On Saturday, February 23rd, UFC will be live from the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic for UFC Fight Night 145: Błachowicz vs Santos. Also known as UFC on ESPN+ 3, this event marks the UFC’s first show in the Czech Republic. In total, there are 13 fights scheduled for the event with the headliner being a light heavyweight showdown between Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos. The co-main event of the night is a heavyweight battle between Stefan Struve vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
The entire UFC Fight Night 145 event will air on ESPN+ with the preliminary card set to begin at 11 AM ET and the main card beginning at 2 PM ET.
Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine the odds from MMA betting sites, identify any betting value, and KO our fight picks.
UFC Fight Night 145 features 7 preliminary fights that begin at 11 AM ET. All odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
Damir Ismagulov (-265) vs Joel Alvarez (+225)
Damir Ismagulov (17-2) comes into this contest on a 12 fight win streak. He debuted inside the octagon just 2 ½ months ago and won via Unanimous Decision. Damir wasn’t impressive in victory, but he showed the skills that brought him to the big dance. He’s a former M-1 lightweight champ.
Joel Alvarez (15-1) has won 10 straight fights coming into this bout, which will be his debut with the UFC. Like his opponent, Joel has also won another promotion’s lightweight title, his being in the AFL. 14 of Alvarez’s 15 wins have come via submission. 9 of his last 10 victories have all come via submission including the last 6 straight.
Ismagulov is a big betting favorite largely because of his level competition compared to Alvarez’s. However, I do think these odds are a bit high. It’s not as if Ismagulov dominated in his first UFC fight. With that said, I do believe Damir will win most likely due to his clinch or his effective striking from a distance. Alvarez is too unknown to take a flyer on him. But, if you are feeling frisky then he could be a nice payoff if he can win.
UFC Bet: Damir Ismagulov (-265)
Rustam Khabilov (-140) vs Carlos Diego Ferreira (+120)
Rustam Khabilov (23-3) has had an up and down career inside the octagon. Rustam first debuted with the UFC back in 2012. He scored three straight wins with an upset over Jorge Masvidal. Then he lost two in a row including a tough fight against Benson Henderson. Rustam fought 4 times in 2016, and twice in the last two years, to put him at a 6 fight win streak coming into this bout. His last 7 fights have all gone to the scorecards.
Carlos Diego Ferreira (14-2) has won three straight fights including two impressive victories last year after a 2-year hiatus due to drug issues. His last two wins have come via TKO, but he also has the jiu-jitsu skills to tap out an opponent.
This is a tough matchup, which is why oddsmakers have it close in the betting lines as well. Khabilov will want to take this to the mat and try to maintain top control. He will also try to steal the rounds via takedowns because he won’t win via striking. I like what I’ve seen from Carlos more than Rustam over their last few fights. I’m taking the upset here. I think Ferreira can win this fight standing or on the ground. Most likely it will be via Decision.
UFC Bet: Carlos Diego Ferreira (+120)
Michel Prazeres (-360) vs Ismail Naurdiev (+295)
The originally scheduled matchup was supposed to be Prazeres vs Ramazan Emeev. Unfortunately, Emeev had to pull out from the fight due to an injury. Naurdiev has replaced Emeev on two weeks’ notice.
Michel Prazeres (26-2) comes into this bout on an 8 fight win streak spanning two divisions. He had to move back to the 170 pound weight class after a half dozen or so fights in the lightweight division due to weight issues. However, the move up in weight hasn’t stopped his win streak. Overall, Prazeres is 10-2 inside the octagon.
Ismail Naurdiev (17-2) is making his UFC debut and comes in on a two fight win streak. Ismail is 15 years younger than his opponent, but does have a 6 inch height advantage. Unfortunately, that might not come into play as Michel is expected to take down Naurdiev and control the fight from the ground.
Naurdiev’s best chance to win is standing up and striking from a distance. The veteran Prazeres won’t allow that to happen and will close the distance. Ismail doesn’t have the best takedown defense and I expect him to get pummeled once he’s forced to the mat. This is not a good matchup for the newcomer.
I’m taking Prazeres to win most likely by TKO late in the fight.
