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UFC Fight Night Bets, Predictions & Picks: Favorite Bets for Pennington vs. Reneau and Burgos vs. Emmett

UFC Fight Night Bets, Predictions & Picks: Favorite Bets for Pennington vs. Reneau and Burgos vs. Emmett article feature image

Steven Ryan/Getty Images. Pictured: Shane Burgos.

  • Tonight's UFC main card is packed and that's where our MMA crew is finding some value bets.
  • Among the fights they are betting on Saturday: Welterweights Belal Muhammad (-130 favorite) Lyman Good (+105 underdog) and the Over/Under (2.5 rounds) between Josh Emmett and Shane Burgos.
  • See their picks and analysis on those matchups and more below.

Last weekend’s main card left much to be desired in terms of highlight-reel finishes, but Saturday’s UFC Fight Night slate figures to bring much more to the table. Three of the five fights on the main card are favored to finish inside the distance including the main event between heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov.

Before those action-packed main card fights begin, there are seven preliminary bouts beginning at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and ESPN.

Our experts have listed their favorite bets on the entire slate below with analysis on how they see each fight playing out.

UFC MAIN EVENT PROMO! Bet Curtis “Razor” Blaydes at +100 odds (boosted from -400) on Saturday night.

Dann Stupp: Shane Burgos vs. Josh Emmett

UFC Contributor at The Action Network

Fight fans can expect a slugfest in tonight’s co-main event with featherweights Shane Burgos and Josh Emmett, who should offer plenty of output during their three-rounder.

The top-10 featherweights are both on a bit of a streak; No. 8 Emmett (15-2) has won two straight fights and four of his past five, and Burgos (13-1) has strung together three consecutive victories since a 2018 loss to contender Calvin Kattar, which marked his first career setback.

Although the line for tonight’s matchup has danced around over the past month, it’s settled back near its opening price, and with Burgos at -155, I think there’s plenty of value there.

For me, a simple pros-and-cons list has me feeling pretty confident in this pick. Among the pros of a Burgos pick, there’s an ample height (5 inches) and reach (5.5 inches) advantage, which is always a bonus in a likely slugfest. Additionally, the ever-busy Tiger Schulmann product has had nearly twice the striking output of Emmett throughout their UFC careers. As a bonus, Burgos is also shrewd with his energy and leaves plenty of it for later rounds, which helped him beat both Charles Rosa and Makwan Amirkhani with third-round knockouts under the UFC umbrella.

Among the cons of a Burgos pick, it’s hard to overlook Emmett’s extensive wrestling background. However, for whatever reason, the Team Alpha Male product has been hesitant to exploit those skills, and even with the smaller 25-foot cage that’s being used tonight, I don’t expect him to suddenly pivot away from his recent propensity to stand and bang. Additionally, though Burgos absorbs a lot of damage (especially early) and though Emmett has some proven power, I think Burgos’ durability should help him survive any potential early trouble and push this into later rounds.

In fact, the longer this fight goes, the more I like Burgos. (It’s just too bad this isn’t a five-round main event). And since I expect this fight to go to the scorecards – or at least deep into the third round – plus money on the over is also too hard to pass up.

Picks: Burgos -155; Over 2.5 rounds (+125)
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Sean Zerillo: Raquel Pennington vs. Marion Reneau

Betting Analyst, The Action Network

There is an 11-year age gap between these two fighters, and stamina has to be a significant concern for the 42-year-old Reneau.

This is yet another fight that is likely to go the distance, listed at -278, or 73.5% in the betting market, but the crowd projection puts it closer to 86%, implied odds of -613.

I cannot trust either fighter on the moneyline, regardless of the projections – Pennington has looked unmotivated since her title fight loss to Amanda Nunes, but she remains a championship-level talent. In contrast, Reneau’s skills and athleticism have fallen off over time, and she will likely gas out early.

This should be a close decision, but I don’t anticipate a stoppage for either fighter, and I will include over 2.5 rounds in a parlay.

Pick: Over 2.5 rounds (-335)
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Malik Smith: Belal Muhammad vs. Lyman Good

Editor, The Action Network

This fight was initially supposed to take place on the UFC 249 card, but was scratched when Good became the first UFC fighter to test positive for COVID-19. The styles of both fighters plus the dimensions of the APEX ring should produce a fun matchup.

Good is an absolute banger and could land some fight-changing shots if he gets an opening. His most recent finish against Chance Rencountre showed just how dangerous his power can be.

𝙁𝙚𝙧𝙤𝙘𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨 power!@LymanGoodMMA can out away the toughest fighters out there! #UFCVegas3

— UFC (@ufc) June 16, 2020

Good’s skillset is perfectly suited for a fight that stays on the feet as he ranks third among active welterweights in striking differential (1.86) per UFC Stats.

Muhammad, though, is the more well rounded fighter between the two. His advantages on the ground would be the difference if he can get Good off his feet — his 2.15 takedown average per 15 dwarfs Good’s 0.38 takedown rate. Muhammad is also a crafty striker who can use awkward angles to get inside and land clean shots. He landed some big punches in his past two fights that eventually wore his opponent down en route to a win.

The odds suggest that Muhammad (-135) wins this fight 54% of the time with the most likely method being by decision (+132). But the smaller octagon at the APEX has forced fighters to engage in close quarters and that could factor in with these two guys having less space to dance around each other. I think there’s a good chance that one of these two fighters’ dominant styles could lead to this fight ending early. With that said, I’m leaning towards betting the fight not to go the distance (+120).

Pick: Will the fight go the distance? No (+120)
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