UFC Vegas 73 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Anthony Hernandez: 2 Round Props for Co-Headliner (Saturday, May 20)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC middleweight Anthony Hernandez
Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Anthony Hernandez Odds
The UFC Vegas 73 co-main event features a middleweight matchup between Edmen Shahbazyan and Anthony Hernandez.
Both men are products from Season 2 of the Contender Series back in 2018 and have had their fair share of ups and downs since.
Shahbazyan, who is one of the younger signees to come out of those UFC-feeder events, was somewhat thrown to the wolves after besting Brad Tavares back at UFC 244.
Since sustaining a notable three-fight losing skid, Shahbazyan has uprooted his training camp to Las Vegas and was able to bounce back with a win over Dalcha Lungiambula in December.
Hernandez, on the other hand, is riding high on a three-fight winning streak after trading wins and losses through his early UFC tenure.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||7:13||7:16|
|Weight (pounds)||185 lbs.||185 lbs.|
|Date of birth||11/20/1997||10/18/1993|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.59||4.03|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||3.87||3.50|
|Take Down Avg||2.31||6.49|
With both fighters being on the right side of 30, fight-to-fight improvements have sort of been the story of their careers thus far.
Shahbazyan was a well-rounded athlete coming out of the chute.
The Golden Boy's got SKILLS 🔥@EdmenShahbazyan's back in action in our #UFCVegas73 co-main on Saturday! pic.twitter.com/G4kpuGt34r
— UFC (@ufc) May 15, 2023
However, he has steadily had to learn how to harness his aggressive fast starts into more thoughtful attacks.
Now, under the care of Dewey Cooper, we have seen Shahbazyan smartly build off of jabs and bodywork as opposed to his usual headhunting.
Shahbazyan has also made noted efforts to improve his wrestling at super camps that range from the American Kickboxing Academy to Xtreme Couture, so I would leave some room to be surprised in that department.
That said, Shahbazyan’s potential improvements will probably be tested by Hernandez this Saturday.
A scrappy streetfighter who is steadily turning into the second coming of Diego Sanchez, Hernandez’s pressure is something to behold at middleweight.
Hernandez might be as hittable as my previous analogy would suggest, but the Mexican-American is not easily deterred and appears to have some solid answers when it comes to countering in combination.
Sometió al sometedor @Ilovebamf 🇲🇽🇺🇸 #UFCVegas60 – Sáb. 17 de Sep.
CONTENIDO 👉 https://t.co/lO6TBGFRBipic.twitter.com/RnI1MKj0Xj
— UFC Español (@UFCEspanol) September 14, 2022
More importantly, Hernandez has seemingly (and smartly) committed his game to incorporate offense off of chain wrestling.
Whether Hernandez is looking to strike off of wrist pins or setup submissions off of positional rides, “Fluffy” is a nonstop worker who tends to wear on his opposition as the rounds go on.
Shahbazyan vs. Hernandez Pick
The oddsmakers and the public are leaning toward the Mexican-American, listing Hernandez -210 and Shahbazyan +170 as of this writing.
Despite eventually ending up on the same side as the favorite, the underdog feels incredibly lively in this spot.
Aside from the potential improvements mentioned in the previous section, Shahbazyan will arguably be the first fighter with potent stopping power that Hernandez has seen since his TKO loss to Kevin Holland.
Shahbazyan also employs underrated attacks to the body, which is something to look for against Hernandez (who has been hurt there on multiple occasions).
That said, I’m ultimately having a hard time going against the more dangerous submission grappler in the small cage – especially when an aggressive grappling offense is something we’ve seen work on Shahbazyan before.
Add in the fact that Hernandez is officially 2-0 inside the UFC Apex (as opposed to Shahbazyan’s 0-3 standing), and I can’t help but lean toward Hernandez to get his game going this weekend.
I don’t like Hernandez as far as his moneyline price goes, so I don’t blame anyone for taking the ‘dog shot on Shahbazyan.
However, if you are looking for a way to play the favorite at plus money, then feel free to tail me (at your own risk!) on sprinkling small on Hernandez to win in Round 2 (+550) and Round 3 (+850) – which, coincidentally, is how lead MMA writer Sean Zerillo is playing his MMA Prop Squad pick this week.
The Picks: Hernandez to win in Round 2 (+550), Hernandez to win in Round 3 (+850)
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