This weekend from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, we get a Strawweight headliner between top contenders Mackenzie Dern and Xianon Yan. This card also features other great matchups to bet on, including a Bantamweight showdown between Raoni Barcelos -244 and Trevin "5 Star" Jones +185 and a Middleweight bout between Brendan Allen -101 and Krzysztof Jotko -125.
All Odds Provided By Stake.com Accurate as of 3:10 PM 9/28/2022 EST
Our main event this week features a clash of styles at Strawweight. Mackenzie Dern has some of the best BJJ in the UFC and has put it on display in her UFC run with four submission wins. Xianon Yan is up there with the top-tier strikers of this division as she is coming off a very close fight with Marina Rodriguez. However, she was dominated when taken down by Carla Esparza, which is a significant concern.
I will pick Dern here, but I do not want to bet it because I feel she will get the submission once it gets to the ground. Still, if she can't get it to the ground or fails to capitalize like the Rodriguez fight, she will likely lose, and the price to bet the submission is too much for me.
Pick: Dern O/U: Under 2.5 +109
An exciting matchup here at Welterweight between two veterans looking to keep their win streaks alive. Randy Brown is a long striker who is good at keeping opponents at range and slipping punches, although he has been caught before, which is cause for concern. Francisco Trinaldo is a stocky, powerful guy, but at this late stage in his career, he has very little other than one-shot power and toughness.
I've got Randy Brown in this one; if he can avoid the big power, he should get this win. I bet on Brown to win by decision against Khaos Williams, and I will do so against here.
Pick: Brown O/U: Over 2.5 -152
This is a fun one at Bantamweight. Raoni Barcelos was highly touted before his last two fights, which he lost; however, I still believe he is very good and can compete with high-level competition. Trevin Jones has shown he is a very powerful puncher, as he showed in his upset win over Timur Valiev, although he has lost against fast strikers and good grapplers.
I am going to bet Barcelos here as I think he is levels above Trevin Jones, whose only chance would be a finish against Barcelos, who has never been knocked out before and has the grappling advantage.
Pick: Barcelos O/U: Over 2.5 -147
Here we see Sodiq Yusuff get a short-notice replacement in which he is a huge favorite. Sodiq Yusuff is an excellent prospect at Featherweight with a great UFC record, and his only loss in the organization came in a great fight with Arnold Allen. Don Shainis makes his UFC debut here, coming off a five-fight win streak.
I am picking Yusuff as he is well ahead in his career at this point; however, this price is far out of the betting range.
Pick: Yusuff O/U: Under 1.5 +114
This is a Catchweight fight between two usual Bantamweights. John Castaneda is a solid fighter with good power and the ability to grind out opponents. Daniel Santos is a good striker who has never been finished in his career.
I've got Castaneda here as I believe he is more well-rounded, although if the fight ends inside the distance, it is more likely that Santos will get the win as he has never been finished and will likely have the power advantage.
Pick: Castaneda O/U: Over 2.5 -172
This is a banger between two powerful and tough strikers at Lightweight. Mike Davis is back here after a long layoff since his war with Mason Jones, which earned him many fans for good reason as he showed high-level skill and toughness in that win. Viacheslav Borshchev is a very dangerous kickboxer who trains with Team Alpha Male, although he does not seem to have picked up the wrestling yet, as it cost him his last fight when he was unable to defend takedowns or get up.
I'll take Davis to win the fight as there are clear holes in Borshchev's game to exploit. I am going to bet the over in this matchup, as the durability on both guys is there.
Pick: Davis O/U: Over 2.5 -102
Here we may finally get to see this matchup that was booked for a while back and canceled. Aleksei Oleinik is one of the most credentialed grapplers in Heavyweight history. Ilir Latifi is a short, stocky fighter with good power and top control.
I have Latifi winning this as he is challenging to submit with his wrestling skills, and if it stays standing, I do not trust Oleinik to deal with the power of Latifi well at his age.
Pick: Latifi O/U: Over 2.5
This is a fun grappling matchup between a veteran and an up-and-comer. Jessica Penne is a solid veteran who has used her grappling to compete at a high level for a long time. Tabatha Ricci has shown the ability to win fights with her grappling, whether by submission or control, and her only loss comes against Manon Fiorot, who used her striking, which will not be a factor against her here.
I am taking Ricci in this one as she has all the physical advantages and has the momentum coming into the fight.
Pick: Ricci O/U: Over 2.5 -294
Here we get a nice matchup at Lightweight. Joaquim Silva has shown some flashes as a dangerous striker, but he has also been finished in his last two and lost three of his previous four. Jesse Ronson has looked good at times, showing well-rounded skills and finishing ability; however, in his previous fight, he couldn't get going after a long layoff, which is very concerning.
I will lean toward Silva as my pick for the winner, but I am most confident that this fight will not go the distance as both men have good power and questionable durability.
Pick: Silva O/U: Under 2.5 -143
This is a fun matchup at Middleweight between two solid fighters looking to move up in the division. Brendan Allen has often impressed me; however, he has also frustrated me by being defensively irresponsible, which has cost him. Krzystof Jotko is a solid kickboxer who can keep a good pace for three rounds with no issue.
I have a hard time picking this fight, but I believe if Allen shows up focused and ready, he is the better fighter. I want to bet the over in this matchup, as both men have shown limited finishing ability and good cardio.
Pick: Allen O/U: Over 2.5 -200
Good matchup here between well-rounded Light Heavyweights. Maxim Grishin came into the UFC with a lot of experience and has faced some solid names since entering the organization, looking alright at times, especially since his move down from Heavyweight. Philipe Lins also made a move down in weight and has seen solid results; however, he has not succeeded against the level of competition Grishin has.
I will pick Grishin here as I believe he is just a bit better everywhere, but I am not confident enough to bet on him at this price.
Pick: O/U: Over 2.5 -139
Here we get a matchup at a Catchweight of 145 lbs. Julija Storliarenko is a submission specialist with a particular love for the armbar, which she has used very effectively. Chelsea Chandler comes in with little experience but has shown a good grappling game in her career.
I will lean with Chandler here as I think she is likely to be in the top position, and if she can avoid the armbar, I expect her to control the fight from there.
Pick: Chandler O/U: Over 2.5 -164
This is a great matchup to get the night off to an electric start with two power punchers who waste no time going at it. Randy Costa has been highly touted as he has shown tremendous power; however, his cardio has failed him several times. Guido Cannetti showed his power is still there despite his old age in his last fight as he finished the tough-as-nails Kris Moutinho.
I like Costa to get it done early in this one as we have seen Cannetti finished several times early on, and with his old age becoming more relevant by the fight, I think he is way outmatched here.
Pick: Costa O/U: Under 1.5 -175
Raoni Barcelos -244
Randy Brown By Decision
Mike Davis Viacheslav Borshchev Over 2.5 -101
Brendan Allen Krzysztof Jotko Over 2.5 -200
Randy Costa Round 1