Saturday UFC Fight Night Betting Odds, Projections & Picks: How to Bet All 12 Fights (August 8)

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Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images. Pictured: Derrick Lewis.

  • Sean Zerillo breaks down the full card for UFC's 12-fight card on Saturday in Las Vegas.
  • Is Derrick White or Aleksei Oleinik the right choice for the main event?
  • See Zerillo's full betting breakdown below.

The UFC returns to Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday 12-fight card, beginning at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

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 12 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.

 

Up to seven fighters – five favorites and two underdogs – offer actionable moneyline betting value for Saturday night.

We’ll touch on Aleksei Oleinik in the next section on fighter props, but note that his moneyline crashed down from +220 (implied 31.25%) to +160 (implied 38.5%) within the past week – the “Boa” is taking all of the money for Saturday’s main event.

The other underdog that I like on Saturday’s card is Andrew Sanchez against Wellington Turman. Sanchez should be the cleaner striker at double the volume (4.49 to 2.43 strikes landed per minute), the question is whether his takedown defense is sturdy enough to stop Turman from executing his gameplan and whether his gas tank can last into the later stages of this fight.

Sanchez has been defeated by other volume strikers who could push the pace – while Turman is quite the opposite – and this matchup plays to the strengths of “El Dirte.” I expect Sanchez to take at least two of the three rounds – and we can discuss his decision prop odds in the next section.

As for Saturday’s favorites, the lines for both Youssef Zalal and Kevin Holland should be even more substantial, according to the crowd projections.

Holland was supposed to fight last Saturday against Trevin Giles, but Giles passed out moments before the fight so Holland was handed UFC newcomer Joaquin Buckley (who actually fight last Saturday) on a platter.

Buckley has some power, but Holland should have him outclassed in all facets, in addition to being a significantly larger man (four inches taller, with five inches of reach). This is still a combat sport and Holland is a bit enigmatic, but I would be genuinely shocked if he falls to Buckley.

The UFC essentially gave Holland this matchup as a “check the box” win after last week’s failed attempt – he just needs to avoid getting clipped.

Zalal is an exciting prospect, while Peter Barrett is not UFC-caliber, in my opinion, and a step down in competition from Zalal’s last fight. Additionally, Zalal is 10 years younger than Barrett, and when there is at least a 10-year age gap between UFC fighters, the younger man has won 62% of the time at average odds of -137 (implied 57.8%).

Nasrat Haqparast is another exciting prospect to back on this card. Perhaps fans jumped off the bandwagon after his loss to Drew Dober, but Nasrat is an excellent striker facing a relatively inactive fighter and UFC debutant in Alex Munoz – the wrestling coach for Team Alpha Male.

Munoz will need to turn this fight into a grind – but the younger fighter should have the better gas tank in the late stages; and I expect a 29-28 win for the German.

Beneil Dariush is the side I see the most projected value on for Saturday. He’s incredibly skilled, but durability is always a question for Dariush, and his chin will certainly be tested against Scott Holtzman. Holtzman is a relentless pressure fighter, and he will undoubtedly clip Dariush at some point – the question is whether the Iranian can take the hits and keep coming.

If the fight goes to a decision, I expect Dariush – the more well-rounded fighter –  to see his hand raised. Additionally, his odds to win by decision are extremely low,  and this fight is favored to finish inside of the distance. Dariush has won two of his past three bouts by submission, and he is likely the best grappler that Holtzman has ever faced.

My one concern is that Dariush missed weight for this fight. Even though fighters who miss weight still win 50% of the time in the UFC, if Beneil had a difficult weight cut that could further affect his durability.

Lastly, though I do not see projected betting value on the fight, I do like Chris Weidman in this comeback spot against Omari Akhmedov. The perception is that Weidman – the former Middleweight champion – is washed up. He has lost five of his past six bouts dating back to 2015 – all by KO/TKO – but he was competitive in all but one of those fights and lost to top-flight MMA competition in each of those bouts.

Akhmedov is a serious step down in competition, and in stopping power. He has won five of his past six fights – all by decision – and Weidman should be the larger man (two inches taller, fives inches of reach) now that he is moving back to his natural weight class at 185.

“The All-American” should be able to keep Akhmedov outside with his jab, and I expect him to be able to deploy his wrestling for some top control time too, in what should be an easy decision if he can avoid another knockout.

Weidman actually opened as a +130 underdog for this bout, which was a pick’em as of a week ago.

Moneyline Bets

  • Andrew Sanchez +140 (1 unit)
  • Chris Weidman -139 (0.5 units)
  • Parlay (-114): Kevin Holland / Beneil Dariush (1 unit)
  • Parlay (+115): Kevin Holland / Nasrat Haqparast / Youssef Zalal (0.5 units)

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN, and WV only.]


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:

 

As I mentioned above, Aleksei Oleinik has been taking a ton of money for Saturday’s main event – moving down 60 cents in the past week –  and while I still see actionable value on his moneyline, his path to victory in a five-round fight is pretty limited.

Oleinik has never been known for his gas tank, and although his last bout was a three-round decision with Fabricio Werdum, it was ultimately a grappling struggle between two prolific Jiu-Jitsu practitioners.

Derrick Lewis will try to keep the fight standing and outlast Oleinik – either by catching him with an uppercut when “The Boa Constrictor” recklessly comes forward searching for an early takedown or by fighting off submission attempts and using his size and strength advantage to get back to his feet, before picking apart a fading Oleinik in the later stages of the fight.

