UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks, Projections: Best Bets for Gutierrez vs. Batgerel, Askarov vs. Kara-France (March 26)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC. Pictured (L-R): UFC fighters Chris Gutierrez and Batgerel Danaa.
- The UFC heads to Ohio for this Saturday's action-packed 13-fight card and our MMA experts are spotting value in two bouts.
- Sean Zerillo and Billy Ward are eyeing two underdogs they like on the moneyline.
- Check out their picks, plus Zerillo's model projections for all 13 fights below.
From the UK back to the US, the UFC is back in action Saturday in Columbus Ohio, with a 13-bout card headlined by a pair of exciting heavyweights, Curtis Blaydes and Chris Daukaus. The fights begin with seven prelims at 4 p.m. ET followed by six main card fights at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed two fights and picks on Saturday’s stacked card that present betting value.
You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo’s projections below using odds from BetMGM.
Billy Ward: Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France
Contributor at The Action Network
Kiwi Banger Kai Kara-France takes on undefeated Askar Askarov in a possible number-one contender bout on Saturday’s main card. We’ve got an old fashioned striker vs. grappler match for the most part, with Askarov attempting a ridiculous 3.3 takedowns per round in his UFC career.
That number tells you something though. Askarov’s conversion rate (28%) leaves something to be desired. That’s not always a problem — as long as he eventually ends up in control most judges will reward him the round. However, his inability to keep fights on the ground is more concerning.
His fight against Joseph Benavidez in his last outing is a perfect example. Askarov landed four takedowns in the second round, which sounds great! Until you realize that means Benavidez was able to get back to his feet.
This hasn’t really caught up to Askarov yet, but that could change here. Kara-France has ridiculous power for the division, scoring a knockdown every third round or so. He also has an impressive 87% takedown defense.
The combination of those factors is why I’m targeting Kai here. He should be able to keep the fight standing long enough to hurt Askarov, which he can do with a single punch. Askarov needs to control the bout for 15 minutes, which is a much bigger ask.
In addition to his moneyline — which I’d bet down to +250 — Kara-France by knockout (+800 on DraftKings) and inside the distance (+650) are both worth a sprinkle here.
The Pick: Kai Kara-France (+330)
Sean Zerillo: Chris Gutierrez vs. Batgerel Danaa
Staff Writer at The Action Network
I projected Gutierrez as a 53.7% favorite (-116 implied odds) for Saturday’s fight and consider him my favorite underdog bet on the card.
Danaa has impressed in his brief UFC run — including three consecutive first-round finishes. Still, he’s a bit of a headhunter and seems like a finish-reliant fighter instead of a minute-winner.
Generally speaking, I try to back minute-winners, particularly in lower-weight classes like Bantamweight (135), with reduced power and fewer finishes.
Gutierrez is a proven, highly-efficient striker (+2.13 landed per minute) with an array of kicks to all three levels. His combined striking accuracy (59%) and defense (62%) stand out. Typically, those numbers average to 100% combined for fighters, so 121% is outstanding.
Moreover, Gutierrez has faced a higher level of competition than Danaa — who has shown a vulnerability to leg kicks in his fights.
Additionally, Gutierrez should enjoy the extra room to operate in the larger cage in Columbus, as opposed to the smaller octagon in the APEX, where he has spent his past four fights.
Danaa should have front-loaded success in this matchup. He could knock Gutierrez out, knock him down, or win Round 1 with the more effective strikes.
Still, I trust Gutierrez’s durability and movement to help him survive early before he eventually finds his range and begins to chew Danaa apart with better distance management and the more diverse strikes.
In addition to his moneyline, you can live bet Gutierrez after potentially dropping Round 1.
Lastly, you can bet his decision prop (projected +166, listed +225 at BetMGM) with his point-fighting tendencies.
The Pick: Chris Gutierrez (+120)
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