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UFC Vegas 67 MMA Betting Odds (1/14)

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The UFC is back. After a long month away from the cage, the UFC is in Vegas Saturday, kicking off 2023 with a card full of newcomers, Contender Series alumni and Sean Strickland.

 

Strickland ended the year as the main event. He will kick off the year as the main event stepping in for the injured Kelvin Gastelum against Nassourdine Imavov. In the co-main event, it’s a classic striker vs. grappler matchup when Dan Ige faces off against Damon Jackson. Ige is looking to snap a three-fight losing streak, while Jackson looks to improve on his four-fight winning streak. Kicking off the five-fight main card is a bantamweight matchup that can headline any UFC card around the world when Umar Nurmagomedov faces off against Raoni Barcelos.

UFC Vegas 67 has 12 fights lined up for this weekend, and as usual, I will break down my favorite fights and give the best bet for each. All odds are per BetMGM.

Main Card

Strickland vs. Imavov Odds

Sean Strickland +100; Nassourdine Imavov -110

This was the original main event for this weekend, but after Gastelum suffered an injury in training camp, Sean Strickland will reap the reward of living down the block from the Apex in Vegas and collect another main event check a month after he was the main event against Jarod Cannonier. The fight wasn’t anything to write home about as Strickland stuck to a reserved game plan against Cannonier and perhaps paid for it when it mattered and lost by split decision. Strickland is a volume fighter who applies pressure and seemingly never takes a back-step. He can mix in wrestling but that’s only when his ego doesn’t get in the way. Strickland is currently on a two-fight losing streak, and this quick turnaround is bad move against Imavov, who is currently on a three-fight win streak and is not a fighter to be taken lightly. Imavov fights out of the fight factory in France and is very well rounded. The Russian sniper is capable of being successful anywhere this fight goes and the line being a coin-flip really confuses me. Imavov averages a higher striking accuracy, absorbs less strikes, and although he doesn’t attempt many takedowns, he is capable of submitting opponents as well. Maybe with a full fight camp I can understand the books making this a coin-flip but with one month between fights and Strickland not really having an edge anywhere in this fight. I can’t see this going any other way then a finish for Imavov. From a betting perspective I am going to side with Imavov for two units. 

The Bet: Nassourdine Imavov ML -110

Ige vs. Jackson Odds

Dan Ige -125; Damon Jackson +105

In the co-main event, Ige faces Jackson in a fight that doesn’t pave the way for title contention, but from an entertainment perspective it is perfect for a co main. A striker vs. grappler match up this fight can end at the moment either fighter makes a mistake. Ige is currently on a three-fight losing streak, and after his last fight against Evolov the question of whether it was time to hang up the gloves were brought up. Having turn pro in 2014, Ige is no stranger to high-level competition and made his debut for the UFC in 2018 and quickly went on a six-fight winning streak after losing a close split decision in his debut. Ige averages 13 minutes of fight time, fights out of an orthodox stance and averages nearly four significant strikes landed per minute. Ige absorbs about the same number of strikes but is very durable and the type of fighter that will fight for your dollar in a barn burner type of fight. Ige is also well versed on the ground having trained with Khabib over at AKA when the former champ was still active. Ige more than capable of doing well anywhere this fight goes. Jackson on the other hand can strike but prefers to attempt takedowns and dominate his opponents on the ground with his grappling prowess. With 15 submission wins on his record, it’s no mystery how Jackson would like to end this fight and if the opportunity arises, Jackson is capable of ending the fight at any moment whether he’s losing or winning the fight. Jackson has a very good gas tank and is a tough out for anyone on the roster. Still, Ige has never been stopped in his professional career and I don’t think that Damon will have the tools to stop ige. From a betting perspective I will be taking this fight to go the distance for one unit. 

