UFC Picks: Veterans and Rising Stars Meet in Vegas

UFC Picks: Veterans and Rising Stars Meet in Vegas
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Ahead of arguably the biggest fight card of the year at UFC 280, MMA fans are treated to five fights on the main card this weekend at UFC Vegas 62. Alexa Grasso (No. 5) faces Viviane Araujo (No. 6), while Askar Askarov looks to get himself back in title contention against Brandon Royval.

Following is our betting advice for UFC Vegas 62.

Alexa Grasso vs. Viviane Araujo 

Little separates these fighters; Grasso is an inch taller, while Araujo has a 2-inch reach advantage. Each has lost three times in her career, with Grasso having won 14 fights to Araujo's 11. Araujo is six years older.

What's more, Grasso, of Mexico, enters with a 29% win rate via KO/TKO, with Araujo, of Brazil, at 27%. The 14-3 Grasso has scored only 7% of her wins via submission, however, with Araujo at 36%. Incredibly, the pair’s average fight time is separated by just two minutes, with Araujo fighting for an average of 14:24 and Grasso 12:25.

Grasso is the favorite, and we think she gets the job done on points.

Alexa Grasso by points is +125 with FanDuel.

Cub Swanson vs. Jonathan Martinez

Legend Cub Swanson, three weeks from his 39th birthday, meets 28-year-old rising star Jonathan Martinez in this match. Martinez is entering his 21st professional MMA fight, having amassed a record of seven wins and three losses in the UFC, including three consecutive unanimous-decision victories. Martinez did lose to Davey Grant one year ago in a stunning KO against the odds; it is one of four losses in his career and his only defeat via KO.

Swanson has turned a corner late in his career after losing four consecutive fights from December 2017 to May 2019. Impressive victories over Kron Gracie and Daniel Pineda were followed by a brutal TKO loss to Giga Chikadze, but with a stunning performance-of-the-night TKO win over Darren Elkins via spinning wheel kick, Swanson is back in the limelight.

Now he faces another rising star, and Martinez’s youthfulness probably gets him the win. 

Jonathan Martinez by points is +155 with FanDuel. 

Askar Askarov vs. Brandon Royval

After a controversial loss to Kai Kara-France in March, Askar Askarov is setting out to remind everyone he is the real deal at flyweight. In the eyes of many, the Russian won the fight against Kara-France, two rounds to one, but a unanimous-decision loss means he has to work his way back up. This was the only loss in Askarov's MMA career; he has wonn seven fights via submission, four via KO/TKO and three on points.

He faces Royval at UFC Vegas 62, with the American looking to improve on his four wins and two losses in the UFC. Royval has already beaten Kara-France via submission as part of his nine wins in that manner.

We think Askarov should get the job done, as he is, in our eyes, still the man to beat at flyweight outside of Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo. 

Askar Askarov by submission is +310 with FanDuel.

Duško Todorović vs. Jordan Wright

Two men looking to get back in the win column will meet in the middleweight division as Jordan Wright aims to end a run of two consecutive defeats, while Duško Todorović looks to move on from his brutal KO loss to Chidi Njokuani.

There should be plenty of fireworks, as the fighters have a combined 14 KO/TKO wins in a total of 30 fights. Wright has not gone the distance once in his 16 professional bouts, while only two of Todorović's 14 career fights have gone the distance.

To put this in perspective, the fight to not go the distance is -1250. We think Todorović should get the job done

Duško Todorović to win by KO/TKO is -110 with FanDuel.

Alonzo Menifield vs. Misha Cirkunov

After frightening many in the light heavyweight division, Misha Cirkunov could well be fighting to stay in the UFC as he meets with Alonzo Menifield. Cirkunov has now lost six times in 12 UFC fights, with consecutive losses to Ryan Spann, Krzysztof Jotko and Wellington Turman. His last win was against Jimmy Crute via submission, meaning he has just one victory in four years.

Menifield has moved on relatively well since losing two in a row in 2020, since defeating Fabio Cherant, Ed Herman and Askar Mozharov. He fell in a decision loss to Will Knight a year ago, but with 12 wins and three losses, he will be confident in getting the victory against Cirkunov.

Alonzo Menifield by KO/TKO is +105 with FanDuel.

Jabs

Here are some other bets worth a look on this week’s schedule:

  • Mana Martinez to beat Brandon Davis on points is +230.
  • Raphael Assuncao to beat Victor Henry on points is +500.
  • Nick Maximov to beat Jacob Malkoun is -142.
  • Piera Rodriguez to beat Sam Hughes is -184.
  • CJ Vergara is +190 to beat Tatsuro Taira.
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