UFC Paris Props: MMA Prop Squad Picks for Saturday’s 3 Top Fights (September 2)

UFC Paris Props: MMA Prop Squad Picks for Saturday’s 3 Top Fights (September 2) article feature image

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC lightweight Benoit Saint-Denis of France

Welcome to the latest edition of MMA Prop Squad, in which we offer an array of UFC Paris prop bets with oversized odds for Saturday's ESPN+ event.

Each Prop Squad installment features a handful of UFC props from our squad of experts. After a recent dry spell, our lifetime results have dipped to +4.1 units and a +1.7% ROI per bet. But we're determined to bounce back at UFC Paris.

This week marks the return of squad members Dann Stupp, Bryan Fonseca and Dan Tom.

Check out their UFC prop picks for Saturday's event, which streams entirely on ESPN+ beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET (9:30 a.m. PT), below.

As with all betting endeavors, always wager within your means. That guidance is especially important when dealing with prop bets. Although the props often offer tantalizing odds, they also cash far less frequently than standard bet types. And be sure to shop around for the best price since prop odds can vary substantially depending on the sportsbook.

Dann Stupp: Benoit Saint-Denis by KO (+330)

Senior Editor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 4:25 p.m. ET

It's always a comforting feeling when you see MMA sharps taking the same side you are. In this case, it's Benoit Saint-Denis beating Thiago Moises at UFC Paris. Many respected MMA bettors targeted this lightweight matchup earlier in the week and pounced on Saint-Denis.

I was happy to snag the BSD moneyline at -146 (and I'd take it to -175). But there's another Saint-Denis option on the betting board that caught my eye on Friday.

One reason I like Saint-Denis in this matchup is his striking advantage. Both of these fighters are dangerous on the ground, but Saint-Denis should be both more aggressive and more effective while they stand and trade strikes.

And even if this thing hits the mat, I like Saint-Denis' chances of a ground-and-pound stoppage. Moises is too willing to sacrifice position and other opportunities as he seeks out submissions.

Saint-Denis, meanwhile, is comfortable and effective on the mat, but he's playing the long game. If he's not in an advantageous position or if feels like he's about to get trapped, he'll power his way back to his feet and start the process again.

I think that bodes extremely well for Saint-Denis to win this fight by knockout.

Surprisingly, FanDuel is offering this prop at +330 odds (the submission, by comparison, pays virtually the same).

It's not exactly a super juicy long-shot Hail Mary with a filthy-good payout like we often get here with MMA Prop Squad picks. But +330 odds for the superior striker to win by KO against a fighter who doesn't always respond well to getting hit? Who's prone to ground and pound? And who may struggle to get the fight to the mat if things are going south while standing?

I'll bite. Give me Frenchman Saint-Denis to land some big shots as he gets a win in front of a partisan crowd.

Pick: Benoit Saint-Denis by KO (+330)

Bryan Fonseca: Rose Namajunas by Submission (+700)

Contributor at The Action Network and combat sports host and on-air talent

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 4:55 p.m. ET

I get it: Rose Namajunas' last performance was awful.

But I think it's possible we're going slightly overboard with underrating her ahead of her flyweight debut on Saturday.

She acknowledges that her last fight – 16 months ago against Carla Esparza – was everything from weird to boring to not her true self, all of which I agree with.

Manon Fiorot is a deserving favorite in the UFC Paris co-main event given the run she's been on since even before entering the UFC. She is nearly undefeated; her only loss was her debut MMA bout in 2018 and was a split decision to Leah McCourt, who has since found some success in Bellator.

Fiorot has decision wins over Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia and Mayra Bueno Silva – against whom she's loss only one of her last nine rounds. But Namajunas has one distinct advantage that she could exploit over Fiorot, who will be fighting in front of her countrypeople in France, and that's on the ground – though, she doesn't utilize it a ton.

Namajunas, who is 11-5, is much better than her record would suggest, and – you may be surprised to find out – she has five submission victories. I still think there's something there, and if she's going to win this fight, I'm not sure boxing is the way to go, skilled as she is.

Fiorot is a southpaw with power and skill, can box and kickbox effectively, understands range, and is naturally stronger. I think Namajunas is clearly her toughest test.

Namajunas can use her quickness to attempt to ground the slightly older Fiorot and go for submission attempts, which she's toned down over the years. Standing and trading won't serve her well unless she has a virtuoso performance led by her speed, or she just simply catches Fiorot.

Namajunas should've beaten Esparza, but we could write that off as a WTF performance. She was outboxing the hell out of Jessica Andrade before being slammed on her head, which we're not expecting Fiorot to do, and she got two wins over Zhang Weili in between, including a head-kick KO.

I'll back Namajunas to get it done, and for the purposes of the Prop Squad, sprinkle on a submission win as a +700 longshot.

Pick: Rose Namajunas by Submission (+700)

Dan Tom: Sergey Spivak by Submission (+460)

Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Protect Ya' Neck podcast

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 5:25 p.m. ET

For this week's Prop Squad submission, I decided to target the Ciryl Gane vs. Sergey Spivak main event.

Despite the betting lines and narratives saying that this is a spot for Gane to bounce back, the stylistic tarot cards say that this is another tough test for the Frenchman.

Say what you will about Spivak's strength of schedule, but the Moldovan fighter is arguably the most consistent grappler in the division next to Jailton Almeida.

And at heavyweight, having a wrestling and submission game can make all the difference in the world (just look at the common factors in Gane's title losses).

Not only does Spivak have a plethora of submissions with which he can finish, but the 28-year-old also likes to execute the exact same takedown that Jon Jones used to ground Gane earlier this year.

If you also like Spivak and your house doesn't offer inside-the-distance props, then I suggest considering a sprinkle on "The Polar Bear" to win by submission, which is +400 at many sportsbooks but +460 at FanDuel.

Pick: Sergey Spivak by Submission (+460)

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