UFC Fight Night Picks & Predictions: How We’re Betting Andre Ewell vs. Irwin Rivera & Johnny Walker vs. Ryan Spann (Saturday, Sept. 19)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Walker of Brazil.
- With so much to choose from on tonight's UFC slate, it was tough to pick just two fights.
- But out UFC crew has found an edge on two matchups for Saturday's action.
- Check out their picks and analysis below.
This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card will be the last one at the APEX as the UFC is gearing up for another stretch of fights at Fight Island. But before that happens, we’ve got 14 fights to choose from on tonight’s slate.
Our UFC crew has pinpointed two fights on Saturday’s card that present the awesome betting value. You can find their analysis and picks on those matches below.
Sean Zerillo: Andre Ewell vs. Irwin Rivera
Betting Analyst, The Action Network
Andre Ewell is my favorite bet for Saturday, with an 8-inch reach advantage in his bantamweight tilt against Irwin Rivera. Rivera lost by unanimous decision to Giga Chikadze (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) as a late replacement in May, before scoring his first UFC win over a non-UFC-caliber talent on Aug. 8.
Rivera should struggle to close the distance on Ewell, and he isn’t known for his grappling skills – so this should be a striker vs. striker battle where Ewell keeps Rivera at range.
Rivera did record two takedowns in his last fight, however, and if he’s willing to test Ewell’s grappling then he could have some success. But Rivera should struggle to find his way into the pocket, where Ewell should be able to keep Rivera at bay with his lengthy jab.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 23, 2019
This seems like a solid matchup for “Mr. Highlight”, and I’m also betting him in the prop market. Ewell’s odds to win by decision offer more projected value than any other prop wager on Saturday’s card.
At a projected price of -285 (implied 74%), there is a 20.5% edge compared to listed odds at -115 (implied 53.5%)
Ewell has nine finishes in 16 career wins, but all three of his UFC victories have come on the scorecards (two splits) and Rivera is a durable fighter. I played Ewell’s moneyline to win a half unit, and I’ll play his decision prop to win a half unit too. You can find the rest of my UFC picks here.
The Pick: Andre Ewell -210 (0.5 units) | Ewell by Decision -105 (0.5 units)
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Reed Wallach: Johnny Walker vs. Ryan Spann
Contributor at The Action Network
Walker is coming off two consecutive losses, while Spann has won his past two, yet the prior is favored? Something smells fishy here.
When you dig deeper into the recent form of each man, Walker’s two losses were against the formerly ranked Corey Anderson by first-round knockout and by decision to Nikita Krylov in March. However, Walker has some serious power, with 14 of his 17 wins coming by way of knockout and he is looking to make a statement and get his UFC career back on track.
In the other corner, Ryan Spann has racked up an undefeated record in the UFC, but hasn’t faced a talented fighter like Walker yet. Spann recently knocked off journeyman Sam Alvey by decision at UFC 249 and fights a more prodding style. Capable in the clinch, Spann does not scrap with the type of pace that Walker does.
Walker connects on 70% of his strikes, but only defends 30% of the strikes coming back at him. Match that with Spann’s erratic striking (43% accuracy) and defense (avoids just 50%), and Walker should be able to land bombs on his opponent early and often.
Neither fighter is used to going deep into rounds, with both averaging under seven minutes in their fights. At light heavyweight, the two fighters are sound finishers, but Walker has been a stout defender on takedowns during his UFC tenure, stunting 69% of takedowns. Spann has scored 11 of his 18 wins by submission and the fact that Walker has been able to stunt takedowns makes me feel more comfortable siding with him.
The line says it all for me. Oddsmakers do not buy Spann’s winning record and agree that Walker has the higher upside to get back on track and finish Spann. The total is set at 1.5 rounds, and I’m not sure we get out of the first if Walker has his way. With the line of -125 translating implied probability of 55%, I would play this up to -135 as I see a considerable edge towards Walker.
The Pick: Johnny Walker moneyline (-125)