UFC Singapore Odds, Picks, Projections: Best Bets for Holloway vs. Korean Zombie, Blanchfield vs. Santos, More (Saturday, August 26)
Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC Singapore headliners and featherweights Opponents Max Holloway and Chan Sung Jung
Check out our UFC Singapore best bets ahead of Saturday morning's event on ESPN+ live from Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
UFC Singapore kicks off at 5 a.m. ET (2 a.m. PT) with the preliminary card, and then the main card starts at 8 a.m. ET. All fights stream on ESPN+.
UFC Singapore, also dubbed UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Korean Zombie, features 13 bouts in all. It's a morning full of fistfighting action, including the big Max Holloway vs. Chan Sung Jung main event.
So where should be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed four fights and five picks on Saturday’s early-morning fight card that present betting value.
You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo's projections below using odds from BetMGM.
Tony Sartori: Liang Na vs. JJ Aldrich
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 5:25 a.m. ET
Flyweights Na Liang and JJ Aldrich meet in the second fight of the UFC Singapore prelims.
Aldrich is coming off two straight losses, though those came against the always-game Ariane Lipski and No. 3-ranked flyweight contender Erin Blanchfield.
Aldrich had fired off three straight wins prior to those two bouts, and I would not consider either of those to be "bad" losses, though she was a pretty sizable favorite against Lipski.
With that said, Aldrich is an even bigger favorite in this matchup against Liang, and for good reason. With all due respect to Liang, she has not demonstrated anything in her two UFC bouts thus far to suggest that she will stay in this promotion for very long.
Liang lost both of those scraps via KO, and that chin could once again be a problem against Aldrich's striking. With her outclassed on the feet in both of those losses, we could see Liang attempt to bring this fight to the mat in order to avoid the quick finish for the third straight fight.
However, even if she lands some takedowns, Ariane Carnelossi proved that Liang can be easily reversed on the mat and has a limited gas tank. Aldrich can handle herself on the mat, but her 70% takedown defense should be enough to keep this fight standing.
If it stays standing, Aldrich has the clear advantage in the striking department both offensively and defensively, and with Liang's questionable chin, it could be yet another quick night for her.
The Pick: JJ Aldrich via KO (+185 via BetRivers)
Sean Zerillo: Waldo Cortes-Acosta vs. Lukasz Brzeski
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 7:25 a.m. ET
Although Lukasz Brzeski is 0-2 in the UFC, he had a tough-luck loss in his debut against Martin Buday. He led 116-65 on distance strikes and received the nod from 11 of 12 media members and 89% of fans but just one of the three judges.
He then had a nightmare matchup against Karl Williams, against whom he showed determination despite permitting eight takedowns and spending 10:13 in control positions.
Brzeski, who scored a submission win to earn his UFC contract, should have the wrestling edge in this fight against Waldo Cortes-Acosta, who has shown a grappling deficiency in his past two bouts.
Cortes-Acosta has quick hands and makes the most out of his length. Still, he primarily peppers opponents with volume – rather than landing significant damage – and he has a subpar kicking game offensively and defensively. Waldo is a quicker athlete, but Brzeski can close that gap with size parity and a superior skill set.
Brzeski is the more diverse striker, mixing attacks to all three levels. He can keep Cortes-Acosta's volume in check by mixing in clinch and takedown attempts and make this an extremely competitive, moderately paced kickboxing match, at worst.
At the UFC level, heavyweight bouts end inside the distance more than 70% of the time. Relative to the divisional average, this fight is heavily favored to end inside the distance at odds of -125 (55.6% implied), roughly 25-30% above expectation for heavyweights.
As a rule, I want to bet underdogs with complete grappling upside or underdogs in fights favored to reach a decision; Brzeski ticks both boxes.
Bet Brzeski on the moneyline to +175 (projected +163) and sprinkle his decision prop (projected +339) at +370 or better.
