The UFC is bringing us Heavyweight action this weekend from the Apex as Curtis Blaydes -172 will look to test his dominant wrestling yet again against Russian powerhouse Sergei Pavlovich +135 in the main event. This card features several other action-pack matchups like Brad Tavares -167 vs. Bruno Silva +130 and Bobby Green -286 vs. Jared Gordon +210. I went over the whole card and gave out my betting picks and predictions for each fight, so let’s break them all down.
Odds provided by Stake.com accurate as of 7:30 PM EST 4/18/2023
A title shot may be on the line in this massive Heavyweight main event. Curtis Blaydes has been known as one of the most dominant wrestlers in the division for some time, and over that time, he has developed some solid boxing as well that has real power behind it. Sergei Pavlovich has burst onto the scene with a streak of round-one knockouts over some of the most feared brawlers in the UFC, most recently Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa, although his wrestling has been a concern with the Alistair Overeem fight being hard to ignore.
This has been a tough fight to pick, but overall, Blaydes has more ways to win and more high-level experience, making him the rightful favorite. With that said, this is a matchup I am going to avoid betting on the money line as I see no value there.
Pick: Blaydes O/U: Under 1.5 -141
Sharp Middleweight striker’s meetup in this fantastic matchup. Brad Tavares is a tough boxer with a great jab, although he was outpaced by Dricus Du Plessis in a weird fight his last time out. Bruno Silva is a powerful and aggressive kickboxer who has had a tough fight with Alex Pereira, although his last fight against Gerald Meerschaert was very concerning as he was finished after a bad performance.
I am going to lean with Tavares for my pick as it is hard to trust Silva after his last showing, but for my bet, I like the over in this matchup, as both men have proven to be very durable over their careers, and I see value in betting neither to get finished at an underdog price.
Pick: Tavares O/U: Over 2.5 -103
Veteran Lightweights look to put on a show here on the main card. Bobby Green is a very high pace boxer with a unique hands-down style coming off a loss to Drew Dober in which he looked fantastic until getting finished by the powerful Dober. Jared Gordon is a crafty boxer with solid grappling ability to go with that and give him more paths to victory; he is coming off a controversial loss to Paddy Pimblett in which he was able to clearly outstrike and control the English prospect.
I’m taking Bobby Green by knockout here as I think he will land a lot in what will be a close fight for as long as it lasts, and I do not trust Gordon’s chin despite him having held up well in his past few fights.
Pick: Green O/U: Under 2.5 +200
A must-see Women’s Flyweight prospect gets a showcase on the main card here. Iasmin Lucindo is coming off a wild debut loss to Yazmin Jauregui; despite not raising her hand, Lucindo showed impressive skills and aggression for the division. Brogan Walker is coming off a very disappointing performance over Juliana Miller in the ultimate fighter finale, where she was finished after being outpaced in the striking and dominated in the grappling for almost all three rounds.
I’ve got Lucindo, as I am excited to see her again, especially in a matchup like this where I believe she can and will find the finish.
Pick: Lucindo O/U: Under 2.5 +200
Powerful Welterweights are pitted against one another in this exciting matchup. Jeremiah Wells has shown he has fight-ending power in his hands after a devasting knockout of Court McGee in his last fight. Matt Semelsberger has used his awkward style to mixed success of late, although he is coming off a very impressive showing over Jake Matthews, where he was able to land several knockdowns.
I’ll take Wells here despite the line movement towards Semelsberger. I think Wells deserves to be the favorite after having shown his well-roundedness and potential, with Semelsberger having shown his ceiling, in my opinion.
Pick: Wells O/U: Over 1.5 -169
Lightweight veterans with well-rounded skill sets collide in this matchup. Ricky Glenn is a tough striker with solid defensive grappling and good cardio. Christos Giagos has consistently been given tough matchups over the course of his UFC run, although of late, he has not been very active and was finished early in his last two showings against Arman Tsarukyan and Thiago Moises.
I’ll take Glenn here as I believe he is the much more durable fighter with better cardio, and he could take over this fight late.
Pick: Glenn O/U: Over 2.5 -179
A good matchup between grapplers here at Bantamweight. Rani Yahya is a very experienced submission specialist who has continued to win at the UFC level for years since competing with the likes of Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez. Montel Jackson has shown impressive skills in his UFC run, although he has posed very little finishing threat to his opponents.
I like Jackson here as there is a reason he is this size a favorite, and with that, I will bet him to win by decision as this price offers underdog value on Jackson to win by what I believe is his most likely path to victory.
Pick: Jackson O/U: Over 2.5 +135
A rare Women’s Featherweight matchup here. Karol Rosa moves up in weight here after a solid run to start her UFC career, where she has shown good offensive wrestling and striking. Norma Dumont has been one of the few to consistently compete in this weight class, having shown solid striking, although she has been controlled for long portions of her fights at times by smaller fighters.
I’ll lean with Rosa here as I don’t believe she will be outsized despite moving up in weight, and her grappling advantage should be enough to get her the win.
Pick: Rosa O/U: Over 2.5 -357
Hard-hitting Heavyweight action between inexperienced prospects here. Mohammed Usman showed his massive power his last time out, finishing Zac Pauga after being outpaced early in the fight. Junior Tafa makes his debut here with plenty of kickboxing experience, which he looks to translate to MMA; he has high output and good durability.
I usually don’t like playing close Heavyweight fights as it feels like betting a bad price on a coin flip, but here I’ll take a small shot on Tafa as I think he will be the fighter landing at a higher rate in a matchup of similar power and durability.
Pick: Tafa O/U: Over 1.5 -123
Matchup between highly regarded Featherweight prospects here early on the card. Francis Marshall has shown himself to be a well-rounded finisher with a very high pace throughout his young career. William Gomis is a tall, long kickboxer coming off an impressive UFC debut in Paris.
I’ll lean with Gomis here as this line feels wider than it should be, and I still have questions about Marshall as he seems very hittable and has not fought great competition.
Pick: Gomis O/U: Over 2.5 -156
This is an intriguing matchup at Women’s Flyweight. Priscila Cachoeira has competed with very high-level competition over her UFC career, although with that, she has shown some weakness in her game, having been submitted several times. Karine Silva is coming off an impressive debut win where she submitted Poliana Botelho in the first round showing the finishing ability she showed on the Contender Series translates to the higher levels.
I think Silva finishes this fight early, as she is a very talented prospect and a terrible stylistic matchup for Cachoeira.
Pick: Silva O/U: Under 2.5 -167
This is a very fun fight to start the night. Batgerel Danaa is a hard puncher who has taken nearly a year off to improve his game after two straight losses where he struggled when he was unable to knockout his opponent. Brady Hiestand is a high pace grappler who had some fun fights in the ultimate fighter house.
I like Hiestand here as I have gone against Danaa in his last few fights as I see him as an early knockout or bust fighter, and although Hiestand can be hurt, I think he will be able to use his grappling early to negate the power and take control of the fight.
Pick: Hiestand O/U: Over 2.5 +123
Junior Tafa -116
Brady Hiestand +111
Brad Tavares vs. Bruno Silva Over 2.5 Rounds -103
Bobby Green by TKO/KO +400
Montel Jackson by Decision +175
Karine Silva Round 1 Submission +650