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Prelim Fighters Battle for Jobs, Relevance

Plenty at Stake in UFC Fight Night Prelims

There is always something at stake when UFC fighters meet be it a title shot, a spot in the rankings, or the other half of their paycheck. This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night features a bit of everything as fighters from different stages in their career tussle to either keep themselves relevant or in the UFC’s good graces. And going by the UFC betting odds, most of these bouts are competitive.

  • Date: Saturday, May 14, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Venue: UFC APEX
  • Live stream: UFC Fight Pass

UFC Fight Night

Fighting for Seat at the Table: Araujo vs Lee

Viviane Araujo and Andrea Lee are the eighth- and ninth-ranked flyweights, respectively. But given how badly Valentina Shevchenko needs fresh blood, a win for either fighter here could put them next in line for a title shot. Only Alexa Grasso and Manon Fiorot have a stronger case.

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

Araujo (10-3-0) is coming off a loss to Katlyn Chookagian while Lee (13-5-0) has won two straight after dropping three straight. Lee has long been touted as a promising prospect but if Araujo beats her decisively, it would be hard to deny her. The sportsbook has this leaning to Lee by a slight margin.

Jobs on the Line as Michael Johnson Meets Alan Patrick

Did you know that Michael Johnson has won over two former title challengers in Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson? And yet the mercurial striker is on the chopping block as a loser of four straight fights. Alan Patrick is in a similar spot as the Brazilian is winless in his last three bouts. Neither has a won fight since 2018.

This will be the fourth time in his last five bouts that Johnson (19-17-0) is the favorite. He’s won once and against a fighter no longer in the company. For Patrick (15-3-0, 1 NC), he is an underdog for the third straight time. He is 2-1 (1 NC) as one.

Jandiroba and Hill Fight For Relevance

Virna Jandiroba and Angela Hill are fighting to stay relevant in a crowded strawweight division. Jandiroba (17-3-0) is 3-3 in the UFC with all her losses coming against fighters in the top five. Betting online on her as a favorite could be profitable as she is 4-0 as one.

Hill (13-11-0) has won one of her last five bouts. But the longtime UFC veteran has fought with the likes of Michelle Waterson, Jessica Andrade, and Rose Namajunas. Going into her 20th fight, it’s hard to see the UFC cutting Hill if she loses though doing so won’t ingratiate her with the promotion either.

Taira To Put on a Clinic Against Candelario

“There are levels to this”, as Daniel Cormier said and that is why Tatsuro Taira is the second-biggest favorite on the prelims. The Japanese prospect is a gifted Jiu-Jitsu player with an unbeaten record: 10-0-0. He should be able to style over Carlos Candelario if we go by the odds.

Candelario (8-1-0) lost his Contender Series fight against Victor Altamirano, which marked his first professional defeat. The American is otherwise well-rounded though he is overmatched once this fight hits the mat.

Grapplers Become Strikers When Maximov Takes on Petroski

From the co-main event to the curtain jerker, Nick Maximov is the largest favorite on the entire card. The unbeaten (8-0-0) prospect just barely beat Punahele Soriano and may have blown his opportunity to impress. Still, as a product of the Nick Diaz Academy, his name carries some weight.

That is if Andre Petroski does not sap whatever little momentum he has left. Petroski (7-1-0) is a prolific grappler that comes from The Ultimate Fighter. Maximov is a step up in competition for him. But if he is able to keep this fight on the mat, he might be the best UFC bet given these lines.

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