UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks, Projections: Best Bets for Matthews vs. Well and Kape vs. Zhumagulov (December 4)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC fighter Zhalgas Zhumagulov.
- UFC's Fight Night on Saturday night is headlined by Rob Font vs. Jose Aldo, but there's intrigue throughout the card.
- Our team of MMA betting analysts see two fights as having great value throughout the night.
- Check out their picks and detailed breakdowns below.
The UFC is back after the holiday break and this weekend’s event is stacked. The 14-fight card is headlined by an exciting matchup between rising contender Rob Font and MMA veteran Jose Aldo in a bantamweight main event.
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.
Erich Richter: Manel Kape vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
Contributor at The Action Network
Kape is the biggest favorite on the card this weekend by a wide margin. “Starboy” came into the UFC with a ton of fanfare and many still think he is a major prospect for this division.
This is not a shared opinion of mine. Kape is an excellent athlete, but has been lulled into inactivity at times. Admittedly, he had his best performance to date — a knockout win over Ode Osbourne — in August. However, he has lost two of his last three bouts and there are some grappling concerns.
This feeds in nicely to his opponent who will hope to grapple. Zhumagulov will be hunting for takedowns throughout this fight. Kape has been submitted twice in his career — notably against Kyoji Horiguchi, who is fighting for the Bellator title this weekend.
Kape’s athleticism and level of competition is very impressive. This is the main reason he is a -300 favorite. Moreover, Zhumagulov should be an underdog but closer to +140, not +240. As a value play for UFC this weekend, Zhumagulov could win this on his grappling alone.
Zhumagulov could get highlight-reel KO’d like Osbourne did. However, at these odds, Zhumagulov is the best underdog play of the weekend with the best odds at BetMGM.
The Pick: Zhalgas Zhumagulov Moneyline (+240)
Billy Ward: Jake Matthews vs. Jeremiah Wells
Contributor at The Action Network
Jeremiah Wells looked impressive in his UFC debut, dispatching solid veteran Wallrey Alves 30 seconds into Round 2 by way of knockout. Next up for Wells is UFC veteran Jake Matthews, who will be entering the Octagon for the 16th time despite being just 27 years old.
Matthews’ most recent fight was a submission loss to Sean Brady. Brady and Wells are teammates at Renzo Gracie Philadelphia, which is a good sign for Wells. Wells and Brady fight a similar style, with heavy strikes, aggressive takedowns, and solid submission skills. Wells should be able to employ a similar strategy to Brady in this one, particularly if the fight hits the ground.
Wells should also have a striking advantage. He appears noticeably faster and more powerful than Matthews, and brings a three-inch reach advantage despite being the shorter fighter. This is a big edge, as being shorter allows you to carry more muscle at a given weight class, while the longer reach eliminates the drawbacks of fighting taller fighters.
Matthews’ best odds of taking this one come through grappling, but that’s a tall order against Wells. Matthews has four submission wins in the UFC, but none by knockout. He also throws a below-average volume of strikes, which generally looks poorly to the judges if the fight goes that way. I have a ton of respect for the jiu-jitsu of all the Renzo Gracie Philly fighters, so it’s hard to see where Matthews has the edge here.
While he joined the UFC late, Wells truly has the talent to join his teammate Brady as a top Welterweight contender. Just like it was for Brady, the fight against Matthews will be a stepping stone for Wells.
Wells should win this in impressive fashion, meaning we aren’t likely to get him as a +155 underdog (PointsBet) for a while after this one.
The Pick: Jeremiah Wells Moneyline (+155)