Saturday UFC Fight Night: Betting Projections, Props & Picks for Ortega vs. Korean Zombie and More (Oct. 17)
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images. Brian Ortega
- A Featherweight showdown between Chang Sung Jung -- "The Korean Zombie" -- and Brian Ortega headlines Saturday's UFC Fight Island 6 in Abu Dhabi.
- Sean Zerillo shares props and picks for every fight on Saturday night's card.
Another week, another slate of action on Fight Island.
UFC Fight Island 6 will take place on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, beginning with a six-bout undercard starting at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN+, followed by five fights on the main card at 7 p.m. ET.
The action is headlined by a Featherweight showdown between the No. 4 Contender Chang Sung Jung — “The Korean Zombie” — and No. 2 contender Brian Ortega. Dana White has confirmed that the winner will get the next title shot against reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski.
Check out the full betting odds for Saturday’s UFC card, with analysis and picks for each fight below:
UFC Fight Night Moneyline Projections and Picks
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 the distance.
As a result, after examining all of the betting options, your typical UFC card can offer a substantial amount of actionable value. Below, you can find my crowdsourced fair odds moneyline projection for each of Saturday’s 11 bouts.
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 or for each fighter to win inside of the distance.
The Fights I’m Betting
As of writing, I have 12 pre-fight wagers spanning seven of Saturday’s 11 bouts: Three moneylines, three totals, four props, and two parlays.
Underdogs won five of the 13 fights last week, but I’m expecting this card to be significantly chalkier, and my projections reflect that opinion.
Let’s get into the fights that I am betting:
Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Maxim Grishin
This is the second-most likely bout on the card to finish inside the distance, both per my projections and listed odds. While I don’t see any value on the distance prop, I do like the Under 1.5 rounds at -150 or better.
Antigulov has pretty clear intentions inside of the octagon — spamming takedowns and submissions until he tires out before rolling over. The Russian is 2-3 in the UFC, with all five fights ending in the first round.
In fact, 24 of his 27 professional fights have ended in the first round, and 25 would have cashed under 1.5 rounds.
Maxim Grishin makes his Light Heavyweight debut after losing to Marcin Tybura as a late replacement at UFC 251. He isn’t a knockout artist by any means, but he has finished 70% of his career wins (15 KO, six submissions).
Grishin has also been finished six times (three KO, three submissions), so perhaps Antigulov has a legitimate path to a quick win.
But, Grishin has much faster hands, with a significant size advantage (4″ height, 8″ reach), and if he can keep the fight standing or gain top control, he should put his countryman away quickly.
Bets to Consider:
- Under 1.5 rounds (to win 0.5 units, play to -150)
Fares Ziam vs. James Mullarkey
Mullarkey has gotten a lot of public support in this fight, but his line took a slight dip following Friday’s weigh-ins when he had to use the hoop and looked a bit worse for wear than anyone else.
He lost a one-sided decision to powerful kickboxer Brad Riddell in his UFC debut, getting out-landed by more than 2.5 strikes per minute while receiving a fight of the night bonus as a reward for all of that damage.
Riddell is difficult to take down, however, and unless Ziam has improved his own takedown defense over the past year, the Aussie should be the more versatile fighter in the cage.
Both men are coming in off a long layoff and are at a point in their career trajectories where they might have made significant improvements.
As a result, it’s difficult to pick a side in this bout – we don’t have a lot of current information on either man, and you’ll likely get a much better live read on a side rather than taking a stab now.
According to my projections, this is the most likely fight on the card to go to a decision, and I’ll make a small play on the Over 2.5 Rounds up to -185.
Bets to Consider:
- Over 2.5 Rounds (play to -185)
John Phillips vs. Yong Jin Park
Phillips will forever be known as Khamzat Chimaev’s first UFC victim, but “The Welsh Wrecking Machine” literally has a puncher’s chance – and practically that – in any UFC fight.
Phillips has recorded 20 of his 22 career victories by knockout – including his lone UFC win against Alen Amendovski – but he has also lost four of his five fights inside of the octagon, with nonexistent takedown defense (11%) and zero backup plan.
Park is the more technical striker, and he has never been knocked out in his career, but “The Iron Turtle” needs to get this fight to the ground quickly and look to keep Phillips there for as long as possible.
