UFC Vegas 79 Luck Ratings: 4 Undervalued Fighters to Consider Betting Now (Saturday, September 23)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: UFC strawweight fighter Michelle Waterson-Gomez
Let’s look into some mispriced betting lines for UFC Vegas 79: Fiziev vs. Gamrot tonight and see which fighters are overvalued and which are undervalued heading into the ESPN+ event.
UFC Vegas 79 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. The event streams on ESPN+ starting with the preliminary card at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) and then the main card at 7 p.m. ET. The event features 11 bouts in all.
One of the first “aha!” moments I had in gambling (generally, not just MMA) was to start thinking about why markets might be wrong, rather than just trying to predict what I think will happen.
At its core, that’s what a betting line is: a market where we can “buy” or “sell” events happening. For the most part, these markets are efficient, with the “price” eventually reflecting the true odds of the event.
While this is less true in MMA – where there are far more information asymmetries than in major markets like the NFL or NBA – it’s still broadly (and increasingly) the case. Therefore, to beat the markets over the long term, we need to figure out spots where they’re wrong.
That’s the point of this piece. Inspired by our NFL “Luck Rankings,” I’ll be looking into spots where variance has favored one fighter more than another, causing the line to be inefficient. The biggest input will be split and/or controversial decisions, with short-notice fights, fights that are later overruled, fluke injuries, and out-of-weight-class fights considered, as well.
The focus will be on fights reasonably likely to see the scorecards here, or where one fighter holds most of the finishing upside.
* Odds as of Monday afternoon and via DraftKings
Rafael Fiziev (-162) vs. Mateusz Gamrot (+136)
The UFC continues to remind us how deep the lightweight division with this UFC Vegas 79 main-event matchup.
Rafael Fiziev and Mateusz Gamrot both seem like they'd be champions in nearly any other weight class, yet they are the sixth- and seventh-ranked contenders in the official UFC lighting rankings.
Fiziev was knocking on the door of a title shot before his last fight, a fairly clear majority decision loss against Justin Gaethje. Normally I'd consider the majority-decision loss evidence of bad luck, but if anything, it was good luck that he convinced one judge the fight was a draw.
Similarly, Gamrot is coming off a split-decision win over Jalin Turner that certainly went the right way. It's hard to see why a judge saw that fight for Turner.
On the other hand, I thought Gamrot's unanimous decision win over Arman Tsarukyan was a bit of a gift, so maybe it's already evened out.
The bigger factor here is strength of schedule. This will be the fourth consecutive fight against a ranked lightweight for Gamrot, with two wins in the three prior bouts. Fiziev's best UFC win was arguably his knockout of former champ Rafael dos Anjos, who was 37 at the time and clearly on the decline.
I'll want to dig deeper into the tape, but my first impression is that Fiziev took a loss the first time he was matched up with a legitimate title contender, while Gamrot has already dispatched a pair. I don't think this one will move too much before fight day, though, so I'll take my time before making a bet here.
Verdict: Mateusz Gamrot undervalued
Marina Rodriguez (-310) vs. Michelle Waterson-Gomez (+250)
This is a strange booking by the UFC. I've triple-checked to make sure there wasn't a different fight planned for one of the women that fell through, but no. This was the plan all along.
It's strange because Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson-Gomez fought back in 2021 with Rodriguez picking up a unanimous-decision victory.
That was the start of a three-fight losing skid for Waterson-Gomez, so it's not like she's given us a reason to believe she'll fare any better this time around.
Of course, Rodriguez has now lost her past two with her most recent win being a fairly generous split-decision victory over Yan Xiaonan.
Conversely, Waterson-Gomez could make a strong case she won her last fight, a split-decision loss to Luana Pinheiro. "The Karate Hottie" out-struck Pinheiro and landed the fight's only takedown, yet she didn't get her hand raised.
Which brings me to a point I make a lot: When fights are likely to go to a decision, it's almost always better to be holding the plus-money ticket.
This one is overwhelmingly likely to see the final bell as neither woman has finished a fight since they last met.
I don't think Waterson-Gomez is the better fighter by any stretch, but the odds of the judges getting a fight wrong are a lot shorter than +250.
Verdict: Michelle Waterson-Gomez undervalued
Dan Argueta (-185) vs. Miles Johns (+154)
Dan Argueta may have had the single worst luck I've ever seen in a UFC fight. He spent his last trip to the UFC octagon dominating Ronnie Lawrence from the opening bell, eventually locking in a mounted guillotine.
Lawrence had his hand raised in the universal about-to-tap position, but referee Keith Peterson jumped in a bit too early, stopping the fight to the protests of the fully conscious Lawrence.
While I feel for Lawrence here, it wasn't getting any better for him. Had Peterson waited another few seconds, Argueta would've got the first-round stoppage he rightfully deserved – and probably a longer betting line this time around.
Instead, the fight was declared a no-contest due to the ref's decision, and Argueta is still looking for his first UFC victory.
Argueta's grappling game is multiple levels ahead of Johns, and this line should be longer.
Let's hold out before making the bet, though since bookmakers initially set a wider line before it got bet down. I'm on the side of the books here, but we may be able to catch a better line after fight day approaches.
Verdict: Dan Argueta undervalued
Mizuki Inoue (-310) vs. Hannah Goldy (+250)
After turning pro at the age of 16, Mizuki Inoue quickly ran her professional record to 14-6 with the last two bouts coming in the UFC.
However, none of those fights has been in the last three years, owing to COVID-related cancellations and a torn ACL.
Inoue's only UFC win was a lackluster – and generous – split-decision win over Wu Yanan, who's now 1-5 in the UFC.
After that questionable victory, Inoue was defeated by Amanda Lemos, and she has a 1-3 record against future UFC competitors in other promotions.
Which makes it hard to justify Inoue's price tag this week, even against a fighter as underwhelming as Hannah Goldy.
Goldy is just 1-3 since joining the UFC, but her win did come via a submission.
There's little evidence to suggest that either woman is truly UFC level, but at least one of them has been somewhat active. The best line on Goldy is at DraftKings, where she's a +250 underdog, at the time of this writing.
That line seems to be dropping quickly at other spots, so get your (small) bet in as soon as possible.