UFC Charlotte Luck Ratings: The Undervalued Fighters to Consider Betting Now (Saturday, May 13)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC welterweight Tim Means
Let’s look into some mispriced betting lines for UFC Charlotte: Rozenstruik vs. Almeida on Saturday and see which fighters are overvalued and which are undervalued heading into the 12-fight event.
UFC Charlotte, also dubbed UFC on ABC 4, takes place at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The early preliminary card and regular prelims air on ESPN beginning at noon ET (9 a.m. PT), and the main card is available on ABC at 3 p.m. ET.
One of the first “aha!” moments I had in gambling (generally, not just MMA) was to start thinking about why markets might be wrong rather than just trying to predict what I think will happen.
At its core, that’s what a betting line is: a market where we can “buy” or “sell” events happening. For the most part, these markets are efficient, with the “price” eventually reflecting the true odds of the event.
While this is less true in MMA – where there are far more information asymmetries than in major markets like the NFL or NBA – it’s still broadly (and increasingly) the case. Therefore, to beat the markets over the long term, we need to figure out spots where they’re wrong.
That’s the point of this piece. Inspired by our NFL “Luck Rankings,” I’ll be looking into spots where variance has favored one fighter more than another, causing the line to be inefficient. The biggest input will be split and/or controversial decisions, with short-notice fights, fights that are later overruled, fluke injuries, and out-of-weight-class fights considered, as well.
The focus will be on fights reasonably likely to see the scorecards here, or where one fighter holds most of the finishing upside.
* Odds as of Tuesday and via FanDuel
Jailton Almeida (-590) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+390)
The UFC elevated this heavyweight fight to the main event spot after initially planning on Anthony Smith vs. Johnny Walker. That, of course, makes Jailton Almeida vs. Jarizinho Rozenstruik a five-round affair – though it’s highly unlikely we need anywhere near that many to settle things.
Almeida is 4-0 in the UFC with all four of his wins coming inside of two rounds. His Contender Series bout and UFC debut were at light heavyweight, but he’s since stepped up to heavyweight and found similar success there – though against a lower level of competition. Still, he proved he can hold his own even when giving up 30 to 40 pounds in the cage.
Rozenstruik is a gatekeeper to the top of the heavyweight rankings, with a 7-4 UFC record. All seven wins were via knockout, and he has an 0-2 record in decisions. Like Almeida, there’s not much “luck” involved in any of his results.
However, this is a pretty big step up in competition – at least at heavyweight – for Almeida. He’s certainly the A side here, but the line has gotten a bit out of hand. Rozenstruik’s best – if not only – chance is with a fairly early knockout, so I’ll be taking a sprinkle on some variation of that bet.
Verdict: Rozenstruik Undervalued (Early Finish Lines)
Ian Garry (-295) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (+220)
Ian Garry is another 4-0 UFC prospect with a perfect 11-0 overall professional record. He’s finished two of those victories with two unanimous decisions. However, he was hurt badly and nearly finished in his last fight against Song Kenan, and his other opponents have a combined 2-6 UFC record. Point being, he’s been brought along very slowly by UFC officials, who perhaps are looking to create another Irish superstar.
That makes Daniel Rodriguez – with his excellent 7-2 UFC record – by far the stiffest test of Garry’s career. Three of those seven wins were inside the distance, and Rodriguez has been finished only once in the UFC, via submission. He’s 1-0 in split decisions – a makeshift bout on the reshuffled UFC 279 card against Li Jinagliang.
While I thought Rodriguez deserved to lose that bout, it’s hard to hold it against him. Until the day of weigh-ins, he was booked for an entirely different fight against Kevin Holland – and he took that on short notice as well.
All things considered, I think the hype on Garry has outpaced his ability. Garry is still the A side here, but nearly three-to-one odds are hard to justify. The best line on D-Rod is +250 at Caesars, but consider waiting to see if it moves even further.
Verdict: Rodriguez Undervalued
Alex Morono (-225) vs. Tim Means (+172)
Alex Morono and Tim Means have combined for more than 40 UFC fights, so going line by line through their records probably doesn’t tell us much. However, recent results are certainly baked into the betting lines.
Means has dropped his last two, one a split decision to Max Griffin and the other via a D’arce choke against Kevin Holland. The Griffin fight probably should’ve gone the other way, though, with Means landing 30 significant strikes to Griffin’s 17 over the final two (disputed) rounds. Takedowns were three a piece in that time as well. Prior to those losses, Means had a three-fight winning streak, all unanimous decisions.
Morono had a four-fight winning streak snapped in December when he was knocked out by Santiago Ponzinibbio. Overall, he’s 11-5 in the UFC with an 8-3 record in decisions. His last split decision was in 2017, so his recent record is fairly reflective of his ability.
Still, I can’t help but think that Means would be less of an underdog here if the Griffin decision went the other way, and the line is already shrinking a bit. The best price on “The Dirty Bird” is +190 on DraftKings – but don’t expect it to last long.
Verdict: Means Undervalued
Court McGee (-235) vs. Matt Brown (+176)
Another fight between two longtime veterans, with this pair checking in at 49 UFC fights between the two of them. Both are in the twilight stage of their careers with 2-3 records over their past five contests.
Court McGee was last seen being viciously knocked out by Jeremiah Wells, ending a modest two-fight winning streak. Those wins were against comparatively lower-level competition, though it’s hard to say that this version of Matt Brown is a step up.
Brown’s last fight was a split-decision loss to Bryan Barbarena. The third round was the disputed one, with Barbarena landing more strikes but Brown picking up a pair of takedowns and 90 seconds of ground control time. I would’ve scored it for Brown, and the fact that he was competitive in the third is a good sign for his cardio.
Based on the last result going (perhaps unfairly) against him, and that he was a far better fighter at their respective peaks, the current lines are a bit pessimistic on Brown. This is another one where I’m swimming against the tide though, so perhaps wait a bit before putting your money down.
Verdict: Brown Undervalued
Jessica Rose-Clark (-128) vs. Tainara Lisboa (+100)
It’s the UFC debut for TainaraLisboa, which usually means a fight I look past for Luck Ratings. However, I’m making an exception this week.
She’s a former muay Thai world champion, a fact that might not be considered in the current betting lines. Since making the switch to MMA, she’s 5-2 as a pro. One of those losses was in her debut against future UFC contender Norma Dumont – a tougher test than anyone Jessica Rose-Clark has faced.
Lisboa also seems to be rounding out her game nicely, with all five of her wins via finish and two of those submissions.
“Jessy Jess” is 4-4 in the UFC against almost exclusively lower-level competition, including two straight stoppage losses. If she were a dominant wrestler or grappler, I’d understand this line, but that’s certainly not the case.
Based on her overall combat sports resume, Lisboa should be favored here, so the even-money odds at FanDuel are a value – for as long as they last.
Verdict: Lisboa Undervalued
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