UFC Vegas 74 Props: 6 Juicy Long-Shot Bets from the MMA Prop Squad (Saturday, June 3)

UFC Vegas 74 Props: 6 Juicy Long-Shot Bets from the MMA Prop Squad (Saturday, June 3) article feature image

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC flyweight Tim Elliott

  • Our MMA experts have an array of UFC Vegas 74 prop bets for tonight's ESPN event.
  • The MMA Prop Squad is targeting fights all throughout the 13-bout lineup.
  • Check out all of the picks, which include odds up to +1300, below.

Welcome to the latest edition of MMA Prop Squad, in which we offer an array of UFC prop bets with oversized odds for Saturday's UFC Vegas 74 event on ESPN.

Each Prop Squad installment features a handful of picks from our squad of prop-betting enthusiasts, who have tallied +27.5 units and a 15.8% ROI to date.

This week marks the return of squad members Tony Sartori, Bryan Fonseca, Dan Tom, Dann Stupp and Billy Ward.

Check out their picks for Saturday's event, which airs on ESPN (6 p.m. ET) from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, below.

As with all betting endeavors, 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 be sure to shop around for the best price since prop odds can vary substantially depending on the sportsbook.

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Tony Sartori: Da'Mon Blackshear by Submission (+1300)

Contributor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 6:15 p.m. ET

On the preliminary card, we have a bantamweight bout between Da'Mon Blackshear and Luan Lacerda. It has been a disappointing start to Blackshear's UFC tenure, posting a draw against Youssef Zalal and losing via unanimous decision to Farid Basharat.

However, Basharat is a legit prospect at 135, and I do not think that loss is an indictment on Blackshear but rather a confirmation of Basharat. Even so, Blackshear more than held his own that fight, even landing a takedown and showing a relentless pursuit in his submission attempts.

That is where I think Blackshear can outclass Lacerda, who is also coming off a loss in his lone UFC bout against Cody Stamann. Lacerda is a grappling specialist, so even if Blackshear does not try to take this fight to the mat, the smaller Lacerda surely will.

Prior to Stamann, Lacerda's lone loss came via submission, which is something we could see once again in this bout when it inevitably goes to the mat. If it goes there, Blackshear has shown that he can work his way around vulnerable positions during grappling exchanges, and he even secured a position on Basharat's back in the second round of his last fight.

Now training in Miami, Blackshear has said that grappling has been a big part of this camp, and at 13/1, the odds are too long to not take a shot on him to pull off a submission victory.

The Pick: Da'Mon Blackshear by submission (+1300 at BetRivers)

Bryan Fonseca: Don'Tale Mayes by Round 1 KO (+750)

Contributor at The Action Network and combat sports host and on-air talent

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

Andrei Arlovski is still doing this.

He's 34-21, he's 44, and he's been knocked out 11 times in his MMA career, which began in 1999.

Arlovski says he won't fight until 50, but some are surprised he's still doing it now. Moreover, he has a dangerous challenge ahead this weekend in Don'Tale Mayes at heavyweight.

You could argue that any challenge for Arlovski at his age is dangerous, but the slight favorite Mayes provides for a unique foe.

Mayes brings forth a two-inch height, four-inch reach and general size advantage, and the 31-year-old UFC pro is 9-5 with five knockouts in MMA. Mayes is 2-2 with one no-contest in his last five fights, most recently dropping a unanimous decision to Augusto Sakai in February. But of his five KOs, two came in the first round, the most recent at a 2019 Contender Series event.

Additionally, of Arlovski's 11 KO losses, a whopping eight have come in the opening round, including ones to Francis Ngannou, Stipe Miocic and Jairzinho Rozenstruik all since 2016.

The Pick: Don'Tale Mayes by KO, TKO or DQ – Round 1 (+750 at BetRivers)

Dan Tom: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos by KO (+400)

Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Protect Ya' Neck podcast

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 8:55 p.m. ET

This week I decided to back another proven product to produce a violent finish in the octagon by targeting a main-card attraction between Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Abubakar Nurmagomedov.

Although Nurmagomedov shares a family and fighting lineage with the great Khabib Nurmagomedov, I don't believe that he's the same level of fighter or athlete whom we typically associate with that pack.

Nurmagomedov will probably have some success stymying the action early with his grappling, but dos Santos is a solid Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with an underrated wrestling and scrambling ability who has traditionally shown a strong gas tank for three-round affairs.

