UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Projections: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Gutierrez vs. Colares, Elliott vs. Nicolau (Saturday, October 9)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC fighter Matheus Nicolau.
This weekend’s UFC card has run into some challenges and it features just nine fights in total. Two top women’s strawweights — Mackenzie Dern and Marina Rodriguez — headline the action in the Octagon, but the majority of the card features lower level bouts.
So, where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew is focusing on three fights in particular and sees a few bets with value in those matchups. You can find their analysis and picks on those confrontations below.
Sean Zerillo: Tim Elliott vs. Matheus Nicolau
Betting Analyst, The Action Network
Tim Elliott has faced the best flyweights in the world for nearly a decade, but generally speaking, he seals the deal against the unranked competition and struggles against top 10 talent. At age 34, he’s also on the wrong end of the age curve for the 125-pound division.
Matheus Nicolau is the younger and faster man and a legitimate top 10 talent who figures to have massive advantages on the feet. The Brazilian is tough to hit (67% striking defense) and efficient offensively (52% accuracy). He does just enough to edge out his opponents in terms of volume, though he must adjust to Elliot’s funky style.
The American typically wins his fights with wrestling and top control time (4.01 takedowns per 15 minutes, 49% accuracy). Still, Nicolau is the superior grappler and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to Elliot’s blue belt. It’s hard to hold down flyweights — and while Nicolau has shown some concerns fighting off his back, his first-level takedown defense is solid.
Aside from pure wrestling, Nicolau seems like the better fighter than Elliot in all facets of MMA, with athletic advantages to boot. Nicolau can’t get stuck on his back or lulled into a low-volume striking battle; otherwise, he can break Elliot if he pressures and pushes a pace.
I projected Nicolau as a 68.3% favorite in this fight (-216 implied), and I would bet his moneyline to -200.
The Pick: Matheus Nicolau ML (-190)
Erich Richter: Chris Gutierrez vs. Felipe Colares
Contributor at The Action Network
There are so many huge favorites on this card, it is difficult to really jump on any big favorites this weekend. With that, I am giving my favorite underdog pick of the weekend, Felipe Colares.
Felipe should have a grappling advantage in this fight. Stand-up wise, he could be in trouble. His opponent, Chris Gutierrez has some of the best leg kicks in the UFC. When he stopped Vince Morales via leg kicks, it was just the 11th in UFC history.
Felipe will need to muddy the waters, make Guterriez feel the pressure in grappling and against the cage. Colares has five submission wins in his career which is possible, he is not a knockout artist.
His 2.0 takedowns per 15 minutes is what I am expecting to help Colares win this fight. Likely going to be a split decision if it gets there. Colares to win by split or majority decision is +1200 on DraftKings, which could be a fun stab.
My official play, though, is his moneyline at +200 via PointsBet. I think he should be a +150 underdog this weekend, so I think this is a good value for us here.
The Pick: Felipe Colares ML (+200)
Billy Ward: Sabino Mazo vs. Mariya Agapova
Contributor at The Action Network
We’re going totally off the rails for this one, but hear me out. A while back, Erich and I collaborated on this piece. In case you don’t want to read it, here’s the gist: On non-PPV cards, underdogs are profitable.
My theory is that these cards are filled with lesser-known fighters, which makes it harder for books to accurately figure out who the favorite should be. If a fight is (given present information) essentially a coin flip, betting plus-money will be favorable long term.
No card would prove this theory more than this one. There’s only two fighters ranked inside the top 10 (and those are in relatively weak divisions: Men’s 125-pound division and Women’s 115-pound division.) Most of the fighters only have a few bouts in the Octagon, making setting lines incredibly difficult.
More relevant to this piece, I have no clue on most of these fights. Do you have a strong opinion on the 117th ranked middleweight (Charlie Ontiveros) facing the 134th ranked lightweight (Steve Garcia)? I sure don’t. Also, how does that even happen?
My approach for this fight is to throw 1/9 of a unit (there’s nine fights) on all the dogs. It’s obviously not a large enough sample size to confirm or deny my theory from the article, but what’s more entertaining than rooting for an underdog?
But the name of the game here is “best bet” so if I have to single out one of those dogs , I’ll go with Mariya Agapova. Per Sean Zerillo’s projections above, her odds provide the most edge of any underdog on the card and her odds are even better at BetMGM.
The Pick: Agapova ML (+155)