UFC Vegas 72 Props: MMA Prop Squad Has 2 Juicy Bets for Song vs. Simon Main Event (Saturday, April 29)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC bantamweight Ricky Simon
- Our UFC props for UFC Vegas 72 on Saturday night include some early prelims and even the Song Yadong vs. Ricky Simon main event.
- The MMA Prop Squad has picks with odds ranging from +390 all the way to +1200.
- Check out the MMA experts and their juicy UFC prop bets below.
Welcome to the latest edition of MMA Prop Squad, in which we offer an array of UFC Vegas 72 prop bets with oversized odds for Saturday’s event.
Each Prop Squad installment features a handful of picks from our squad of prop-betting enthusiasts, who have tallied +36.6 units and a 24.0% ROI to date.
This week marks the return of squad members John LanFranca, Clint MacLean, Tony Sartori, Sean Zerillo, Bryan Fonseca and Billy Ward.
Check out their picks for Saturday’s event, which streams on ESPN+ (4:30 p.m. ET) from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, 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.
John LanFranca: Marcus McGhee by Decision (+650)
Contributor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 4:55 p.m. ET
Marcus McGhee steps in on just a few days’ notice to make his UFC debut against Journey Newson. This fight will be at a catchweight of 140 pounds, and although we generally are concerned about the cardio of a fighter stepping in on short notice, I do not expect that to be an issue for McGhee heading into Saturday evening.
I expect McGhee to be the fighter throwing more combinations when the fight is at range, and to be the more active striker through all three rounds. McGhee’s activity and distance management will be key; he is the longer of the two fighters, and Newson needs to find success in landing his overhand right to set up his takedowns.
Newson has the skills to take advantage of McGhee’s perceived weakness in defensive grappling, but we have yet to really see him control his opponents on the mat for long periods. Newson hasn’t won a fight by submission in more than six years.
I am willing to take a shot with the debuting fighter who may land the bigger shots if he can scramble out of the few bad positions he finds himself in. As long as McGhee can avoid the fight-ending grappling position early, he can gain favor with the judges by causing more damage on the feet and overall output.
The Pick: Marcus McGhee by decision (+650 at DraftKings)
Clint MacLean: Charles Johnson in Round 3 (+1200)
Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Die Hard MMA Podcast
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 5:55 p.m. ET
Charles Johnson has been a bit of a puzzle so far in his UFC tenure. After Johnson fought to three less-than-impressive decisions, the betting public seems rather down on him.
Prior to coming to the UFC, he was known for cooking his opponents with his cardio, but he’s been struggling late as opposed to putting on the pressure.
I think the big thing people are missing with Johnson is his health. Coming into this fight, he is the healthiest he’s been since he made it to the UFC.
His UFC Vegas 72 opponent, Cody Durden, can gas himself out trying to force the takedown, and Johnson is known for being difficult to take down and harder to hold down. I expect we see vintage Charles Johnson on Saturday, and as Durden fades, Johnson will open up and find a finish.
Pick: Charles Johnson in Round 3 (+1200)
Tony Sartori: Jake Collier by KO/TKO (+550)
Contributor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 6:25 p.m. ET
To cap off the preliminary card, we have a heavyweight bout between Martin Buday and Jake Collier. Originally a slight betting favorite who’s now drifted into small-underdog territory, Collier looks to turn around his fortunes after dropping his past two fights and three of his last four.
However, Collier was winning his last fight against Chris Barnett before getting caught in the second round, and he even knocked him down once with that massive power of his. The two losses before that came via split decision, the latter of which was extremely controversial.
In his loss to Andrei Arlovski, all 14 media scores judged the fight for Collier with six of those scoring the fight 30-27. Over his past six fights, Collier is 2-4, though he is a much better fighter than that record indicates.
Now is the time to buy low, especially considering Buday is 2-0 since appearing on Contender Series in October 2021. However, the first of those two wins came against Barnett, the guy Collier was beating before getting caught.
The second of those wins came via split decision over Lukasz Brzeski, a fight that was absolute highway robbery for Buday. Of the 13 media scores, 12 scored the fight for Brzeski.
This fight should stay on the feet, with both heavyweights preferring to stand and bang. A more powerful striker who throws in heavier volume, Collier has landed more significant strikes per minute while absorbing fewer than Buday.
