UFC Vegas 77 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Albert Duraev vs. Junyong Park: 2 Betting Angles for Featured Middleweights (Saturday, July 15)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC middleweight Junyong Park of South Korea
Albert Duraev vs. Junyong Park Odds
The original UFC Vegas 77 co-main event features a matchup between Albert Duraev and Junyong Park.
The middleweights were in Saturday's co-featured slot until UFC officials surprisingly decided midweek to promote Jack Della Maddalena vs. Bassil Hafez from the UFC Vegas 77 prelims to the co-main event.
However, that fight is a major mismatch (Della Maddalena is upward of a -700 favorite), so we'll keep Duraev vs. Park – which now has fourth billing on tonight's UFC Vegas 77 fight card – as one of our featured previews here at Action Network this week.
It also presents a potential live-betting opportunity for tonight's ESPN-televised event, which kicks off at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) with main-card action at 10 p.m. ET.
An experienced regional product who had to come through the Contender Series, Duraev initially arrived in the organization with some solid hype attached to his name.
That said, Duraev has not exactly looked great since his promotional debut, and he will be looking to make a statement on Saturday.
Standing in the Russian's way is the quietly rising hardcore favorite in Park.
Affectionately referred to as "The Iron Turtle," Park is currently riding a three-fight winning streak and will be entitled to some higher-ranked competition if he's able to get past Duraev in their featured UFC Vegas 77 bout on ESPN.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||10:52||11:15|
|Weight (pounds)||185 lbs.||186 lbs.|
|Date of birth||1/5/1989||2/27/1991|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||2.94||4.92|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.53||3.71|
|Take Down Avg||2.07||2.33|
Both fighters are deceptively well-rounded middleweights who ply their trades in completely different ways.
Duraev, who is arguably the more aggressive of the two men, bears more of a straightforward approach.
Despite his grappling base, Duraev shows surprisingly little fear when engaging in striking stanzas.
The Russian-born fighter maintains a decent sense of range while prodding and looking for power shots off of his lead side.
When feeling in stride, Duraev is not shy about coming forward in combination or looking to change levels for a takedown. And when he's able to get his opposition to the fence, Duraev tends to do his best work in regard to securing positions for the strikes and submissions to come.
After his submission victory, Albert Duraev told the Boss he will "smesh" anyone in the 185 pound division 👀
— UFC (@ufc) September 15, 2021
Nevertheless, Duraev is not beyond being countered on entry and will need to respect what Park sends back his way.
He may not be the most imposing middleweight on the roster, but Park is a much more effective fighter than he's typically given credit for.
A solid boxing technician, Park possesses the ability to deceptively roll with punches in order to come back with shots of his own.
Although he doesn't seem to get a ton of love for his counters, Park does well when it comes to mixing his returns to the body and head.
The Korean Top Team product also carries serviceable wrestling chops, both offensively and defensively.
The Iron Turtle gets it done in ONE 🐢💪
Junyong Park with the sub over Denis Tiuliulin on the #UFCVegas68 prelims!
— UFC (@ufc) February 5, 2023
In fact, both men prefer the same style of positional rides and submission finishes.
That makes me think that things could be a wash on the floor should neither fighter find himself compromised first.
Duraev vs. Park Pick
The betting public seems to be down on the Russian's stock, listing Park -154 and Duraev +130 as of Saturday.
Instead, I strongly suggest keeping this fight in mind for live-betting opportunities with an eye on Park.
Whether you're finding Duraev attractive as an underdog or getting cold feet when it comes to committing to Park, you'll probably get a much better price on the Korean fighter after the first round if you're looking to add or hedge a potential play.
Aside from Park's underrated style allowing for slow starts, Duraev tends to push a torrid pace early that he can't necessarily sustain.
Add in the pressure Duraev is putting on himself this week to produce a statement-making finish, and I suspect that he could find himself in a hole if he's not able to get Park out of there in the first five to seven minutes of the fight.
With this in mind, I also sprinkled small on Park to win in Round 3 (which can be found with upward of +1400 odds) due to his counter hooks and the slow-burning pressure that his style provides.
The Pick: Look to bet Junyong Park live after Round 1