UFC London Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for McCann vs. Stoliarenko, Craig vs. Muniz, More (Saturday, July 22)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC middleweight Paul Craig of Scotland
Check out our MMA experts' UFC London best bets as the UFC heads to England for a Saturday afternoon event at The O2 Arena.
UFC London kicks off at a special time of noon ET (9 a.m. PT) for the preliminary card and 3 p.m. ET for the main card. The entire 15-bout lineup streams on ESPN+ for a super-sized afternoon of MMA.
So where should be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed four UFC London best bets for Saturday’s overseas card that present betting value.
You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo's projections below using UFC London odds from BetMGM.
Dann Stupp: Marc Diakiese vs. Joel Alvarez
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 1:25 p.m. ET
You know how a kid gets a shiny new toy and soon has a toy box overflowing with once-beloved and now-forgotten treasures of old?
That's the story of Marc Diakiese's striking, which has taken a backseat to his new wrestling skills in recent fights.
I can only hope the Congolese-born Englishman doesn't dig back into the toy box when he meets Joel Alvarez on the UFC London preliminary card.
Diakiese could very well score takedowns in this fight, but I think it's going to play right into the grappling strengths of Alvarez, whose stock could be a bit low since he's coming off a 17-month layoff and an early-2022 loss to standout lightweight Arman Tsarukyan.
Additionally, while Diakiese has added some grappling chops to his game, Alvarez has done the same with his striking skills.
Ultimately, I think things could be close on the feet – with Alvarez arguably having more finishing potential (ask Thiago Moises) – and the Spaniard should also have a decided edge over Diakiese on the mat, so long as he doesn't get pinned on his back.
So, for my UFC London best bet, give me the guy who could have the edge standing, definitely has the edge on the mat, and also should have more finishing ability no matter where the fight goes.
At -196, Alvarez is worth a straight-up play, in my opinion. But I also think he's solid fodder if you're looking to build a UFC London parlay. Taking Alvarez inside the distance (-120) may also be worth a play.
For my official play, though, give me Alvarez at -196, and bet it to -300.
Sean Zerillo: Danny Roberts vs. Jonny Parsons
Senior Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 1:55 p.m. ET
Danny "Hot Chocolate" Roberts should be a more significant favorite in Saturday's UFC London matchup against Jonny Parsons.
The Englishman is the bigger man with a five-inch advantage in height and reach, and he can cause problems for Parons out of his southpaw stance.
This fight also represents a step down in competition for Roberts relative to his previous opponents – and his recent losses to established top-20 competition in Jack Della Maddelena and Francisco Trinaldo.
Parsons earned his contract with a controversial split decision on Contender Series in 2021 (as a +300 underdog), when his noticeably more skilled opponent tired midway through the bout.
Parsons is now essentially a pick'em against an established UFC veteran (8-6 record for Roberts in the promotion) after a significant layoff, which included a canceled bout with Michael Gillmore due to – by Parsons's admission – concussion issues. And in his early 30s, Parsons is unlikely to have made significant strides as a fighter during that lengthy layoff to close the gap in the expected skillset of these fighters.
Roberts has Parsons covered everywhere in this matchup; he's more active (he won the same week Parsons last fought and competed twice since), has faced far superior competition, is taller, longer, faster, and seemingly has the advantages in all three facets of MMA (striking, grappling, wrestling). Additionally, he's the hometown fighter. Any competitive decision seems likely to tilt toward Hot Chocolate.
The one concern is his chin. Roberts is 36 with four knockout losses on his UFC record and multiple memes of him doing the chicken dance. Sometimes he gets touched in an exchange and wobbles awkwardly, and he's likelier than most fighters to go out from a clean strike.
Still, there's not some significant age discrepancy here, and I'm less concerned about age for a 36-year-old welterweight (average age 33) than I am at featherweight (average age 31) or lighter.
I projected Roberts closer to 60% in this matchup; bet his moneyline up to -135 and consider using his decision prop (projected +237) in a round-robin.
The Pick: Danny Roberts (-110 at bet365)
Billy Ward: Paul Craig vs. Andre Muniz
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 3:55 p.m. ET
It’s hard not to get excited about a Paul Craig fight. The Scotsman paints his face like William Wallace for weigh-ins, screams at his opponents, and has one of the most intense staredowns you’ll ever see.
Then, as soon as the bell rings, he starts trying to force a grappling match, pulling guard from all positions and shooting ineffectual takedowns – with a few haymakers thrown in for good measure.
Usually, as this is happening, he takes a shocking amount of damage while getting hammered over and over while trying to cuddle his opponent to the ground. But (slightly) more often than not, something shocking happens: It works.
Craig is one of the top submission artists in the game, with six submissions and two TKOs in his eight UFC wins. One of those TKOs was via a broken arm caused by an armbar, though – so it really was a submission, as well.
Four of his six losses have come via knockout, as things tend to get ugly in a hurry if Craig can’t force his opponent to fight on his terms. He’s been nearly out plenty of times in wins as well, as the drop in weight class probably won’t do much to improve his durability.
That’s why I love this special bet offered by FanDuel. We’re capturing both men’s likeliest win condition at solidly plus money. Let’s just hope Muniz actually taps and doesn’t turn a submission into a TKO.
Tony Sartori: Molly McCann vs. Julija Stoliarenko
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 4:55 p.m. ET
In the UFC London co-main event, Molly McCann meets fellow flyweight Julija Stoliarenko.
There is typically a stark contrast in the way McCann is perceived in the UFC. Due to her charismatic personality, knockout power and affiliation with Barstool, McCann has built a solid following over the past couple of years.
On the other hand, you have more "tuned-in" MMA fans who see her for what she is: a very average fighter who has likely already hit her ceiling in the UFC. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching McCann's highlight-reel knockouts and what she brings to the sport, but I am definitely in the camp that her back-to-back knockout victories over Hannah Goldy and Luana Carolina will probably be the highlight of her UFC tenure.
She throws heavy and is a tough fighter, but McCann leaves her chin exposed, gets taken down extremely easily and is not efficient on the mat. That should especially be an issue in this fight against Stoliarenko, a grappling specialist and black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Stoliarenko has not seen nearly as much success as McCann in the UFC, losing five of her first six fights in this promotion. Clearly, a change was needed, which is why she has moved down to flyweight for the first time in her career for this fight.
Because of this change in weight class, Stoliarenko can keep McCann and her power at range with a three-inch height and four-inch reach advantage. Patiently, Stoliarenko can shoot for a takedown and if she avoids the power and brings this scrap to the mat, and then it is only a matter of time before she submits McCann.