UFC Vegas 93 Predictions & Luck Ratings: 2 Undervalued Fighters to Bet Early (Saturday, June 15)

UFC Vegas 93 Predictions & Luck Ratings: 2 Undervalued Fighters to Bet Early (Saturday, June 15) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC bantamweight Brady Hiestand

Check out our early UFC predictions for this Saturday, June 15, with our UFC Vegas 93 Luck Ratings.

The UFC heads back to the UFC Apex on Saturday night live from Las Vegas. Following the UFC Vegas 93 preliminary card on ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET), the main card is available on ESPN2 and ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET).

We have a fun flyweight main event with the fast-rising Tatsuro Taira, who's gone 5-0 since his UFC debut just over two years ago. He faces a big step up in competition when he meets former title challenger Alex Perez, who picked up a knockout win less than two months ago to halt his losing skid.

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 are my UFC Vegas 93 early preview and betting picks.

*UFC Vegas 93 odds as of Monday and via DraftKings. Bet on UFC Louisville with our DraftKings promo code

UFC Vegas 93 Predictions & Luck Ratings

Tatsuro Taira (-185) vs. Alex Perez (+154)

Somewhat surprisingly considering the weight class, neither Tatsuro Taira nor Alex Perez really really has a questionable result on his record. Taira has been dominant since joining the UFC with three finishes and two unanimous-decision victories. Perez doesn't have as clean of a record, but his losses have come against elite competition.

My initial reaction is that this is a big step up for Taira, and the line isn't adequately factoring that in. Perez had a close decision loss to Mohammed Mokaev, the UFC's No. 6-ranked flyweight contender who's stylistically somewhat similar of an opponent.

However, we missed a brief moment when the line was as long as +160 or so on Perez, and I'm not so sure the current line is enough. Taira might just be that good. Plus, Perez didn't have a full camp to prepare for this bout.

As of now, there's not enough for me to make an early bet. Keep an eye on the line, though. If we can get Perez around +170, I'll likely be jumping on it.

Verdict: Fairly Valued

Josefine Knuttson (-225) vs. Julia Polastri (+185)

We have a straweight bout between two relative newcomers with Josefine Knuttson holding a 1-0 record and Julia Polastri set to make her UFC debut.

Polastri had an impressive Contender Series performance to punch her ticket to the promotion, picking up a second-round finish in September after losing a previous attempt in 2021. That loss has aged well, however; she went the distance with Jasmine Jasudavicius, who's now 4-2 in the UFC.

Polastri was clearly undersized in that flyweight bout, and she's since gone 4-0 with three finishes at strawweight.

While Knuttson has an official UFC win under her belt, it came against Marnic Mann, who had previously been knocked out on the Contender Series and is now 0-2 in the promotion proper. Mann also took the fight on short notice, so I'm not putting much stock in that victory.

We also typically prefer betting underdogs in lighter-division fights, which are more likely to go to a decision – and thus get an ill-deserved win from the judges.

We want the best number possible as well, and this one seems to be trending closer. Polastri is still +190 on FanDuel with other books opening there and moving down. There probably won't be a ton of line movement here given the lack of betting interest on this fight, but every cent of line value counts.

Verdict: Julia Polastri Undervalued

Garrett Armfield (-170) vs. Brady Hiestand (+154)

This fight has as much early line movement as any on the card with Brady Hiestand opening around +160 and moving as low as +135 at one point.

I've joined the bettors who caused that line movement on Hiestand. His only loss in the UFC was a split decision to Ricky Turcios, against whom Hiestand picked up six takedowns and was competitive throughout.

That makes him a tough stylistic matchup for Garrett Armfield, who was taken down four times in his last appearance and has his sole UFC loss via submission.

Given the identical 2-1 UFC records for both men and the nature of those losses, this seems like a fairly clear bet to make. The best line is the DraftKings number listed above.

Verdict: Brady Hiestand Undervalued

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