Add in his penchant for violent striking finishes, and I'll gladly sprinkle on dos Santos to win via knockout for anything in the neighborhood of +400.

The Pick: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos by KO, TKO or disqualification (+400 at Betway)

Dann Stupp: Tim Elliott vs. Victor Altamirano Under 1.5 (+350) | Altamirano via Submission (+750)

Senior Editor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:55 p.m. ET

Over the years, I've seen sharp folks touting the value of "flyweight unders," and these soothsayers' near-weekly celebrations finally made me a believer. Even now – years after the UFC adopted its lightest male weight class – fight fans, bettors and oddsmakers still underestimate the finishing ability of these little firecrackers.

So, each fight day, I'm now usually combing through the flyweight matchups and looking for juiced totals with competitors who have legit avenues to a KO or submission win. And for UFC Vegas 74, I'm looking at 125-pounders Tim Elliott vs. Victor Altamirano on the main card.

I like the inside-the-distance options for all of the usual reasons (to say nothing of Elliott's unfortunate out-of-the-cage distractions). Elliott has sneaky-good finishing ability (50% of wins) – and the sneaky ability to get finished (50% of losses). Coincidentally, Altamirano has the same 50-50 stats on his win-loss ledger.

But what I really like about this matchup is both fighters' willingness to push a frantic pace, especially early. In addition to knockouts, that type of action can prompt all matter of violence beyond simple strikes – slips, clinches, scrambles, accidental head-butts. It's all the kind of stuff you want to see if you're betting on a finish.

On my regular betting card, I took Elliott (in a parlay with Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos), and I also bet that Elliott vs. Altamirano doesn't go to a decision at juicy +180 odds.

But in the spirit of MMA Prop Squad, I'm also targeting this fight for two other long-shot plays.

As a bit of a hedge, I'm going to take Altamirano via submission (+750 at BetRivers or Betfred) since I consider it Elliott's most likely detour to an upset defeat. But I'm also going to tap into the alternate totals market, and rather than betting under 2.5 rounds (+210), I'm going to bet the under 1.5 at +350 (via DraftKings or Betway). I simply think we get an early finish more often than the +350 odds (22.2% win probability) suggest.

The Picks: Tim Elliott vs. Victor Altamirano under 1.5 rounds (+350 at DraftKings) | Altamirano via submission (+750 at BetRivers)

Billy Ward: SGP – Kai Kara-France via KO & Over 2.5 (+800)

Staff Writer at The Action Network

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

The UFC Vegas 74 main event is a fun one with perennial flyweight contender Kai Kara-France squaring off with fast-rising Amir Albazi. This is a bit of a striker vs. grappler matchup with Kara-France known for his powerful hands and Albazi his suffocating takedowns.

To be fair to both fighters, each has made huge improvements in the weaker parts of his game. Albazi’s striking looked to be a level up in his most recent fight, a knockout win over Alessandro Costa. Kara-France has excellent takedown defense, and he did well in a similar (on paper) matchup against Alessandro Costa.

This is the first scheduled five-round fight for Albazi, and should we see the championship rounds, it will be the first for Kara-France as well (his interim title fight against Brandon Moreno ended in the third round). That means we don’t truly know how either fighter’s cardio will look late in this one.

Given that unknown, I’m leaning on a truism I’ve mentioned before: Wrestling is much harder (from an energy standpoint) than striking. There’s a reason championship boxing matches are 12 three-minute rounds while Olympic wrestling matches are under 10 minutes total.

The combination of excellent takedown defense and strong “get-up” skills from Kara-France is a lot to overcome for 25 minutes. If Albazi can’t finish him on the mat in the early goings, I expect Kara-France to be the fresher fighter late.

A live bet on the Kiwi is certainly an option, but I like this same game parlay at DraftKings, as well. If Albazi tires, Kara-France’s excellent striking and hand speed should be enough to finish him in the later rounds. Kara-France’s likeliest win condition is probably a knockout (which at +400 would also qualify as a prop squad pick), but I’m willing to bet it’s more likely to happen late.

So, for this SGP, I'll take Kara-France to win, KO for the fight outcome, and over 2.5 rounds to get us to +800.

The Pick: Same game parlay – Kai Kara-France via KO & over 2.5 rounds (+800 at DraftKings)

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