UFC Kansas City Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Edson Barboza vs. Billy Quarantillo, Zak Cummings vs. Ed Herman, More (Saturday, April 15)

UFC Kansas City Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Edson Barboza vs. Billy Quarantillo, Zak Cummings vs. Ed Herman, More (Saturday, April 15) article feature image

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC featherweight Edson Barboza

  • Our MMA experts have put together their best UFC Kansas City bets for the ESPN event on Saturday.
  • In addition to two big underdogs, we've got a UFC bet on a potential Fight of the Night to end by stoppage.
  • Check out all of the UFC Kansas City picks and their breakdowns below.

Check out our best bets for UFC Kansas City as the UFC heads to Missouri for Saturday's event on ESPN (5:30 p.m. ET), which features a Max Holloway vs. Arnold Allen main event.

So where should you be looking to place your UFC Kansas City bets for this 14-fight card? Our crew has pinpointed three fights and picks from Saturday’s card that present betting value.

You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo's projections below using UFC Kansas City odds from BetMGM.

Moneyline Projections

Prop Projections

Dann Stupp: Zak Cummings vs. Ed Herman

Senior Editor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 6:55 p.m. ET

Always fade retiring fighters.

Always fade retiring fighters.

Always fade retiring fighters.

You gettin' it, yet?

In the unforgiving world of professional MMA, you have to be all in. You can't have one foot out of the cage. You can't even entertain the thought of a normal life free of frequent face-punching.

We've seen it time and time again. Fighters talk about the memories. They say the end is near. They suggest that maybe even the fight this weekend could be their last one. They want to retire with their wits still intact. They need to heal. They need to focus on family.

And then? They usually get the piss beat out of 'em.

Opponents don't care about your career. Screw your feel-good moment. Rudy ain't running on the field to sack the quarterback here, pal. Rarely, if ever, do we see retiring fighters save their best performance for last.

On Saturday at UFC Kansas City, 38-year-old Zak Cummings – an MMA vet in every sense of the term – tangles with Ed Herman.

And sure, 42-year-old Herman is no spring chicken himself. But you know what Herman is? A fighter who still wants to fight. He's not Cummings, who's telling his hometown paper that he'll "probably leave it a little open-ended but this will most likely be it" and that "I’m a little on the fence but most likely it’s my last fight."

Cummings, who's also returning from a three-year layoff, might as well buy some Tommy Bahamas and head to his timeshare in the Keys. That's a man who's checked out.

Long story short, both of these plodding fellas have been around the block a few times, so we're unlikely to see too many new wrinkles to their well-rounded games for Saturday's prelim bout. Cummings (-225) is a wrestler with some decent power but whose current health status is a question mark. Herman (+190), meanwhile, is a clinch fighter who can make it ugly and keep it close with just about any middling 185- or 205-pounder on the UFC roster. Durability is a concern on both sides.

That's all to say: It seems awfully, awfully generous to say Cummings wins this fight nearly 70% of the time, as the current odds suggest. Especially considering his long layoff, his always-game opponent, and that fateful retirement talk that's doomed many a fighter.

Give me the 'dog money with the almost-ageless Herman at +190 – and take it down to +150.

I wish Cummings nothing but the best in his retirement. But I think Herman's going to ruin his sendoff with a sizeable upset.

The Pick: Ed Herman (+190 at DraftKings)

Billy Ward: Brandon Royval vs. Matheus Nicolau

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 7:25 p.m. ET

Brandon Royval was one of the UFC’s top 125-pound prospects, starting his UFC career with consecutive submission victories, including one over interim title challenger Kai Kara-France.

Then Royval ran into current champion Brandon Moreno and No. 1 contender Alexandre Pantjoa.

Royval was stopped by both men – but with extenuating circumstances each time. He dislocated his shoulder against Moreno, leading to the finish. And an inadvertent eye-poke from Pantoja led to his demise there.

While he was losing to Moreno, Royval won the first round against Pantoja, so there’s a case he could've been the No. 1 contender for Moreno’s title. Since those fights, Royval's rebounded with back-to-back wins.

That makes him a big step up for Mateus Nicolau, whose best UFC win was against current No. 8-ranked contender Matt Schnell – whom Royval also finished when they met.

None of which means Nicolau isn’t the better fighter here, just that he hasn’t shown it yet. He and Royval are roughly the same age, with somewhat similar skill sets. However, I need Nicolau to prove he belongs with the top of the division – and Royval has already done so.

That makes the +180 price on Royval at BetMGM almost as disrespectful as burying this fight on the prelims. I’d take it down to +150.

The Pick: Brandon Royval (+180 BetMGM)

Sean Zerillo: Edson Barboza vs. Billy Quarantillo

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 10:25 p.m. ET

I expect a breakneck pace in Saturday's co-main event between fan favorite Edson Barboza and action fighter Billy Quarantillo.

Barboza is 37. He's coming off of a one-year layoff and back-to-back losses in which he showed signs of athletic decline, but he should be the far superior technical striker on Saturday, and he possesses a critical five-inch reach advantage.

Presumably, Quarantillo will have a speed advantage, but he is no prospect with youth on his side. "Billy Q" is 34. Quarantillo has less than half the fight mileage on his body – and brain – as a 61-bout MMA and kickboxing veteran like Barboza, but he's unlikely to make significant improvements at this stage of his career.

Whatever speed advantage Quarantillo has on the feet should be negated by Barboza's reach, technique and timing. Moreover, Quarantillo stands heavily on the front leg to box, and Barboza figures to chop down that leg as quickly as possible, a similar strategy that Shane Burgos employed (landed 28 of 32 leg kicks) in his win over Quarantillo at UFC 268 and at which Barboza regularly excels.

Quarantillo must fight his way to the clinch and attempt to control Barboza against the fence or initiate takedowns. Quarantillo has athleticism and cardio advantages, and he needs to weaponize those wherever possible; otherwise, he could get pieced up on the feet.

Quarantillo has massive holes in his striking defense (40%), and I expect Barboza to land – and inflict damage – anytime the pair stand at kickboxing range, particularly in the first round.

Quarantillo could rally from behind, as he typically does, and I suspect you'll find a better live price on him after round 1.

Given the potential that he wins Round 1 at a high percentage – when both fighters are fresh – I'll back Barboza pre-fight down to +145.

Additionally, given the hectic pace, the differential in striking technique, Quarantillo's porous defense, and Barboza's declining durability, I like this bout to end by finish more often than the odds suggest.

You can bet the fight to end inside the distance up to -150.

The Pick:Barboza vs. Quarantillo ends inside the distance (-130 at BetRivers

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