Thanks to a series of cancellations, the UFC’s first offering for 2022 is leaving much to be desired. But thirsty UFC Fight Night fans will still drink this card up, which features a potential title eliminator between featherweights Calvin Kattar and Giga Chikadze. It’s slim pickings on the UFC betting lines, but we can extract some value from some of these fights.
- Date: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
- Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV
- Watch on: ESPN+
Four Fights to Bet for UFC’s First 2022 Card
Katlyn Chookagian vs Jennifer Maia
- Moneyline: Jennifer Maia +145, Katlyn Chookagian -175
- Round Totals: Over 2½ (-375), Under 2½ (+275)
- Weight Class (Rounds): Women’s Flyweight (125 lbs) (3 Rounds)
Death. Taxes. Katlyn Chookagian wins a narrow decision. This is the obvious play here and betting online on Chookagian to win on points is at a pick’em price at -110. She’s fighting Jennifer Maia, another decision machine and another fighter looking to get a second crack at Valentina Shevchenko.
Chookagian (16-4-0) is the rightful favorite here as she has the size and reach advantage to keep Maia (19-7-1) at a distance. Maia does not have the power nor the proficiency to threaten Chookagian and will have a hard time convincing the judges in the end.
Pick: Katlyn Chookagian -175
Brandon Royval vs Rogerio Bontorin
- Moneyline: Rogerio Bontorin +135, Brandon Royval -165
- Round Totals: Over 2½ (+130), Under 2½ (-160)
- Weight Class (Rounds): Flyweight (125 lbs) (3 Rounds)
In what should be the best fight outside of the main event, Brandon Royval and Rogerio Bontorin should go back and forth until someone gets finished. These fighters are in dire need of a win or they could be getting their walking papers. But instead of betting a side, take the under on the sportsbook.
— Ocelot (@Ocelot_MMA) December 8, 2021
Royval (12-6-0) has a bad habit of giving up his back almost as if he’s begging his opponents to strangle him, while Bontorin (17-3-0) could be drained by cutting down to 125 pounds. Either a knockout from Royval or a submission from Bontorin is what’s happening.
Pick: Under 2½ (-160)
Bill Algeo vs Joanderson Brito
- Moneyline: Bill Algeo +105, Joanderson Brito -135
- Round Totals: Over 2½ (-160), Under 2½ (+130)
- Weight Class (Rounds): Featherweight (145 lbs) (3 Rounds)
Joanderson Brito makes his UFC debut against Bill Algeo, a tough customer who has developed a penchant for putting up gritty fights. Unfortunately for Algeo (14-6-0), he usually ends up on the wrong side of the judges’ decisions. But he is solid and has great endurance.
Brito (12-2-1) is a grizzled Brazilian veteran who, skill for skill, trumps Algeo. He’s also fought some tough competition in the regional scene. However, he has small room for error here. If he blows his gas tank too quickly, this will allow Algeo to outlast him. At even money, Algeo may be the best UFC bet here.
Pick: Bill Algeo +105
Jamie Pickett vs Joseph Holmes
- Moneyline: Joseph Holmes -150, Jamie Pickett +120
- Round Totals: Over 1½ (-190), Under 1½ (+155)
- Weight Class (Rounds): Middleweight (185 lbs) (3 Rounds)
Joseph Holmes is getting a showcase fight against Jamie Pickett. The betting odds may not have this as an “easy” win for Holmes (7-1-0) but he is the superior striker here. Pickett (12-6-0) hung on to his spot on the roster by beating Laureano Staropoli but, as Daniel Cormier says, “there are levels to this.”
Pickett has a path to victory here by out-wrestling Holmes. But despite his 50 percent takedown accuracy, he isn’t that potent at it and Holmes may just shrug him off or get back up. Overall, it will be the newcomer looking more impressive, though an early finish may not materialize.