UFC Vegas 74 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi: 2 Bets for Main Event (Saturday, June 3)

UFC Vegas 74 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi: 2 Bets for Main Event (Saturday, June 3) article feature image

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC flyweight Amir Albazi of Iraq

  • Flyweights are the featured attraction in Saturday's UFC Vegas 74 main event.
  • Kai Kara-France vs Amir Albazi has been a tightly lined fight all week.
  • Below, MMA expert Sean Zerillo breaks down the Kara-France vs Albazi headliner and offers his two best bets.

Kai Kara-France vs. Amir Albazi Odds

Kara-France Odds
Albazi Odds
4.5 (-110 / -120)
UFC Apex in Las Vegas
11:25 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday and via Caesars

On Saturday the UFC returns to the UFC Apex facility for UFC Vegas 74, which features an important main event for the flyweight rankings with No. 3-ranked contender Kai Kara-France taking on No. 7 Amir Albazi.

The entire event, including the five-round Kai Kara-France vs. Albazi headliner, airs on ESPN (6 p.m. ET) with a simulcast on ESPN+.

Kara-France returns to the octagon after his loss for the interim flyweight title against Brandon Moreno at UFC 277 last July. That was his first scheduled five-round bout, but Kara-France has never been past the 15-minute mark in his career. His only UFC losses have come against Moreno (twice) and Brandon Royval, and he has faced tougher competition than his opponent, Amir Albazi.

Albazi enters the UFC Vegas 74 main event on a five-fight winning streak, including a 4-0 run under the UFC banner. He has also never been past the 15-minute mark in his MMA career, but he typically pushes a hectic pace, and it remains to be seen whether he can deploy a grappling-heavy gameplan in a five-round fight.

Below, I'll provide my analysis and projections and utilize those factors to bet on the main event tonight for UFC Vegas 74.

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Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time11:529:07
Weight (pounds)125.5 lbs.126 lbs.
Reach (inches)69"68"
Date of birth3/26/199310/27/1993
Sig Strikes Per Min4.703.54
SS Accuracy40%43%
SS Absorbed Per Min3.572.47
SS Defense64%61%
Take Down Avg0.512.47
TD Acc25%50%
TD Def87%66%
Submission Avg0.00.8

This seems like a relatively binary matchup with Kara-France as the superior striker and Albazi as the better grappler; still, I'm not so sure that the striking advantage is so cut and dry in favor of Kara-France, who should have advantages in both hand speed and technique.

If Albazi gets stuck at kickboxing range for extended stretches, he can stay relatively competitive with Kara-France. However, Albazi will inevitably look to get this fight to the mat (he averages one takedown attempt every three minutes) and look to control or submit his opponent.

From the perspective of general MMA betting philosophy, in a pick'em fight in which the two opponents possess relatively similar finishing upside – but one fighter has the offensive grappling upside – you should almost always side with the grappler; they have ways to win rounds more dominantly and potentially secure a 10-8 scorecard at some point during a fight.

Unless Kara-France scores a knockout, his upside here is likely a close and competitive decision in which he gets taken down, scrambles back to his feet, and lands the more damaging shots in most rounds. Some judges may still reward the grappling and control for Albazi in tight rounds – even if the general trend (and the proper assessment) is to prioritize damage.

However, if Albazi threatens submissions from dominant positions or maintains control for most of three rounds, the scoring should be much less debatable.

This matchup may ultimately turn on which fighter has superior cardio. Aside from his fights with Rogerio Bontorin (who doesn't have great cardio) and Askar Askarov (who struggled in a big cage), no fighter has tried to pressure and push a relentless grappling pace on Kara-France from the opening bell.

I think that is exactly what Albazi intends to do. And you can't understate the limited space Kara-France has to move away from him in the UFC Apex facility; the smaller octagon is a clear advantage for Albazi and his intended grappling game plan. Bontorin had an easy time tracking down Kara-France in the smaller octagon – and nearly finished the fight – he just didn't have the cardio to maintain that pressure.

If Kara-France can force Albazi to waste energy early – either by denying takedown attempts or quickly scrambling back to his feet – he could win the cardio battle here and ultimately prevail in the later rounds.

However, if Kara-France routinely gets stuck on the bottom after takedowns and can't scramble to recover his footing, Albazi will advance up the llyweight rankings and move one step closer to a title shot.

Kara-France vs. Albazi Pick

I projected Amir Albazi as a 53.5% favorite in this fight; you can bet Albazi's moneyline at -110 or better, as we'll side with the superior grappler but equally likely finisher in a pick'em spot, which aligns with my general betting philosophy for MMA.

I project either fighter to win this bout by finishing around 60% of the time, and I would also bet the bout to end inside the distance to around -140, at roughly a 2% edge compared to my projection.

While you could combine those opinions into one bet on Albazi inside the distance, I don't see enough value to place that wager (projected +211, listed +180). I would rather bet Kara-France by KO/TKO (projected +330, listed +400) if I dabbled in the winning method market.

The Picks: Amir Albazi (-110 at Caesars, 0.5u) | Kara-France vs. Albazi ends inside the distance (-120 at DraftKings, 0.5u)

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