UFC Vegas 69 Prop Bets: 6 MMA Prop Squad Picks With Odds up to +1800 (Saturday, February 18)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC lightweight Jim Miller
Welcome to the latest edition of MMA Prop Squad, in which we offer an array of UFC Vegas 69 prop bets with oversized odds for Saturday’s event.
In this weekly feature, Action Network’s MMA team welcomes in a revolving cast of outside contributors and fellow combat-sports analysts. Each Prop Squad installment features a handful of picks from our squad of prop-betting enthusiasts, who have tallied an overall 16.7% ROI to date.
This week marks the return of Squad members John LanFranca, Dan Tom, Billy Ward, Dann Stupp, Bryan Fonseca and Tony Sartori.
Check out their picks for Saturday’s event, which streams entirely on ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET) from Las Vegas, below.
As with all betting, 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 always shop around for the best price.
John LanFranca: A.J. Fletcher by Round 1 KO (+500)
Contributor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 4:25 p.m. ET
A.J. Fletcher welcomes newcomer Themba Gorimbo to the octagon on Saturday night, and I am not expecting this fight to hit the scorecards.
Fletcher is a fast starter but lacks the cardio to sustain his explosiveness throughout the fight. Specifically in the first round of bouts, you can expect constant pressure, good footwork and an impressive varied striking attack. Fletcher is the more technical of the two fighters and definitely has the advantage in hand speed when both fighters step in to land their power shots.
Gorimbo, meanwhile, has not fought the level of competition the likes of Fletcher thus far in his career, and this is a big ask for his UFC debut. Fletcher, despite losing his first two main roster contests, has put his trademark first-round explosiveness on display against established UFC veterans.
Fletcher went to his wrestling when he felt the striking was starting to even out or when he ate some big shots. However, he will not feel the need to get this fight to the ground since I expect he will have ample opportunities to counter the lack of technicality from Gorimbo.
Fletcher has never been finished in his professional career, and his best chance of landing the fight-ending strike will come in the first round. I expect him to be creative in his attack, landing several dangerous strikes against an opponent who is not quite ready for the UFC stage.
It’s worth noting we are getting quite a bit of value at bet365 (+500) and FanDuel (+460) on Fletcher getting the stoppage in Round 1; DraftKings, for example, lists this method of victory/round combo at +330.
The Pick: A.J. Fletcher by KO/TKO/DQ and Round 1 (+500 at bet365)
Dan Tom: Jim Miller in Round 1 (+700) | Round 2 (+1100)
Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Protect Ya’ Neck podcast
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 6:55 p.m. ET
This week, I decided to target a main-card attraction between Jim Miller and Alexander Hernandez.
Despite Hernandez coming in as the designated favorite who is officially 3-1 opposite UFC-level lefties, the 30-year-old is taking this fight on roughly a week’s notice.
Not only is Hernandez amid an identity crisis regarding his preferred weight class, but “The Great Ape” has also lost four of his last six fights (arguably winning only four of his last seven when looking back at his controversial meeting with southpaw Francisco Trinaldo).
Most importantly, fighters who can competently counter – regardless of stance – seem to be Hernandez’s kryptonite from a stylistic perspective.
Add in the fact that Hernandez tends to fall apart come Round 2 (where literally all of his losses are), and I decided to play a combination of Miller’s best rounds mixed with Hernandez’s worst.
I admittedly already kicked for coverage by playing Miller’s moneyline at +200, but taking fliers on round props is a low-risk way to play a high-variance fight that’s destined for chaos.
So I’ll split my official Prop Squad pick with half-bets on Miller to win in Round 1 (+700) and in Round 2 (+1100).
Pick: Jim Miller to Win in Round 1 (+700)
Pick: Jim Miller to Win in Round 2 (+1100)
Billy Ward: Josh Parisian by Submission (+1800)
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 7:55 p.m. ET
Maybe it’s hometown bias – I’m familiar with Josh Parisian and his team from my days in Michigan’s regional fight scene – but I believe Parisian is underrated by the market here. He’s 2-2 in the UFC and comes from a camp noted for its strong grappling games.
He’s fighting Jamal Pogues, who will be making his UFC debut. Pogues made it to the big show with a somewhat lackluster decision win on the Contender Series, and he has previously fought exclusively at 205 pounds, but this is a heavyweight bout at UFC Vegas 69.
Pogues weighed in at 249.5 while Parisian checked in at 266. That likely means Parisian had to cut weight to make the heavyweight limit. The combination of size and grappling edge is even more of a problem in the smaller cage at the UFC Apex.
Pogues has struggled on the ground, suffering submission losses in two of his three professional defeats. The grappling is where Parisian shines; the bulk of his pro wins are via ground and pound. However, he does have a few submission wins, making a “club-and-sub” finish a viable option here.
If Parisian pulls off the upset here, I’m fairly confident it will come on the ground. A submission is less likely than a ground and pound – but that’s why we’re getting +2000 odds.
