UFC Vegas 88 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Christian Rodriguez vs. Isaac Dulgarian: Get Greedy With 3-1 Prop (Saturday, March 16)

UFC Vegas 88 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Christian Rodriguez vs. Isaac Dulgarian: Get Greedy With 3-1 Prop (Saturday, March 16) article feature image

Carmen Mandato/Getty. Pictured: UFC featherweight Christian Rodriguez grapples Raul Rosas Jr.

Christian Rodriguez vs. Isaac Dulgarian Odds

Rodriguez Odds
Dulgarian Odds
2.5 rounds (-110 / -116)
UFC Apex in Las Vegas
Start Time
7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via FanDuel. Bet on UFC Vegas 88 with our FanDuel promo code.

Here's everything you need to know about the Christian Rodriguez vs. Isaac Dulgariane odds at UFC Vegas 88 on Saturday, March 16 – with our expert UFC prediction and pick.

One of the more intriguing bouts on an otherwise-lackluster UFC Vegas 88 card features impressive prospects Isaac "The Midwest Choppa" Dulgarian and Christian Rodriguez, who open the main card on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Dulgarian is 6-0 as a professional and fresh off a first-round win in his UFC debut in August. That was the former Division II wrestling All-American's sixth straight win in the first frame. He now trains out of Factory X.

Rodriguez comes into UFC Vegas 88 after two straight wins over formerly undefeated prospects in Raul Rosas Jr. and Cameron Saaiman. His only career loss came in his UFC debut, where he took a short-notice assignment against Jonathan Pearce and lost a close decision.

That was also the only time Rodriguez fought at featherweight in the UFC – until this week. After missing weight in each of his last two appearances and on the Contender Series, Rodriguez is now stepping up to 145 pounds for his fight against Dulgarian. That move likely explains the line on this fight, which has Dulgarian installed as a moderate favorite.

Here's my Dulgarian and Rodriguez prediction and pick for UFC Vegas 88.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time12:494:48
Weight (pounds)145 lbs.145.5 lbs.
Reach (inches)71"71"
Date of birth12/17/19977/4/1996
Sig Strikes Per Min3.517.29
SS Accuracy46%66%
SS Absorbed Per Min2.460.42
SS Defense58%71%
Take Down Avg1.403.13
TD Acc54%100%
TD Def70%0%
Submission Avg1.40.0

There's not a ton of tape available on the 6-0 Dulgarian. His UFC debut was his first fight to extend beyond the three-minute mark, and it still finished in the first round. What we do have shows a fairly straightforward game plan.

Dulgarian attempted his first takedown within 30 seconds of the opening bell against Francis Marshall. It was a fairly poor attempt with limited setup, but he was able to ground Marshall by continuing to pursue the finish.

From there, the lack of nuance continued. Dulgarian was content to sit in Marshall's guard, landing strikes. It was only when Marshall was thoroughly beat up that Dulgarian attempted to pass guard, where he quickly finished the fight via ground and pound from mount.

More grappling-based fighters should probably adopt this approach. Dulgarian gives little space for escapes and reversals by staying tight, and he has the strength to do damage in close quarters. That's a more effective strategy than the one adopted by fighters such as Rosas, who sacrifices control and damage while diving for low-probability submission attempts.

The drawback is that it's a slow burn. Relying on relatively small strikes over the course of a round to soften your opponent doesn't work if you can't find a takedown until late – or against an opponent more proactive in looking to escape to the feet.

Which is what he finds in Rodriguez.

"C Rod" defended 13 of 16 takedowns against Rosas, and he escaped back to his feet on two of the three that landed. He was also able to defend all five takedown attempts form Saaiman, while picking up three of his own.

While he lacks Dulgarian's wrestling pedigree, he has a far more diverse overall grappling game. Rodriguez has shown excellent reversals and escapes of his own, while continually threatening submissions from bad positions.

Unlike Dulgarian, he arguably leans a bit too far to the submission side of the spectrum (rather than landing damage) but has a knack for landing in control even on failed submission attempts.

He also has solid striking, with straight punches from the outside and knees/elbows from the clinch – but I'd expect nothing less from a fighter with roughly a decade of tutelage under Duke Roufus.

Dulgarian will frequently transition from that clinch work into takedowns of his own, which gives him an edge over Dulgarian's "naked" shots from range.

Rodriguez vs. Dulgarian Pick

At this point, I've lost far too many bets against Rodriguez against up-and-coming undefeated fighters. The Roufusport product has passed every test he's been given, outgrappling Rosas and outstriking Saaiman in recent fights.

On its face, the move up to featherweight is a downgrade to Rodriguez's chances, especially against a physically strong wrestler like Dulgarian. On the other hand, at just 26 and following a pair of increasingly bad weight misses, it's reasonable to believe Rodriguez has put on some size and strength himself.

Rodriguez has a considerably more developed grappling game, and he is unlikely to wilt under pressure from Dulgarian the way his past opponents have. Between the threat of submissions and Rodriguez's ability to escape, Dulgarian's effective but straightforward ground and pound probably won't be enough.

We've also never seen Dulgarian extended past the first round in his career, so his cardio is at best a question mark. One of my favorite MMA gambling truisms is that if we don't know how a fighter performs in a certain area, it's probably a weakness.

On the other hand, Rodriguez is a somewhat slow starter, and he dropped the first round unanimously to Rosas and on one judge's scorecard against Saaiman – the only round scored against him. The more manageable weight cut should only aid his cardio, as well.

Because of that, rather than take Rodriguez's already-generous moneyline, we can get slightly greedy here. FanDuel's "Rodriguez to win in Round 3 or by decision" line, which comes with +290 odds, makes a lot of sense. We've never seen Dulgarian extended past round 1 while Rodriguez has a history of getting stronger as the fight goes on.

The Pick: Rodriguez in Round 3 or Decision (+290 at FanDuel)

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