Five of Collier’s 13 professional wins have come via knockout, and at +550, it is worth taking a shot on the heavyweight to bounce back against Buday.
Pick: Jake Collier by KO/TKO (+550)
Sean Zerillo: Josh Quinlan by Submission (+750)
Senior Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 6:55 p.m. ET
While Josh Quinlan earned his UFC contract with a 47-second knockout on the Contender Series (overturned to a no-contest due to a failed drug test) and subsequently scored a quick knockout win over Jason Witt in his UFC debut, I expect him to show off more of his grappling chops on Saturday against a taller and longer opponent.
Quinlan possesses all of the grappling upside against Trey Waters – a rangy striker five inches taller than Quinlan, with a five-inch reach advantage. If Quinlan obliges Waters and tries to play a range kickboxing game for 15 minutes, he might lose on volume.
The best way to neutralize that reach discrepancy is to take down Waters and use his long limbs against him. Quinlan has a couple of rear-naked chokes on his record, and Waters has a couple of wins by guillotine, too, so it’s not out of the question that Waters will look to jump the submission – and put himself on his back – if he has the opportunity.
My bet comes down to the extreme likelihood of this bout ending inside the distance at -400 (80% implied), with Quinlan as high as -140 (58.3% implied) at sharper books to win by finish.
You can find Quinlan at around +125 (44.4% implied) by knockout and +750 (11.8% implied) by submission; I would set the lines at +172 and +553, respectively.
While Quinlan could stand and bang and try to knock out a taller and longer opponent, he likely has an easier path to victory on the mat, should he decide to pursue it.
Pick: Josh Quinlan by submission (+750)
Bryan Fonseca: Ricky Simon by KO (+750)
Contributor at The Action Network and combat sports host and on-air talent
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:25 p.m. ET
Let’s go with the underdog in the UFC Vegas 72 main event.
Ricky Simon is carrying a five-fight winning streak heading into this, one of which is a knockout victory, having stopped Raphael Assuncao in December 2021.
This is more about Song Yadong being able to be hit, and the exchanges coming back to bite him.
Yadong was stopped in September by Cory Sandhagen, and he was also knocked out in 2016.
He has a fan-friendly, action style – and those come with consequences. Simon can neutralize him by trying to get Yadong on the ground, and he’s made two of his last four opponents tap with arm-triangle chokes.
But this time, I’ll sprinkle on Yadong being able to keep this standing long enough, having some success, and just getting caught at some point in the fight. Simon himself has six knockouts, and even if there have only been two over the last five years, I like the +750 enough to give it a shot.
Pick: Ricky Simon by KO/TKO (+750)
Billy Ward: Song Yadong in Round 4, 5, or by Decision (+390)
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:25 p.m. ET
The prevailing wisdom in this fight is that Song Yadong’s best opportunity for a win comes in the early goings of this fight. He’s the power puncher and fighting a grappler in Ricky Simon. Four of his eight wins have come via knockout, all of them inside of two rounds.
However, I’m not so sure I buy that logic. Neither Yadong nor Simon has fought a full five-round UFC fight, though Simon had one in regional competition and Yadong went four rounds against Cory Sandhagen in his last outing.
While Yadong lost that fight between the fourth and fifth rounds due to a cut, his cardio held up just fine, with similar output across all four rounds of the contest. He isn’t a volume puncher who relies on a high number of strikes to win minutes; he prefers to pick his spots and land the more damaging strikes.
That plays well to the judges in the current era of MMA, with big shots scoring preferentially compared to takedowns. That gives him some solid decision equity here against Simon, a relentless grappler who averages 6.55 takedowns per 15 minutes.
The big factor here is how those styles impact the fighters’ cardio. There’s a reason that Olympic wrestling matches are just six minutes while championship boxing matches last up to 36: Wrestling is far more taxing. I could see Simon running out of gas if he’s unable to secure a finish on the ground in the first few rounds, leading to a late stoppage for Song.
That’s where this FanDuel prop comes into play, since we get both late finishes and decisions rolled into one. While it’s a hair short of our usual +400 Prop Squad threshold, the +390 is still pretty juicy odds.
Pick: Song Yadong in Round 4, 5, or by decision (+390 at FanDuel)
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