This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
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.
Mike Grundy (12-2) vs. Lando Vannata (11-5-2)
Weight Class: Featherweight
I'm surprised Mike Grundy is only a -125 favorite in this fight, as I like him quite a bit in this spot.
First off, Vannata is dropping down to featherweight, which is a move I don't like. His cardio will likely be worse due to cutting an extra 10 pounds, and the problem for him at lightweight was his takedown defense. Against Grundy, it will be tested.
Grundy averages 4.25 takedowns per 15 minutes, and Vannata's takedown defense is only 58 percent. I expect the Englishman to use his wrestling to take Vannata down several times in this fight and control it to in a decision.
Vannata likely needs to KO Grundy to win this fight, but the Englishman has proven to be durable. Despite Vannata dropping down, Grundy will be bigger and likely able to get this fight to the mat.
The Play: Mike Grundy (-125)
Michael Chandler (22-5) vs. Charles Oliveira (30-8)
Weight Class: Lightweight
The vacant lightweight title is up for grabs, and I can't believe Michel Chandler is the underdog against Charles Oliveira.
Although Oliveira is on a lengthy winning streak, the level of competition has not been the best. His last two wins are good against Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee, but other than that, he was facing a ton of unranked lightweights who Chandler would've also beaten with ease, so I don't put much stock into that.
Why I like Chandler is simple. He will be the one who controls where the fight takes place. On the feet, Chandler is the better striker and is likely the more powerful puncher. Although Oliveira has the edge in jiu-jitsu, Chandler is the better wrestler and should be able to stuff the Brazilian's takedowns, as Oliveira has only 44 percent takedown accuracy.
I also still have concerns about Oliveira's will, as when the going gets tough, he is someone who seems to quit in the fight (as evidence by losses to Paul Felder, Max Holloway, and Anthony Pettis, among others). Chandler will be the one pushing the pace and likely frustrate Oliveira and eventually get the TKO win.
The Play: Michael Chandler (+110)
Beneil Dariush (20-4-1) vs. Tony Ferguson (25-5)
Weight Class: Lightweight
Ferguson is on a two-fight losing skid – and fighting to stay relevant in the title picture – in what I expect to be a very competitive fight.
Both men are very well-rounded and throw a lot of volume, as Ferguson lands 5.46 significant strikes per minute, while Dariush lands 4.00. However, they both have shown to be very durable, and although I slightly lean towards Dariush winning, I think this fight goes the 15 minutes. Just playing the fight goes the distance prop at -175 is a safer bet, as Ferguson could out-strike Dariush over 15 minutes to win a decision.
The Play: Ferguson-Dariush goes the distance (-175)
Gina Mazany (7-4) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (9-3) &
Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) vs. Viviane Araujo (10-2)
Weight Class: Women's Flyweight
The first play of the parlay is Gina Mazany beating Priscila Cachoeira, which is a fight I like Mazany to win. The first round will be a bit of a sweat, as the Brazilian only has about one round of cardio and has KO power for the first round. However, I think Mazany will be able to use her clinch and grappling to drag this fight to the later rounds and get a late stoppage win.
Cachoeira also gets hit a lot, as she absorbs 7.93 significant strikes per minute, which is a major concern for me.
The other leg of the parlay is Katlyn Chookagian to beat Viviane Araujo. Chookagian is in a weird spot as she basically beats everyone below her, and I expect that to be the case her. I don't think the Brazilian will be able to take her down, and on the feet, the American will be able to use her jab to piece up Aruajo, as she knows how to win fights using a point-fight style. Arauajo's cardio is also a concern, as she gasses out after a round and a half.
The Play: Mazany & Chookagian (+141)