UFC Vegas Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Said Nurmagomedov vs. Jonathan Martinez, Raphael Assuncao vs. Davey Grant, More (Saturday, March 11)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC bantamweight Jonathan Martinez
- UFC Vegas: Yan vs. Dvalishvili kicks off Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+ with 13 bouts.
- Our MMA crew has four best bets for the event from three specific bouts, including Said Nurmagomedov vs. Jonathan Martinez.
- Check out the picks and analysis from each writer below.
The UFC debuts at The Theater at Virgin Hotels on Saturday, and we’ve got an array of UFC Vegas: Yan vs. Dvalishvili best bets for the card.
The Las Vegas event streams entirely on ESPN+ beginning at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT) with the main card kicking off at 6 p.m. ET.
So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed three fights and four picks on Saturday’s 13-bout card that present betting value.
You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo’s projections below using odds from BetMGM.
Billy Ward: Victor Henry vs. Tony Gravely
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 3:55 p.m. ET
Tony Gravely checks all of the boxes I’m looking for in an underdog. He’s both younger than his opponent, 35-year-old Victor Henry, and the more experienced UFC fighter. Gravely is 4-3 with the promotion while Henry is just 1-1.
Gravely is also the far better wrestler. Henry’s last fight was a loss to Raphael Assuncao, in which Henry was taken down twice and surrendered almost a full round of ground control. Gravely is a far more credentialed wrestler than Assuncao, and he should be able to execute a similar game plan.
Additionally, Gravely carries some stoppage upside here. He has knockouts in two of his four UFC wins, and in 10 of his 23 professional wins (along with three submissions). While he’s the less active striker in this matchup, he should be able to make up for that with superior damage.
The bigger concern with Gravely is his cardio, as his high-volume wrestling can be very draining. However, Henry is largely willing to accept takedowns and play off his back, which should conserve some energy for Gravely.
While I’m tempted by Gravely’s inside-the-distance lines, the odds of him grinding out a decision via his wrestling are high enough to scare me off. I’d make Gravely a slight favorite here, so I’d take his line down to even money.
Pick: Tony Gravely (+126)
Dann Stupp: Raphael Assuncao vs. Davey Grant
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 5:25 p.m. ET
It seems that with each passing week here in UFC Best Bets, I’m picking off another veteran of the game – a fighter whose career I began covering a decade or two.
But the fight game is cruel and unforgiving, and this week, it’s longtime lighter-division standout Raphael Assuncao who could be taking another step toward retirement.
Assuncao turned pro in 2004 – about the same time I watched my first UFC pay-per-view. Two decades later, the 40-year-old Brazilian is still trading leather with some of the best 135-pounders in the world.
But before Assuncao’s recent decision victory over Victor Henry, he was on a four-fight skid with back-to-back KO defeats.
I worry about Assuncao’s durability and chin at this point in his career. I also worry that his ever-diminishing output is a bad match for the active and unencumbered Grant, who will gladly eat a few punches to deliver a barrage of his own.
Granted, 37-year-old Grant is no young pup himself. But with four fight-night bonuses and three KO wins in his past five fights, he’s still a fighter who’s willing to push the pace and simply outwork his opponent. I’m not sure Assuncao has the tank to match him there.
Give me the busier fighter – the one who has far more finishing upside and who’s also more likely to win rounds if this goes to the judges, as I imagine it will.
Although Grant via decision (+250) offers a healthy payoff, his regular moneyline (-138 to -140 at most books) is still an attractive entry point while offering good value, considering I think the Englishman wins this fight 75% of the time (implied odds of -300).
The Pick: Davey Grant (-138 at Bet365)
Sean Zerillo: Jonathan Martinez vs. Said Nurmagomedov
Senior Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 6:55 p.m. ET
While Said Nurmagomedov is an incredibly technical fighter and a dangerous opportunistic finisher, it’s difficult to justify him as a significant favorite against any competent opponent.
Nurmagomedov throws flashy striking techniques, but he could offer more output to appease judges; he is always capable of getting outpaced by his opponents.
Moreover, while Nurmagomedov likely has a grappling edge in this matchup, he rarely lands takedowns (0.52 per 15 minutes) or shoots more than once per round.
And his cardio isn’t bulletproof, either. When Nurmagomedov gets forced to work in extended fights, he slows down in the third round.
Unless he can high-roll another finish, it’s difficult to imagine him covering his pricetag in an extended fight with Jonathan Martinez, who should be far more competitive – in what likely amounts to a kickboxing match – than the moneyline price suggests.
I projected Martinez as a 37% underdog (+169 implied) in this matchup, and I would bet his moneyline down to around +190 (34.5% implied) at a 2.5% edge compared to my number.
Moreover, I projected Martinez to win by decision at +260 (27.8% implied) and would bet that prop down to around +295 (25.3% implied) at a similar edge as the moneyline.
The Picks: Jonathan Martinez (+220, 0.5u at DraftKings) | Martinez wins by Decision (+400, 0.1u at Bet365)
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