On paper, the UFC Fight Night on Saturday at the UFC Apex features a modest card. But in practice, this could be a fiery event with plenty of upsets including the main event between Mackenzie Dern and Angela Hill. The UFC lines favor Dern though personal incidents against her could make Hill the benefactor.
That’s not all as a slew of other underdogs could make backers rich via the UFC props.
Hooper Strangles Fiore
Chase Hooper (11-3-1) remains a popular fighter for bettors to fade. The skinny 23-year-old has alternated wins and losses in the UFC but is now moving up to 155 pounds against Nick Fiore (6-1-0), who is just not that great. He’s only beaten one winning fighter in his career and he’s a grappler, which is what Hooper is proficient at. Bet online on Hooper to get this done.
- Pick: Hooper By KO, TKO, DQ or Submission +250
Chase Hooper subs Clay Guida ‼️@chase_hooper @clayguida @CFFCMMA #BJJTwitter #MMATwitter pic.twitter.com/08nn1vOiEP
— White Belt BJJ & MMA (@WhiteBeltBJJ) December 31, 2022
Latifi, Nascimento Grind It Out
If you could make a UFC picks on the worst fight of the night, it would be this one. Ilir Latifi (16-8-0) and Rodrigo Nascimento (9-1-0) could just engage in a slow-paced and sloppy “grindfest” that leads to a close decision. Betting Latifi at +160 is a decent dog play. But at +125, betting this to go the distance is an easier proposition.
- Pick: Fight To Go The Distance – Yes (+125)
Johnson a Menace Against Ferreira
Michael Johnson (21-18-0) remains a “Menace” despite being 36 years old with 27 UFC fights under his belt. He’s won two of his last three with his lone loss being a split decision. More importantly, he still has the speed and power to dust anyone. That’s why he could be the best UFC bet as he could starch Carlos Diego Ferreira (17-5-0), a skidding fighter recovering from numerous injuries.
- Pick: Johnson By KO/TKO/DQ and Round 1 (+650)
Fialho Welcomes Buckley to the Division
Like Johnson, Andre Fialho (16-6-0) could earn a first-round KO victory as he welcomes Joaquin Buckley (15-6-0) to the welterweight division. Buckley is a physically hefty fighter and if he does not perfect the weight cut, he could be a shell of himself at 170 pounds. Fialho has heavy hands and will need to land just one clean punch to cash this prop bet.
- Pick: Fialho By KO/TKO/DQ and Round 1 (+375)
Shahbazyan Blitzes Hernandez
The script for this fight is simple. Either Edmen Shahbazyan (12-3-0) lights up Anthony Hernandez (10-2-0) early, or “Fluffy” drags him into deep waters and drowns him. The wrestler is a wide favorite thanks to his UFC heroics. But he’s not invincible and has already been knocked out. Shahbazyan is too dangerous to fade so easily here. A round 1 finish pays 9-2 and is worth betting online.
- Pick: Shahbazyan In Round 1 (+400)
Hill Withstands Dern’s Aggression
Angela Hill (15-12-0) has been a lucrative underdog to back lately. Despite typically finding herself on the wrong side of close decisions, Hill has won two straight bouts as a dog. She’ll go for the “hat trick” here as she turns Mackenzie Dern’s (12-3-0) aggression against her.
Dern, the favorite, has been making UFC news but not for the right reasons. Too many things work against her and it showed in her last two fights. Hill is a sharp veteran and has fought the who’s who of the division. She’s got great takedown defense and Dern has never been a good wrestler. At worst, Hill loses another close decision. At best, she wins her third straight fight.
- Pick: Points Handicap – Angela Hill +2½ Points (+115)
- Pick: Hill By Points (+200)
UFC Fight Night Information
- Date: Saturday, May 20, 4:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV
- Watch on: ESPN+