UFC Paris Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Ciryl Gane vs. Sergey Spivak, Volkan Oezdemir vs. Bogdan Guskov, More (Saturday, September 2)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC light heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir of Switzerland
Check out our UFC Paris best bets for the Saturday afternoon event at Accor Arena, which streams on ESPN+ beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET (9:30 a.m. PT).
For just the second time in company history, the UFC touches down in France for an event. Saturday's UFC Paris prelims kick off at 12:30 p.m. ET, and the main card then kicks off at 3 p.m. ET.
UFC Paris features 11 bouts in all, including a Ciryl Gane vs. Sergey Spivak main event and a Manon Fiorot vs. Rose Namajunas co-main event.
So where should be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed four fights and picks on Saturday’s overseas card that present betting value as our UFC best bets today.
You can find their UFC Paris analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo's projections below using odds from BetMGM.
Sean Zerillo: Farid Basharat vs. Kleydson Rodrigues
Senior Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 12:55 p.m. ET
Not too long ago, Kleydson Rodrigues was considered one of the top prospects at flyweight and was lined as high as -400 in consecutive bouts against CJ Vergara and Shannon Ross before weight-cutting issues forced him to move up to bantamweight.
Rodrigues will be the smaller fighter (three inches shorter, four-inch reach discrepancy) against Farid Basharat, the younger of the two talented Basharat brothers (combined 24-0 career) competing in the UFC's 135-pound division.
Skill for skill, however, I expect Rodrigues to make this a more competitive fight than the betting odds would otherwise indicate. He should have the speed advantage, and though Bashrat is bigger, he's likelier to use his size to smother Rodrigues with wrestling rather than hurt him consistently with strikes.
Rodrigues is the more dynamic and powerful striker – and potentially carries more finishing upside – and his subpar flyweight cardio could potentially improve by moving up in weight to sustain his effectiveness for 15 minutes.
While I expect Rodrigues to make the bout more competitive than his pricetag, I'm not interested in taking the underdog shot, however. I do expect Basharat to land takedowns and consolidate top position.
Both fighters have submission defense more than capable of stifling one another's offensive attempts for 15 minutes, and though there may be moments when either threatens to finish, I expect this one to stall out for long stretches and reach the final bell.
I projected this bout to reach a decision 65% of the time; bet that prop to -170.
The Pick: Farid Basharat vs. Kleydson Rodrigues goes to decision (-160 at Caesars)
Dann Stupp: Morgan Charriere vs. Manolo Zecchini
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 2:55 p.m. ET
It's hard to tell if Morgan Charriere was truly deserving of a UFC contract, but with the organization heading to his home of France, one of the country's better-known fighters is getting his big shot as part of UFC Paris.
That's not to say Charriere isn't talented – nor is it to say he doesn't deserve his big-favorite status (-360) over fellow UFC newcomer Manolo Zecchini.
However, Charriere has struggled to beat the better fighters in Cage Warriors, the U.K. promotion that has been a super-reliable pipeline for future UFC talent. Other Cage Warriors vets are likely more deserving of a UFC deal – but those fighters also aren't French, so congrats to Charriere for putting himself in a position to capitalize on the opportunity.
Also kudos to Charriere on getting a favorable matchup against Zecchini, an Italian prospect with no real signature victories to speak of.
So basically, we've got a mismatch (on paper anyway) between two probably-not-truly-UFC-ready newcomers with the favorite having substantially more experience. And the underdog has been beyond the second round just twice in his career.
Still, Zecchini throws some heat and will push the pace, but he seems to empty his gas tank in the first few minutes of a fight. That likely bodes well for Charriere, a 27-year-old with 29 pro fights who's experienced it all in the cage.
I think this matchup is basically teed up for Charriere to deliver a highlight-reel win against an opponent who will push the pace – basically, to get the win and to look good doing it.
With Charriere's moneyline so chalky and probably lined right where it should be, I had considered Charriere's inside-the-distance prop (-115). However, Zecchini is game, especially early, and he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. So I'm not taking a side.
Instead, I'm going to bet that this fight doesn't go the distance, which Betfred has available at -154. It's also widely available at -160 at other sportsbooks. Play it down to -200, and expect Charriere to quickly take over if Zecchini can't find a finish early.
The Pick: Morgan Charriere vs. Manolo Zecchini doesn't go to decision (-154 at Betfred)
Tony Sartori: Volkan Oezdemir vs. Bogdan Guskov
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 3:55 p.m. ET
I'm targeting a light heavyweight clash on the UFC Paris main card with No. 9-ranked contender Volkan Oezdemir squaring off against Bogdan Guskov.
A former professional kickboxer, Oezdemir made a seamless transition to MMA in the fall of 2010. The Switzerland native was an immediate success, going 9-0 professionally before earning shots in both the Bellator and now the UFC.
Graduating to the bigger promotions was also not an issue for Oezdemir, who earned a title shot against Daniel Cormier in 2018. Losing that bout was sort of an encompassment of his UFC journey as he usually takes care of business against the mid-card guys but fails to beat the best in the world.
While it is too early to definitively say, Guskov likely fits into the former of those two categories.
That's not to say that Guskov can't reach that level one day – he is a solid prospect and makes his debut amidst a four-fight winning streak. However, Guskov has never fought in one of the big promotions, and he is getting thrown to the wolves in his debut against Oezdemir as an injury replacement.
Specifically, Oezdemir's power should be the biggest issue for Guskov, whose one loss over his past 13 professional fights came via knockout. Both guys prefer to stand and bang, and that should benefit Oezdemir and his commanding power.
In fact, 12 of Oezdemir's 18 professional wins have come via knockout, a trend I believe will continue in this bout. Yes, Oezdemir has lost three of his past four bouts, but those fights were against Jiri Prochazka (No. 1 contender), Magomed Ankalaev (No. 2 contender) and Nikita Krylov (No. 6 contender).
Can Guskov reach that level someday? Perhaps. But that is a few years down the road, and he is going to have his hands full in this difficult UFC debut.
Guskov is someone who is willing to stand in the pocket and go blow-for-blow, so I think the best way to back Oezdemir as a -188 favorite is in the knockout department at +104.
The Pick: Volkan Oezdemir via KO (+120 at Betway)
Dan Tom: Ciryl Gane vs. Sergey Spivak
Contributor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 5:25 p.m. ET
This weekend's UFC card offers a lot of volatile matchups at various price spreads across the board.
Rather than overexposing myself to sides in some of these offerings, I decided to incorporate some totals into the mix to help my chances at profit.
For example, even though I'm personally picking and playing Sergey Spivak to beat Ciryl Gane by submission, I'm also well aware that the Frenchman is likely favored for a reason.
Aside from two notable follies in title fights, Gane typically comports himself quite well in clinch spaces and could replicate the success that Tom Aspinall had off the breaks.
That said, the clinch is still where Spivak scores a majority of his takedowns – which makes this a heavyweight affair with even finer margins than usual.
Add in Spivak's do-or-die nature with the pace that he sets, and I believe that the "under 2.5 rounds" makes for one of the most solid plays on Saturday's fight card.
You can play it straight up at anything -180 or better – or parlay it with a strong favorite on the card if you're looking for a big payout on your bet.
The Pick: Ciryl Gane vs. Sergey Spivak under 2.5 rounds (-150 at Betway)