MMA Best Bets: UFC Vegas 26

MMA Best Bets: UFC Vegas 26

This article is part of our MMA Best Bets series.

The UFC is back at the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for a women's flyweight bout between Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson in the main event of UFC Vegas 26 on May 8.

In this series of articles, I'll share my favorite play, an underdog pick, a prop and a two-fighter parlay I like. All lines are taken from William Hill online sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.

Ben Rothwell (38-13) vs. Philipe Lins (14-5)
Weight Class: Heavyweight

This has the capability to be a very lackluster fight, but I still like Ben Rothwell to get the win.

Rothwell is coming off a decision loss to Marcin Tybura and before that, earned a decision win over Ovince Saint Preux and a KO win over Stefan Struve. Philipe Lins, meanwhile, has been a bit of a disappointment since coming over to the UFC after winning the PFL tournament, as he lost a decision to Andrei Arlovski and was knocked out by Tanner Boser.

In the fight, I do expect it to remain standing. Rothwell has the capability to land some shots, or just lean on Lins and make it an ugly fight. Lins also gets hit a lot, and although Rothwell isn't known for his power, I do think Rothwell could KO him.

Even if he doesn't land the KO shot, Rothwell should be able to be the more active fighter. Lins only throws 2.66 significant strikes per minute, which could lead to a decision in favor of Rothwell.

The Play: Ben Rothwell (-110)

Alex Morono (18-7) vs. Donald Cerrone (36-15)
Weight Class: Welterweight

Alex Morono is stepping up on short notice to face Donald Cerrone, and I actually like the underdog in Morono.

Although Morono took the fight on just days' notice, I actually spoke to Morono late Tuesday night in his only interview, and he told me he's been in the gym training for weeks. He has been a big part the camps for Geoff Neal's fight this Saturday, Uriah Hall's fight at UFC 261 and Trevin Giles' fight in March.

In this matchup, I do think Morono will pressure Cerrone, and that is when "Cowboy" usually falters. Morono lands 4.96 significant strikes and absorbs only 3.69. Compare that to Cerrone, who lands 4.43 strikes per minute but absorbs 4.46 strikes.

Even if Morono doesn't get the TKO, I still think his volume will be the difference, and he'll be able to win a decision.

The Play: Alex Morono (+130) 

Carlston Harris (15-4) vs. Christian Aguilera (14-7)
Weight Class: Welterweight

Carlston Harris and Christian Aguilera is the first fight of the night and I think it will be an action-packed bout where someone will get finished.

Harris earned a submission win on the Contender Series to earn a shot in the UFC. Prior to that, he had two TKO/KO wins and in his last loss, he was also finished. Aguilera, meanwhile, in his last five fights, has either been finished or gotten the finish in four of those matchups.

I think Aguilera has the ability to land something big early and get a first-round KO. However, Harris can also take it to the ground and find a submission or late TKO win. This is a close fight and just betting the fight doesn't go the distance is a way to bet it without picking a side.

The Play: Harris-Aguilera doesn't go the distance (-175)

L'udovit Klein (17-2) vs. Mike Trizano (8-1) & 
Ryan Benoit (10-7) vs. Zarrukh Adashev (3-3)
Weight Class: Featherweight & Flyweight

I really like L'udovit Klein and Ryan Benoit in their respective fights, and you get plus-money when you parlay them.

Klein is facing Mike Trizano, who is returning after a two-year layoff. Klein made good of his UFC debut as he knocked out Shane Young, and was very active landing 7.11 significant strikes per minute. Trizano, meanwhile, is someone who doesn't throw a ton of volume and looks to grapple.

Ultimately, I think Klein will be active enough and  able to stuff the takedowns, effectively winning a decision if he doesn't get the KO.

The other leg of the parlay is Ryan Benoit beating Zarrukh Adashev, who I don't think is UFC caliber at all. Adashev is a .500 MMA fighter, is 0-2 in the UFC and has looked awful.

Although Benoit is on a two-fight losing streak, they were close fights. In this one, I think Benoit's volume and grappling will be the difference. He can likely clinch Adashev against the cage and use his jab and kicks to win a decision.

The Play: Klein & Benoit parlay (+133)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cole Shelton
Cole Shelton is a full-time sports writer focusing on MMA.
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