UFC on ABC 3 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets Include Underdogs Simon, Murphy and ‘The Leech’ (July 16)
Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC bantamweight Ricky Simon
MMA bettors get an afternoon event as the UFC heads to Long Island for Saturday’s UFC on ABC 3 at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York.
The event kicks off with the preliminary card on ESPN and ESPN+ (11 a.m. ET), and then the main card airs on ABC and ESPN+ (2 p.m. ET).
So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed three fights and picks on Saturday’s lineup 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: Lauren Murphy vs. Miesha Tate
Contributor at The Action Network
Murphy is taking on Miesha Tate Tate in Saturday’s main-card opener, in the latter’s drop to the flyweight division. Tate is 1-1 since coming back to the UFC, with a win over 44-year-old Marion Reneau in her first fight back, followed by a loss to Ketlen Vieira.
Murphy had won five in a row before losing a championship bout against dominant champ Valentina Shevchenko, which obviously shouldn’t count much against her. While it wasn’t the most impressive group of names during Murphy’s winning streak, it’s still better than being out of action during that timeframe – as Tate was.
This fight is also at 125 pounds, where Murphy has fought since 2017. Tate is in her mid-30s and attempting to make it for the first time, which isn’t an ideal situation. I worry about fighters’ ability to hold up when shedding an extra 10 pounds, which is far more significant proportionally for a 135-pound woman than a 155-pound man, for example.
While some fighters make the transition because they’re truly better at a lighter weight, others do it because they don’t see a path to the title at their old weight class. Tate seems to be in the latter camp following the loss to Vieira.
This feels like the wrong fighter is favored, and I’d take Murphy even at a significantly lower price. Her +180 odds here feel like a giveaway.
The Pick: Lauren Murphy (+180)
Sean Zerillo: Li Jingliang vs. Muslim Salikhov
Senior Writer at The Action Network
Li “The Leech” Jingliang (18-7) ticks many boxes in his matchup with “The King of Kung Fu” Muslim Salikhov (18-2).
Jingliang is the taller and longer fighter; he’s younger, throws more strikes, has better cardio, superior speed, and carries just as much power as Salikhov.
This matchup should be close and competitive if it goes the full 15 minutes, and both fighters possess similar finishing upside too.
In a pure striking match, I suspect that the Leech may land more volume. He attempts nearly 10.5 strikes per minute compared to 6.5 for Salikhov, and though he has more holes on the defensive end (68% vs. 58% striking defense), his pace and pressure may eventually wear on his older opponent.
Salikhov likely possesses the grappling upside – which may justify his favoritism. However, he rarely deploys takedowns (1.12 per 15 minutes, 38% accuracy) or maintains top position for long. And if he’s unable to secure those takedown attempts or do anything productive with them, he may sap his energy for the later stages of the fight.
Oddsmakers expect this fight to end inside the distance about half the time – right in line with the welterweight average (51.3%). And both men have been hurt in the past. A knockout on either side would be relatively unsurprising.
Still, I would likely favor Jingliang’s output if this fight goes to the judges in what should be a closely contested affair.
I projected Jingliang around 48% in this matchup (+107 implied), and I’m happy to bet his moneyline down to +117 or better, at a 2 percent edge compared to my number.
The Pick: Li Jingliang ML (+140)
Dann Stupp: Ricky Simon vs. Jack Shore
Senior Editor at The Action Network
If Ricky Simon has one of his typical fights on Saturday, Simon backers are going to have an enjoyable and profitable afternoon.
Simon (19-3), who’s won three straight UFC fights with recent victories over bantamweight notables Brian Kelleher and Raphael Assuncao, knows how to get the job done. And on Saturday, that path to victory in his preliminary-card bout is obvious.
Simon needs to get on top of his opponent and stay there. Thankfully, as we’ve seen in recent fights, he’s more than willing to stick to that gameplan. And thankfully for Simon bettors, he should have the overall strength and superior positioning to implement it successfully.
That’s not exactly an encouraging scenario for his opponent, undefeated Jack Shore (16-0). The Welshman simply doesn’t have the overall wrestling to match Simon if this fight hits the mat. And considering Simon boasts nearly seven takedown attempts per fight – and lands more than half of them – Shore is probably going to want to keep this fight upright.
The problem is, Simon is also a very adept striker, especially after enduring 22 pro fights at the rather young age of 29. If the battle-tested Simon can avoid Shore’s low kicks, crisp boxing and any late theatrics due to Shore’s proven gas tank, the underdog should be barking in this 135-pound matchup.
I give Simon a solid 50% to 60% (+100 to -150) chance of winning this fight. So, getting +135 odds on someone I feel should be the rightful favorite? I didn’t think twice about grabbing Simon on the ML, and I also think there’s still some value in betting Simon to win via decision since it’s his most likely path to victory.
The Pick: Ricky Simon ML (+135) | Ricky Simon via decision (+220)
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