UFC London Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets Include Underdogs Hannah Goldy, Makwan Amirkhani (Saturday, July 23)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC women’s flyweight Hannah Goldy
Saturday’s UFC London event on ESPN+ kicks off at an early start time (noon ET/9 a.m. PT) with a deep 14-fight lineup.
The event, which takes place at The O2 Arena, includes eight prelims (noon ET) and six main-card bouts (3 p.m. ET).
So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed some fights and picks on Saturday’s 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.
Billy Ward: Molly McCann vs. Hannah Goldy
Contributor at The Action Network
I’ve debated this one throughout the week, but the line has moved enough that it’s too good of an opportunity to pass up. One of my favorite “trends” to bet is female MMA underdogs in fights likely to go the distance.
Particularly when fights are contested primarily standing, these bouts are fairly hard to judge and introduce a lot of variance by way of judges’ opinions into the equation. If we’re flipping coins, I want the side that pays out more.
Hannah Goldy’s fight with Molly McCann fits that criteria to a T. Both women are primarily strikers, throwing a ton of volume but with limited power. McCann won her last fight via spinning back elbow knockout, but that’s a fairly fluky occurrence that I’m not putting too much weight in.
McCann is the deserving favorite by virtue of a bit more grappling upside, but Goldy has exhibited strong takedown defense in the UFC, and she should be the physically stronger fighter in this one. She also won her last fight by submission, so she has a chance to turn McCann’s takedowns against her.
It’s close to a tossup on the feet, with Goldy having slightly better numbers albeit against weaker competition. The biggest concern for me is potentially biased judging – or fan-influenced judging – for the popular British fighter in McCann.
Additionally, McCann had been outstruck in both Rounds 2 and 3 in her previous fight before ending it with the elbow. Goldy has thrown and landed more strikes each round in her two bouts that went the distance, giving her the cardio edge.
If McCann comes out firing but fails to put Goldy away, I’d consider adding a bit more on Goldy live if the line gets even more out of hand. I’m keeping my initial bet to half a unit for that reason, with a potential add-on to make up the rest.
The Pick: Hannah Goldy (+350 at DraftKings)
Sean Zerillo: Makwan Amirkhani vs. Jonathan Pearce
Senior Writer at The Action Network
“Mr. Finland” is the type of athlete you bet on principle at plus money against unranked, less-credentialed fighters.
Makwan Amirkhani’s a bit of a frontrunner, and his cardio tends to wilt in the second half of his fights. However, he’s reliable in getting takedowns and securing dominant positions in his matchups, particularly in the first round.
Jonathan Pearce wins his fights by pushing a pace, shooting takedowns at high volume, and grinding out opponents. And he can indeed take over with superior cardio – and striking output – in the second half of this matchup. Still, he may be in danger early.
Pearce got wobbled twice – and tired down the stretch – in his last fight as a big favorite, on top of a quick knockout loss to Joe Lauzon in his UFC debut. Moreover, Pearce constantly leaves his neck exposed while wrestling, which could cost him dearly against a front choke specialist.
Amirkhani is the clear betting side from a pre-fight perspective. I expect him to dominate the scrambles and clinch positions when both men are fresh and to create opportunities to produce a first-round finish.
When he doesn’t finish, however, Amirkhani typically isn’t drawing dead to a decision (2-3 on the scorecards in his UFC tenure, 1-1 in splits).
I projected Mr. Finland as a slight underdog (47%, +112 implied) in this matchup, and you can bet him down to +122 (45% implied) at a two percent edge.
Moreover, I bet Amirkhani to win inside the distance (projected +166, listed +275). If you’re feeling extra frisky, dabble with his submission prop (projected +205, listed +360 at Fanduel) or win in Round 1 Prop (+650 at FanDuel) too.
The Pick: Amirkhani (+170 at Bet365) / Amirkhani wins Inside the Distance (+275 at Draftkings)
Dann Stupp: Nikita Krylov vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Is former UFC title challenger Alexander Gustafsson “shot”? Is he simply a shell of his former top-ranked self?
Or perhaps, is “Lusty Gusty” poised to pull off the upset? Can he reclaim his former glory when he fights against fellow light heavyweight Nikita Krylov?
That’s the big question heading into Gustafsson’s UFC London bout following his recent short-lived retirement, a failed move up to heavyweight, and a pair of subsequent fight cancellations.
But perhaps there’s a better question to ask: Can we make a smart bet regardless of which Gustafsson shows up on Saturday?
If Gustafsson is truly back – well-conditioned and properly motivated – he could easily slug his way to an early stoppage, as he’s done often in his career.
However, if this return to the cage was indeed a bad idea, Krylov could cruise. He can quickly get this fight to the mat, where Gustafsson has floundered in past bouts. Yet, even if Krylov can’t or won’t look for the takedown, he’s shown recently improved early-fight aggression, which doesn’t bode well for sometimes-slow-starter Gustafsson.
All of those are reasons to like “under 2.5 rounds” in this fight, which I expected to be far more juiced than the current odds. After all, the two fighters have combined for 40 stoppages in 45 career wins – with all 40 in the first or second rounds.
Give me the under, and let’s hope for a quick one.
The Pick: Krylov-Gustafsson under 2.5 rounds (-126 at FanDuel)