UFC Fight Night Betting Odds, Projections & Picks: How to Bet All 11 Fights (Saturday, August 29)

Credit:

Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Magomed Ankalaev (right).

Aug 29, 2020, 03:55 PM EDT
  • Saturday's 11-fight UFC card begins at 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
  • The main card picks up at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+, culminating in a Light Heavyweight match between Aleksandar Rakic and Anthony Smith.
  • Read on for Sean Zerillo's betting preview, including odds, picks and betting angles for Saturday's undercard and main card action.

The UFC returns to Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday with an 11-fight card, beginning at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN. The main card starts at 9:00 p.m ET on ESPN+ and concludes with a three-round Light Heavyweight clash between Aleksandar Rakic and Anthony Smith.

In addition to moneylines and over/unders, there are numerous ways to bet on an MMA fight — including exact winning methods, winning round props, and whether or not the match will go to a decision or finish inside of the distance.

As a result, after examining all of the betting options, your typical UFC card can offer a substantial amount of actionable value.

Check out the full betting odds for Saturday’s UFC card, with analysis and picks from Sean Zerillo for each fight below:


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UFC Fight Night Moneyline Projections and Picks

Below, you can find my crowdsourced fair odds moneyline projection for each of Saturday’s 11 bouts. In the next section, you’ll discover forecasts for those fights to finish inside of the distance, or for each fighter to win by decision, knockout, or submission.

As of writing, five fighters – four favorites and one underdog – offer actionable moneyline betting value for Saturday night.

  • Sean Brady (-400)
  • Alex Caceres (-200)
  • Impa Kasanganay (-129)
  • Ricardo Lamas (-335)
  • Ji Yeon Kim (+230)

Brady and Caceres offer significantly more projected value relative to the other three fighters, however.

I’m passing on the Kasanganay vs. Pitolo match – I’ll touch on that at the end of this article.

Ji Yeon Kim seems like the one underdog worth playing. Kim has a significant size advantage against Alexa Grasso – who is moving up from Strawweight to Flyweight – and is two inches taller, with a 6-inch reach advantage (72 inches to 66 inches). This fight should mostly be a striking battle – Kim has never recorded a takedown in five UFC fights – and it will likely come down to which fighter pushes a faster pace.

Historically, Grasso should have the advantage in that regard – landing an additional 0.76 strikes per minute, with a significantly better strike differential (+1.64 to -0.29) than Kim – and she has also been much more efficient (+8% accuracy, +4% defense).

Kim doesn’t necessarily use her length to the best of her abilities, but she pushes forward aggressively, gets herself into a lot of close decisions, and Grasso is very hittable.

The fight is also heavily favored to go to a decision, and I see a more significant edge on Kim’s odds to win by a decision than betting her straight moneyline; but you could bet the moneyline (projected -203), or split a bet between the two plays instead.

It feels like we haven’t had these in a few weeks, but Sean Brady, Alex Caceres, and Ricardo Lamas are some potential parlay pieces for this week.

It’s easy to say that I prefer Brady – the most significant favorite among the three – but he is very durable and offers multiple paths to victory against knockout specialist Christian Aguilera; this is Brady’s fight to lose. He is the more technical striker, with far superior cardio, and the grappling exchanges should be one-sided.

Caceres has been scheduled against three different opponents this week and finally landed on Austin Springer, who is in a number of tough spots after missing weight on Friday:

  • Debut against a UFC veteran:  43% win rate 
  • Late replacement: 38% win rate 
  • Missed Weight:  49% win rate; 3-10 since the restart 

He also hasn’t fought since last October, so there could be a bit of rust, and he’s obviously not in top condition. Additionally, Caceres has the height (2 inches), reach (3 inches), and southpaw advantages (53% win rate vs. orthodox) too.

“Bruce Leeroy” could be useful in a parlay, but I prefer his plus-money odds to win by decision (projected -238) if you’re playing this fight straight up. He is a point fighter, with eight of his 11 UFC wins coming on the scorecards.

Ricardo Lamas only shows moderate moneyline betting value, and I don’t see another way to play his fight in the prop market – so it’s parlay or bust on this fight.

Algeo is making his UFC debut on short notice and although Lamas is on the downside of his career he should have the technical advantage wherever the fight goes.

If he wasn’t a short-notice replacement, I would give Algeo more credit – and I would probably bypass this fight. But he didn’t get a full camp in, while Lamas was training for a stylistically similar but superior competitor – and I would be surprised if Algeo upsets a UFC mainstay given the lack of preparation time.

Moneyline Bets

  • Parlay (-118): Sean Brady/Alex Caceres (0.5 units)
  • Parlay (+148): Sean Brady/Alex Caceres / Ricardo Lamas (0.5 units)

[Bet now at FanDuel and get a $500 risk-free bet.]


UFC Fight Night Prop Projections and Picks

In addition to creating a crowdsourced projection for moneyline plays, I also collect data on each fighter to win by decision, knockout, or submission — which also enables us to determine fair odds for each fight to go the distance:

For Saturday, I currently see projected value on four fights to go the distance (1-4, 9) and on two fights to finish inside the distance (7, 11). I’ll get back to this momentarily.

Furthermore, I see value on at least seven winning method props.

We already discussed one of those method of victory props – Ji Yeon Kim to win by Decision (+395), which I played for a half unit.

Let’s take the rest of those possible wagers in order:

In the first bout of the night, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mallory Martin finishes Hannah Cifers via ground and pound – so the projected value on Martin to win by decision (-151) or on this bout to go the distance (81%) is questionable.

You will likely get a game effort from Cifers, who would certainly be cut from the roster after a loss, but Martin comes from a top camp with Elevation fight team, and she will relentlessly search for a finish for 15 minutes.

