UFC Vegas 92 Predictions & Luck Ratings: How to Bet Big Underdog (Saturday, May 18)

UFC Vegas 92 Predictions & Luck Ratings: How to Bet Big Underdog (Saturday, May 18) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC bantamweight Tamires Vidal of Brazil.

Check out our early UFC predictions for UFC Vegas 92 for this Saturday, May 18, with our Luck Ratings.

UFC Vegas 92 takes place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. The event streams entirely on ESPN+ beginning at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) with an Edson Barboza vs. Lerone Murphy headliner.

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 in which one fighter holds most of the finishing upside.

Here's my UFC Vegas 92 preview and early picks.

*UFC Vegas 92 odds as of Tuesday and via DraftKings. Bet on UFC Vegas 92 with our DraftKings promo code

UFC Vegas 92 Predictions & Luck Ratings

Lerone Murphy (-148) vs. Edson Barboza (+124)

With 38-year-old Edson Barboza taking on 32-year-old Lerone Murphy, this is typically a spot where I'd be looking to target the younger fighter. Particularly in lighter weight classes, the speed and reaction time dropoff once fighters get into their late 30s is significant.

However, Barboza has looked great in his last two fights, a knockout victory over Billy Quarantillo and a five-round war with Sodiq Yusuff.

We've seen older fighters, in general, pull off some surprising performances over the past few months, which may have something to do with the more lax drug testing in the post-USADA era.

Murphy has won five straight in the UFC, though one of them was a split decision that probably should've gone the other way. He's also fought a lower level of competition than Barboza – though Barboza has mostly lost against fellow ranked opponents.

All things considered, this line feels right, so no early bet from me. I'm leaning toward the Barboza side, though, especially with his five-round experience. If his line gets much longer than the +135 at Caesars, I'd consider jumping in.

Verdict: Fairly Valued/Keep an Eye on Barboza

Melissa Gatto (-340) vs. Tamires Vidal (+270)

Tamires Vidal was originally slated to fight Hailey Cowan at this event, but Cowan was forced out due to injury. Replacing her in this bantamweight bout is Melissa Gatto, who typically fights at flyweight.

As of Monday, UFC Stats still has the original matchup listed, which let's you know how late this one came together.

Both Gatto and Vidal are .500 in the UFC with Gatto holding a 2-2 record and Vidal sitting at 1-1. Vidal's only loss was a split decision in her last appearance, and Gatto's last loss was a split as well.

Between the short-notice nature and heavier weight class for Gatto and how difficult it seems to be to judge both women, this one feels like a perfect spot to take a stab at the underdog. Gatto is the better fighter here, but she could struggle with the size difference, have cardio issues with the fight coming on short notice, or just lose a bad decision.

That's enough outs where I'll sprinkle half a unit at +300 early in the week.

Verdict: Tamires Vidal Undervalued

Kleydson Rodrigues (-155) vs. Alateng Heili (+130)

Kelydson Rodrigues is 1-2 in the UFC with more weight misses (two) than wins. That lone victory came over Shannon Ross, and it's aged poorly. Ross finished his UFC career 0-4 (including the Contender Series) with knockout losses in every fight.

Alateng Heili (Alatengheili) has won three of his last four UFC fights with the only loss coming against the always-dangerous Chris "El Guapo" Gutierrez. Yet, he's somehow the underdog in this matchup – for now.

After opening at +150 throughout the industry, his line has dropped to as low as +118 on Tuesday. He'll close as a pick'em at worst, and I'd expect him to eventually be favored.

Grab his moneyline now before it goes any farther.

Verdict: Alatengheili Undervalued

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