UFC Fight Night Picks & Predictions: Best Bets for Hill vs. Yoder & Kape vs. Nicoalu (Saturday, March 13)
Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC fighter Matheus Nicolau.
Saturday’s loaded UFC Fight Night card will being at 5 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN+ with seven prelim fights followed by a six-bout main card starting at 8 p.m. ET.
With 13 action-packed bouts on the slate, there is plenty of value to be found. So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed three fights and picks on Saturday’s massive card that present betting value.
You can find their analysis and picks on those matches below.
Billy Ward: Angela Hill vs. Ashley Yoder
Contributor at The Action Network
Angela Hill and Ashley Yoder square off to close out the prelims in a rescheduling of their matchup from two weeks ago. This is also a rematch for the two, as Hill defeated Yoder by decision in the TUF 25 Finale in 2017.
While I don’t want to speculate on the impact the rescheduling of the bout may have had (it was due to a Yoder cornerman testing positive for Covid, which shouldn’t impact the fight significantly), anytime we deal with re-matches, there are historical trends to consider.
As of August 2019, which was the most recent data I could find, the previous winner (Hill) has won roughly 69% of rematches per OddsShark. However, younger fighters (in this case, Yoder) have won over 60% of rematches (from the wonderful Fightnomics, by Reed Kuhn).
With these trends pointing us in opposite directions, we need to try to parse out which we think is more salient in this case. Also from Fightnomics, fighter win rate tends to peak around age 32. In their first fight, Hill was 32 and Yoder was 29.
This time around, Hill is 36 and Yoder 33. Hill is also coming off of two straight losses, so it’s not a reach to suggest that she may be slipping a bit. Yoder’s resume since their last bout isn’t super impressive, but she is coming off of a win against 7-1 (at the time) Amanda Granger.
To compound all of this, Yoder has a significant 5-inch reach advantage, and while both fighters have above-average striking rates, Yoder has shown an ability to take the fight to the ground, averaging 1.25 takedowns per 15 minutes in the UFC, compared to .46 for Hill. Yoder also has four submission wins (and has never been submitted) as a pro, while Hill has been submitted twice in her career.
Hill definitely deserves to be the favorite here, but the +320 odds we’re getting on FanDuel dictate a bet on Yoder. While holding a reach, youth, and grappling advantage, I’m comfortable taking Yoder all the way to +300 (25% implied odds). If you really want a long shot with some value, consider Yoder by submission (currently +950).
The Pick: Yoder (+320) Bet down to +300
Erich Richter: Manel Kape vs. Matheus Nicolau
Contributor at The Action Network
UFC prospect Manel Kape faces off against once top prospect Matheus Nicolau on Saturday’s main card. Matheus trains at Jackson-Wink one of the best camps in the sport who is home to Jon Jones and Holly Holm.
Kape has just one fight inside the UFC — a decision loss to Alexandre Pantoja on Feb. 6. Kape (15-5) spent most of his career with Rizin and in his debut, he absorbed 4.93 significant strikes per minute while landing 3.27 per minute per UFC Stats. Now he faces arguably a tougher opponent in Nicolau on just five week’s notice.
Nicolau has experience in the UFC as a 3-1 fighter. He was cut from the UFC despite his 3-1 record because the UFC was expecting to cut the whole Featherweight division in 2018. He picked up two wins on smaller promotions in Brazil and now he’s back on the big stage.
Kape surprisingly landed a bunch of takedowns in his first fight, but the film tells a different story as those takedowns came with less than 30 seconds in the round.
He may possess the strength to get Nicolau to the ground, but he did not control Pantoja on the ground much at all. We have seen Nicolau look excellent on the ground in the past so I would be very hesitant to test the Brazilian Nicolau’s jiu-jitsu.
PointsBet has Nicolau at +580 by submission (14.71% implied), which is the best value I could find by a wide margin. Many other books have it closer to +450 (18.18% implied).
Nicolau should not be an underdog here. The fight opened at -115, but the odds have shifted toward Kape. Perhaps not seeing Nicolau in a while is the cause. Regardless, Kape is taking the fight on short notice and Nicolau appears to be one of the better values on the card as an underdog in this matchup.
The Pick: Matheus Nicolau +105 | Nicolau by Submission +580
Sean Zerillo: Manel Kape vs. Matheus Nicolau
Betting Analyst, The Action Network
I faded Kape in his UFC debut against Alexandre Pantoja, a high-level blackbelt who decided to stay on the feet and pick apart (72-49 on significant strikes) the surprisingly gunshy “Starboy.”
I’m happy to fade Kape against another well-rounded fighter in Matheus Nicolau, who is even more likely to mix in takedowns to make Kape uncomfortable.
Low output is typically an issue for Kape. He relies on his power to put opponents away, rather than clearly winning minutes, and Nicolau’s wrestling could pose some major problems for the Portuguese prospect.
My only concern on the Nicolau side is the layoff (first fight since August 2019) and potential ring rust, otherwise, I think he should be the clear favorite in this spot. His grappling upside could have Kape in some vulnerable positions in a hurry.
On the feet, Kape’s counter-striking style is far too reliant on knockdowns and knockouts to meet his win condition.
I would bet Nicolau on the moneyline down to +105, at a 2.5% edge against my projection.
The Pick: Matheus Nicolau ML (+115)