UFC Jacksonville Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Josh Emmett vs. Ilia Topuria, Jamall Emmers vs. Jack Jenkins, More (Saturday, June 24)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC featherweight Josh Emmett and Ilia Topuria of Germany
- We have five UFC Jacksonville best bets for Saturday's early-start fight card (11:30 a.m. ET).
- Our MMA experts are targeting moneyline plays, totals and even prop bets.
- Check out their UFC picks, including two bets for the Josh Emmett vs. Ilia Topuria main event, below.
Check out our UFC Jacksonville best bets ahead of Saturday afternoon's fight card at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Florida.
Fists will be flying at an early start time when the 13-fight card kicks off at 11:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. PT) with the preliminary card on ESPN. The five-fight main card then airs on ABC at 3 p.m. ET – with main-card action expected at 4:55 p.m. ET.
It's a deep lineup with ample betting options. So where should you be looking to place your UFC Jacksonville bets today?
Our crew has pinpointed four fights and five picks on today's network-televised card that present betting value.
You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo's projections below using odds from BetMGM.
Sean Zerillo: Sedriques Dumas vs. Cody Brundage
Senior Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:25 a.m. ET
I bet against Sedriques Dumas (as a -250 favorite) in his UFC debut against Josh Fremd. He faces a similar stylistic matchup in his sophomore outing against a wrestler in Cody Brundage, who is stepping in for Puna Soriano on short notice.
Brundage needs to take down Dumas like Fremd did and finish his longer opponent on the mat before he gets destroyed at kickboxing range, facing a seven-inch reach discrepancy.
However, Fremd (6-foot-4, 76-inch reach) is much bigger than Brundage (6-foot-0, 72-inch reach), and I think Dumas (6-foot-2, 79-inch reach) may have an easier time counter-wrestling a shorter and smaller middleweight.
Moreover, Brundage typically begins to fade near the end of the first round in his bouts, and taking a short-notice assignment could further expose his already-suspect gas tank.
Aside from the physical advantages, Dumas owns quicker, more powerful hands, and he is arguably more durable.
You can bet Dumas pre-fight down to +150, and look to add more live after Round 1.
The Pick: Sedriques Dumas (+155 at Caesars)
Billy Ward: Jamall Emmers vs. Jack Jenkins
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:50 a.m. ET
This is a fight I’ve been on all week, and I expected the +140 line on Monday to be the best we’d see on Jenkins. Suffice it to say I was wrong in that prediction – but I’m sticking with my bet.
MMA betting markets aren’t quite at the level of efficiency we see in more “major” team sports. If a line moves against you on an NFL side, odds are it’s you who has it wrong, not the bookmakers. That isn’t (always) the case with UFC fights though – expecting the rare “insider information” instances that lead to drastic movements.
As far as fight analysis, I’m big on Jenkins as a prospect. He’s a stocky featherweight with high output and a bottomless gas tank, who made the transition from professional rugby to combat sports as an adult.
All of which can also be said about the featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, an occasional training partner/mentor of Jenkins’. They have similar styles, overwhelming their opponents with volume and movement, while mixing in excellently-timed takedowns when the opportunity arises.
I also have my concerns about Jenkins’ opponent, Jamall Emmers. Emmers has his knee shredded by a heel hook against Pat Sabatini, and looked significantly slower and less explosive upon his UFC return in February.
While Emmerrs got the win, it was against a slow, plodding grappler who didn’t present the same challenges that Jenkins will. Additionally, Emmers initially missed weight this morning. While he was able to cut the weight eventually, the extra hour or two of sauna time while Jenkins was recovering with his pedialyte should only widen the cardio gap between them.
The Pick: Jack Jenkins (+175 at DraftKings)
Dan Tom: Brendan Allen vs. Bruno Silva
Contributor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 2:55 p.m. ET
This weekend's UFC Jacksonville card offers a lot of volatile matchups at various price spreads across the board.
Rather than try to sweat sides on some of these offerings, I'll instead be looking to target totals in the plus-money ranges.
One of those fights is the main-card opener between Brendan Allen and Bruno Silva.
Allen, who was initially scheduled to meet Jack Hermansson, will now have to face a completely different stylistic matchup in Silva on semi-short notice.
The American will have a solid submission edge on the floor, but Silva's anti-grappling style and southpaw counter-punching are traits that have troubled Allen in the past.
Couple those stylistic factors with the fact that each fighter carries finishing rates north of 80% (with a large majority coming within the first frame), and I can't help but take a shot on the under 1.5 rounds at plus money.
The Pick: Brendan Allen vs. Bruno Silva under 1.5 rounds (+125 at BetRivers)
Tony Sartori: Josh Emmett vs. Ilia Topuria
Contributor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 4:55 p.m. ET
In the UFC Jacksonville main event, we have a featherweight bout between No. 5-ranked contender Josh Emmett and No. 9 Ilia Topuria. This fight is a big step up for Topuria, who looks to keep his perfect 13-0 professional record intact.
Topuria is coming off a big submission victory over No. 11-ranked Bryce Mitchell, a win that marked his fourth straight victory inside the distance as he continues to dismantle anyone in his path. A terrific mixed martial artist, Topuria can beat you both on the feet and on the mat.
With his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, it is not surprising that eight of his 13 professional wins have come via submission, which is the route we are going to take in this main event.
Emmett is coming off a submission loss to Yair Rodriguez, a contender fight that granted Rodriguez a shot at Alexander Volkanovski and the 145-pound strap. Rodriguez is certainly not an elite grappler by any means, and if he can submit Emmett, then Topuria absolutely is capable of doing so.
In fact, I suspect taking this fight to the mat will be Topuria's game plan on Saturday afternoon. Emmett is way more comfortable on the feet, so I do not suspect Topuria to abide by Emmett's preferred style, especially considering that Topuria is just as good in the grappling department as he is as a striker.
Topuria has blown past everyone in his way thus far, and until someone can prove that they can stop him, I certainly am not betting against the undefeated 26-year-old.
The Pick: Ilia Topuria via submission (+180 at BetRivers)
Dann Stupp: Josh Emmett vs. Ilia Topuria
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 4:55 p.m. ET
Look, as much as Josh Emmett has proven me wrong time and time again during his UFC tenure, I think Ilia Topuria gets the win in Saturday's UFC Jacksonville headliner.
I even think Topuria eventually gets the finish and leaves the judges out of the equation.
However, I just don't think it's going to happen as quickly as the odds suggest.
While I initially eyed "over 1.5 rounds" (-108) and "over 2.5 rounds" (+176) for Emmett vs. Topuria, I still felt a bit uneasy as I pondered those possibilities. Topuria is a relentless finisher, no doubt. And I don't think he's going to waste much time going for the finish.
However, I think Emmett is more than capable of surviving the first round and pushing the action to the second frame (he's never lost in the first round). His wrestling skills and overall MMA savvy have allowed him to survive many precarious situations, and I think he's live for at least five minutes against one of the division's fastest-rising contenders. Don't sleep on this vet's craftiness.
Thankfully, FanDuel is offering us very attractive odds of -152 for this fight to start Round 2. In other words, oddsmakers think this fight lasts at least one round just 60.3% of the time.
Me? I'd peg it closer to 70% (-233) to 75% (-300) of the time, so getting the bet at -152 odds offers some substantial value. I'd happily take it down to -200.
I'm going to bite and hopefully sweat a full round of main-event action on Saturday afternoon.