UFC Vegas 74 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi and More (Saturday, June 3)

UFC Vegas 74 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi and More (Saturday, June 3) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC flyweight Kai Kara-France of New Zealand and Amir Albazi of Iraq

  • Our UFC Vegas 74 best bets for Saturday night include some picks with long odds.
  • The ESPN event features a Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi main event, among other bouts.
  • Below, our UFC experts break down their favorite bets for that bout and other matchups.

Check out our UFC Vegas 74 best bets ahead of Saturday's event, which features a Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi flyweight main event.

After a week off, the UFC is back with a 13-bout card that airs entirely on ESPN (6 p.m. ET) with a simulcast on ESPN+.

So where should be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed four fights and picks on Saturday’s 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.

Moneyline Projections

Prop Projections

Sean Zerillo: Muin Gafurov vs. John Castaneda

Senior Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 7:25 p.m. ET

Muin Gafurov is in a relatively tricky spot on Saturday as a short-notice replacement for Mateus Mendonça.

There's no advantage based on the trend alone but on average, late replacements (<40 days notice) win in the UFC almost as often as oddsmakers expect: 36.2% of the time across more than 400 fights, at average odds of +183 (35.3% implied win probability).

Still, UFC debutants carry just a 43% win rate against UFC veterans. And Gafurov lost his Contender Series fight to Chad Anheliger, who has lost most of the minutes through his first two UFC bouts.

I don't have the specific data for short-notice debutants who also lost their Contender Series bouts, but that's a lot of red flags on one side.

Gafurov is a large bantamweight who may eventually need to move to featherweight. He's very strong and likely has a grappling edge over Castaneda, a sharp boxer with a three-inch reach advantage.

Still, Gafurov has shown subpar cardio on full-fight camps, and making his debut (with a possible adrenaline dump) on short notice (likely further limiting his stamina) is a recipe for a mid-fight collapse even after a hot start.

I expect Castaneda to be the fresher fighter in the later rounds and to do his best work down the stretch as Gafurov potentially fades.

Bet Castaneda pre-fight up to -150 (projected -163), and look to add more live after Round 1 as Gafurov begins to fade.

The Pick: John Castaneda (-130 at DraftKings)

Billy Ward: Andrei Arlovski vs. Don'Tale Mayes

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 7:55 p.m. ET

Don'Tale Mayes is a very difficult fighter to trust as a favorite. He’s come into fights with some absolutely terrible game plans, and like much of the UFC’s heavyweight division, he has some massive holes in his overall skills.

The biggest one is his grappling. While Mayes is a capable wrestler, he’s dreadful off of his back. He’s seemingly content to stay grounded and take damage until the end of the round, with little in the way of escapes or submission attempts.

In fact, Mayes is undefeated in his UFC career in fights where he’s been taken down zero or one time, while losing every fight where he’s been taken down twice or more. Which brings us to his current opponent, Andrei Arlovski.

Arloski hasn’t landed a single takedown in any of his last 11 fights, dating back to 2018. He’s content to try to win decisions based on volume striking, a plan that hasn’t worked well on Mayes historically. Mayes fought noted kickboxer Ciryl Gane in Mayes’ UFC debut – and Gane took Mayes to the mat to submit him.

Add in the fact that Arlovski is 44 and made his UFC debut in the year 2000, and it’s hard to see how “The Pitbull” figures out a win here. Arlovski is also giving up considerable size, with Mayes having four inches in reach and 17 pounds of weight on him.

The line has moved a bit since I mentioned this bout in my UFC Vegas 74 Luck Ratings earlier in the week (as predicted), but I’d still take Mayes down to -150.

Dann Stupp: Karine Silva vs. Ketlen Souza

Senior Editor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:25 p.m. ET

Men's and women's MMA are obviously similar in many ways, but they are noticeably different in a key area: finish rates. Men's fights end via stoppage (knockout or submission) approximately 55.5% of the time. And the ladies? Just 38.4% of the time.

There are probably a few key reasons for that lower finish rate in the women's divisions. One is the overall parity in WMMA, where the skill sets possessed by the top fighters in a division aren't all that different from those near the bottom.

The other key difference? Strength and power. With some obvious exceptions, female fighters' frames usually just don't carry the power they need to regularly score knockouts (men's fights end via KO 35.4% of the time, compared to 18.4% for women's fights).

However, on the UFC Vegas 74 main card, we get to see one of those women with remarkable strength and power for her division: flyweight Karine Silva.

The slab of Brazilian granite isn't without her flaws, and despite a healthy record (15-4), she hasn't faced too many notables. But we've clearly seen the strength she possesses, and it's no shocker that she's posted 15 stoppages (eight knockouts and seven submissions) in 15 career wins.

Her next opponent, UFC newcomer Ketlen Souza, has a solid body of work, an Invicta FC title, and a five-fight winning streak. But she's also giving up two inches of height and four inches of reach, and she's going to be outgunned (and overpowered) in the clinch and on the mat. And with the smaller octagon in use this weekend, Souza is unlikely to get the space she needs to operate and throw from distance.

I like Silva (-210, 67.7%) straight up or as parlay fodder, and I'd play her moneyline to -300 (75%). But I also think oddsmakers are sleeping a bit on Silva's finishing potential here. I'll happily hop on that plus-money offering for Silva to finish inside the distance (+110), and I'd take it down to -110.

Pick: Karine Silva by KO or submission (+110)

Tony Sartori: Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:25 p.m. ET

In the main event, we have a flyweight bout between the No. 3 contender Kai Kara-France and No. 7 Amir Albazi. Riding a five-fight winning streak, Albazi is likely just one more victory away from a title shot against the winner of Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja, especially considering that Brandon Royval has already lost to each of those guys.

An incredible talent in the 125-pound division, Albazi is a guy whom most people in this division have been ducking over the past couple of years. A true mixed martial artist and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he can beat you both on the feet and on the mat, though the mat is where Albazi is at his best.

Albazi boasts a 16-1 professional record with eight of those wins coming via submission. Over his four fights since joining the UFC, Albazi has recorded 2.47 takedowns per 15 minutes at 50% accuracy while securing two submission victories.

While Kara-France's takedown defense is excellent, he is still capable of getting submitted even if it is from a standing position, which is what happened in his loss to Royval back in 2020. That marked the third time in his career he lost via submission.

In fact, I am much more trusting of Kara-France's chin than his ability to prevent Albazi from securing a win on the mat. He has been knocked out just once over the past decade, and that was due to a liver kick in his latest loss to Moreno.

Albazi should wear him down as the fight progresses, and he could finally lock in a submission sometime over the second half of the scrap to earn a title shot.

Pick: Amir Albazi via submission (+300)

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