UFC Denver Predictions & Luck Ratings: Picks for Namajunas vs Cortez, Dober vs Silva & More (Saturday, July 13)

UFC Denver Predictions & Luck Ratings: Picks for Namajunas vs Cortez, Dober vs Silva & More (Saturday, July 13) article feature image

Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC middleweight Andre Petroski

Check out our early UFC predictions for UFC Denver on this Saturday, July 13, with our Luck Ratings.

UFC Denver takes place tonight at Ball Arena in Colorado. The entire event is available on ESPN and ESPN+ beginning at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) for the preliminary card and 10 p.m. ET for the main card.

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 in which one fighter holds most of the finishing upside.

*UFC Denver odds as of Monday and via DraftKings. Bet on UFC Denver with our DraftKings promo code

UFC Denver Predictions & Luck Ratings

Rose Namajunas (-225) vs. Tracy Cortez (+185)

As has been the case all summer, the story of UFC Denver is all of the rebookings on the card. That starts at the top of tonight's lineup. Rose Namajunas was originally booked to fight Maycee Barber in the main event before Barber withdrew due to a series of medical issues.

"Thug Rose" moved up to flyweight two fights ago, dominating Amanda Ribas in her most recent fight after losing her divisional debut to Manon Fiorot. The Fiorot loss looks better in retrospect; Fiorot is unbeaten in the UFC and the presumptive next title challenger after Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko sort things out.

With that said, Ribas is mostly a strawweight herself, so Namajunas' ability to compete in the larger division remains an open question.

Since dropping her pro debut, Tracy Cortez has won 11 straight fights, five in the UFC – and has a pre-UFC win over top-five contender Erin Blanchfield. However, she's also taking a five-round fight at elevation on fairly short notice.

That's a big ask, especially against a fighter like Namajunas who trains in Colorado.

Given Cortez's lack of finishing ability and the likelihood of losing the later rounds, it's a bad setup for her. I would've bet Namajunas at the opening number of -185 or so, but the market has this one about right.

Therefore I'm holding off for now, but Namajunas late or live makes a lot of sense once those totals markets are available later this week.

Verdict: Fairly Valued

Jean Silva (-112) vs. Drew Dober (-108)

This is another fight that came together at the last minute with Jean Silva stepping in after fighting at UFC 303 just two weeks ago.

He's also stepping up to lightweight for Saturday's fight, though I have no concern about his power not playing up to the heavier division.

When this one was announced, Silva was a +155 or so underdog and has now flipped to being the favorite. I wouldn't take his current odds, but it's worth noting how the market views the matchup, which has third on the UFC Denver lineup.

Similarly to the main event, Drew Dober should have a massive cardio edge. He also trains in Denver and should be more prepared for the bout. Unlike that one, the replacement fighter has plenty of finishing ability.

That makes this a perfect spot for early props on Silva followed by late or live angles on Dober, though we'll have to wait for those markets to become available.

Verdict: Fairly Valued

Christian Rodriguez (-205) vs. Julian Erosa (+170)

I'm surprised by the line movement on this one, which has pushed Christian Rodriguez from a -250 favorite all the way down to -205.

Rodriguez is 4-1 in the UFC with his only loss coming in his debut on short notice against Jonathan Pearce. Just 26, he's still yet to reach his prime and has looked better and better each fight.

On the other side, Julian Erosa is 34, and he's lost two of his last three – both by knockout. The win was a somewhat fluky guillotine choke, so I'm not putting much faith in that either.

We might get an even better price on Rodriguez later closer to fight night, but keep an eye on the line. I'd be more than happy laying -205, but I would obviously prefer a better price.

Verdict: Christian Rodriguez Undervalued (But Wait)

Josh Fremd (-112) vs. Andre Petroski (-108)

An early UFC Denver prelim is an all-Pennsylvania matchup between Pittsburgh's Josh Fremd and Philly's Andre Petroski. The line has bounced around a bit since opening, but the general consensus is Fremd as a slight favorite.

Fremd is 2-3 in the UFC with two losses by finish and one stoppage win. Finishing ability will be key here; this is one of the few heavier-division fights happening in the Denver altitude, and it seems unlikely both men last 15 minutes.

Petroski is 5-2 in the promotion with both losses coming via knockout in his last two fights. However, one of those was a very short-notice booking against Michel Pereira, and the other was either very unlucky or incredibly stupid, depending on your viewing.

Petroski essentially knocked himself out by taking a hard shot at Jacob Malkoun and slamming his head into Malkoun's hip bone, but he was winning the fight until that point. While it's slightly concerning for his chin, that was probably more of a fluke than anything.

The Renzo Gracie Philly product also has finishes in three of his five UFC wins, and he's a high-level grappler and wrestler. That should be enough against Fremd, who has a 31% takedown defense in the UFC.

At the time of this writing, the best line on Petroski is +105 at Caesars Sportsbook, and I doubt it gets any better than that throughout the week, so jump on it now.

Verdict: Andre Petroski Undervalued at Caesars

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