The main event at UFC Vegas 38 features Thiago Santos vs Johnny Walker on Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET. Krzysztof Jotko will face Misha Cirkunov in the prelims that begin at 4 p.m. ET. Both fights will take place at the UFC Apex on ESPN/ESPN+. We’ll take a look at the UFC odds for both of these fights.
Walker, Cirkunov Show Promise
Johnny Walker (18-5-0) has had six fights following his fight in Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil 2 and has been favored in each of those bouts. He’s 4-2 against the moneyline spread in those fights but most recently has gone 1-2 in his last three bouts.
Walker was favored at -196 and -170 respectively in fights against Nikita Krylov and Corey Anderson and lost both of those fights. He followed that up with a KO win as the -160 favorite in his most recent fight with Ryan Spann. But now he’s going up against Thiago Santos (21-9-0), who is on a three-fight skid but he has a ton of experience. Will Santos’ experience be enough considering he seems to have lost a step at 37?
Santos went five rounds with Jon Jones but he also suffered a knee injury that made him visibly slower in recent fights. He’s lost some explosiveness and that could play well for Walker with his dynamic striking style.
Thiago has the knockout power and Walker has shown to be suspect to a TKO loss, particularly in his fight with Anderson. Walker’s loss to Krylov mainly came from losing the battle on the ground, while his battle with Santos will probably stay upright for most of the fight. Walker also boasts a 100 percent takedown defense.
Walker opened as the +145 underdog, which has some value considering his decorated one-strike KO style. Santos opened at -170 and and is now at -175.
Pick: Walker +145
Lock of Week: Another Dog in Cirkunov
Misha Cirkunov will definitely have some size against Krzysztof Jotko (22-5-0) fighting at middleweight. He’ll be able to be the bigger, more dominant fighter on the canvas. Cirkunov (15-6-0) can use his size on the ground to secure a submission victory and, while he’s down there, he can dominate in the striking department.
Cirkunov has an average of 4.18 significant strikes landed per minute versus Jotko’s 2.94. He also secures 57 percent of his takedowns versus Jotko’s 34 percent.
You can expect ground and pound to serve as a catalyst for Cirkunov to secure the submission win. Cirkunov is at +120 and the Las Vegas odds have shown little to movement while Jotko is at -150.