UFC bet: Michel Prazeres (-360)
Damir Hadzovic (+110) vs Marco Polo Reyes (-130)
Damir Hadzovic (12-4) is 2-2 inside the octagon, but did win his last fight in July 2018, when he defeated Nick Hein via Split Decision. Half of Damir’s 12 pro victories have come via KO/TKO. Hadzovic hasn’t shown much consistency since coming to the UFC. And, this weekend’s opponent isn’t an easy one.
Marco Polo Reyes (8-4) has won 5 of his 6 last fights with his only loss coming to James Vick who towered over him. Reyes is 4-1 inside the octagon with 6 of his 8 pro wins coming via KO/TKO. Reyes snagged bonuses in 3 of his 5 UFC fights.
Comparing both of their careers inside the octagon, I have been more impressed with Marco Polo “El Toro” Reyes than Hadzovic. Just go back to their last fights and we see Reyes winning via knockout in 60 seconds, while Damir is barely pulling out a win. This is going to be a tough fight as each man has knockout power. With that said, I’m taking Reyes to win this fight via TKO.
Veronica Macedo (+140) vs Gillian Robertson (-160)
In the first of two women’s fights on the night, Veronica Macedo (5-2-1) looks to snap a two fight losing streak and score her first UFC win. Macedo was supposed to fight last November, but had to withdraw due to an injury. Veronica hasn’t fought since last May and hasn’t won since July 2016.
Gillian Robertson (5-3) was a former cast member on TUF 26 and started off her UFC career with 2 straight wins including a submission victory over Emily Whitmire who just won this past weekend in Phoenix. Robertson lost her last fight, which was in September. She dropped her UFC record to 2-1 inside the octagon.
Robertson is the betting favorite and rightfully so. She has a solid resume despite 3 losses in her career. I believe Gillian is the better mat technician between the two and will win this fight either via late round submission or a Unanimous Decision.
UFC Bet: Gillian Robertson (-160)
Daniel Teymur (+185) vs Chris Fishgold (-220)
I’d be more excited if this fight featured Daniel Teymur’s (6-2) brother David Teymur. Anyhow, Daniel has lost two straight fights, both coming inside the octagon. Those were the first losses of his pro career and this fight could make or break his UFC tenure.
Chris Fishgold (17-2-1) also lost his UFC debut last year, which snapped a 7 fight win streak. Fishgold has a 3 inch height advantage and the advantage on the ground. 12 of his 17 career wins have come via submission. And, most likely, Fishgold will get his 13th submission win in this one.
Teymur’s best chance is to catch Chris early in the fight with a massive shot. However, I just don’t see that happening. More than likely, Fishgold will be aggressive in his pressure and take down Teymur. From there, he will control the fight and eventually force Teymur to tap. This is probably Teymur’s last fight in the UFC for a while.
UFC Bet: Chris Fishgold (-220)
Carlo Pedersoli Jr. (-125) vs Dwight Grant (+105)
Carlo Pedersoli Jr (11-2) is looking to redeem himself after a disappointing 39 second loss to Alex Oliveira last September. Pedersoli was KO’d by Oliveira, which was the first stoppage of his career. It also snapped an 8 fight win streak. Carlo is 1-1 inside the octagon.
Dwight Grant (8-2) earned his UFC contract via KO victory on DWTNCS last June. Unfortunately, he lost in his UFC debut last December via Split Decision. The loss snapped a 7 fight win streak. 6 of Grant’s 8 wins have come via TKO/KO. Both of his losses have come via decision.
With the way these two fighters like to be aggressive, I don’t see this one going to the scorecards. Pedersoli is better on the ground than Grant and this is his best path to victory. For Grant, keeping the fight upright will be his path to a win.
Oddsmakers have it as a close contest and I believe it’s going to come down to whichever fighter lands the biggest shot. With that said, Grant should be able to land the fight changing punch. I think Pedersoli is hittable and Grant has the power to stop the fight.
