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Saturday UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks, Projections: Best Bets for Nikita Krylov vs. Paul Craig and Arnold Allen vs. Dan Hooker (March 19)

Saturday UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks, Projections: Best Bets for Nikita Krylov vs. Paul Craig and Arnold Allen vs. Dan Hooker (March 19) article feature image
Credit:

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured (L-R): UFC opponents Arnold Allen and Dan Hooker.

  • The UFC is back in London and Saturday's action gets underway early at 1:30 p.m. ET.
  • Our team of MMA experts is targeting two fights as their favorite bets: Krylov vs. Craig and Allen vs. Hooker.
  • Get both our favorite UFC Fight Night bets plus Sean Zerillo's model projections for every bout below.

The UFC makes its long-awaited return to London this weekend with a 12-fight card set to take place at the O2 Arena Saturday. The fight features two awesome matchups at the top between top-ranked fighters: Alexander Volkov vs. Tom Aspinall and Arnold Allen vs. Dan Hooker. The action begins with six prelim bouts at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ with the six-bout main card slated to start at 4 p.m. ET.

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.

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Billy Ward: Nikita Krylov vs. Paul Craig

Contributor at The Action Network

Craig is quite possibly the best MMA grappler in the UFC right now, and he gets another chance to showcase his skills against Nikita Krylov on Saturday. Fresh off his dominant win over top contender Jamahal Hill, Craig is looking to build some momentum and put himself in the title conversation.

Krylov is 2-3 in his last five UFC bouts, with wins over Johnny Walker and Ovince St. Preux that have lost significant luster since those fights took place. He has also struggled to defend takedowns, with Magomed Ankalaev getting him to the mat three times in Krylov’s last fight.

While Craig is nowhere near the wrestler Ankalaev is, he might not have to be. Craig pulled guard against Hill in their bout, showcasing a willingness to force a grappling match by any means necessary. Still, he should be able to pick up an offensive takedown or two as well. Krylov’s 55% takedown defense is well below the UFC average.

Krylov has shown a willingness to attempt takedowns as well, which is great if you’re a Craig bettor. I don’t see Krylov — who’s been submitted three times in the UFC — finding much success on the ground with Craig. Krylov’s build puts him at a disadvantage on the ground too. Longer-limbed fighters are somewhat easier to submit, given the extra surface area they have to defend.

In addition to the moneyline, Craig inside the distance (+330) and by submission (+450) stand out as well. Craig has never won (or, for that matter lost) a fight by decision as a professional — though he did fight Shogun Rua to a draw. I prefer the conservative approach of Craig’s moneyline, but I’ll take a nibble at both of his props as well.

The Pick: Paul Craig ML (+160)

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Sean Zerillo: Arnold Allen vs. Dan Hooker

Staff Writer at The Action Network

The co-main event between Dan Hooker and Arnold Allen is my favorite bout on Saturday’s card.

Hooker is returning to Featherweight, where he competed in the UFC from 2014-2016 before moving up to Lightweight.

He’ll be the bigger man in the cage against Arnold Allen (5 inches of both height and reach) and possesses a far superior strength of schedule.

Hooker is also the more diverse striker and is used to pushing a higher pace (4.9 to 2.96 strikes landed per minute in favor of Hooker) in his fights. At the same time, Allen (-7% strike accuracy, +14% defense) focuses on avoiding damage and landing the bigger power shots by setting up his left hand.

Hooker applies a ton of pressure, and while Allen is capable of fighting off the back foot, he will need multiple knockdowns or takedowns to win minutes convincingly. Otherwise, I expect Hooker to land more volume on the feet — his knees up the middle should be particularly devastating.

Allen’s offensive grappling (1.44 takedowns per 15 minutes, 50% accuracy) and/or Hooker’s defensive wrestling (78% takedown defense) may determine a tightly contested matchup.

I don’t necessarily see Allen landing takedowns – or controlling a much larger fighter if he does, so I like Hooker on the moneyline (projected 55%) as the superior striker in a dogfight, and would bet him small to -110.

The Pick: Fight Goes to Decision (-140)

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