UFC London Odds, Pick & Prediction for Curtis Blaydes vs. Tom Aspinall: How to Bet Heavyweight Main Event (Saturday, July 23)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Tom Aspinall.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Tom Aspinall Odds
A future heavyweight title challenger could emerge from Saturday’s UFC main event between No. 4-ranked contender Curtis Blaydes and No. 6-ranked Tom Aspinall.
Aspinall has ascended the heavyweight rankings quickly and become one of the more interesting MMA prospects while securing five consecutive stoppages since joining the promotion in July 2020. After defeating Alexander Volkov in March, he’ll look for a second-consecutive win headlining The 02 Arena in London.
Blaydes will close as a betting underdog for the first time in 16 UFC bouts. He has an 11-3-1 record in the UFC Octagon, with all three losses coming by KO or TKO to Francis Ngannou (twice) and Derrick Lewis.
Below, I’ll provide my analysis and projections for Saturday’s matchup and utilize those factors to bet on the main event.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||10:14||2:57|
|Weight (pounds)||265 lbs.||256 lbs.|
|Date of birth||2/18/1991||4/11/1993|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.52||7.33|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||1.68||2.65|
|Take Down Avg||6.06||4.07|
Aspinall is a tough fighter to handicap. He’s highly athletic for the heavyweight division with good boxing technique and legitimate black-belt grappling on the mat. The skills are certainly there, and he seemingly possesses massive upside.
Still, the intangible characteristics are more difficult to measure, and there are significant question marks about his game heading into his second main event. Aspinall has finished all his UFC victories so quickly that we haven’t seen whether he can sustain for 15 minutes (let alone 25), how he’ll respond to adversity in the cage, or how he looks in the bottom position with a heavyweight on top of him.
Aspinall has shown cardio concerns throughout his MMA career. And while he has largely managed to finish his fights in the early stages, he could get exposed to an opponent who can drag him to deep waters.
Blaydes has vastly more experience – against better competition – and this is his sixth UFC main event. And while he’s been to the championship rounds on only one occasion, Blaydes’ cardio is still much more proven than the Englishman’s.
Most of Aspinall’s success in this fight will be frontloaded, with speed and athleticism advantages when both fighters are fresh. And I trust him to find the chin if Blaydes enters the pocket.
Still, Blaydes prefers to fight from the outside and use his reach advantage (2″) to break down opponents before changing levels. Blaydes doesn’t necessarily mix his skills optimally, and he often telegraphs his wrestling entries. Still, I expect him to take over this fight after the first seven to 10 minutes with his wrestling and cardio, should he survive for that long.
While Aspinall’s grappling is a problem for most heavyweights when he’s on top, he may not show nearly as much resistance on his back. And one takedown could be enough to zap his gas tank completely.
As a result, I would look to live bet Blaydes after Round 1 and/or Round 2, where Aspinall should land his hardest strikers and find his likeliest chance to finish. The longer the proceedings extend, the higher the likelihood that the matchup tilts toward Blaydes. He should eventually take over minute-winning entirely or find a finish of his own in the middle or late rounds. And I expect him to be competitive, even when losing minutes.
Choosing when to wrestle could be key; Blaydes never shot a takedown against Chris Daukaus but did secure a second-round knockout:
Conversely, in his lone 25-minute decision with Volkov, Blaydes landed a divisional-record 14 takedowns, including five in the first round. I’m curious to see how he approaches this fight.
Blaydes seemingly has more paths to victory, while Aspinall’s win condition is likely connected to an early-round stoppage.
Blaydes vs. Aspinall Pick
I projected Curtis Blaydes as a 45.7% (+119 implied) underdog in this fight, and I would need something closer to +130 (43.5%) to back the underdog on the moneyline pre-fight.
Concerning winning method props, I see some value on Aspinall to win by KO/TKO (projected +183, listed +210 at FanDuel) or inside the distance (projected +116, listed +120 at DraftKings) depending upon the book.
However, I would prefer to bet the fight ends inside the distance (projected -278, listed -260 at Fanduel) in parlays. Marc Diakiese’s moneyline (-360 at Draftkings and FanDuel) is another of my favorite parlay pieces on the card.
While I’m interested in the Blaydes’ side, I expect to find a better price on him in the live markets; I’ll look to bet Blaydes live after Round 1 and/or Round 2, just before Aspinall’s effectiveness likely wanes.
- Curtis Blaydes (wait for +130)
- Fight Ends Inside the Distance (-260 at Fanduel); use as a parlay piece
- Blaydes Live after Round 1 and/or Round 2
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