UFC Singapore Luck Ratings: The Undervalued Fighters to Bet Now (Saturday, August 26)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: UFC light heavyweight Ryan Spann
Let’s look into some mispriced betting lines for UFC Singapore: Holloway vs. Korean Zombie on Sunday and see which fighters are undervalued and could possibly be worth betting early as we head into the early-morning event on ESPN+.
UFC Singapore takes place at Singapore Indoor Stadium with a special start time of 5 a.m. ET (2 a.m. PT) for the preliminary card and 8 a.m. ET for the main card. The entire 13-bout event streams live on ESPN+.
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.
Max Holloway (-850) vs. Chan Sung Jung (+520)
With such a lopsided line, I'm unlikely to be betting this fight in any fashion. However, there's probably a case to be made that the massively favored Max Holloway is still undervalued even at his current price.
In the last decade, Holloway is undefeated against featherweights not named Alexander Volkanovski. His three fights with the champion were the closest anyone has come to wresting the title from the Australian, and he took Volkanovski to the only split decision on his unblemished record in the division.
Compare that to Jung, who was dominated by Volkanovski in his last fight before the bout was mercifully stopped via standing TKO.
Jung also has losses to Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega in his last five bouts – both of whom Holloway defeated easily.
The 36-year-old "Korean Zombie" already has one foot out the door, with this likely being his last fight in the UFC. That's an additional strike against him.
While none of this analysis really comes down to "luck," I do expect Holloway to finish as an even bigger favorite. He's already -1000 on FanDuel, which is probably closer to the closing line.
As of Tuesday, he's still -750 at Caesars. While that's a hefty price, it's still the sharp side here.
Verdict: Max Holloway undervalued
Anthony Smith (+102) vs. Ryan Spann (-122)
Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann met for the first time less than two years ago with Smith winning via first-round rear-naked choke. A lot has happened since then.
Smith has lost consecutive fights in the interim, including his fight against Magomed Ankalaev in which he broke his leg during the contest.
That broken leg led to a variety of health complications, and Smith was noticeably slower in his return fight, a unanimous-decision loss to Johnny Walker.
While it hasn't been all good news for Spann since then, he's 2-1 in that timeframe with two first-round finishes. He's the far superior athlete against this version of Smith, with their careers trending in the opposite direction.
The trends on rematches also lean slightly toward Spann. Generally speaking, the younger fighter has an edge in rematches – even relative to market odds. That's Spann, who's chronologically three years younger but has 25 fewer professional fights than Smith.
I'd make Spann closer to a -150 or so favorite here, though the more popular Smith may continue to see bets on his side, making it hard to predict which way the line moves from here.
Verdict: Ryan Spann undervalued
Erin Blanchfield (-135) vs. Taila Santos (+114)
This fight is likely to determine the next title challenger for the women's flyweight crown as it features the UFC's No. 3-ranked and No. 4-ranked contenders.
They were previously booked to fight in February, but visa issues on the part of Santos forced the fight to be pushed back.
Instead, Blanchfield fought Jessica Andrade, whom she quickly dismantled in the second round.
Santos' last fight was an extremely close split decision loss for the flyweight title. I had had the bout scored for Santos. Had she been the woman to unseat Valentina Shevchenko as champion, it's hard to argue that she wouldn't be favored over Blanchfield here.
I won't be betting this one personally until I can dig deeper into the tape on both women, but my early read is that recency bias has made a big impact on this line.
I'm leaning Santos for now unless something in the tape gives me reason to go the other direction.
Verdict: Taila Santos undervalued
Seungwoo Choi (-175) vs. Jarno Errens (+145)
Choi is getting another shot in the UFC despite a three-fight losing skid that would usually mean a release from the promotion.
This fight card being in Asia probably explains why he's getting another chance, but it certainly doesn't explain the betting line.
Errens is 0-1 in the UFC following a majority decision loss to William Gomis in his debut. That fight was notably in Paris against a French opponent, and a less-biased environment could've swayed things his way in that fight.
Errens also didn't look bad in that bout, having moments on the feet and with submission attempts but struggling to deal with Gomis' wrestling.
Errens has already fallen from a +190 or so underdog on books that posted lines early, and I expect that trend to continue. I'm not sure where the line will settle, but I'm guessing we won't be able to get the +162 (available at bet365) for much longer.