Oleinik has averaged 2.4 takedowns per 15 minutes in the UFC (46% accuracy) and Lewis’s takedown defense (53%) is almost non-existent – but his ability to get back to his feet is almost unmatched.

Against a superior grappler like Oleinik, Lewis may not fight the task so easy, however – and against the only other fighter who could take his back with ease – Daniel Cormier – Lewis tapped to a rear-naked choke.

The main event is scheduled for five rounds, but Oleinik averages 6:14 per fight inside the octagon, and Lewis (9:55) is also a noted finished (18 of 23 wins by knockout), though he has scored multiple second and third-round stoppages.

Instead of betting his now reduced moneyline, I split one unit in the prop market on Olenik by submission, alongside his odds to win in Round 1 or Round 2. If Lewis survives the first 10 minutes, I’ll look to play him live.

There are five other winning method prop wagers for Saturday that offer potential betting value:

  • Youssef Zalal by Decision
  • Andrew Sanchez by Decision
  • Laureano Staropoli by Decision
  • Beneil Dariush by Submission
  • Yana Kunitskaya by Decision

Of those, the only two that I considered playing are Kunitskaya by decision – which I touch on passing in the next section – and Sanchez by decision.

I already played Sanchez’s moneyline, however, and I don’t see a reason to double-down. But if you want some better odds, that does seem like his clear path to victory.

Dariush and Zalal seem almost equally likely to win by decision or submission if they do win their respective bouts, and while Staropoli doesn’t have major stopping power I’m more concerned about his opponent’s durability.

Up to seven bouts (2-4, 9-12) offer betting value either to finish inside of the distance or to go to a decision, but I ultimately decided to pass on these wagers too.

The Tucker vs. Jaynes and Stewart vs. Pitolo bouts each have one fighter who could look to grind out a decision, though I certainly expect at least one of those two fights to end in a KO/TKO. Oleinik vs. Lewis will almost surely end inside of the distance, but at current odds, there are just a few percentage points worth of expected value at a very steep price.

Four fights – Zalal vs. Barrett, Sanchez vs. Turman, Kutinskaya vs. Stolirenko, and Weidman vs. Akhmedov – are expected to go the distance and also offer value on that prop.

Of those, I would only consider betting on the Sanchez vs. Turman prop – but in the smaller cage at UFX Apex fights have ended early at a significantly higher rate.

Stolirenko, Zalal, and either Weidman or Akhmedov have pretty clear paths to victory via early finish.

I have been aggressive in the prop market in recent weeks – and while there are a lot of bets showing value this week, I am treading very carefully with a more unpredictable card.

Prop Bets

  • Oleinik to win by Submission (+250, 0.5 units)
  • Oleineik to win in Round 1 (+500, 0.25 units)
  • Oleinik to win in Round 2 (+800, 0.25 units)

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN, and WV only.]

Fights to Pass On

There is just one fight where I don’t see any betting value whatsoever for Saturday night, and there are several other fights where I did see at least one wager offering value, but I ultimately decided to pass on betting the fight.

Irvin Rivera vs. Ali Alqaisi

The moneyline odds, inside the distance odds, and other prop odds look to be spot on relative to the crowd projection for the opening bout on Saturday’s card.

There isn’t much tape to go off of for Ali Alqaisai – who is making his UFC debut ( and we might quickly find out that he is not UFC caliber – but I’m not sold on Rivera’s grappling either, and he could be in major trouble if this fight goes to the mat. Note that fighters making their octagon debut against a UFC veteran win just 43% of the time (209-276)

Gavin Tucker vs. Justin Jaynes

Perhaps recency bias is in play here – Jaynes won by KO/TKO as a late-replacement underdog on the June 20th card, while Tucker hasn’t fought since July 2019, and fighters who return off of a layoff of more than one year win less than 40% of the time in the UFC.

Jaynes cut down to 145 pounds for this fight – so he will likely be the bigger man – and he has the wrestling chops to keep this bout standing. However, his line crashed down from +185 at open to a pick’em as of writing, and all of the value on the Jaynes side is now gone.

Tim Means vs. Laureano Staropoli

The only bet offering potential value in this fight is Staropoli by decision – but based upon the current line the betting market must think that Tim Means is almost at the end of his career.

He has not absorbed damage well in his recent fights, but I still see multiple paths to victory for him against Staropoli – either by stoppage or decision.

Julija Stolirenko vs. Yana Kunitskaya

I couldn’t fault anyone for betting this fight to go the distance, or consequently taking the favorite (Kunitskaya) to win by decision – I show projected value on both wagers.

She should be able to pick apart her opponent on the feet, but Stoliarenko is a strong grappler with good submission skills, and she can make this fight ugly in a hurry or end it early. There just wasn’t enough value to bet Kunitskaya by decision at -125, but I did consider making a small play.

Darren Stewart vs. Maki Pitolo

I show slight betting value on Darren Stewart for this bout, and from a handicapping perspective, he also seems like the right side, with his ability to exploit the holes in Pitolo’s grappling.

However, Pitolo seems to be able to lure fighters into a brawl – the preferred fighting style for  “Coconut Bombz” – and if he has his way this fight will be a 15-minute slugfest – unless someone goes to sleep early. This fight offers some value to finish inside of the distance, but I would avoid that market – Stewart could turn this potentially exciting clash into a grind on the mat.

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