Saturday UFC Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets for Soriano vs. Allen, Elkins vs. Minner, More (July 24)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Darren Elkins.
- There are 11 fights on the UFC Fight Night 32 card on Saturday night, headlined by Cory Sandhagen vs. T.J. Dillashaw.
- Our staff of MMA betting analysts have looked at the card and found three fights with betting value below the bantamweight main event.
- Get their UFC bets and detailed explanations below.
Former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw makes his return to the Octagon after a two-year suspension to face the No. 2 man in the division, Cory Sandhagen Saturday night at the APEX. The two men headline the 11-bout card that is set to start at 4 p.m. ET with six prelim fights, followed by a five-fight main card at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
So, where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew is focusing on three fights in particular and see a few bets with value in those matchups. You can find their analysis and picks on those confrontations below.
UFC Betting Odds
Billy Ward: Punahele Soriano vs. Brendan Allen
Contributor at The Action Network
Punahele Soriano puts his perfect 8-0 record (2-0 UFC) on the line against Brendan “All In” Allen, who holds a very strong 4-1 record in the Octagon.
Even more impressively, “Puna” has won both of his fights in the UFC by first-round KO, racking up two knockdowns in each of the two rounds he’s competed in. Allen is no slouch himself, picking up three stoppages in his four wins, including an impressive heel hook against Karl Roberson.
At first blush this is a classic striker vs. grappler matchup, but I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Soriano does have a couple of submission wins in his young career and was able to take down Dusko Todorovic between knockdowns. Allen, to his credit, has five victories by TKO/KO and brings an above-average knockdown rate to the cage along with his Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
With that said, I still think the fight clearly favors Soriano on the feet and Allen on the mat, which means the winner will be whoever can dictate where the fight takes place.
This is where I think Soriano pulls away. He originally found his way to MMA by serving as the wrestling coach for his gym in Hawaii and has never been taken down in the UFC.
What troubles me with Allen is that as impressive as he’s been when the fight gets to the ground, he’s only been able to secure takedowns in two of his nine UFC rounds. Unfortunately for him, every fight (and round) starts standing, and I don’t think he’ll be able to stay there with Soriano long if he wants to remain conscious.
There’s a lot of ways we can bet this one, but my favorite is the “5 way” prop on BetMGM that has Soriano to win by Submission, DQ, or TKO at +165, significantly better than the +130 or so listed elsewhere.
I’m also fine taking his KO prop, where the best line is +200 at FanDuel, but a submission win wouldn’t shock me either so I’m happy to pay up. Finally, if you just want to bet his moneyline, FanDuel has you covered there too at -108.
The Pick: Soriano by KO/TKO, DQ, or Submission (+165)
Erich Richter: Kyler Phillips vs. Raulian Paiva
Contributor at The Action Network
Kyler Phillips (9-1) will face off against Raulian Paiva on Saturday. Pavia is typically a featherweight, but he will take his first bantamweight fight this weekend. Going up in weight, his matchup isn’t particularly welcoming. Phillips has been on a tear recently.
Phillips defeated Song Yadong at UFC 259 as a sizable underdog. In that fight, he was able to out grapple his opponent with ease en route to his unanimous decision victory. The UFC now turns Kyler’s attention to Paiva, who is normally a 125-pound fighter.
Paiva’s time at featherweight was a mixed bag. He has three UFC victories and two defeats. Those defeats came by way of a TKO loss to Rogerio Bontorin and a split decision loss to Kai Kara-France.
Phillips’ analytics show a potentially scary outcome for Paiva. He lands 2.88 takedowns per 15 minutes and a strong 5.32 significant strikes per minute per UFC Stats.
I think this is a spot for Phillips to get his second UFC finish. In his nine wins, five are by knockout and one is by submission. The remaining three are by decision. While Phillips is clearly expected to win by decision (-110, 52% implied), it is not a common theme in his career to leave it to the judges.
Some fighters look to win on the judge’s scorecards; Phillips does not appear to be that guy with his power and pace attributes. Furthermore, this fight is the new co-main event so both fighters will be looking to put on a show.
Phillips by decision at -110 seems to be shortsighted. I would much prefer his submission (+800) or KO/TKO (+460) props. A stab at either one would be a good bet. However, I will look to take any finish by him at +280 on BetMGM.
Phillips is a black belt in jiu-jitsu and trains at MMA Lab, one of the best gyms in the sport. He could be a budding star in an already crowded bantamweight division.
The Pick: Kyler Phillips Inside the Distance (+280 BetMGM)
Sean Zerillo: Darren Elkins vs. Darrick Minner
Betting Analyst, The Action Network
There is a lot of recency bias baked into this line, and I’m happy to take a shot on Elkins at an underdog price.
I believe in market efficiency, and Minner has closed as an underdog before each of his UFC bouts (+400, +147, +250, +143) dating back to Contender Series, while Elkins has closed as a favorite in each of his last three UFC bouts (-125, -139, -333).
Minner has won consecutive fights under the UFC banner, while Elkins has lost four of his past five. But the latter has faced far better competition — including current champion Alexander Volkanovski — while Minner is more of a regional scene grinder.
Minner typically only has one round of cardio. In his last fight against Charles Rosa (37% takedown defense), he was gifted a dream matchup and held on through utter exhaustion for the final two frames.
Elkins is the larger man in this fight (3-inch height and 2-inch reach advantage) and should prove much more challenging to get to the mat (58% takedown defense) or submit (only tapped to current 155-pound champion Charles Oliveira in 2010).
I’m unconvinced that Minner is the better wrestler in this matchup. And Elkins should eventually pull away on the feet since he can keep a pace that Minner cannot match.
If you’re backing Minner in this spot, I would only consider his Round 1 prop (+350) or inside the distance prop (+165).
However, Elkins offers significantly more value on the moneyline, and I think he also makes a tremendous live bet after Round 1.
I would play Elkins on the moneyline down to +115 and consider laying up to -200 Live when Minner gasses after Round 1.
The Pick: Darren Elkins ML (+134 FanDuel)