The UFC is back in Las Vegas with Fight Night: Santos vs Hill and we look at the four main card fights supporting the main event.
Headlining UFC betting markets is Vicente Luque vs Geoff Neal, which sees quality welterweights battle over three rounds. It’s an important fight in the division and it should be an exciting card on Saturday.
Luque vs Neal
Most of the early money with the sportsbook has come for Luque, who was beaten by Belal Muhammad in April. However, his four wins prior were top-class.
Luque started his four-fight winning streak with knockout wins over Niko Price and Randy Brown in 2020 before submitting Tyron Woodley and Michael Chiesa.
“It’s a fight that I think took longer to happen than I expected,” Luque told BJPENN.com. “It is a fight that I thought would’ve happened two years ago, it’s a fight that makes a lot of sense as our styles match up well as it’s two strikers who are aggressive and have knockout power.”
“That is always exciting, at least for me. I think it’s going to be a special one for the fans.”
Those are some of the biggest names in the welterweight division, so the odds are spot on against Neal, who is another dangerous opponent.
Neal is 14-4 and the current +155 underdog following a win over Santiago Ponzinibbio in 2021. He hasn’t fought since December, which works against him but he’s not a fighter to be messed with.
He knocked out Mike Perry and Price earlier in this career, so Luque needs to watch out for the big punch. However, given Luque’s better ground game, he could take Neal down and eliminate his biggest weapon.
Pick: Vincente Luque -190
Sakai vs Spivak
We love watching Sergey Spivak and bettors got a treat when he knocked out Greg Hardy at UFC 272 in March.
It was a statement performance for the Moldovan, especially after losing to Tom Aspinall in September via first-round knockout.
Beating Hardy isn’t the hardest thing most heavyweights have to do, but it puts him firmly back in contention for a title shot. Aspinall was seriously injured in his latest fight, so Spivak climbs the rankings.
He needs to beat Augusto Sakai, who is a 15-time MMA winner and looking for his first win since 2020. The Brazilian has since been knocked out by Alistair Overeem, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Tai Tuivasa, so it’s not good reading.
UFC odds have Sakai at +200 and we think that’s accurate. He would need to turn his form around and we can’t see Spivak not taking advantage of this situation.
Pick: Sergey Spivak -260
Alvey vs Oleksiejczuk
Michael Oleksiejczuk is the raging-hot favorite at -650 and we think there could be a massive upset on the cards at UFC Apex.
Smiling Sam Alvey is 33-17-1 following a submission loss to Brendan Allen, but he’s talented at his best and we’re keeping the faith.
He hasn’t won since 2018, so we’re taking a leap of faith with the +425 underdog, but the fight game is a funny business and Oleksiejczuk could be there for the taking.
The 27-year-old Polish fighter lost to Dustin Jacoby at UFC 272 and we’re not prepared to take the -650 price. It’s too short for this style of fight and Alvey could be smiling when it’s all said and done.
Pick: Sam Alvey +425
McKinney vs Gonzalez
The biggest betting online favorite on the UFC Fight Night card is Terrance McKinney. The 12-4 fighter comes off a loss to Drew Dober, but that’s a good form guide.
Dober has since won at UFC 277 and McKinney is easily good enough to rebound if he’s anywhere near his best.
He owns a knockout and submission win in the UFC and there isn’t much to get excited about over Gonzalez. He lost his UFC debut to Jim Miller with a second-round knockout, so that’s not a good sign.
Taking a -950 favorite is never easy but the fight could be painless. It could be over in the first round, so take under 1½ rounds at -245 for a slightly better price if you’re that way inclined.
Pick: Terrance McKinney -950