UFC Singapore Props: MMA Prop Squad Picks for Holloway vs. Korean Zombie on Saturday Morning (August 26)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC featherweight Alex Caceres
Welcome to the latest edition of MMA Prop Squad, in which we offer an array of UFC Singapore prop bets with oversized odds for Saturday's early-morning UFC Singapore event (5 a.m. ET).
Each Prop Squad installment features a handful of picks from our squad of prop-betting enthusiasts, who have tallied +10.1 units and a +4.3% ROI per bet to date.
This week marks the return of squad members Clint MacLean, Bryan Fonseca, Billy Ward, Dan Tom, Dann Stupp and Tony Sartori. They're all hungry for some UFC Singapore winners this weekend.
Check out their picks for Saturday's event, which streams entirely on ESPN+ beginning at 5 a.m. ET (2 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.
Clint MacLean: Liang Na by KO (+1400)
Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Die Hard MMA Podcast
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 5:25 a.m. ET
Liang Na has made a reputation for herself as a two-minute fighter in the UFC. The 27-year-old prospect has lost both of her UFC fights after starting firefights against Silvanda Gomez Juarez and Ariane Carnelossi.
Na has vicious and brutal offense but leaves herself completely exposed if she gasses out trying to kill her opponent.
At UFC Singapore, she will be moving up a weight class, which may actually help her cardio, and she has taken more than a year off since her last fight. At the age of 27, we can generally expect large improvements from that kind of a break.
Her opponent, JJ Aldrich, is an unathletic fighter who has been hurt on the feet in many of her recent fights and relies on absorbing damage and grinding in order to win.
Na shouldn't be in much danger of being finished, and if she has made any improvements or slows down just a bit, I think she can hurt JJ.
Especially if the extra weight adds to that punching power.
Bryan Fonseca: Talia Santos by KO (+1200)
Contributor at The Action Network and combat sports host and on-air talent
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 8:25 a.m. ET
If I'm taking a long shot this weekend, I might as well bet on power and pedigree, and on an underdog I like.
Talia Santos was really the first flyweight to make then-champion Valentina Shevchenko feel mortal, fighting her way to a split decision loss in June 2022.
Santos hasn't fought since, but Shevchenko has, and she tapped to Alexa Grasso the very next fight, losing her UFC flyweight title.
Santos is not only a live 'dog here – albeit a slight one – she returns to the same Singapore Indoor Arena where she pushed Shevchenko to the limit.
Why the knockout? For one, though she hasn't had one since 2016, she has 10 MMA KOs in her career. She was able to take down and, on occasion, out-muscle Shevchenko in their title bout.
Santos can win the fight standing up, and while Blanchfield's jiu-jitsu is exceptional (black belt), Santos can have success on the ground because of her power.
But she'll opt to keep the fight standing up, so if there's a non-decision route to victory for her, my assumption is it'd be via KO.
Blanchfield has been on a tear, and she's the favorite for a reason. But this is her toughest test yet, and this is my Fight of the Night.
The Pick: Talia Santos by KO (+1200 at BetMGM)
Billy Ward: Rinya Nakamura via Round 1 Submission (+700)
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 8:55 a.m. ET
Rinya Nakamura is Japan’s answer to Bo Nickal. While he’s getting (slightly) less attention from the casual fan, he’s every bit as enticing of a prospect as his American counterpart, with similar credentials and athletic potential.
Nakamura was the Under 23 world champion in freestyle wrestling, and he was set to compete in the 2020 Olympics before the COVID pandemic pushed those back. Instead, he decided to transition to MMA full-time.
It’s gone well with a 7-0 record that includes five first-round stoppages. Like Nickal, his natural power and the threat of his wrestling open up striking opportunities for Nakamura. Also like Nickal, if push comes to shove, he’s highly likely to rely on his dominant grappling to win fights.
Nakamura is taking on Fernie Garcia, who is 0-2 in the UFC. This isn’t intended to be a competitive bout; it’s a showcase for the brightest Asian prospect in the sport while the UFC is in Singapore.
Nakamura is roughly even money to win in Round 1 – making his submission line somewhat more surprising.
Garcia has never been knocked out as a professional, yet sportsbooks have that as the far more likely method of victory for Nakamura. I’m not sure that should be the case given his wrestling and grappling credentials.
It’s a long shot for a reason as Nakamura has five knockouts to just one submission on his record. But it shouldn’t be this long.
