UFC Vegas 65 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Ion Cutelaba vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu: How to Bet Total in Co-main Event (Saturday, November 19)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC light heavyweight Kennedy Nzechukwu
- Ion Cutelaba meets Kennedy Nzechukwu in Saturday afternoon's UFC Vegas 65 co-headliner.
- Nzechukwu is the favorite in the fight and is looking to move up the light heavyweight ranks.
- Below, Manpreet Jhass breaks down the fight and explains why he's targeting a play on the total.
Ion Cutelaba vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu Odds
The UFC's six-consecutive-weekends run comes to a close on Saturday with a heavyweight headliner between Derrick Lewis and Sergey Spivac. In the UFC Vegas 65 co-main event, just a weight class lighter than the heavyweights, Kennedy Nzechukwu takes on Ion Cutelaba.
Nzechukwu is coming off a dominant finish of Karl Roberson in July.
Cutelaba is looking to avoid his first career three-fight losing skid by getting his hand raised this weekend.
Can Nzechukwu get closer to achieving the potential many had for him? Or will Cutelaba provide another speed bump in Nzechukwu's career?
Read on to fight out how these light heavyweights match up and the best way to make some money from their fight.
Tale of the Tape
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Nzechukwu came into the UFC from Dana White's Contender Series back in 2018. On that night, he starched his opponent with a head kick and punches to earn his contract. Unfortunately, he ran into the feisty Paul Craig in his official UFC debut and suffered a submission loss to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard. Nzechukwu showed a lot of rawness in his game, which led to him losing that fight.
A lot of Nzechukwu's early success, and even now, relies on his physical attributes. He is a towering light heavyweight at 6-foot-5 with an 83-inch reach.
An emphatic end to an incredible fight 💥
— UFC (@ufc) November 16, 2022
Nzechukwu has been working vigorously with his chief corner, Sayif Saud, at Fortis MMA to get his skills to catch up with his physical abilities. However, he usually runs into someone who can nullify it.
At his best, Nzechukwu can use his range to batter opponents with his striking. In his last fight, he showcased a grapple-heavy approach that we had yet to see from him. He absolutely dominated Karl Roberson by landing five takedowns and controlling that fight for upward of 10 minutes before finishing him in the final frame.
Cutelaba has had a rollercoaster of a UFC career thus far. Since entering the UFC in 2016, he has amassed a 5-7-1 record. There is a chance the UFC could send him packing should he not get his hand raised in this fight since it would be his third straight defeat.
In the Devin Clark fight, we saw some discipline improvements from Cutelaba. We saw him take a grapple-heavy approach. He landed eight takedowns that night and controlled Clark for close to nine minutes in that 15-minute affair.
Unfortunately, he could not establish that top control in his next two fights, in which his opponents completely outsized him. He landed three takedowns against Ryan Spann, but it was an ill-fated and desperate one that allowed Spann to latch onto his neck and choke him out.
Cutelaba also landed a takedown against Walker, controlled him for two minutes, got reversed, and then got submitted.
However, if Cutelaba can find a way to remain safe while on top of his opponents, he could grind out plenty of fights, this one included.
Cutelaba vs. Nzechukwu Pick
As much as the last two fights tell me that physically speaking this is a tough fight for Cutelaba, I'm not fully sold on Nzechukwu's ability to submit him. I think we'll see a tad more disciplined version of Cutelaba and he won't look to rush takedown positions.
I do think Cutelaba is a good underdog play at the current odds, but my eyes are set on the over 1.5 rounds. I think even if Cutelaba can't land the takedowns, Nzechukwu will be content to chop away at him from distance, which will eat up the clock.
It's not entirely set in stone that Nzechuwku will seek a grapple-heavy approach considering how dominant his last win was. As a gambler, I need to see a larger sample size of him taking that approach before I trust it to be his chosen path of victory every time out.
Thus, I still settle on the over 1.5 as I think the large portion of their win conditions requires this fight to go late. Of course, at light heavyweight, a big punch could turn the tide of the fight early, but I'm certain we'll see a composed approach from Cutelaba since this could be his pink-slip fight should he not get his hand raised.
That should make for a tepid pace and help us cash the over.
The Pick: Over 1.5 rounds (-122 at FanDuel)