UFC Vegas 93 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Alex Perez vs. Tatsuro Taira: 2 Plus-Money Plays for Main Event (Saturday, June 15)

UFC Vegas 93 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Alex Perez vs. Tatsuro Taira: 2 Plus-Money Plays for Main Event (Saturday, June 15) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC flyweight Alex Perez

Alex Perez vs. Tatsuro Taira Odds

Perez Odds
Taira Odds
2.5 (-142 / +112)
UFC Apex in Las Vegas
12:30 a.m. ET
UFC Vegas 93 odds as of Saturday and via FanDuel. Bet on UFC Vegas 93 with our FanDuel promo code.

Here's everything you need to know about the Alex Perez vs. Tatsuro Taira odds for UFC Vegas 93 on Saturday, June 15 – our expert UFC prediction and pick.

The UFC will return to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday for an important main event in the flyweight division between No. 5-ranked contender Alex Perez and No. 13-ranked Tatsuro Taira. The entire card is available on ESPN2 and ESPN+ beginning at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT).

UFC Vegas 93 will mark the third main event or five-round fight of Perez's UFC tenure and at least the fifth of his professional career. However, he hasn't seen a fourth round since 2015. Saturday's fight will mark his third octagon appearance in 2024 after taking long layoffs between bouts (November 2020 to July 2022 to March 2024). Perez will hope to reenter the flyweight title conversation with a second-consecutive victory.

Taira, a hyped Japanese prospect, is 15-0 as a professional, including a 5-0 record under the promotional banner (three finishes) with a pair of performance bonuses. However, Taira is taking a significant step up in competition for this matchup – and facing one of the top flyweights in the world after fighting fringe top-15 competition. Moreover, this will be his first main event appearance, and with added attention and interest to fuel his hype train.

Below, I'll provide my analysis and projections for the UFC Vegas 93 main event and utilize those factors to bet on Perez vs. Taira, who should make their cage walks at approximately 12:25 a.m. ET on Sunday morning (9:25 p.m. PT on Saturday night) on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time6:419:55
Weight (pounds)126 lbs.126 lbs.
Reach (inches)65"70"
Date of birth3/21/19921/27/2000
Sig Strikes Per Min4.103.51
SS Accuracy45%71%
SS Absorbed Per Min3.131.15
SS Defense59%47%
Take Down Avg2.062.12
TD Acc44%41%
TD Def82%71%
Submission Avg0.92.4

Stylistically, this matchup isn't so dissimilar from Perez's recent fight against Mohammed Mokaev – a close and competitive decision in which Perez looked like the fresher man after 15 minutes. If that had been a five-round fight, Perez likely would have won as a +320 underdog.

Perez showed solid submission defense in that fight; defensive jiu-jitsu has often been a glaring weakness in an otherwise well-rounded skill set. Mokaev is a better wrestler than Taira, but Taira is a longer athlete and the superior jiu-jitsu practitioner between the pair, with a more measured pace. While we don't have evidence concerning Taira's 25-minute cardio, he's managed his gas tank well across three-round fights and hasn't shown any significant cardio concerns in his career.

Taira's biggest weakness is striking defense (47%). Perez is the better boxer in the matchup – and carries above-average power for the flyweight division. Taira is open defensively, and he's gotten hurt from strikes in previous fights – and he'll look to turn this fight into a grappling match and avoid extended striking exchanges.

Otherwise, Taira will stay outside punching range and pepper Perez with kicks (6" reach advantage) and force the American to pressure and close the distance. Perez has powerful leg kicks in his skill set, but he may prefer to box – so that Taira can't turn a caught kick into a takedown attempt.

Perez will stay on the front foot and apply pressure in the small cage, as he did against both Mokaev and in his short-notice win main event win against Matheus Nicolau. Perez didn't let his hands go enough in the Mokaev fight (19/74 on distance strike attempts across 7 minutes at range); if he landed a few more strikes in the third round – alongside that forward pressure – he would likely have swung the scorecards his way.

Perez wasn't more proactive against Nicolau (28/71 on distance strike attempts in seven minutes at range). Still, he was more accurate – and, unlike Mokaev, Nicolau wasn't crouching down to his ankles to initiate grappling every time he got touched.

Taira won't accept that damage, and he will find ways to turn this fight into a grappling match. Despite his high grappling level, Taira has made mistakes on the mat in past fights against lesser opponents than Perez. He got reversed and put himself into bad positions. Still, Taira's blend of size and technique is effective;  he uses his long limbs to tie up opponents on the ground. And he's excellent at taking the back, a position Perez tends to concede.

I'd expect Taira to win at least one round – if not finish the fight – with a body triangle, and his ability to secure those dominant positions increases the possibility of a 10-8 round in his favor.

Perez will look to sprawl and brawl and either hurt Taira on the feet or land more damage across a 25-minute fight. Despite Taira's control-time upside, the minute-winning should be fairly competitive – Taira doesn't posture up for ground and pound as much as he pursues submissions – and Perez could capitalize on those narrow margins.

Despite the hype, I've never been entirely sold on Taira. He's a bit noodly and doesn't seem all that physically strong, like a young Chase Hooper fighting at featherweight. I prefer another undefeated Japanese flyweight (Rei Tsuruya) as a prospect – fighting in the UFC 303 prelims. Perez also represents a significant step up in class relative to Taira's previous opponents.

Perez is the better wrestler and the more powerful athlete than Taira. Given the strength disparity, I'm curious to see if he's able to simply power out of bad positions; it's much more difficult for a flyweight to hold opponents down than it is at heavier weight classes.

Still, Taira is a pure MMA fighter – and blends his striking and grappling together incredibly well – so he should have success getting to the positions that he wants to. The question is whether he can keep Perez down for significant stretches – or potentially finish the fight.

Perez vs. Taira Pick

I projected Tatusro Taira as a 64.7% favorite (-183 implied odds in this matchup). He opened near -165 (62.6% implied) and has ticked up closer to -200 (66.7% implied) as of writing. Given the hype, I'd expect this line to keep moving toward the favorite.

These fighters won't make their walkouts until early Sunday morning ET – afternoon local time in Japan. I will wait as long as possible to find the best price on the underdog with overseas money potentially hitting the market late.

I'd want at least +200 to back Perez on the moneyline. Otherwise, I prefer his knockout or KO/TKO prop (projected +415, listed +470) – which I'll likely use as a round-robin piece either way.

If you're betting on Taira prefight, look for his violence props. I'd consider playing Taira to win by submission (projected +120, listed +145) or inside the distance (projected -107, listed +100).

The Picks: Alex Perez (wait for +200) | Perez wins by KO/TKO (+470 at FanDuel) 

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