The UFC is bringing two massive title fights to Madison Square Garden this weekend as Jiri Prochazka +105 will battle Alex Pereira -118 for the Light Heavyweight title in the main event, and Sergei Pavlovich -101 takes on Tom Aspinall -112 for the interim Heavyweight championship. I gave out my picks and best bets for those two fights and the rest of this loaded card, so let's get into it.
Odds provided by Stake.com accurate as of 11/9/2023 6:15 PM EST
The Light Heavyweight main event is sure to produce violence as these two powerful knockout artists face off. Jiri Prochazka returns from a devastating shoulder injury that caused him to vacate his title; he is an unorthodox striker with insane power, phenomenal durability, and great cardio. Alex Pereira is a world-class kickboxer looking to add another world title to his resume here; his signature left hook has left many in its wake, and it is far from his only weapon.
I'm taking Pereira here as he is the cleaner striker, and I am not sure how Jiri will look, having recovered from his shoulder injury after less than a year away.
Pick: Pereira O/U: Over 1.5 Rounds -156
Two fast-fishing Heavyweights look to claim the interim title here in the co-main event. Sergei Pavlovich could be the most powerful puncher in the UFC right now with a long streak of first-round knockouts over credentialed competition; his hands are not to be doubted, although we have not seen much aside from his boxing due to how quickly that ends fights. Tom Aspinall is a freak athlete for his size as he moves with insane speed, which he pairs with an educated attack to dominate his opponents.
I've got Aspinall in this one, as he is the more technical striker with more weapons to work with.
Pick: Aspinall O/U: Under 1.5 -233
Veteran Strawweights collide here. Jessica Andrade will look to get things back on track here after being finished in each of her last three fights; she is a powerful puncher, although her ground game has not looked great in her last few. Mackenzie Dern is a phenomenal grappler who has shown notable improvement in her striking, dominating Angela Hill in her last fight.
I'm picking Dern in this one as she has all the momentum coming in and has a clear advantage on the ground.
Pick: Dern O/U: Under 2.5 -200
A Lightweight firefight goes down here between two of the most exciting men in the division. Matt Frevola is on a roll with three first-round knockouts in a row, his hands have become his signature, but he has solid wrestling as well, which he showed in his win over Jalin Turner. Benoit Saint-Denis has burst onto the scene with his violent style that produced dominant finishes of Ismael Bonfim and Thiago Moises since his move down to Lightweight; he mixes up his striking and grappling attack well to do as much damage as possible.
This is a close fight, but I lean toward Saint-Denis as I give him the durability edge in what I believe will turn into a striking match.
Pick: Saint-Denis O/U: Over 1.5 +122
Two very slick grapplers test themselves against each other here at Featherweight. Pat Sabatini has a dominant offensive grappling game with fantastic top control that he is able to maintain very well over long durations. Diego Lopes has become one to watch with his exciting style that earned him a quick finish over Gavin Tucker last time out; the issue is he is very willing to spend time in bottom position to attempt submission because he believes in his grappling that much although he has decent striking as well.
I'm on Sabatini here as I see him taking top position and not letting up to dominate to a decision here as he is too skilled and smart on the ground to get caught by Lopes.
Pick: Sabatini O/U: Over 2.5 +109
Up and coming Flyweights collide here in the featured prelim. Steve Erceg came in on short notice and showed out against David Dvorak last time out, showing a high pace and well-rounded game. Alessandro Costa has impressed me a lot in his two UFC fights, as he had some success against top contender Amir Albazi and then looked flawless against Jimmy Flick earlier this year.
I'll take Costa as the underdog here, as he can defend Erceg's grappling and win a striking match in what should be a very close fight.
Pick: Costa O/U: Over 2.5 -156
Strawweight grapplers collide here in a fun matchup. Tabatha Ricci has shown a very high-level wrestling game and submission attack, although her striking and defensive wrestling are still somewhat untested. Lupita Godinez has shown top contender potential at times with dominant wrestling and solid boxing, although she is hard to trust betting on as, at times, she doesn't take the easiest path to victory.
I'll pick Godinez here as she can use her grappling to force a striking match, which she should win comfortably, but I will not be laying this price on her.
Pick: Godinez O/U: Over 2.5 -385
Short notice matchup here at Lightweight. Mateusz Rebecki enters this one off a fantastic showing his last time out, where he knocked out Loik Radzhabov with a clean overhand, showing his power does translate to the UFC despite a weird debut. Roosevelt Roberts returns to the UFC here after a few solid showings on the last season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he won via quick knockout and lost a close decision to Austin Hubbard.
Rebecki should take this one and get a finish, although this price is too much for me to do anything with.
Pick: Rebecki O/U: Under 2.5 -208
Exciting Lightweights go head to head in what should be a fun battle here. Nazim Sadykhov is a guy I have backed in all of his UFC fights so far, as I really like his well-rounded offensive attack, pace, cardio, and durability. Viacheslav Borshchev is a great kickboxer with dangerous kicks, especially to the liver, although he has a clear hole in his wrestling game, as was shown in his fight against Marc Diakiese, and I am not sure he has fixed that.
I'm betting on Sadykhov again here as he hasn't let me down yet, and I see his wrestling and striking defense taking him to a decision win in a fun fight.
Pick: Sadykhov O/U: Over 2.5 +112
Lightweight veterans square off here. Jared Gordon gets to fight in his hometown here after a tough year; he has shown a good boxing attack and the ability to maintain pressure and solid grappling. Mark Madsen is a very high-level wrestler who got into MMA late and is looking to bounce back from his first loss here.
I like Gordon to take a decision here as he can defend Madsen's wrestling attack and force a striking match where he will have a clear advantage.
Pick: Gordon O/U: Over 2.5 -303
Well-rounded Bantamweights will mix it up early on the card. Kyung Ho Kang has been on a good run lately, winning five of his last six fights and showing a well-rounded game in the process. John Castaneda is a fast-paced wrestler who drowns opponents with his game, although he is sometimes very willing to trade punches.
I lean toward Kang at the underdog price here as I feel he'll be able to defend the wrestling attack and land the harder strikes.
Pick: Kang O/U: Over 2.5 -263
A bout that was originally scheduled for Dana White's Contender Series now goes down in the UFC as both Flyweights found their way into the promotion. Joshua Van impressed many in his short-notice debut win over Zhalgas Zhumagulov, where the young twenty-two-year-old landed hard shots, nearly finishing the veteran. Kevin Borjas earned a contract on the contender series after surviving a grappling onslaught from his opponent to nearly finish him with nasty body work late in the final round to secure the fight and his spot in the UFC.
I'm picking Van here as I really liked what I saw from him in his debut and am excited to see what improvements he is able to make going forward.
Pick: Van O/U: Under 2.5 -102
Featherweights open the card here in what should be a good one. Dennis Buzukja returns here after he took his debut on very short notice and still went the distance, showing his toughness. Jamall Emmers is a tall guy for the division, which he uses well to keep range, although he rarely pushes the pace and uses his grappling sparingly.
Emmers should win this fight, but at a price like this, I can't bet on him with how close he tends to make his fights.
Pick: Emmers O/U: Over 2.5 -270