UFC Vegas 73 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Dern vs. Hill (Saturday, May 20)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC lightweight Michael Johnson
Check out our UFC Vegas 73 best bets ahead of Saturday’s ESPN+ event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
The event kicks off at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) and features strawweights Mackenzie Dern vs. Angela Hill in the main event. However, we’re targeting other fights from 12-bout fight card for our UFC best bets tonight.
So where should be looking to place your UFC bets tonight? Our crew has pinpointed four fights and picks on Saturday’s UFC Vegas 73 card that present betting value.
You can find their analysis and picks on those UFC Vegas 73 matches plus Sean Zerillo’s projections below using odds from BetMGM.
Tony Sartori: Natalia Silva vs. Victoria Leonardo
Contributor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 4:20 p.m. ET
On the preliminary card, we have a flyweight bout between Natalia Silva and Victoria Leonardo. A heavy betting favorite, Silva is riding an eight-fight winning streak and looks to keep it rolling with another dominating performance.
In her latest bout, Silva beat Tereza Bleda via knockout when she landed a nasty spinning back kick. Silva is a terrific striker with tremendous technique, and she could be a real threat in the flyweight division moving forward.
Through her two UFC fights, she has landed 5.33 significant strikes per minute at 54% accuracy. Her striking defense is even better, absorbing just 1.85 significant strikes per minute.
A true technician on the feet, Silva’s power stems from her accuracy as the fight rolls on. With that said, she is also a massive threat on the mat, which makes the 26-year-old one of the most dangerous up-and-comers in the division.
With her ability to both knock out and submit her opponents, Silva has scored 12 of her 14 professional wins inside the distance. Meanwhile, Leonardo is trending in the opposite direction.
Since joining the UFC, she is 1-2 with two knockout losses. Her lone win came against Mandy Bohm, which (no offense) is not an impressive mark on the resume.
Leonardo’s biggest weakness is her striking defense, absorbing 4.56 significant strikes per minute over her four UFC bouts. That inability to avoid damage is going to be especially problematic against Silva, who should have no issues getting Leonardo out of there early.
All four of Leonardo’s pro losses came inside the distance. Silva is better at every aspect of this bout, so as long as she does not play with her food in the cage, it should be a quick fight.
The Pick: Natalia Silva inside the distance (-150 at DraftKings)
Billy Ward: Chase Hooper vs. Nick Fiore
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 4:45 p.m. ET
At the tender age of 23, Chase “The Dream” Hooper already has six UFC fights under his belt, with an even 3-3 record. He’s looked like the prodigy he was hyped up to be when fighting against lower-level competition, but he’s struggled when fighting tougher, more experienced fighters.
Fortunately for Hooper, his bout against Nick Fiore falls firmly in the former camp. Fiore was 6-0 in regional fights before being thoroughly outclassed in his UFC debut. To his credit, he looked more competitive than expected in that bout – but he still lost 30-27 on all three judges’ cards. There are no moral victories in gambling, so a loss is a loss.
Another factor that I believe should benefit Hooper is the weight class. This will be the lightweight debut for Hooper, after fighting as a featherweight to this point in his UFC career. The 6-foot-1 Hooper frequently gave up a ton of strength at the lighter weight class, and his frame is more naturally suited to lightweight.
Of course, he could be even more outmuscled in the heavier weight class, but I’m betting that won’t be the case. Given his age, it’s more likely that the new division allows him to pack on some extra muscle while simultaneously having an easier weight cut.
Hooper’s striking appeared somewhat improved in his recent bouts, and an extra 10 pounds or so of muscle should unlock a fair bit of power as well. For that reason – as well as his excellent ground game – I’ll also be looking to make a sprinkle on Hooper’s finish props at around +200.
The Pick: Chase Hooper (+115 at Caesars)
Sean Zerillo: Hayisaer Maheshate vs. Viacheslav Borschev
Senior Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 6:25 p.m. ET
Viacheslav Borschev, aka Slava Claus, is a brilliant technician and the striking coach for Team Alpha Male. The Russian master of sport has professional boxing and kickboxing experience, in addition to nine MMA bouts. Still, the only times he’s lost in the cage came against fighters who could consistently wrestle him for 15 minutes.
Against lesser wrestlers at the UFC level – both Chris Duncan and Dakota Bush – Borschev has either been able to deny takedowns or work his way back to his feet and return to striking range, where he can piece up opponents. While the younger Hayisaer Maheshate has a powerful right hand and seems relatively durable, his overall MMA game is extremely green.
Borschev should have a severe technical striking and footwork edge, and I expect Maheshate to struggle aside from potentially landing a haymaker and closing the show.
Unless Maheshate has developed his offensive wrestling game in the past five months (he lost to Rafa Garcia on Dec. 17), or he unless he manages to clip an overconfident Borschev, I expect Slava Claus to coast on the fee – and break out a jig after seeing his hand raised.
I projected Borschev as a -176 favorite in this bout; bet his moneyline up to -165.
The Pick: Viacheslav Borschev (-150 at Caesars)
Dann Stupp: Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Michael Johnson
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 6:55 p.m. ET
I’ve never bet a fight with 100-percent certainty, and instead, I know I’m simply making calculated guesses and hoping that my picks are correct enough that I come out profitable in the end.
And let’s face it, if you’ve ever bet on Michael Johnson during his 13-year UFC career, you’ve seen a lot of good, a lot of bad, and a whole lot in between. Uncertainty and unpredictability are sort of the name of the “Menace” game – from fight to fight, and even round to round.
That inconsistency, coupled with his well-rounded but sometimes decision-prone fighting style, leads to a lot of 50-50-ish matchups. And that’s what I think we’ve got on Saturday’s UFC Vegas 73 main card with Johnson vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira.
Bet Johnson against any other middling fighter in the UFC’s always-deep lightweight division, and there’s a good chance it could come down to a coin flip. But getting +135 odds (implied win probability of just 42.6%) on that 50-50 scenario, as we are here at UFC Vegas 73? I’ll take that proposition all day, every day.
Ultimately, if Johnson is going to face a grappling threat, I want it to be against someone like Ferreira, who isn’t going to ground you with power takedowns, and instead, will try to chain together attempts. Three straight opponents have failed to take down Johnson, though. And though Ferreira stands a good chance to break that streak, he could find himself in a quick deficit on the scorecards before he finally gets one and gets things going.
Plus, with Ferreira coming off a three-fight skid and a 17-month layoff, I’ve got even more ticks to put in the Johnson ledger.
All’s that to say: I’ll gladly take some solid plus-money on a savvy vet who should be lined at more of a pick’em price.
The Pick: Michael Johnson (+135 at BetMGM)
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