The Bet: Ige vs. Jackson fight goes the distance -155

Soriano vs. Kopylov Odds

Punahele Soriano -160; Roman Kopylov +130

Another exciting fight on the main card takes place when Russian fighter Kopylov faces rising star Soriano. Both fighters are relatively new to the UFC, and both made their debuts in 2019. Kopylov is currently 1-2 in the UFC and 9-2-0 overall as a professional, he lost to good fighters, but the concern lies in the ways he lost and brings up the question whether Kopylov was just nervous on the big stage at first or if he truly is not ready. Considering the level of competition he has faced on the regional scene, I do not think that Kopylov lacks skill and instead just needed to find comfort under the brightest lights the MMA has to offer. Case in point is his last performance when he finally seemed to find his stride and beat a very good prospect in Alessio Di Chirico. If Kopylov loses that fight, I believe he would’ve been cut and instead he showed his true colors and came out on top. Kopylov averages 13 minutes of fight time and usually finds success with his boxing combinations and precision. He has a three-inch reach advantage in this fight and against a power puncher like Soriano, he will need to mind his distance and not fall victim to an overhand right from Soriano. Soriano in my opinion has good boxing and when he decides to wrestle can also do it well. Still Soriano tends to look for the home run in all of his strikes and my problem with his game plan is that Kopylov is not only durable enough to take his power but also capable of wrestling with Soriano. Soriano doesn’t look to wrestle first and even if he has a background in wrestling it’s only at a low collegiate level. I’ve seen many in the MMA community lean with Soriano, and personally I will not be joining the party and instead will go with my gut and take Kopylov who I believe is the better striker and wrestler and will do a good job avoiding the power from Soriano. 

The Bet: Roman Kopylov ML +130

Nurmagomedov vs. Barcelos Odds

Umar Nurmagomedov -900; Raoni Barcelos +600

Anytime you hear the name “Nurmagomedov,” you automatically think of former champ Khabib. This time though it’s his cousin Umar taking another step toward UFC gold. At 15-0, Umar is sticking to the promise he made his old coach to stay perfect and one day become a UFC champion. Already champions in the PFL and Bellator, the Eagles team out of Dagestan is doing well and show no signs of slowing down. Hoping to be a bump in the road for Umar is Barcelos. With odds this wide and Barcelos being a really good prospect, I could see some bettors taking a stab at the +600 number. Still, I don’t think it’s a good bet especially after seeing the way that UFC newcomer Victor Henry handled Barcelos his last time out. Barcelos is good and also well rounded but the level of grappling and MMA skill possessed by Umar is superior and levels above Barcelos. Umar averages the least fight time compared to his cousins and fight time at just over eight minutes of fight time and has only gone to a decision thus far in the UFC. The only place I see Barcelos having an edge is in the power department as he has the one-punch knockout power compared to Umar who rather use kicks to knockout an opponent. Umar doesn’t have many wins by knockout but does have seven wins by submission and seven by decision. Barcelos may have a good record in the UFC, but I think he has met his ceiling in this matchup and will have a difficult time finding any success this weekend. From a betting perspective it’s hard to bet this fight straight up so I will have Umar as a parlay piece and also bet him to find a finish at beautiful plus odds. 

The Bets: Umar Nurmagomedov ML (Parlay Piece)/Umar by KO/TKO or submission +215 

 

Prelims

Ribeiro vs. Alhassan Odds

Claudio Ribeiro -110; Abdul Razak Alhassan -110

The judges can take a break for the feature prelim of the night when two heavy hitters in the middleweight face off in the octagon. UFC newcomer and Contender Series alum Ribeiro makes his official debut against the heavy-handed Alhassan. When breaking down this fight, there aren’t too many technical aspects to talk about in this matchup considering both fighters look for the kill with every swing. The only real difference outside of each fighter’s stature and physicality, is the experience level Alhassan has over Ribeiro. This is the debut for Ribeiro and many times with debuts some fighters can experience an adrenaline dump or Nerves that they never felt before and end up underperforming. Alhassan has been ridiculed in the past for not being active enough during fights and looking too much for that one punch knockout. In this matchup, if Alhassan plays the same cautious game he can end up looking up at the ceiling as Ribeiro is looking to make a statement during his debut. This fight is a coin flip between two powerhouses, and I will be siding with the newcomer who is not only taller and but also has a four-inch reach advantage that can come in handy in a game of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. The fighter that lands his power punch first will be the winner of this fight, and I believe it to be Ribeiro.

