Gabriel Benitez vs. Jonathan Pearce: UFC Fight Night Odds, Pick & Prediction (Saturday, May 1)

Gabriel Benitez vs. Jonathan Pearce: UFC Fight Night Odds, Pick & Prediction (Saturday, May 1) article feature image
Credit:

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Gabriel Benitez (left) and Jonathan Pearce (right).

  • Gabriel Benitez and Jonathan Pearce are set to fight on UFC Fight Night on Saturday.
  • Benitez missed weight when the pair weighed in, so Erich Richtor sees some value on Pearce.
  • Check out his full breakdown and pick for Saturday's fight below.

Benitez vs. Pearce Odds

Benitez odds -200
Pearce odds +158
Over/Under 2.5 (+114 / -145)
Venue UFC APEX, Las Vegas
Time Saturday, 7:20 p.m. ET
Channel ESPN2
Odds as of Friday afternoon and via PointsBet.

Our best undercard bet for UFC Vegas 25 features two fighters with extremely high finish rates. Jonathan “JSP” Pearce faces off against UFC veteran Gabriel Benitez.

This fight should be highly entertaining, as Pearce hasn’t seen a decision since 2017 when he was fighting for Bellator. Gabriel Benitez has a 60% finish rate in the UFC and hasn’t won a decision since 2017.

Gabriel Benitez did miss weight on Friday by a whopping 4.5 pounds. Pearce made weight, and the fight is expected to go on as planned with Pearce getting a percent of Benitez’s purse. This has not affected the odds for this fight yet, but I wouldn’t expect that to last.

Below, I preview the matchup and odds for Saturday’s fight.

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Tale of the Tape

Benitez Pearce
Record 22-9 10-4
Avg. Fight Time 8:54 7:37
Height 5’8″ 6’0″
Weight (pounds) 155 lbs. 179 lbs.
Reach (inches) 71″ 71″
Stance Southpaw Switch
Date of birth 06/15/1988 05/01/1992
Sig Strikes Per Min 4.38 8.8
SS Accuracy 38% 55%
SS Absorbed Per Min 3.26 6.65
SS Defense 70% 46%
Take Down Avg .17 5.91
TD Acc 50% 60%
TD Def 56% 75%
Submission Avg 1.2 0.7

Pearce vs. Benitez was a fight I had circled on this card for a few weeks. Now that Benitez missed weight by four pounds, I think that only further solidifies my case for Pearce.

Pearce is massive for the weight division — standing at 6 feet tall and somehow making a 145-pound weight limit. Benitez is just 5-foot-8, so he will not be the bigger fighter on Saturday despite weighing in four pounds heavier.

Benitez figures to have the grappling advantage with 10 submission wins, but Pearce is a strong grappler himself. Pearce landed five takedowns in his last fight — a win against Kai Kamaka — who is also fighting on Saturday.

Pearce was absolutely relentless against Kamaka, which could’ve ended via submission multiple times. I would expect Pearce to keep that relentless pace up throughout the fight on Saturday, which will be difficult for Benitez to match.

Moreover, Pearce has eight KO/TKO victories to his credit and just one submission, making KO his most likely win condition. It is worth noting that Benitez loses the majority of his fights by decision.

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Benitez vs. Pearce Pick

Benitez is a kickboxer who somehow has more submissions than knockouts in his career. He has lost two of his last three fights in the octagon. The recent struggles have resulted in Benitez attempting to move down a weight class. The first attempt was a disaster on Friday, as he missed weight by 4.5 pounds.

Fighters who have missed weight in the UFC are 3-4 in 2021 with underdogs cashing, like Aiemann Zahabi (+160) and Yana Kunitskaya (+230). Overall, if a bettor wagered one unit against every fighter who missed weight this year, they would be up 1.97 units.

Pearce can control his opponent with underhooks extremely well and averages 5.91 takedowns per 15 minutes, presenting a big issue for Benitez, who defends takedowns at just a 56% clip, per UFCStats.

I do see value on Pearce to win via decision, but I am a little hesitant to do so because Pearce has not seen a scorecard yet in the UFC.

I also think Benitez’s weight miss will force Pearce’s odds to plummet. He is currently +165 at PointsBet, but that surely won’t last. I expect Pearce’s line to end closer to +140, which would be my limit on the moneyline.

If the odds fall any lower than that, I would bet Pearce to win via decision at +475.

In 2021, five out of seven fights in which a fighter has missed weight ended via decision. Typically, a bad weight cut will dip into energy levels as the fight progresses.

The Pick: Jonathan Pearce +165

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