The Pick: Rinya Nakamura via Round 1 Submission (+700 at Caesars)
Dan Tom: Giga Chikadze in Round 1 (+600)
Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Protect Ya' Neck podcast
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:25 a.m. ET
For this week's Prop Squad submission, I decided to target a main-card attraction between Giga Chikadze and Alex Caceres.
Despite not disagreeing with Chikadze being favored over Caceres as the more impactful striker in this featherweight pairing, I can't say that I love the price tag on the Georgian's moneyline – which is why I'm shopping his props.
Although I don't blame anyone for taking a stab at Chikadze's knockout props for a bit more coverage, I can't help but zero in on the 6-1 odds for him to beat Caceres in Round 1.
Whether we're talking about Chikadze's kickboxing or MMA career, the majority of his finishes come in the first frame of fighting.
Couple that with the fact that a full half of Caceres' losses have happened in the first round, and I can't help but take a shot on the "hot round" for Chikadze.
Dann Stupp: Giga Chikadze vs. Alex Caceres Ends in Round 2 (+600), Round 3 (+900)
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:25 a.m. ET
My initial betting strategy for Giga Chikadze vs. Alex Caceres was to go contrarian and bet a juiced "under" or "doesn't go to decision."
But this is MMA Prop Squad, and here, we're encouraged to get a little greedy. So I'm taking it a step further.
I understand why most folks expect this featherweight fight to go the distance. It could be a fun and dynamic clash of styles with both guys trying their best to implement a unique and fun style.
Although we've seen Chikadze put away far-less-accomplished strikers, Caceres is certainly savvy enough to hang around and survive the first round.
But as the fight wears on, "Bruce Leroy's" spindly legs could be especially vulnerable to low kicks. And it's not like he hasn't been stopped before (eight stoppages in 13 career defeats).
Still, Caceres has some grappling upside, especially later in the fight after Chikadze has hopefully started to slow a bit. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has a knack for capitalizing on his opponents' mental miscues.
So, whether it's Chikadze scoring attritional damage to set up a KO – or Cacares simply being veteran and crafty enough to hang around and find an opening in the second half of the fight – I like this one to end in the second or third rounds.
I'll split my bet with a little action on Round 2 (+600) and Round 3 (+900) as I sweat the opening frame – and then hope for fireworks.
Tony Sartori: Max Holloway via Submission (+2000)
Contributor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 10:25 a.m. ET
In the main event that this card was built around, the No. 1 contender in the featherweight division, Max Holloway, takes on No. 8 contender Chan Sung Jung (aka "The Korean Zombie").
I'm going to say my pick before diving into it because I will really need you to bear with me here because it is going to sound crazy: Holloway via submission at 20-1.
If you know these two fighters and their styles, betting on this fight to end in a submission (especially from Holloway) probably sounds delusional, and it very well might be if they go out and stand and bang for 25 straight minutes – which is a very likely scenario.
However, hear me out.
Whenever The Korean Zombie has faced top-level competition over the past six years, he has failed to get the job done. He was knocked out by Yair Rodriguez and Alexander Volkanovski while Brian Ortega absolutely dominated him on the way to a unanimous-decision victory.
With that said, there is one fight over the past six years in which he actually had success for longer than a three-minute span, and that was his latest victory over Dan Ige in 2021. In that bout, Jung landed three takedowns and amassed north of 10 minutes of control time.
So, in a fight against perhaps the best striker in the history of the 145-pound division, why would this not be his game plan?
Holloway will obviously opt to just stand and bang whenever possible in this fight just as he always does. But, assuming The Korean Zombie does shoot for those takedowns, is there not a world where Holloway locks in a counter-submission at any point during the 25-scheduled minutes?
A brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the Hawaiian can absolutely grapple if needed or the opportunity is presented. We have seen Holloway lock in a guillotine choke numerous times throughout his career whether against Brian Ortega or in his submission victories over Cub Swanson and Andre Fili.
The implied probability of +2000 is 4.76%. I do not buy into that idea that in a 25-minute fight against a guy who is likely to shoot for takedowns, that the far superior fighter and BJJ brown belt secures a submission victory less than 5% of the time, especially for a guy who is not afraid to go for the guillotine when his opponent shoots. This is available at +2000 odds ar Circa, but the more widely available BetRivers and Betway also have it available at +1800.
The Pick: Max Holloway via submission (+2000 at Circa)