He has the edge on volume (+4.16 landed per minute) with enough wrestling skill (3.04 takedowns per 15 minutes, 50% accuracy) to cruise to victory if he fights an intelligent gameplan.
Park’s likely method of victory is the better question to ask, and though Phillips has only gone to decision twice in his career, this seems like a very sneaky spot for a safe but a one-sided decision for the favorite.
He is my favorite parlay piece on Saturday’s card, but I would also play Park to win by decision, small, down to +200.
Bets to Consider:
- Use Park as a parlay piece
- Park to win by Decision (0.25u, play to +200)
Gillian Robertson vs. Poliana Botelho
Robertson will be at a size disadvantage (three inches of height, four inches of reach) against Botelho. Still, if she can get the fight to the ground quickly (3.3 takedowns per 15 minutes, 52% accuracy), she could find her sixth stoppage in eight trips to the octagon.
Botelho has some big power, and perhaps she has improved during her 18-month layoff. Cynthia Calvillo took her back and choked her with relative ease back in November of 2018, however, and Robertson will look to do the same here.
On paper, Botelho has a massive striking advantage (1.69 significant strikes landed per minute, +11% accuracy), with 88% takedown defense, but Robertson has competed against the significantly higher level competition:
Spoil Homecoming ✅
Gillian Robertson def Molly McCann by submission, in McCann's home town. pic.twitter.com/dDkpbk5zFR
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) May 27, 2018
None of Botelho’s previous opponents are still with the UFC.
I would bet Robertson’ss moneyline to win a half unit, to about -220 (a 7.3% edge), stick her in a parlay, or take a stab on her odds to win by decision (projected +339) at +400 or better.
Although she has finished each of her past five UFC wins and seven of her eight career wins, Robertson was 24 seconds away from going to the judges in her most recent fight with Cortney Casey. Four of those seven career finishes occurred in the second half of the fight.
She will win on the scorecards in the UFC, eventually, and the contrarian prop is worth a sprinkle with everyone playing her to win inside the distance.
Bets to Consider:
- Use Robertson as a parlay piece
- Robertson’s Moneyline (0.5u, play to -220)
- Robertson to win by decision (0.25u, play to +400)
Guram Kutateladze vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Is this the era of the Polish fighter in the UFC?
Undefeated prospect and two-division KSW champion Mauesz Gamrot makes his much-anticipated octagon debut on Saturday against fellow-debutant Guram Kutateladze.
Kutateladze, primarily a striker, is on an eight-fight winning streak, but he is stepping in on less than one week’s notice.
Historically, fighters in this spot win just 38% of the time, but at average odds of +179 (implied 35.8%), they are often good value bets — winning 2.2% more frequently than their odds suggest.
More importantly, Gamrot is just a bad stylistic matchup for Kutateladze, whose worst skill appears to be takedown defense.
When he goes to his grappling, Gamrot has some impressive throws and slams that explode into pummeling ground and pound strikes.
He’s comfortable trading in the pocket or walking his opponents down — which is what leaves him vulnerable defensively on occasion. Still, this guy is just so relentlessly physical; it’s hard not to see him having continued success at the highest level.
According to the betting market, Gamrot’s chances of winning by decision have greater than a 50% implied probability.
My projections show Gamrot with a 38% chance of recording a finish, implied odds of +163. I would bet that prop small at +250 or better – roughly a 10% edge.
Bets to Consider:
- Use Gamrot as a parlay piece
- Gamrot to win inside the distance (0.5u, play to +250)
Jonathan Martinez vs. Thomas Almeida
This fight seems primed for a performance bonus of some kind, and if you are new to the UFC, you probably don’t know Almeida – who was arguably the UFC’s top prospect at one point.
The Brazilian has spent 33 months away from the octagon, healing from various injuries and allowing his body to recover after knockout losses to Cody Garbrandt and Rob Font.
Almeida was undefeated (20-0) before losing to some of the best fighters in one of the two best divisions in this sport. Martinez’s recent win, a career-best effort over 40-year-old Frankie Saenz, did nothing to impress me.
