UFC Vegas 64 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Madsen vs. Dawson, Maverick vs. Young, Sholinian vs. Munoz Jr. (November 5)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC lightweight Mark O. Madsen
- UFC Vegas 64 takes place at the UFC Apex facility on Saturday with 12 fights.
- Our MMA experts have best bets for three of the matchups, including the Mark Madsen vs. Grant Dawson main-card opener.
- Check out the picks from Billy Ward, Sean Zerillo and Dann Stupp below.
(Editor's note: Josh Parisian announced prior to the start of the event that a medical issue has forced him out of his main-card bout with heavyweight Chase Sherman.)
UFC Vegas 64 takes place Saturday, and the ESPN+ event (4 p.m. ET) features 12 bouts in all.
That provides a full evening of fighting – and plenty of betting opportunities.
So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed three fights and picks on Saturday’s stacked 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.
Billy Ward: Mark Madsen vs. Grant Dawson
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Olympic wrestling silver medalist Mark O. Madsen is taking on Grant Dawson to kick off the UFC Vegas 64 main card. Madsen is a perfect 12-0 as a professional MMA fighter, with four of those wins coming in the UFC.
Dawson is also an excellent grappler, averaging nearly four takedowns per 15 minutes in his 6-0-1 UFC run. That should make for an exciting matchup between two of the highest-level wrestlers in the lightweight division.
With that said, it’s exceedingly hard to see Dawson taking down Madsen. MMA wrestling is entirely different from wrestling for its own sake, but they don’t just give out silver medals in the Olympics. More importantly, even if he is able to get down Madsen, his ability to keep him there is highly questionable.
With takedowns for their own sake not scoring much these days, that’s a lean toward Madsen. Madsen's Greco-Roman wrestling base isn’t ideal for MMA due to the range it requires, but it works well against fellow willing grapplers.
More importantly, his ability to keep top control should be there. That’s (essentially) the same skill in any type of grappling. Therefore, Madsen’s takedowns should come with more control time/damage – and thus more impact on the judging.
The striking component will be interesting here, with Madsen throwing heavier shots but Dawson arguably having a technical edge. I have a slight lean to the fighter with more finishing upside in Madsen, but it’s a toss-up at worst for the Olympian.
Finally, I’d give the cardio edge to Madsen here. While Madsen's gas tank has been questionable at times, he went a full 15 minutes with Clay Guida, winning the third round on one of the judges' scorecards. Dawson has had problems in that area, turning a 20-18 lead on the cards into a majority draw thanks to dropping a 10-8 third round to Rick Glenn.
That could be crucial if this one features a lot of grappling.
The Pick: Mark Madsen (+190 BetMGM)
Sean Zerillo: Liudvik Sholinian vs. Johnny Munoz Jr.
Senior Writer at The Action Network
The betting market has moved drastically toward Johnny Munoz Jr. before each of his UFC fights.
Munoz opened as a +125 underdog and closed in a -110 pick'em against Nate Maness (also appearing on Saturday's card) in his UFC debut. He subsequently opened around -225 and closed at -320 for a matchup with short-notice replacement Jamey Simmons and moved from +130 to +107 in a step-up in competition against Tony Gravely.
Despite a 1-2 record in those bouts, Munoz has moved from -190 (65.5% implied) to around -250 (71.4% implied) in the past four days.
Munoz is the superior jiu-jitsu practitioner, but Sholinian – a decorated Ukrainian wrestler – may be able to determine where the fight takes place.
While I need to find out who the superior striker is between the pair, Sholinian is likelier to pressure; it's hard to imagine this fight being anything worse than a coinflip in a potential low-paced kickboxing match between two grapplers.
The betting market thinks Sholinian wins this fight a third of the time (+200, 33.3% implied). According to my projection, the chances are closer to four in 10 (projected 38.8%, +158 implied).
You can play Sholinian's moneyline down to +172 (36.8% implied) at a 2% edge compared to my projection.
You can also consider a small sprinkle on his decision prop (projected +297, listed +340 at FanDuel) down to around +330.
The Pick: Liudvik Sholinian (+210 at DraftKings) | Sholinian wins by Decision (+340 at FanDuel)
Dann Stupp: Miranda Maverick vs. Shanna Young
Senior Editor at The Action Network
What am I missing here?
Because when it comes to flyweights Miranda Maverick vs. Shanna Young, I just don't think the odds make sense.
Pretend you know nothing about these two competitors, and consider the following:
- One fighter opened as a -490 favorite and has been bet all the way up to -770, so we've got – at least according to the betting market – a massive, massive mismatch.
- That big favorite actually has a prior win over this opponent – and it came via first-round submission (in an Invicta FC amateur bout).
- But even in more recent action, the favorite is coming off a big stoppage win – and the underdog is coming off a disappointing stoppage loss.
- And that big favorite is also built like an honest-to-goodness iron fire hydrant and has enough strength to snap any limb or pop an opponent's head clean off her neck (OK, that might be a slight exaggeration).
The point is: We've got a significant mismatch with Maverick vs. Young 2. And you don't even need to take my word for it; the current odds for the fight scream it.
Yet, a bet on "under 2.5 pounds" is offering near-plus money (-108), and "fight doesn't go to decision" is a rather thrifty -130.
Look: I know many women's fights go the distance. Many of them are light on action. Many of them are often evenly matched bouts that turn into 15-minute duds.
But this isn't one of those fights.
I don't want to lay the juice on a monstrous favorite in Maverick, but I'll happily pay -130 to bet that the judges won't be needed in this one. Either Young gets a fluke KO or submission, or Maverick muscles her way to a quick night at the office. (I also wouldn't fault you a bit if you instead opted for Maverick to win inside the distance, which is available at close to even money.)
The Pick: Maverick vs. Young doesn't go to decision (-130 at Caesars)