Cifers has been stopped in three consecutive UFC Fights, and her latest loss to Mariya Agapova was not flattered by Shana Dobson’s upset victory over Agapova last weekend. I’ll pass on both potential wagers in this fight – Martin’s KO/TKO chances are being underrated.

For the second preliminary fight – another women’s strawweight bout –  I again show value on the fight to go the distance, in addition to the favorite Emily Whitmire to win by decision, or the underdog Polyana Viana to win by submission. I would expect a fairly binary outcome, but strange things tend to happen in these lower-level matchups, and it’s difficult to trust either fighter with your money.

We already included Sean Brady in a couple of parlays – but he does offer value to win by decision, as his fight also offers projected value to go the distance. As I already mentioned, Brady offers multiple paths to victory, but I think he’s a deserving favorite.

The odds for Alex Caceres to win by decision opened at plus-money. In addition to including Caceres in parlays, I would have to play Caceres’ decision prop down to -120, given all of the circumstances surrounding his opponent. I’ll wait for more books to open their prop markets before locking in a play, however.

Moving to the Main Card, I like Magomed Ankalaev to repeat his stoppage victory over Ion Cutelaba – even though their first bout ended in a controversial manner.

Ankalaev has been the superior fighter for 99% of his time inside the octagon, save for a conspiracy-level highly-questionable late submission loss to Paul Craig in his debut, as a substantial favorite – and I believe that the Dagestani-born fighter is destined for stardom:

I projected Ankalaev’s odds to win inside the distance around 63%, implied odds of -170, and I’ll make a small play at current odds of -125, up to -140.

Skipping ahead to the co-main and main events, my two favorite bets on the card don’t necessarily align with expected value.

In the Neil Magny vs. Robbie Lawler welterweight clash, I have a hard time seeing past Magny’s incredible 80-inch reach (6-inch advantage), which he can use to keep Lawler on the outside with his jab and kicks – and I would expect the team Elevation product to be aggressive with his wrestling in order to tire Lawler out further.

If Magny loses the first round, and his odds drop below -150 – I’ll gladly bet him live – Lawler took this fight on short notice (again, 38% win rate) and he typically gasses out after the first round. His overall output has also fallen off later in his career.

Magny is very strong in the clinch, with his big knees and elbows, and I’d be surprised if Lawler – despite his championship pedigree – is able to eke out a decision; he needs to hunt for a stoppage against an opponent who can push the pace.

Magny’s size advantage and reserved, outside fighting style, could pose major issues for Lawler – who won’t have many opportunities to counter from distance.

Magny does have two losses by KO/TKO in his past eight fights – but so long as he keeps his head on straight against Lawler, this is his fight to lose on the scorecards.

Given Lawler’s durability, and Magny’s lack of stopping power, the latter’s path to victory inside the distance seems pretty limited. And while his odds to win by a decision are fair, they don’t offer a projected betting edge.

I would still play Magny to win by decision up to -150.

In the main event, you do have to question Anthony Smith’s chin, just a few months after getting beaten down by Glover Teixeira on national TV.

Over 48 professional bouts, Smith has proven himself to be extremely durable, however. “Lionheart” has made it to the second round in all 12 of his UFC fights, and he hasn’t suffered a first-round knockout loss since 2011.

Aleksandar Rakic has nine knockout wins in 14 career fights, but his first two UFC bouts went the distance, and I don’t give him full credit for a quick victory over a chinny, since-retired Jimi Manuwa – though the highlight is still pretty sweet:

I bet Over 1.5 Rounds for the Main Event – despite the crowd suggesting that this fight will end inside the distance (projected -177).

This is only a three-round main event – rather than a five-round fight, and I trust the durability for both fighters to at least make it to the halfway mark. Either one or both could tire in the later stages, even in a three-round battle, and you could see someone fall late.

Smith went 25 minutes against Jon Jones and lasted until the fifth round against Teixeira, despite telling his corner that his teeth were falling out. I expect a more measured game plan here from Smith against another dangerous opponent after he gassed himself out early in that Teixeira fight – and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another main event go to the scorecards.

Prop Bets and Totals

  • Alex Caceres to win by Decision (+110, 0.5 units)
  • Magomed Ankalaev to win Inside the Distance (-125, 0.5 units)
  • Ji Yeon Kim to win by Decision (+395, 0.5 units)
  • Neil Magny to win by Decision (-130, 1 unit)
  • Smith/Rakic, Over 1.5 Rounds (-160, 1 unit)

[Bet now at FanDuel and get a $500 risk-free bet.]


Fights to Pass On

Impa Kasanganay vs. Maki Pitolo 

Kasanganay was the one potential moneyline play showing projected value that I want nothing to do with on Saturday. His contract-earning wins on contender series weren’t overly impressive – and he’s still a very green prospect.

Pitolo has fought against much higher-level competition, and it’s worth reminding you that UFC debutants only win 43% of the time against UFC veterans. However, “Coconut Bombz” is also flawed – a brawler with relatively low-level defensive grappling skills.

While the still-developing Kasanganay has a higher ceiling as a martial artist, Pitolo is currently the superior boxer, and I would look for him to eat up Kasanganay with body shots. I wouldn’t be surprised with any result in this bout – and I ultimately don’t have a strong read on it for betting purposes.

Zack Cummings vs. Alessio Di Chirico

Cummings offers very slight value to win by submission (+700) relative to his projection (+658). Still, I don’t consider a 0.7% edge actionable, and this fight doesn’t offer much else from a betting perspective. I would also prefer Di Chirico as the side in this pick’em fight if you forced me to make a pick.

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