This could be a high-paced striking battle — the two men combine to land 9.8 significant strikes per minute, but Almeida has the edge in volume (+1.44 per minute) and margin (+1.01 to +0.76) with far superior defense (64%); and again, those stats are against far better fighters than Martinez’s previous competition.
Keep in mind, Almeida was favored against both Garbrandt (-205) and Font (-150), and only a slight underdog vs. Jimmie Rivera (+140).
At age 29, I’m unconcerned about him taking such a significant break, and Martinez is also a late replacement for Alejandro Perez — taking the fight on just two weeks’ notice.
Almeida could look like a -500 favorite after the first round, and he’s my favorite value bet on the card.
Bets to Consider:
- Almeida’s Moneyline (1u, play to -175)
Brian Ortega vs. Chan Sung Jung
This is an exciting Featheweight championship contender eliminator between Ortega — who hasn’t competed since a Dec. 2018 loss to Max Holloway — and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung — who has been nearly flawless since returning from mandatory military service in 2017.
In his last fight, Ortega sustained a life-changing beating at the hands of Holloway, absorbing a record of 290 significant strikes in four rounds. Still, he has always struggled to win minutes in his fights — trailing or tied with Diego Brando (56-29), Clay Guida (62-62), Renato Moicano (65-109), Cub Swanson (24-60), and Frankie Edgar (25-27) in significant strikes landed during his six-fight winning streak from 2015-2018.
Ortega finished all of those wins, including four third-round finishes, and it isn’t easy to see him out-pointing Jung, over the course of five rounds.
He did show improved striking in that Holloway fight, and he has had time to improve his skill set during the layoff. Still, Ortega has always relied too much on his durability on the defensive end, and he’s extremely hittable.
Jung is likely the hardest hitter that he has ever faced.
The Korean Zombie is 6-4 in the UFC, but 3-1 in his second stint with the promotion, with his only loss coming on one of the freakiest knockouts in UFC history — when he was likely about to defeat Yair Rodriguez on the scorecards (while leading 126-119 in significant strikes) — at the buzzer:
1 second left…Yair Rodriguez KO's Chan Sung Jung out of nowhere.
No better way to go out on the 25th Anniversary! pic.twitter.com/1C2C6ev62c
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) November 11, 2018
Zombie has been utterly dominant in his two most recent performances against Frankie Edgar and Renato Moicano (combined 62-9 in significant strikes landed), showing a much more patient counterpunching style, as opposed to his reckless (but exciting) brawler style he carried through the Rodriguez bout.
This could also be an exciting grappling contest at points. Ortega looks to snatch necks when he gets tired of getting hit, and Zombie’s twister was the submission equivalent to Joaquin Buckley’s highlight-reel kick from last week:
But that’s also Ortega’s best path to victory, and I expect Jung to look to pick away from distance (3″ reach advantage) and counter when Ortega presses forward (77% takedown defense) to avoid those dangerous moments.
I would bet Jung to win a half unit at -220 or better, include him in a parlay, and play him to win inside of the distance (projected 64%, implied odds of -177).
Furthermore, given Ortega’s durability and style, I would bet Over 2.5 rounds in this fight up to about -120.
Bets to Consider:
- Use Jung as a parlay piece
- Jung’s Moneyline (0.5u, play to -220)
- Jung to win inside the distance (0.5u, play to -118)
- Over 2.5 Rounds (0.5u, play to -120)
Zerillo’s UFC Fight Night Bets
- Thomas Almeida (-135, 1 unit)
- Gillian Robertson (-200, 0.5u)
- Chan Sung Jung (-200, 0.5u)
- Parlay: Gamrot/Park/Robertson (+170, 0.5u)
- Parlay: Jung/Park (+105, 0.5u)
Live Betting Notes
- Gamrot to win Inside the Distance (+320, 0.25u)
- Jung to win Inside the Distance (-105, 0.25u)
- Park to win by Decision (+245, 0.25u)
- Robertson to win by Decision (+465, 0.25u)
- Antigulov/Grishin, Under 1.5 Rounds (-140, 0.5u)
- Mullarkey/Ziam, Over 2.5 Rounds (-160, 0.5u)
- Ortega/Jung, Over 2.5 Rounds (-107, 0.5u)