UFC Fight Night Betting Odds, Picks, Projections: Best Bets for Alvey vs. Turman, Battle vs. Urbina & More (Saturday, Aug. 26)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured (L-R): UFC opponents Bryan Battle and Gilbert Urbina.
- Saturday's UFC card features 12 fights in total, but three stand out for our combat crew.
- Our analysts are eyeing Sam Alvey vs. Wellington Turman, Kevin Lee vs. Daniel Rodriguez and Bryan Battle vs. Gilbert Urbina.
- Check out their analysis below along with moneyline and prop projections for every bout.
Football season may be creeping back into the picture, but Saturday nights are still for the fights. This Saturday, the UFC is back in full force with a 12-bout card beginning at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN and headlined by a matchup between top-10 featherweights Edson Barboza and Giga Chikadze.
So, where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew is focusing on three fights in particular and sees a few bets with value in those matchups. You can find their analysis and picks on those confrontations below.
Sean Zerillo: Sam Alvey vs. Wellington Turman
Betting Analyst, The Action Network
I projected Alvey as a slight favorite (53.5%) in this spot and was surprised to find Turman with a minus sign next to his name.
Alvey is 0-5-1 in his past six fights. Still, he should have defeated Da Un Jung last October as a significant underdog (fight scored a Draw), and he is making his second appearance back at middleweight on Saturday after moving down from 205.
Alvey is a much better striker than Turman (-0.24 to -1.31 strike differential), he will be the larger man in the cage (2-inch height advantage and a 3-inch reach advantage), and he offers fantastic takedown defense (82%) to stifle Turman’s wrestling (22%, 2.31 landed per 15 minutes).
Even when he does get his opponents to the mat, Turman isn’t very adept at maintaining control. He constantly tries to pass positions and often leaves openings for his opponents to scramble away.
Moreover, Turman has shown some poor durability in his recent losses — he was knocked out in guard by Bruno Silva and on the feet against Andrew Sanchez who hasn’t demonstrated much stopping power at the UFC level.
Turman is very hittable, and if he doesn’t get this fight to the ground, he will get exposed on the feet. The Brazilian tends to bullrush towards opponents, and Alvey will be happy to slink back towards the cage and look to land a huge counter.
I would bet Alvey’s moneyline down to -105, but I also show value on his odds to win inside the distance down to +250; I projected that prop closer to +210 and would sprinkle a small play there too.
The Pick: Sam Alvey (+110, 1u) | Sam Alvey wins Inside the Distance (+250, 0.25u)
Erich Richter: Kevin Lee vs. Daniel Rodriguez
Contributor at The Action Network
I have seen a lot of people flocking to Kevin Lee in this fight and rightfully so; he is an excellent fighter. My issue with betting him is he’s much more of a lightweight than he is a welterweight. At 5-foot-9, I think he could contend for a belt lightweight.
Unfortunately, his weight cut issues crippled his lightweight future. Daniel Rodriguez is a much larger fighter at 170 pounds, stands at 6 feet tall and has some of the cleanest striking in the division. He is also a 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
One of the major points of emphasis that Lee backers note is D-Rod’s takedown defense against Mike Perry, who landed 2-of-4 takedown attempts against Rodriguez in their fight. While it is something to take into consideration in this fight, I think the concerns are overstated.
Overall he defends takedowns at a 83% clip and Lee’s size disadvantage makes me particularly worried about his takedown prowess. Furthermore, Rodriguez did an excellent job stopping takedowns against Nicolas Dalby; a fight he should have won on the scorecards.
Moreover, Rodriguez does a phenomenal job landing a high volume of punches. His 8.07 significant strikes per minute ranks as the best in the UFC by far in the welterweight division. The next closest fighter is Vicente Luque who averages 5.65 significant strikes per minute.
He also has the best striking differential (+2.74) of anyone in the UFC welterweight division, per UFC Stats. Clearly, the advanced analytics love D-Rod and his fighting style.
Rodriguez boasts a significant size and volume advantage so this is too much for me to pass up; especially as an underdog. Kevin Lee is an excellent fighter but this is a tough fight for him, even if Rodriguez is taking this on short notice.
I projected Rodriguez to win by decision closer to +290 and at +380 on FanDuel, that prop has one of the best lines on this card. However, keep in mind that D-Rod is a 10th planet jiu-jitsu black belt. If Kevin Lee goes for a takedown, it is possible that Rodriguez submits Lee (he has been submitted three times in his past six fights).
If the striking goes south for Lee — it likely will — Lee will have to be careful he does not fall into a guillotine, D’Arce, or triangle choke. Rodriguez also has 8 knockouts to his credit in his 15 wins.
The Pick: Daniel Rodriguez ML (+124) | Rodriguez by Decision (+380)
Billy Ward: Bryan Battle vs. Gilbert Urbina
Contributor at The Action Network
We’re going to start this week’s pick with a little thought experiment. I’m going to describe two fighters, and you tell me on whom you’d place your bet.
- Fighter A: 5-1 Professional record, with a combined opponent’s record of 8-9. Never beaten anybody with more than two professional wins at the time. Only loss was against a (at the time) 3-5 fighter who exclusively fought at a smaller weight class for the rest of his career. Best odds are -162.
- Fighter B: 6-2 record, with a combined opponent’s record of 23-4. Only loss is to undefeated Sean Brady, who is now ranked as a top 15 fighter in the world. Holds wins against fighters who were 5-0, and 7-3 at the time. Best odds are +150 (DraftKings).
As I’m sure you can guess (mainly by reading the heading) fighter A is Bryan Battle, and fighter B is Gilbert Urbina. What I laid out for you doesn’t include their time on The Ultimate Fighter show, which was intentional.
Fighting on the reality show can give us insight on a fighter, but it’s not the best way to handicap a fight. While on the show, fights are made with relatively short notice, fighters aren’t training with their regular teams and coaches, and, as far as I can tell, have no access to video on their opponents.
The change in preparation can make a huge difference in how fighters perform. Fortunately, before their finale fights, they are usually back home with their teams for a full camp, and can prepare as normal.
If I was only watching TUF to evaluate these guys, I’d say the lines are about right — Battle has looked better. Urbina is also a natural welterweight, who will almost certainly drop back to 170 pounds after this fight.
Even with all that, if we were handicapping this just before they went on the show, Urbina would be a clear favorite, and I think the smart move is to put more emphasis on their careers up to that point, rather than the small, weird, sample size of a reality show.
The Pick: Gilbert Urbina (+150)