UFC Vegas 89 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Payton Talbott vs. Cameron Saaiman: Fade This Project (Saturday, March 23)

UFC Vegas 89 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Payton Talbott vs. Cameron Saaiman: Fade This Project (Saturday, March 23) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC bantamweight Payton Talbott

Payton Talbott vs. Cameron Saaiman Odds

Talbott Odds-155
Saaiman Odds+130
Over/Under2.5 (-210 / +160)
LocationUFC Apex in Las Vegas
Time11 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via DraftKings. Make your UFC bets with our DraftKings promo code.

Here's our Payton Talbott vs. Cameron Saaiman pick for UFC Vegas 89 on Saturday, March 23 – with our expert prediction.

Arguably the most intriguing fight on this lower-tier UFC Apex card features two up-and-coming bantamweights in Payton Talbott and Cameron Saaiman.

Saaiman saw his hype derailed a bit in his last performance – a decision loss to Christian Rodriguez – but still has an extremely bright future with a 3-1 UFC record at just 23 years old.

Ditto for 25-year-old Talbott, who's 7-0 as a professional, including 1-0 in the UFC. These two look to be the next generation of 135-pound stars, and this matchup is pivotal for both fighters.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time12:5912:03
Weight (pounds)135.5 lbs.135 lbs.
Reach (inches)70"67"
Date of birth9/9/199812/20/2000
Sig Strikes Per Min6.75.3
SS Accuracy51%46%
SS Absorbed Per Min3.13.2
SS Defense51%55%
Take Down Avg0.001.00
TD Acc0%36%
TD Def88%44%
Submission Avg0.60.8

Payton Talbott comes into this fight with all the momentum on his side, riding a pair of exciting wins on the Contender Series and in his UFC debut.

Despite having less UFC experience than Cameron Saaiman, Talbott has arguably beaten stiffer competition throughout his career. Outside of his debut, all of his professional fights have been against fighters with winning records.

Which is a notable contrast to Saaiman, whose best opponent prior to his Contender Series fight was just 8-7. Even inside the UFC octagon, Saaiman has been brought along slowly. His three UFC wins came against fighters who've combined to go 2-5 in the promotion. Both of those wins belonged to Mana Martinez – who accomplished both via split decisions.

It wasn't until his last fight against Christian Rodriguez that Saaiman faced a real test in the UFC. Talbott, meanwhile, is getting one here in just his second appearance for the promotion.

Talbott is an exciting prospect; he's big for the division with solid power and slick striking, and a creative grappling arsenal he unleashes only when his opponent forces the issue.

While Talbott is listed as a switch-stance fighter, he primarily fights from an orthodox stance. Similarly, Saaiman is listed as a switch-stance fighter but spends more time fighting southpaw.

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That's an encouraging sign for Talbott's chances on the feet. He showed excellent understanding of the opposite-stance game against Nick Aguirre in his UFC debut. Talbott consistently won the front-foot battle and initiated attacks with straight right hands and strong side kicks. Coupled with his two-inch reach advantage over Saaiman, he should get the better of most exchanges.

Saaiman relies on a more "gimmicky" attack, bouncing around at range and launching various spinning attacks without much setup. He's extremely quick with his hands and feet, but he's the less fundamentally sound striker in this matchup.

Which potentially explains Saaiamn's success against lower-level opposition, as he's able to overwhelm them with movement and speed. That fell apart against Rodriguez, and it's unlikely to work against the well-trained Talbott. With that said, Talbott can occasionally get too comfortable and drop his hands, which potentially leaves room for some big moments from the South African.

Saaiaman has the offensive grappling edge in theory, averaging about one takedown per fight. However, Talbott has defended 24 of the 27 takedowns he's faced and shown dangerous counter-grappling, making that a risky plan for Saaiman.

Saaiman tends to get greedy looking for submissions – rather than prioritizing position first and damage second – while Talbott is happy to settle in to position and land strikes. This creates a similar dynamic as we'll see in the striking, with Talbott winning more minutes but Saaiman having considerable upside.

Both fighters have shown good cardio in their careers with late finishes and strong final rounds in decisions, though I'd give Talbott a slight edge there as well. That decision is based mostly on his more straightforward style that doesn't rely on energy-sapping maneuvers like spinning attacks or wild dives for submissions.

Talbott vs. Saaiman Pick

Heading into Saaiman's fight with Rodriguez, it felt like the UFC was intent on protecting Saaiman. He had two finishes over fighters who were (and remain) winless in the UFC, as well as a majority-decision win over a lower-level opponent in Mana Martinez.

That plan has clearly gone by the wayside with Talbott representing another tough test despite coming off a loss to Rodriguez.

Of course, there are two ways to view the trajectory of Saaiman here, and the other is that he's undefeated against true bantamweights – with a close loss against a fighter who missed weight by four pounds and then jumped up a division.

Still, I wasn't encouraged by the optics there. Rodriguez was the more technical fighter and clearly the stronger athlete. Talbott seems to be too, with a solid build and tall height for the division. He may eventually join Rodriguez at featherweight, but for now he's one of the more physically imposing 135-pounders on the roster.

Which should give him the edge here. I'm expecting a close fight, but Talbott's minute-winning will rule the day. I'm betting him straight up, with the best line -138 at Betway (DraftKings is next-best at -148).

If you like Saaiman, consider his "finish only" or stoppage props. He has the capability of finishing this fight, but he's unlikely to consistently win rounds.

The Pick: Payton Talbott (-138 at Betway)

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