdown for UFC Atlantic City.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time10:0310:46
Weight (pounds)186 lbs.185 lbs.
Reach (inches)73"73"
Date of birth6/12/19918/26/1995
Sig Strikes Per Min3.63.9
SS Accuracy51%56%
SS Absorbed Per Min3.032.49
SS Defense51%50%
Take Down Avg4.487.20
TD Acc54%44%
TD Def71%0%
Submission Avg2.50.5

Statistically and stylistically, these are two very similar fighters. Both waste little time on the feet before initiating grappling, with a combined takedown/15-minute rate of nearly 12 between them.

While Malkoun averages more of those than Petroski, that's more reflective of an inability to consistently hold opponents down than superior takedown ability. Petroski has the higher accuracy rate, but I'd rate their takedown abilities as fairly even.

Their approach once the fight hits the mat tends to differ, though. Malkoun has recorded just two official submission attempts and no finishes in the UFC – despite scoring a whopping 31 total takedowns. Petroski is the far more aggressive submission player with 10 submission attempts and two finishes across six appearances.

As alluded to above, Petroski also tends to do a better job maintaining top position than Malkoun.

The bulk of his submission attempts are variations of front headlock attacks (D'Arce and anaconda chokes) or arm triangles, which can be attempted without sacrificing control and/or used to transition to better positions.

Petroski is the more aggressive and effective striker on the ground. Malkoun's inability to settle in to position makes it difficult to land much damage, as evidenced even in wins against Abdul Alhassan (six ground strikes on eight takedowns) and Nick Maximov (13 ground strikes on nine takedowns).

Of course, any of that only matters if either fighter can land a takedown. Malkoun has been taken down just three times in his six UFC fights, and Petroski just twice. Sometimes we see two talented grapplers "cancel out" and end up in a striking match.

Which would favor Malkoun, at least on paper. He actually started out as a boxer and holds a 3-0 pro boxing record. He has a sharp jab and solid footwork, though he's fairly one-dimensional in his use of straight punches to the head while standing.

That's the exact opposite of Petroski, a wild brawler who throws heavy hooks, overhands and kicks. Like other strong grapplers before him, Petroski is empowered by the knowledge that his opponent typically doesn't want to wrestle with him – which allows him to attempt strikes that would get lesser fighters taken down.

Of course, that plan doesn't leave much room for defense. Petroski learned that lesson the hard way in his last appearance against Michel Pereira, who knocked him out in just over a minute. Still, Malkoun has never landed a UFC knockdown, so I'm not particularly worried about Petroski's chin.

Extended stretches on the feet should mostly consist of Malkoun landing jabs while Petroski attempts haymakers – giving the minute-winning potential to Malkoun but the stoppage upside to Petroski.

Petroski vs. Malkoun Pick

The best explanation I can come up with for this line is that the market has drastically overreacted to Petroski's last fight. How else do you explain a fighter who's 5-1 in the promotion being a +200 underdog against a fighter who's 3-3?

Even accepting that Malkoun should be 4-2, this fight should, at worst, be a pick'em. Malkoun has fought a slightly higher level of competition overall, but he's lost to all of the tougher opposition. Malkoun was also unable to finish Nick Maximov, whom Petroski submitted in the first round despite Maximov tearing his ACL in the first round.

It's also a tough stylistic matchup for Malkoun with both of his legitimate losses coming against wrestling-based opponents. Petroski wrestled Division 1 for the University of North Carolina.

Additionally, Petroski is a considerably better overall athlete with more power, speed and size than the somewhat-small-for-the-division Malkoun. Even if they're evenly matched from a technical standpoint in the grappling, those physical edges should be enough for Petroski to end up on top. I'd give Petroski the clear edge as a technical wrestler, as well.

While Petroski's wild standup worries me, he's not drawing totally dead on the feet against the cleaner but soft-hitting Malkoun.

For now, I'm more than happy to risk half a unit on Petroski at +205 on Caesars Sportsbook. I'll also be keeping an eye open on Petroski-by-finish markets, including "finish only" for the more risk-averse. If you like the Malkoun side, wait for a live betting opportunity to jump in on the favorite. Petroski's more muscular build, wild swings and aggressive pursuit of takedowns won't help him deeper into this one.

The Pick: Andre Petroski (+205 at Caesars)

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