The Pick: Lukasz Brzeski (+200 at Bet365) | Brzeski wins by decision (+500 at BetWay)
Dann Stupp: Junior Tafa vs. Parker Porter
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 7:55 a.m. ET
If there's one thing you don't want to bring to a fight with Junior Tafa, it's a questionable chin.
Unfortunately for Parker Porter, that's one of the numerous factors working against him in this UFC Singapore main-card bout with hard-hitting Tafa.
Junior Tafa, of course, is the younger brother of Justin Tafa, who knocked out Porter in 65 seconds just six months ago.
I feel like we're getting a real great line here on the younger Tafa (-138) to repeat the feat and make Porter 0-2 against the Tafa clan in 2023.
Strictly on the surface level, Tafa is 12 years younger and three inches taller, which obviously bodes well for him. And though Tafa gives up a few inches of reach, he can be especially violent in the clinch, which can be tricky for opponents (namely Porter) who probably need to get him to the mat.
Mohammed Usman, an accomplished wrestler, recently delivered Tafa his first career loss. However, even Usman struggled to ground Tafa early. He ate a hefty amount of damage before losing the first round to a quite decently defensive Tafa.
Ultimately, Usman's wrestling allowed him to grind out a win in the later rounds, but I don't think Porter can use the same game plan. Although Porter has some good cardio for a big man, he just doesn't have the wrestling (or top game) to wear on Tafa like Usman did, and his telegraphed attempts are likely to meet some heavy resistance.
And Tafa probably just needs a few opportunities to stand and trade before he can put away Porter, a durable opponent – but one who's been finished in seven of his eight losses (he was disqualified for illegal shots in the other).
For my UFC Singapore best bet, I'm going to play it safe and simply take Tafa on the moneyline (-138 at Betway and -142 at DraftKings), and I'd play it down to -185 (65% implied win probability). But if you're feeling a little greedy, taking Tafa to win inside the distance (+100 at DraftKings) could also be worth a serious look, down to -115.
The Pick: Junior Tafa (-138 at Betway)
Billy Ward: Erin Blanchfield vs. Taila Santos
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 8:25 a.m. ET
While it comes up in all sports, I’d argue that recency bias is strongest in MMA. It makes sense: With athletes competing so infrequently, it’s easy to forget the accomplishments of fighters we haven’t seen for a while – even if that accomplishment includes being robbed of a UFC title win against one of the greatest female fighters of all time.
That’s exactly what Taila Santos did in her last fight, officially a split-decision loss to then-champ Valentina Shevchenko. Santos won the first three rounds with her ground control before an unfortunate headbutt closed her left eye in the fourth round (and perhaps she ran out of gas as well).
Fortunately, this is a three-round bout against Erin Blanchfield, an extremely impressive prospect who has earned two submission victories since we last saw Santos. However, those wins came against a woefully overmatched (in the grappling department) Molly McCann and a last-minute replacement fighter in Jessica Andrade.
Not to denigrate Blanchfield here – she’s just 24 and arguably the best female grappler in the sport. She just hasn’t proven it on a high level against a fighter like Santos.
It’s also a tough stylistic matchup for Blanchfield. Santos should have a considerable edge on the feet. She’s a lethal counter-striker. Blanchfield tends to land takedowns from the clinch, which she initiates by rushing forward with punches. Santos should see those coming easily and land shots at range while avoiding the clinch.
Even if she can’t, Santos is a dangerous clinch fighter in her own right, so it’s no sure thing Blanchfield wins from there. While Blanchfield is certainly better on the ground, Santos should be able to stay safe if and when the fight gets there – with judges rewarding her damage over Blanchifeld’s control.
I’m extremely high on the long-term prospects of both women, and I expect a rematch between them for the UFC flyweight title in the somewhat near future. But Santos is in her prime now while Blanchfield is still on the ascent. I’ll take the more developed overall fighter, and I’d take her down to +100.
The Pick: Taila Santos (+135 at Caesars)