UFC Fight Night Picks, Predictions & Projections: Best Bets for Silva vs. Rodriguez, Spencer vs. Dumont & More (May 22)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC fighter Norma Dumont.
- The UFC is back at the Apex in Las Vegas for a Fight Night with a very strong card.
- Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt will headline the even, although there are plenty of intriguing fights sprinkled throughout the night with value all over.
- Our team of MMA analysts break down their best bets of the card for bettors below.
From Texas back to Las Vegas. The UFC returns to the APEX for another Fight Night card Saturday. The 13-fight card features a headliner between two exciting Bantamweights Rob Font and Cody Garbrandt.
So, where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew is looking at three fights in particular and sees a few bets in those matchups with value. You can find their analysis and picks on those matches below.
You can also check out the moneyline and prop projections for every fight via Sean Zerillo’s betting model.
Sean Zerillo: Bruno Silva vs. Victor Rodriguez
Betting Analyst, The Action Network
I was admittedly surprised to see Bruno Silva as one of the most significant favorites on the card for Saturday night. “Bulldog” is unofficially 1-3 in the UFC (officially 1-2 with 1 No Contest), but his losses have come against solid Flyweight competition.
After getting some class relief against J.P. Buys in March, Silva showcased his skillset and secured a performance bonus with a second-round finish. He comes from a good gym — “Fight Ready MMA” — and trains with other top fighters, including Bellator’s Pitbull Brothers and former UFC double champ Henry Cejudo, all of whom are significantly better than both his most recent and upcoming opponents.
Rodriguez is a further step down in competition for Silva, from his matchup against Buys. The Alaska F.C. product has never been to the third round in his professional career. He has been finished by strikes twice — including his UFC debut against Adrian Yanez last October.
Rodriguez is a wild power puncher, but Silva has proven to be durable, and I would expect him to put Rodriguez down with some big counters. Alternatively, Silva should have a significant advantage if this fight hits the mat, too.
I projected Silva’s moneyline at -436, so I think he makes for a worthy parlay piece, but I’m also betting his prop to win inside the distance since I make a finish more than 70% of his win condition.
I project Silva to win inside the distance 57.5% of the time, implied odds of -135, and I’m comfortable betting the prop up to -130.
The Bet: Bruno Silva Inside the Distance (-129)
Erich Richter: Felicia Spencer vs. Norma Dumont
Contributor at The Action Network
Former title challenger Felicia Spencer will match up against Norma Dumont in her third UFC fight. This will be the rare fight in the women’s featherweight division (145 pounds).
Spencer only has two losses each coming by decision against Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes who have been known to be untouchable. Spencer actually fared pretty well in those fights all things considered. Cyborg has an 84% finish rate in her career and Nunes has an 80% finish rate.
In every other match against a fighter not named “Nunes” or “Cyborg” — who are once-in-a-generation talents — Spencer has shown legitimate finishing power. Her past four wins are all by stoppage.
Norma Dumont has had just two UFC fights and is 1-1 with her lone career loss coming to Megan Anderson. Spencer and Dumont have both fought Megan Anderson and Spencer made very quick work of her — landing a first-round submission.
The path for victory in this fight is tough to see for Norma Dumont. Norma has only fought professionally six times. Her decision victory against Ashlee Evans-Smith was definitely something to build off of but Spencer is a different type of opponent.
For reference, Ashlee Evans-Smith had lost four of the past five fights coming into her matchup with Dumont. I think Spencer could make quick work of Dumont who is already talking about moving down to Bantamweight.
Spencer usually finishes her opponents and has historically done so early. Dumont has not fought a fighter like Spencer in her life so I did give a hard look at Spencer to win in Round 1 at +475.
However, Spencer is +235 to win under 2.5 rounds on PointsBet. I think that is significantly better value and includes every possible finish that Spencer could have. I would bet this down to +210 at a 3% edge. Any lower than that you can find her inside the distance prop around +195 to grab the off-chance at a late third-round finish.
The Pick: Felicia Spencer/Under 2.5 rounds (+235)
Billy Ward: Jack Hermansson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
Contributor at The Action Network
Edmen Shahbazyan suffered a surprising loss to Derek Brunson in his last outing, after previously compiling an 11-0 record (4-0 UFC.) His opponent, Jack Hermansson, is also on a bit of a down-turn, losing two of his last three.
First off, I think this is an incredible fight. Shahbazyan had seemed near untouchable, coming off three consecutive first round finishes (albeit against lesser ranked opponents), before his loss to Brunson. Hermansson has beaten every opponent he’s faced who isn’t a top five Middleweight since 2017, so this is a great opportunity for “The Golden Boy” to prove he belongs in the conversation of the best Middleweights in the sport. For Hermansson, this is an opportunity to prove he’s still among the division’s elite after two losses to top-tier opponents.
I think this matchup sets up well for the ascendent Shahbazyan. While his chin, and cardio, looked shaky at the end of the Brunson fight, Hermansson has never knocked down a UFC opponent with strikes. I also think the young fighter will have taken steps to improve his cardio, now that he’s been past the end of round one for only the second time in his professional career.
While Hermansson will likely be the more active fighter (he lands 1.18 more strikes per minute, per UFC stats), I think Shahbazyan will eventually be able to land some power shots and take control over the fight.
In his last fight, Shahbazyan closed around -400 against Brunson (who is ranked above Hermansson presently.) We’re getting a bit of a gift here by being able to bet him at plus money against an (arguably) worse opponent this time around.
I do have my concerns about his ability to bounce back mentally after suffering his first defeat, but it’s hard to imagine that the 23-year-old isn’t going to continue to improve for the foreseeable future.
The Pick: Edmen Shahbazyan (+135)
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