UFC Vegas 66 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Oleksiejczuk vs. Brundage, Nurmagomedov vs. Kakhramonov (December 17)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC middleweight Michal Oleksiejczuk
- UFC Vegas 66 takes place Saturday on ESPN+, and the 13-fight lineup is the final UFC event of 2022.
- Our MMA crew has targeted two fights and three wagers for our UFC Vegas 66 Best Bets.
- Check out the picks from Sean Zerillo, Billy Ward and Dann Stupp below.
The UFC closes outs its 2022 campaign on Saturday, and these are our UFC Vegas 66 best bets for the card.
UFC Vegas 66, which is also dubbed UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Strickland and UFC on ESPN+ 74, takes place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, and all 13 fights stream on ESPN+ beginning at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT).
So where should you be looking to place your bets?
Our crew has pinpointed three fights and picks on Saturday’s 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.
Billy Ward: Said Nurmagomedov vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Saidyokub Kakhramonov is fighting Said Nurmagomedov on the UFC Vegas 66 preliminary card, and I have a suspicion the latter’s last name influences this line.
Said is of no relation to the more famous Nurmagomedovs, and more importantly, he has an entirely different fighting style.
This Nurmagomedov is primarily a striker, with two UFC wins by knockout on the feet. He’s landed just 0.6 takedowns per 15 minutes in his UFC career. In his lone UFC loss (to Raoni Barcelos), he was taken down twice.
Enter Kakhramonov, who has 12 takedowns across two UFC fights. That number would likely be even higher, but he was able to finish his debut by submission with just his second takedown.
That’s a difficult matchup for Nurmagomedov, who likes to throw flashy kicks that leave him open to being taken down.
While some of the value has unfortunately been bet out of this line – Kakhramonov was as high as a +105 underdog – that’s a good indicator of where the sharp money is coming in. I’ll fade the name and bet on the superior fighter, and I’d take it down to -125.
The Pick: Saidyokub Kakhramonov (+100 at Caesars)
Sean Zerillo: Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Cody Brundage
Senior Writer at The Action Network
It is challenging to justify betting a steep price on a favorite when the underdog possesses all the grappling upside. However, Michal Oleksiejczuk possesses most of the finishing upside in this fight. And I expect him to finish even more often than the odds suggest.
The betting market currently says that Oleksiejczuk wins the fight around 73.3% of the time (-275 implied). I don't see value compared to those odds, but I expect him to finish the fight around 80% of the time if he does win (20% by decision), putting his implied finish odds around -142 (58.6% implied).
For his career, Oleksiejczuk carries a 69% finish rate. Still, Oleksiejczuk is a former light heavyweight who moved down to middleweight this summer and seemingly carries as much power as anyone in the division, aside from the current champion.
Moreover, Brundage has poor striking defense (51%) and reacts badly to clean strikes. Brundage has a ton of heart and can often recover when in trouble, but he seems to get put in danger in every fight. And Oleksiejczuk is an expert at picking his shots and closing the show against wounded opponents.
Brundage needs to wrestle to win this fight, but he should have difficulty getting Oleksiejczuk to the mat when both men are fresh.
Oleksiejczuk's early pressure – and ability to cut off the cage – should keep Brundage on the back foot, where he'll be unable to complete takedowns and inevitably eat big shots up against the fence.
I bet Oleksiejczuk to win inside the distance (-110) at BetMGM, and I would play that prop up to around -130, at a 2% edge compared to my projection.
At -110, I would opt for the inside-the-distance prop. Still, some books have Michal's finish prop closer to -135 and the knockout prop at -105; in that case, I'd opt for the KO/TKO line (projected -122).
Lastly, consider playing the Under 1.5 Rounds (-125) or the Fight to End Inside the Distance (-275), either straight or in parlays; one or both fighters could see their cardio plummet late.
The Pick: Michal Oleksiejczuk by KO/TKO/Submission/DQ (-110 at BetMGM)
Dann Stupp: Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Cody Brundage
Senior Editor at The Action Network
The thesis of this pick? These odds are too long on Cody Brundage.
He takes on Michal Oleksiejczuk in the UFC Vegas 66 main-card opener, and Brundage is surprisingly more than a 2-1 favorite.
And granted, blindly betting UFC underdogs isn't a long-term winning strategy (not entirely anyway, though I digress), but in this case, getting +240 odds on crafty and durable Brundage against a dangerous but flawed opponent in Oleksiejczuk?
Looking at it from a basic numbers perspective, I believe Brundage scraps his way to an upset victory about 40% of the time. Yet, those +240 odds suggest he does it less than 30% of the time.
If you exploit those edges over the longer haul, the results will follow.
But more importantly, Brundage has some paths to victory here. Oleksiejczuk is a dangerous striker – and he often wastes no time in displaying that danger. And Brundage is definitely hittable, as my colleague Sean detailed above. But Oleksiejczuk's also prone to takedowns, and I question his cardio if he doesn't end things in the first round.
Also, I know I have no way of truly quantifying it, but Brundage can simply find ways to win. Part of it is craftiness. Part of it is skill. But Brundage also has tons of heart and grit and pluck – all those qualities you want in a guy who's fighting for your money.
Whether he snags one of those unexpected stoppages or simply wills his way to mount a comeback on the scorecards, I think Brundage has a decent enough chance of surviving early onslaughts from Oleksiejczuk and to eventually find a way to get his hand raised.
At these odds, it's a (calculated) risk I'm willing to take.
The Pick: Cody Brundage (+240 at DraftKings)