UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Cannonier Picks and Analysis
Following a memorable pay-per-view in Canada last weekend, the UFC returns to the APEX for a monumental showdown at middleweight in the main event.
Fighters like Arman Tsarukyan also look further to establish themselves as contenders in their respective divisions.
To help get you ready for betting on the UFC, here are our picks for the weekend.
Marvin Vettori (-120) vs. Jared Cannonier (-106)
Two men who have already had a go at the middleweight title and lost to the reigning champion, Israel Adesanya, are set to battle in a crucial fight at 185 pounds.
Marvin Vettori heads into this one as the favorite, with not much separating him and Jared Cannonier. Both men have lost six fights in their careers, with Vettori winning three more (19 wins) than his opponent, although Cannonier does have a 3.5-inch reach advantage.
The key to victory for Vettori is simple: wrestle, wrestle, wrestle. He is one of the best grapplers in the middleweight division. Although he went the distance while battling on the feet with the ferocious Paulo Costa, Cannonier is much more calculated and technical with his striking.
If, however, Cannonier can land cleanly, Vettori will be in a world of trouble. The American has won 10 of his 16 bouts via KO/TKO, although he only narrowly defeated Sean Strickland last time.
Just three months ago, Vettori bounced back from his terrible loss to Robert Whittaker with a unanimous decision win against an incredible knockout artist, Roman Dolidze. Now up against a 39-year-old, the Italian will likely shoot for the takedowns, rack up a few rounds and get the win on points.
Marvin Vettori to win on points is +130 with Caesars Sportsbook.
Arman Tsarukyan (-1400) vs. Joaquim Silva (+680)
This fight is easy to call, with Arman Tsarukyan priced as low as any fighter in 2023.
At 26, Tsarukyan is no doubt a future contender and has only lost to Mateusz Gamrot in his past seven fights since losing to the current lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev.
His submission skills and knockout power will be too much for Joaquim Silva, who has lost three of his past five fights and won just twice since early 2018. Tsarukyan has also seen 12 of his 19 wins come via a finish, so we think another one is coming here.
Arman Tsarukyan by KO/TKO or submission is -360 with FanDuel Sportsbook.
Armen Petrosyan (+122) vs. Christian Leroy Duncan (-156)
The toughest fight of the night to call sees Armen Petrosyan looking to make a 9-2 record in MMA against the unbeaten Christian Leroy Duncan.
Both men have won eight fights so far, with Petrosyan losing two of his, just as Duncan comes into this fight at 27, having won his UFC debut against Dusko Todorovic. In truth, he has barely lost a minute of his professional career.
What makes this fight more interesting is how both fighters have won six of fights via KO/TKO. What's more, Petrosyan is an incredibly established kickboxer and has racked up 70 wins in 93 fights since 2002 in that regard.
It’s a tough one to call, but we give the edge to the more MMA-focused Duncan. Either way, don’t expect to see the judges’ scorecards announced.
Christian Leroy Duncan by KO/TKO is +190 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Pat Sabatini (-215) vs. Lucas Almeida (+164)
After three fight cancellations within the past year, Lucas Almeida is finally back in action this weekend against Pat Sabatini.
Despite having to wait over a year for a fight, Almeida will still be confident in making it two wins out of two in the UFC after a sensational TKO win against Michael Trizano. This brought the Brazilian onto a record of 14-1 with five submissions wins and nine via KO/TKO. The only time Almeida has gone the distance was in his defeat to Daniel Zellhuber two years ago on the Contender Series.
Sabatini is no gimmick, however, and with 10 of his wins coming via submission, Almeida will be a cautious man in this fight. The American has also seen two of his four defeats end via KO/TKO and from a total of 36 fights between these two fighters, only eight have gone the distance.
We anticipate another win inside the three rounds for either fighter.
Fight to not go the distance is -190 with Unibet Sportsbook.
Nikolas Motta (+152) vs. Manuel Torres (-196)
With relatively similar records, Manuel Torres (13-2) and Nikolas Motta (13-4) make this fight an interesting one.
The standout factor in this bout is how Motta has seen nine of his 13 wins end via KO/TKO and zero via submission, and Torres has won six of his 13 fights end with a submission.
Torres has won all four of his fights since losing in late 2019 to Carlos Calvo, while Motta has won one and lost one in the UFC so far. The latter was even finished in the second round by Jim Miller against the odds.
At odds of -550 to not go the distance, it's clear to see where this one is heading. However, we give the edge to Torres in the midst of his four-fight win streak and because of his superiority in grappling.
Manuel Torres by KO/TKO or submission is -135 with FanDuel Sportsbook.
Nicolas Dalby (+152) vs. Muslim Salikhov (-196)
Nicolas Dalby is back in action for the second time in 2023 as he looks for his fifth win in what is his second stint in the UFC as he takes on the sanda specialist, Muslim Salikhov.
As a competitor in kickboxing since 2003, Salikhov has more fights in combat sports than any other active UFC fighter after stunningly winning 185 of his 199 kickboxing fights.
The Russian has brought this exceptional experience in kickboxing over into MMA, with 13 of his 19 wins coming via KO/TKO with just three losses on the board. Since losing to Alex Garcia on his UFC debut in 2017, Salikhov has won six of his past seven fights, including a Performance of the Night victory following his stunning spinning wheel kick TKO over Andre Fialho.
Dalby edged out a split decision win over Warlley Alves in his last fight, and with 11 of his 21 wins coming via decision, we think the kickboxing excellence of Salikhov will be too much for the Dane.
Muslim Salikhov by KO/TKO/DQ is +200 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
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