This article is part of our MMA Best Bets series.
The UFC returns after a weekend off, as the promotion remains at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 37 on Saturday, September 18. In the main event, light heavyweight contenders collide, as Anthony Smith battles Ryan Spann.
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.
Ariane Lipski (13-7) vs. Mandy Bohm (7-0)
Weight Class: Women's Flyweight
In the UFC, Lipski was thrown to the elite of the division given she was a KSW champion, but she has had mixed results. Against Bohm, however, this is a very favorable stylistic matchup. This is also Bohm's UFC debut, and fighters often struggle in their debut.
Bohm has fought a very low level of competition and hasn't shown much in those fights. Lipski should be able to keep the fight standing, and on the feet, she is the much better striker. She'll likely be able to out-land the German and win a decision.
The Play: Ariane Lipski (-120)
Devin Clark (12-5) vs. Ion Cutelaba (15-6-1)
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight
Ion Cutelaba is a fighter that is hard to back, as he has about five minutes of cardio. If he doesn't get the finish in the first round, he will likely get finished in the next two rounds.
In this fight, there is a very good chance Cutelaba goes out there and knocks Clark out in the first round, as we have seen Clark be knocked out early before. However, this is a very similar stylistic matchup to when Clark fought both Alonzo Menifield and Darko Stosic. Menifield has insane KO power and about five minutes of cardio too, while Stosic has KO power and throws wild shots, which are similar traits to Cutelaba. In those bouts, the JacksonWink MMA product was able to get out of the first round and use his wrestling to control the fight.
Clark should be able to make this a grinding fight where he finds a way to clinch Cutelaba, take him down to control the bout and win a decision.
The Play: Devin Clark (+125)
Montel Jackson (10-2) vs. JP Buys (9-3)
Weight Class: Bantamweight
I don't see this fight going well for JP Buys, who took the fight on short notice and is moving up to bantamweight for the fight.
Jackson is one of the top prospects at bantamweight and has legit KO power at 135 pounds, as well as a good ground game. He'll also have an 8.5-inch reach advantage, which will make it hard for Buys to get inside and use his wrestling (which is about his only path to victory).
Buys has also been finished in all three of his losses and was getting rocked against flyweights. In this fight, Jackson should land something big early and either get the KO or go to the ground and submit Buys. He's a -600 favorite for a reason, but you can get him at -150 to win inside the distance, which is a prop I like a lot.
The Play: Montel Jackson by KO/TKO/DQ/Submission (-150)
Erin Blanchfield (6-1) vs. Sarah Alpar (9-5) &
Arman Tsarukyan (16-2) vs. Christos Giagos (19-8)
Weight Class: Women's Flyweight & Lightweight
Blanchfield is set to make her UFC debut against Alpar, who hasn't been that impressive. Blanchfield has already beaten current UFC fighters in Victoria Leonardo and Kay Hansen in Invicta FC, while Alpar got dominated by Jessica-Rose Clark in her debut.
In this fight, Blanchfield will be able to land the bigger shots and keep it standing, leading to a likely TKO win.
On the other leg of the parlay, I like Arman Tsarukyan to defeat Christos Giagos. Tsarukyan is the biggest favorite on the card for a reason, as he is a dominant chain wrestler, and we have seen Giagos struggle with grapplers. Tsarukyan will be able to take Giagos down over and over again until he either finds a finish or the final bell sounds.
The Play: Blanchfield & Tsarukyan parlay (-179)