Saturday’s UFC Fight Night Betting Odds, Predictions, Projections: Our Favorite Bets for Alves vs. Wells, Means vs. Dalby and More (June 26)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC fighter Tim Means at UFC APEX.
- UFC Fight Night gets a rare Saturday afternoon start, with prelims of the 13-fight card beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
- Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov are the main event, but our staff has found great value on three other fights.
- See which fights there betting, as well as all of the prop and moneyline projections, below.
We’ve got one more UFC Fight Night card scheduled at the APEX this weekend before the promotion takes the holiday weekend off.
The action in the octagon kicks off earlier than usual (prelims start at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN+), but there is plenty to love about the card, which is headlined by heavyweights Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov.
So, where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew is looking at three fights in particular, and they see a few bets in those matchups with value. You can find their analysis and picks on those matches below.
Erich Richter: Julia Avila vs. Julija Stoliarenko
Contributor at The Action Network
Julia “Raging Panda” Avila, who is 8-2 in her career and 2-1 in the UFC, faces off against Julija Stoliarenko who is 0-2 in the UFC with both losses coming by decision.
Avila is known as the “Raging Panda” because of the way she runs out of the gate. She saw some success with that against Gina Mazany last June resulting in a first-round knockout. But in her last time out, we saw Avila lose a decision to Sijara Eubanks as a -300 favorite.
It is possible that Avila will seek a similar early rush approach against Stoliarenko. However, the average fight time for Avila is 10:07 and 15:00 for Stoliarenko. Stoliarenko is known for her submission skills, and Avila will want to avoid an all-out charge as she did against Eubanks.
Leading up to this fight, Avila talked about being more in control so she can rack up victories, telling the media, “The new rage isn’t playing checkers, it is playing chess.” Teasing a more strategic approach would hint at a smarter fighter who understands her opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
I expect Avila to slow the pace down and dominate Stoliarenko on the feet. In Avila’s last fight, Eubanks was able to turn the tables on her offensive attack, landing multiple takedowns and ground control. Avila should be able to rack up plenty of points throughout the fight with her power and striking skills.
Women’s fights go to a decision at about a 65% clip, and the odds on this fight to go to a decision sit at -137 (57.81% implied odds) on PointsBet. I think the value here is tremendous, and I would bet that prop as high as -180.
The Pick: Fight to go to decision (-137)
Billy Ward: Warlley Alves vs. Jeremiah Wells
Contributor at The Action Network
Jeremiah “who needs a nickname” Wells (I made up that middle part) is stepping in on short notice to take on Warlley Alves in the prelims of Saturday’s event.
Wells is a former CES and CFFC welterweight champion who was originally set to make his UFC debut in September before his opponent failed his medicals. Alves, a UFC fighter since 2014, has alternated wins and losses over his past five bouts, with the losses coming against Randy Brown and James Krause.
It’s obviously tough to try to handicap bouts with UFC newcomers given the differences in level of competition, but Wells is a stud. Full disclosure here, I actually had a signed contract to fight him at one point, so I’m both familiar with his body of work and potentially biased (fortunately for me, the show ended up cancelled — it would not have gone well).
Wells’ record is impressive, and he’s fought solid competition, with all of his opponents being .500 or better at the time they fought. What’s most impressive here is the method of victory — six of his eight wins have been by stoppage, with an even mix of submissions and knockouts.
While it doesn’t show up in the data, having watched his tape he has scary power, and as a Renzo Gracie student his ground game should be strong too.
That power is what stands out most here. Alves has a below-average striking defense rate and strikes absorbed per minute, so Wells should be able to get off here. Wells is also super durable, with his only stoppage loss being his amateur debut almost ten years ago.
When the more active fighter is also highly durable, this boosts the odds of winning on the judges scorecards as well.
I also like that Wells is the shorter fighter but has the longer reach, a combination that has been shown to be a good one by Reed Kuhn of Fightnomics (which is definitely worth a read for anyone reading this column.)
Given the short-notice nature of the contest and his debuting status, I understand Wells being an underdog, but the +198 odds on him at FanDuel are far too long. I wouldn’t expect to get him at this price for much longer, so take advantage of it while it’s here.
The Pick: Jeremiah Wells ML (+198)
Sean Zerillo: Tim Means vs. Nicolas Dalby
Betting Analyst, The Action Network
There’s a good argument for Nicolas Dalby in this matchup. He turns all of his fights into absolute grinds and can eke out a decision against any opponent depending upon which three judges are sitting cage-side.
Dalby was out-landed 83-50 (105-58 on total strikes) without landing a takedown in the unanimous decision win at UFC 255 against Daniel Rodriguez; one judge gave him all three rounds. Half of the media scorecards and 52% of fans scored the bout for Rodriguez.
However, Means is both the more skilled and more experienced fighter and the far likelier minute-winner in this matchup. He has massive advantages in both strike differential (+1.58 to -0.37) and efficiency (110 to 92 combined striking percentage).
If Means can stay at range and limit time with his back up against the cage, and if his takedown defense holds up (64%) against Dalby’s wrestling (1.45 per 15 minutes, 33% accuracy), then Means should eventually pull away on the scorecards.
I projected “The Dirty Bird” as a 61% favorite in this fight, and I would bet his moneyline up to -140. Furthermore, I projected his odds to win by decision at +135, and I would play that prop down to +150.
The Bet: Means by Decision +180