This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
Plays to Consider on DraftKings
Brian Ortega ($8,500)
We'll start with the main event, scheduled for 25 minutes. Ortega and Yair Rodriguez are both extremely gifted offensive fighters. I expect plenty of volume on the feet from both men, in addition to what should be a substantial edge for Ortega in terms of grappling. "T-City's" improved striking game has been the key to his recent success. Neither of these two are capable of a boring fight. Ortega's price tag also seems extremely reasonable considering the bloated salaries of some of the other fighters on this card. There's value here, even at $8,500.
Li Jingliang ($7,600)
Li and Muslim Salikhov will compete in a bout which appears darn close to a pick 'em to me, at least on paper. DraftKings seems to disagree. Li has legitimate power, legendary toughness and a slight size edge over his opponent. Salikhov is the better grappler, although both men average just a shade over one takedown per 15 minutes. I'll take my chances with Li if this turns into a stand-up brawl, particularly at such a discounted price.
Plays to Consider on PrizePicks
Tate has fought twice since returning from her multi-year sabbatical. In those two bouts, she landed 122 significant strikes against Ketlen Vieira and 65 significant strikes against Marion Reneau. Granted, the Vieira fight was five rounds, but prorate that number over the course of three rounds and she blows past 57.5 regardless. She should be in equally good shape here against Murphy, who is reckless in terms of her striking defense. The lone concern with this prop is that Tate picks up a few takedowns and grinds her way to the finish line, but she did that in the Reneau fight and still managed to get there.
Burgos is one of the few fighters on the roster who I would comfortably bet this prop at such a high number on a consistent basis. Burgos is a pure boxer with lightning-fast hands and remarkable durability. He throws a TON on volume on the feet and it shows up in the results. In Burgos' last five fights, his significant strike totals are as follows : 193, 80, 128, 105, and 134. The 80 was an early-round three knockout defeat to Edson Barboza in which he would have hit this number had the fight gone the distance. Toss in the fact Jourdain has been extremely durable, and this one is a no-doubter.
Bets to Consider
Michelle Waterson to win outright (+260)
Hear me out here. Yes, Waterson has been maddingly inconsistent and hasn't fought at strawweight since September 2020. That said, her opponent, Amanda Lemos, is nearly as old as Waterson, is just an inch taller, and has never beaten anyone of note. Lemos was rushed into a main event spot against Jessica Andrade this past April and was submitted in just over three minutes. I would still pick Lemos to win, all things being even, but they aren't even. The comeback on Waterson here is just too good to not get a piece of it.
Jessica Penne to win outright (+120)
Speaking of inconsistent, Penne lost three straight from June 2015 to April 2017 and then received a whopping four-year USADA ban. She returned in April 2021 and took a split decision from Lupita Godinez before taking a unanimous decision from Karolina Kowalkiewicz three-plus months later. Penne is now 39 years of age and her long-term ceiling is non-existent, but her opponent, Emily Ducote, took this fight as a late-notice replacement about five weeks ago and will be making her UFC debut. Ducote is the current Invicta Strawweight Champion, but she also has no history of defeating better competition at age 28. I'll take the veteran Penne at plus money.
This is a good opportunity to parlay two mid-tier fighters with reasonable odds. Su has won three in a row on the heels of being submitted by Louis Smolka in his UFC debut in November 2018. He's improved each and every time we've seen him inside the Octagon, and although he hasn't fought since January 2021, he is still just 26 years old. He's an easy pick over Matt Schnell, who is 32 years old and has just one victory (a split decision over Tyson Nam) in his past four fights.
Soriano is probably fighting for his job following back-to-back defeats, but both losses came against reasonable competition in Nick Maximov (split decision) and Brendan Allen (unanimous decision). Soriano has legitimate power. His opponent, Dalcha Lungiambula, has lost three of four against mediocre competition, including two via stoppage. I actually feel better about Soriano than Su despite the cheaper cost.
Da Un Jung to win outright (+110)
Jung v. Dustin Jacoby is essentially a pick 'em. Jung has been impressive in the UFC, posting a 4-0-1 record in five fights, including three stoppage wins. He's a heavy hitter and has never been stopped via strikes as a professional. A long-time journeyman, Jacoby returned to the company in October 2020 and has proceeded to go undefeated (5-0-1) in a half-dozen bouts. The case against Jacoby is that he just turned 34 years old (Jung is 28), and those previous five wins came against Michal Oleksiejczuk, John Allan, Darren Stewart, Maxim Grishin and Justin Ledet. Jung's most recent victory over Kennedy Nzechukwu is better than anything we have seen from Jacoby to date. I'll take the younger fighter in what Vegas feels is a very minor upset.
For more UFC betting picks, check out our UFC Vegas 58 best bets for this weekend.
Plays to Consider on Monkey Knife Fight
Jack Shore UNDER 87.5 total strikes
Shore is facing Ricky Simon in a battle of two grapplers. Shore averages 4.13 takedowns per 15 minutes, while Simon is way up at 6.76 per 15 minutes. I'm not sure which man will be able to implement that portion of their game successfully, but Shore faces an uphill battle to get to 88 total strikes regardless. His total strike numbers in his last three fights which went the distance are as follows: 87, 104, and 57. Shore could struggle to defend the takedown, or this fight could end early. Even if neither of those happen, I still think it's worse than 50/50 he gets to this number.