MMA Best Bets: UFC Vegas 51

MMA Best Bets: UFC Vegas 51

This article is part of our UFC Picks series.

The UFC returns to the Apex on Saturday, April 16 for UFC Vegas 51. In the main event, top-10 welterweights collide as Vicente Luque and Belal Muhammad have their rematch with title implications on the line.

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

Trey Ogden (15-4) vs. Jordan Leavitt (9-1)
Weight Class: Lightweight

Trey Ogden makes his UFC debut and is only a slight favorite over Jordan Leavitt in an intriguing matchup.

Ogden would've been in the UFC years ago had it not been for two submission losses to Thomas Gifford on the regional scene, a fighter who flamed out of the UFC. Both losses happened early in the fight and were the exact same, as he shot for a takedown and left his neck exposed, and was choked out. That is a concern against Leavitt, who is a good grappler, but I actually expect Ogden to just keep this one standing.

Leavitt is not a good striker, as he will look to grapple Ogden. From what I've seen, I expect Ogden to be the stronger fighter and keep it standing. On the feet, he should be able to piece up Leavitt and win a decision.

The Play: Trey Ogden (-130)

Caio Borralho (10-1) vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev (13-0)
Weight Class: Middleweight

The co-main event of this card is a weird one featuring two debuting fighters, but I like the underdog in Caio Borralho to get the job done.

Both Borralho and Omargadzhiev earned their way into the promotion by winning on the Contender Series, although Borralho had to win twice. On the feet, both men are solid. The reason why I like the Brazilian, however, is due to the fact we haven't seen much from the Russian -- most of his wins are early in the first round and the level of competition just hasn't been there.

Borralho had two solid wins on the Contender Series, and I think he can avoid the power shots in the first round and use his clinch to grind the Russian out. This won't be the most exciting fight but I like Borralho to clinch his way to a victory as the underdog.

The Play: Caio Borralho (+110)

Devin Clark (12-6) vs. William Knight (11-3)
Weight Class: Heavyweight

Devin Clark was supposed to face Shamil Gamzatov but will now move up to heavyweight to face William Knight, who's also a light heavyweight moving to heavyweight.

Knight is someone that hasn't lived up to the hype and had a terrible fight against Maxim Grishin last time out. Clark, meanwhile, has a similar style to Grishin, which is why I'm backing him. I expect Clark to shoot for takedowns and hold Knight down. "Brown Bear" averages 2.51 takedowns per 15 minutes, while Knight just had 45 percent takedown defense, so I do expect Clark to get him down.

Once he gets him down, he will land ground-and-pound and hold him there. Clark also has proven to have a reliable chin as I don't think Knight will get the KO. Knight is also durable as well, so take Clark to win by decision. All of his wins in the UFC have come by decision, and to get plus-money on that is the way to go.

The Play: Devin Clark wins by decision (+140)

Istela Nuna (6-2) vs. Sam Hughes (5-4) & 
Pannie Kianzad (15-6) vs. Lina Lansberg (10-5)
Weight Class: Women's Strawweight & Bantamweight

For my parlay, I'm taking Istela Nunes and Pannie Kianzad to get their hands raised Saturday night.

Nunes did lose her debut to Ariane Carnelossi by submission, but she showed promise in the fight. First, she landed 4.79 significant strikes per minute, which is significant because Hughes is not one to wrestle. Along with that, Hughes is 0-3 in the UFC and has absorbed 5.6 significant strikes per minute. This will be a striking fight, and we have seen Hughes lose three of those in the UFC while Nunes was doing well against Carnelossi on the feet in her debut. Take the Brazilian to outstrike Hughes and win a decision.

For my other leg, I'm taking Pannie Kianzad to defeat Lina Lansberg. Kianzad had her four-fight win streak snapped last time out as she dropped a competitive decision to Raquel Pennington which looks even more impressive now. Lansberg, meanwhile, hasn't fought since January 2020, when she lost by decision to Sara McMann.

I expect this one to be a striking fight, and on the feet, Kianzad is miles better than Lansberg. When the fight presumably standing, Kianzad averages 5.34 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 4.35, as she does get into brawls. However, Lansberg doesn't throw enough volume, as she averages just 2.76 significant strikes per minute. She is there to be hit, as she absorbs 3.70. Take Kianzad to win a striking battle and cash this parlay.

The Play: Nunes & Kianzad parlay (-125)

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