UFC San Antonio Luck Ratings: 4 Undervalued Fighters to Consider Betting Now (Saturday, March 25)

UFC San Antonio Luck Ratings: 4 Undervalued Fighters to Consider Betting Now (Saturday, March 25) article feature image

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: UFC women’s flyweight Maycee Barber

  • Some UFC fighters are undervalued and overvalued heading into UFC San Antonio.
  • Saturday's ESPN-televised event features 11 bouts, and some recent results could be affecting the odds.
  • Below, Billy Ward looks at four bouts in which luck-related factors could be at play.

Let’s look into some mispriced betting lines for UFC San Antonio on Saturday and see which fighters are overvalued and which are undervalued heading into the event.

UFC San Antonio, also dubbed UFC on ESPN: Vera vs. Sandhagen, takes place at AT&T Center, and the full event airs on ESPN and simulcasts on ESPN+ beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. ET).

One of the first “aha!” moments I had in gambling (generally, not just MMA) was to start thinking about why markets might be wrong, rather than just trying to predict what I think will happen.

At its core, that’s what a betting line is: a market where we can “buy” or “sell” events happening. For the most part, these markets are efficient, with the “price” eventually reflecting the true odds of the event.

While this is less true in MMA – where there are far more information asymmetries than in major markets like the NFL or NBA – it’s still broadly (and increasingly) the case. Therefore, to beat the markets over the long term, we need to figure out spots where they’re wrong.

That’s the point of this piece. Inspired by our NFL “Luck Rankings,” I’ll be looking into spots where variance has favored one fighter more than another, causing the line to be inefficient. The biggest input will be split and/or controversial decisions, with short-notice fights, fights that are later overruled, fluke injuries, and out-of-weight-class fights considered, as well.

The focus will be on fights reasonably likely to see the scorecards here, or where one fighter holds most of the finishing upside.

(Be sure to check out the latest UFC San Antonio odds.)

The must-have app for UFC bettors

The best UFC betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Cory Sandhagen (-178) vs. Marlon Vera (+138)

Former title challenger Cory Sandhagen is a slight favorite over Marlon "Chito" Vera, with both men having a wealth of UFC experience heading into the UFC San Antonio main event.

Chito is just 30 but somehow has already fought 20 UFC fights. He's 14-6 in those bouts, with all six losses coming via decision. Eleven of his 14 wins have been finishes. Remarkably, none of those decisions was split or majority.

This fight is a five-round main event, an area where Vera has performed better historically. He's 2-0 in bouts scheduled for five rounds with better results deeper into fights. He lost the first round against Rob Font before sweeping the final four frames. Against Dominick Cruz, he dropped the first two rounds before winning the third and finishing Cruz in the fourth.

Sandhagen is 8-3 in the UFC with a 2-2 record in decisions. Two of those were splits, with a 1-1 record in them. For my money, the correct fighter won both fights, but both were reasonably close.

Crucially, Sandhagen is just 1-2 in fights that have gone to championship rounds. That's not a great sign against a fighter such as Vera, who tends to start slow.

If this were a three-round fight, I'd say the market has this about right. For a five-rounder, Vera is being undervalued a bit here. Rather than bet his moneyline, look to play Vera live after a round or two, or consider "Vera late" props.

Verdict: Vera Undervalued

Maycee Barber (-250) vs. Andrea Lee (+190)

Maycee Barber is 6-2 in the UFC with a 3-2 record in decisions. Only one of those decisions was a split, a very close fight with Miranda Maverick. Watching that one back, I would've given the disputed second round to Maverick – but it was very difficult to score.

On the other hand, one of Barber's two losses was due to a torn ACL early in the fight. That she managed to push through and see a decision is impressive. Her only other career loss came to current champion Alexa Grasso in her return fight from that injury.

Lee is 5-4 in the UFC with two wins by finish and the rest of her fights requiring the judges. Twice those judges were split, with Lee on the losing end both times. There is an argument that she's been a bit unlucky to not get either decision, but in my eyes, the judges got it right both times.

This fight has a bit more variance in the odds from book to book than most. The movement has been toward Barber since betting opened, but some books have moved more aggressively than others. Therefore, it's hard to make a blanket "undervalued" statement in either direction. However, Barber at -250 on FanDuel is a good deal for as long as it lasts.

Verdict:  Barber Undervalued (Specific Books)

Chidi Njokuani (-194) vs. Albert Duraev (+150)

Neither fighter here has a ton of UFC experience, with just five fights between the pair. Chidi Njokuani is 2-1 with no need for the judges in any of his bouts. To his credit, his lone loss was to Gregory Rodrigues, who's a much tougher fighter than anyone Albert Duraev has faced.

Duraev is 1-1 in the UFC octagon with a decision win but a stoppage loss. That's not a great sign, nor is the fact that he's 3-4 overall as a professional in fights that end by knockout but undefeated in decisions.

This is another bout where the final call depends on what book you're shopping at. The -194 on Njokuani at FanDuel feels like a fair price – but he can be had as low as -165 elsewhere. I prefer to wait for his knockout props to be posted, but the shorter odds are a good bet, as well.

Verdict: Njokuani Undervalued (DraftKings/BetMGM)

Preston Parsons (-113) vs. Trevin Giles (-113)

Preston Parsons is an interesting fighter from a "luck" perspective. He's 1-1 in the UFC with a knockout loss and a decision win. His KO defeat came in a short-notice bout against Daniel Rodriguez, which was also Parsons' debut in the promotion.

However, his win against Evan Elder was a short-notice fight and UFC debut for Elder. Elder is normally a lightweight and came up to welterweight in order to fight Parsons and get a UFC contract.

Those factors cancel out to an extent, but I'm concerned that he was unable to finish a much smaller fighter who only had a few days' notice. That speaks poorly to both his cardio and finishing ability – especially against Giles, who spent much of his career at middleweight.

As an additional note, Parsons was slated to fight Louis Cosce in 2022, but the bout fell apart. Parsons was lined as a moderate underdog. Cosce eventually made his return to action against Giles – who won the fight by unanimous decision. While MMA math isn't reliable, it's surprising to see this one listed as a pick'em.

Verdict: Giles Undervalued

Hailey Cowan (-140) vs. Tamires Vidal (+110)

(Editor's note: This fight was canceled on Thursday due to undisclosed medical issues suffered by Vidal.)

Hailey Cowan was set to fight last month before withdrawing due to an illness at the last minute. Cowan is 7-2 as a professional but was stopped in both of her losses, and she's 2-0 in split decisions, including her Contender Series fight.

I wrote about how overvalued she was at the time for her scheduled bout against Ailin Perez. This time, she has similar odds for her bout against Tamires Vidal – who has a win against Perez in a regional fight.

Cowan is still overvalued here, and her forced withdrawal due to an illness also isn't a great sign. Vidal is as high as +115 as of Tuesday, but keep an eye on the line. Vidal opened as a fairly heavy favorite before a ton of action came in on Cowan.

That could be a chance for an even better price – or a sign of a potential issue for Vidal.

Verdict: Cowan Overvalued

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.