The UFC train rolls on, back to the UFC Apex gym in Las Vegas this weekend with two heavyweight fights topping the card. While my MMA Gambling Podcast cohost and myself were badmouthing the quality of the card on this week’s episode, it actually ends up rating pretty strong on paper. Regardless of the strength of it, we’re going to win money at it thanks to my UFC Vegas 30 predictions.
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UFC Vegas 30 Predictions
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Alexander Volkov (+128) vs Ciryl Gane
I’ve flip-flopped on my pick for the main event, finally flopping onto ‘Drago’, Alexander Volkov. The experience difference between him and his opponent on Saturday, Ciryl Gane, is stunning – 41 fights for the Russian, 8 for the Frenchman. And I think that will be the main deciding factor in this fight, along with Volkov’s size advantage on Gane. Chalk this one up as a “prospect loss” for Gane.
Ovince Saint Preux (+140) vs Tanner Boser
I’ve also changed my mind on the co-main event, settling again on the underdog. OSP will be moving up from his normal 205-pound weight class to fight Tanner Boser, who stepped into this spot on short notice, at heavyweight. Despite this, he will be the bigger man on fight night as well as, in my opinion, the better fighter.
Raoni Barcelos (-230) vs Timur Valiev
Timur Valiev’s nickname might be “The Lucky”, but there is nothing fortuitous with the matchup he’s walking into on Saturday night. Raoni Barcelos is a jiu-jitsu as well as a wrestling champion, is on a nine-fight winning streak (including all five of his UFC appearances), and has won half of his fights via (T)KO.
Andre Fili (-230) vs Daniel Pineda
I’ve gone from two dogs to two big favorites – I guess I’m diversifying my portfolio. Andre ‘Touchy’ Fili is the much bigger man in this matchup with Daniel Pineda, is the more active striker, and has the better grappling stats. Sounds like a winner to me.
Tim Means (-140) vs Nicolas Dalby
‘The Dirty Bird’ is taking this fight on short notice, which normally predicts a losing effort, yet I’m backing Tim Means against Nicolas Dalby. All the stats are in his favor – striking, active striking and grappling – plus he’s bigger, and he’s on a nice winning streak (two straight and three of four).
Renato Moicano (-240) vs Jai Herbert
Jai Herbert got TKO’d in his UFC debut, and I don’t see him faring much better here against Renato Moicano. Moicano is the better striking, is far more active, and is the superior grappler. Despite only winning one of his last four, I think he’s getting his hand raised on Saturday.
Danilo Marques (+100) vs Kennedy Nzechukwu
Wrestling and grappling are going to be the path to victory for Danilo Marques in his light heavyweight bout against Kennedy Nzechukwu. While Nzechukwu is a powerful striker and has a half a foot reach advantage, I’m expecting Marques to muddy up the waters and turn this into a wrestling match.
Shavkat Rakhmonov (-300) vs Michel Prazeres
The 13-0 Shavkat Rakhmonov looks to be the real deal, having won all of his pro fights via finish (seven knockouts and six submissions) including his UFC debut. He also is seven inches taller, has 10(!!) inches of reach on Michel Prazeres, and is 13 years young. All signs are pointing to Rakhmonov making it 14 straight W’s on the weekend.
Warlley Alves (-240) vs Jeremiah Wells
Jeremiah Wells will be making his UFC debut on about a week’s notice, going up against a killer in Warlley Alves. Look for the former The Ultimate Fighter champ to give him a rude welcome to the big show.
Marcin Prachnio (-210) vs Ike Villanueva
We’ve got two big leather slingers colliding here in a matchup where both men need a win. I’m leaning towards Marcin Prachnio, but I’m not a fan of a number that high for a fight between two guys who get knocked out a lot.
Julia Avila (-350) vs Julija Stoliarenko
These two women’s bantamweights were scheduled to fight a few months ago but Julija Stoliarenko passed out TWICE trying to weigh-in. Besides the apparent weight cutting issues, Julia Avila is the better fighter here so the geologist by day, cage fighter by night is my pick.
Charles Rosa (-175) vs Justin Jaynes
Charles Rosa is a grappling wiz, and I think that will carry the day for him here and get him a much-needed win, at ‘The Guitar Hero’ Justin Jaynes’s expense.
Yancy Medeiros (+120) vs Damir Hadzovic
The curtain jerker sees two guys probably fighting for their jobs, and I’m going with the dog, Yancy Medeiros, to win a slugfest over Damir Hadzovic.
Overall Record: 440-365
Return on Investment: -(12.2)%
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