The Pick: Josh Parisian to Win by Submission (+1800 at DraftKings)
Dann Stupp: Jordan Wright in Round 1 (+510)
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 8:25 p.m. ET
Jordan Wright is live in just about any fight – for five minutes anyway. Just look at the body of work.
A former middleweight who’s now settled in at light heavyweight, Wright has been a true boom-or-bust fighter.
In 12 career wins? He’s scored 11 first-round stoppages. And the other victory? It came in the first minute of the second round. (And his losses – which have come in four of his past five fights – didn’t last much longer.)
But for this prop bet, we’re not really worrying about anything beyond the first round anyway. Wright is about a +225 underdog (which implies a 31% chance of winning) on the moneyline for this fight, but his first-round win prop pays +510 (16%). If Wright wins, do we really think his chances of winning in Rounds 2-3 are basically the same as winning in Round 1?
I don’t think so. That’s why I’m going to bite and take Wright to beat former heavyweight and “TUF 30” runner-up Zac Pauga in the first round.
Why overthink this?
At +225, I was tempted to play Wright straight up, as flawed as he might be – just because I haven’t been too impressed with Pauga. The former NFL and rugby player is still a bit raw in terms of MMA skills, and he’s not going to have quite the size advantage over Wright that he probably envisioned when he first considered a move back to 205 pounds.
But since a Wright win is likely to come in the first round – based on his resume and what we’ve seen firsthand in the UFC octagon – I’ll take a flier on him to pull off the upset. And I expect it to come in his trademark quick fashion.
The Pick: Jordan Wright in Round 1 (+510 at BetRivers)
Bryan Fonseca: Jessica Andrade by Round 1 KO (+480)
Contributor at The Action Network and combat sports host and on-air talent
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 8:55 p.m. ET
Jessica Andrade steps in for Talia Santos to face Erin Blanchfield in what should be a keystone main event opportunity for both flyweight contenders.
Andrade most recently defeated Lauren Murphy via unanimous decision on Jan. 21, meaning after pitching a three-round shutout, she’s back just one month later.
I thought Andrade would get Murphy out of there within the first two rounds, and while openings presented themselves, such a finish didn’t occur. However, there are reasons I like Andrade to finish Blanchfield as a longshot in Round 1 this time.
First, because of the quick turnaround, Andrade almost certainly has to get off to a quick start, even if this is a five-round contest. Active as she’s been, she has never had a layoff as short as one month in between fights as a professional mixed martial artist since entering the UFC almost 10 years ago. In Brazil during the early stages of her career, she’s had three rest periods in between fights equivalent or shorter. Each time resulted in a first or second-round finish for Andrade, including two via knockout.
Second, Blanchfield being in camp might not be the advantage you’d assume, given that Andrade is fresh off a dominant victory. She evidently has remained in training to the point of being comfortable with accepting such a challenge on short notice.
Finally, as Blanchfield builds her resume, there’s no doubt that Andrade would provide her toughest challenge. To date, Blanchfield has one loss, a close split decision to Tracy Cortez at Invicta FC 34 from four years ago. Since joining the UFC prior to her September 2021 debut, she’s been a perfect 4-0, with two wins by submission and two others by decision.
I ultimately think Andrade shows the difference in resumes quickly, and I’d lean on her to stop Blanchfield in general. But for the purposes of our esteemed Prop Squad, let’s take a shot in Round 1, where Andrade’s finished three of her last five opponents, including two via knockout.
Pick: Jessica Andrade KO/TKO & Round 1 (+480)
Tony Sartori: Erin Blanchfield by Submission (+460)
Contributor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 8:55 p.m. ET
The main event features two electric flyweights with No. 3 contender Jessica Andrade and No. 10 contender Erin Blanchfield. Both fighters enter this scrap in fantastic form, with Andrade winning each of her last three fights and Blanchfield winning all four of her appearances in the UFC.
In fact, Blanchfield has won each of her last seven bouts dating back to her time in the Invicta FC and CFFC promotions. Of those seven wins, three came via submission, including her last two against Molly McCann and J.J. Aldrich.
Despite boasting a three-inch height and four-inch reach advantage over Andrade, Blanchfield will surely rely on her elite grappling. Andrade is a powerful and dangerous striker, evidenced by her absolute three-round destruction of Lauren Murphy on the feet a month ago.
While Andrade is capable of fighting on the mat and winning from down there, it is not where she is strongest. In fact, two of her last six losses have come via submission.
If you are going to back Blanchfield, her two most likely avenues to victory are either via submission or decision. But, in a five-round fight, she is going to have an abundance of opportunities to find Andrade’s neck.
Plus, taking Blanchfield via decision is a risk in the sense that if the fight goes to the judges, they may value Andrade’s powerful strikes more than Blanchfield’s control time on the mat. At approximately 9/2, it is worth taking a flyer on the big-time prospect to grab a marquee submission win over Andrade.
Pick: Erin Blanchfield by Submission (+460)
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