The Bet: Ribeiro by KO/TKO or sub +115

Mendonca vs. Basharat Odds

Mateus Mendonca +265; Javid Basharat -350

Another Contender Series alum makes his debut this weekend when Mendonca faces the Snow leopard Basharat. Basharat is also relatively new to the UFC as he made his debut in 2021 on the Contender Series and immediately made an impact with a dominant performance. Since then, he has gone 2-0 in the UFC and is looking to improve on his 13-0 record this weekend. Mendonca is looking to play spoiler and hand Basharat his first loss and certainly has the tools and athletic ability to do so. Mendonca may be a newcomer this weekend, but it’s not a question of “if” he will be good but “when” will he be good. Both fighters are similar in stance, reach and even style of fighting. Where they differ is in height, output and the amount of damage absorbed. Basharat is taller by three inches, absorbs three significant strikes less then Mendonca but lacks the amount of output of Mendonca who nearly triples the output of Basharat. From a betting perspective, I expect Mendonca to come out on fire in the first round and create chaos and I expect Basharat to weather the storm and use his limited experience at the highest level to stay patient and look for opportunities to strike when Mendonca inevitably over-reaches with an overhand right. This is why I believe that if there is a finish in this fight it will be in the third round or it will go to the judges for a decision victory for Basharat. Both fighters are also very good grapplers, so I expect this to be an exciting fight and possible fight of the night for as long as it lasts. 

The Bet: Basharat in Round 3 or decision +105

Rebecki vs. Fiore Odds

Mateuz Rebecki -750; Nick Fiore +500

Two fighters making their UFC debuts face off when Rebecki faces off against the New England cartel prospect Fiore. Both fighters are similar in height, reach and even fight style, as they are grapplers but are capable of also striking. Rebecki, though, is the better boxer between the two and carries one-punch knockout in his fists. Fiore on the other hand needs the fight to get to the ground for him to find success. Fiore is a legitimate Renzo Gracie black belt and is capable of finishing anyone on the ground, where his issue lies is in the type of competition he has faced on the regional scene. For example, the combined record for his opponents is 71-282 and fought a fighter with a 16-98 record twice on different promotions. This is Fiore’s biggest test to date, and even though he comes from an established gym and training room; the practice room and the big stage are two different beasts. If Fiore were a bit more seasoned, I’d say he have a chance in this fight but considering the level of athletes Rebecki has fought already, it’s not even fair that they made this matchup in my opinion and Rebecki should roll in this one and will find a finish in either the first or second round. 

The Bet: Mateuz Rebecki by KO/TKO +115

Flick vs. Johnson Odds

Jimmy Flick +260; Charles Johnson -350

After pump-faking his retirement, Flick faces UFC newcomer Johnson. Johnson made his debut last year in UFC London against rising star Mohammed Mokaev. A former track star Johnson certainly has the athleticism to compete at this level and with a few years in the UFC, I can see him becoming a possible contender in the future. Not only is Johnson a former LFA champ, but he’s beaten former UFC fighters and current UFC fighters like Carlos Mota who was also a former champion for LFA. Originally, Flick was scheduled to fight Jeff Molina, but with the ongoing investigation into Molina’s former coach and gym, he was forced to pull out and in stepped Johnson. Johnson is the type of fighter that stays ready, so he won’t have to get ready and even with short notice the books still have him as a moderate to heavy favorite. There is no secret where Flick wants to take this fight as he barely averages two significant strikes landed per minute but on the other hand averages 7.2 sub attempts per 15 minutes. I also think they call Jimmy “The Brick” because of the damage he’s able to endure on his way to finding a sub and less because of the power in his fist. In my opinion Jimmy should’ve stayed retired or maybe have a couple fights on the regional scene before stepping in with a fighter who strikes like Johnson. If Johnson can keep this fight standing and limit the control time from Flick, I can’t see this fight going any other way than a finish or unanimous decision win for Johnson. I love Jimmy because he loves to grapple, but in this matchup I’m afraid he’s going to run into trouble. 

The Bets: Johnson vs. Flick over 1.5 rounds -130/Charles Johnson by KO/TKO or submission -140

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