UFC Bet: Dwight Grant (+105)
UFC Fight Night 145 Main Card
The main card of the night features 6 fights and will begin at 2 PM ET. All UFC betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
Magomed Ankalaev (-240) vs Klidson Abreu (+205)
Magomed Ankalaev (9-1) comes into this matchup as a huge betting favorite. He won his last fight in September via TKO in the 1st round. He should’ve been 2-0 inside the octagon, but lost his debut fight last March via submission with 1 second remaining in the fight. And, it was a fight he was going to win via Unanimous Decision as Magomed had dominated the bout.
Klidson Abreu (14-2) is stepping inside the octagon for the first time and brings with him a 6 fight win streak. 10 of Abreu’s 14 career wins have come via submission. Let’s not overlook the fact that Abreu is taking this fight on short notice due to Stosic having to withdraw. Klidson’s had about 6 weeks to prepare.
Abreu has some solid wins on his resume. However, I don’t like this matchup for him. Ankalaev is an accomplished wrestler, grappler and a stud in sambo. Additionally, he’s got striking power that can end this fight. 5 of his 9 wins have come via KO/TKO. Both of Abreu’s losses have come via KO/TKO.
I like Ankalaev in this one. I believe his power and strong wrestling background will come into play in this fight. He’ll defend any takedown attempts via Abreu. I expect Ankalaev to win ugly by mauling Abreu and picking up a TKO along the way.
UFC Bet: Magomed Ankalaev (-240)
John Dodson (+195) vs Petr Yan (-230)
In this bantamweight battle, we have a rising prospect in Yan taking on the veteran Dodson who has been a former title contender.
John Dodson (20-10) is 8 years older than Yan and has twice as many pro fights as his opponent. Since September 2015, Dodson has gone 4-4 inside the octagon. He did fight for the featherweight title against Demetrious Johnson on two occasions, but lost both via Unanimous Decision. Dodson has an impressive resume of fights in the UFC as he’s taken on some of the best the promotion has seen at 135 pounds and below.
Petr Yan (11-1) is a rising prospect having gone 3-0 inside the Octagon and winning two of those fights via TKO. In his last fight, UFC 232 against Andrade, Yan beat up his opponent so badly that Douglas couldn’t answer the bell for the start of round 3. Yan has scary knockout power, but I doubt he will be able to put away the veteran Dodson with one punch.
Dodson has never been stopped in a pro fight and I don’t see that happening this weekend. What I do see happening is a three round war that could win Fight of the Night honors. These two fighters aren’t afraid to stand up and throw punches. And neither of them will back away from the other. With that said, I’m going with Yan to win via Decision. Dodson is worth a flyer as he has the punching power to stop Yan.
In the second of two women’s fights on the night Lucie Pudilova (8-3) takes on the veteran Liz Carmouche (12-6) in a flyweight battle. Pudilova will be fighting in her home country and is the only Czechoslovakian on this entire card. So, I expect her to get a huge ovation and crowd advantage.
Carmouche, age 35, is a longtime veteran having fought in the UFC since 2013 when she took on Ronda Rousey in their historic fight. Nicknamed “Girl-Rilla,” Liz has fought many top names in her weight class and has won 3 of her last 4 fights. Carmouche has also seen her last 6 fights go to the judges.
Pudilova is 2-2 inside the octagon and lost her last fight via Split Decision. Her last 4 bouts have gone to the scorecards. Like Carmouche, Lucie packs a punch and might actually be a harder hitter than Liz. Lucie is 12 years younger than Carmouche, but has a 5 inch reach and 2 inch height advantage.
For Carmouche to win, she will need to get this fight to the mat. But, I’m going to pick Pudilova in this fight as I believe her fellow countrymen will cheer her on to victory and she will either TKO Carmouche or outwork her to a Decision win.
Gian Villante (+175) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (-205)
As they say, the book has been written on Gian Villante (17-10). Basically, we know what we’re getting with this UFC veteran. With 14 fights inside the octagon, Villante has a record of 7-7. He’s gone 2-3 over his last 5 fights, but did pick up a respectable win over Ed Herman last October.
Michal Oleksiejczuk (12-2) won 9 straight fights heading into his UFC debut in December 2017. During that fight, Michal beat up division contender Khalil Rountree and put the UFC on notice. Unfortunately, he was popped for a post-fight PED violation and we haven’t seen him since then. With that said, 8 of his 12 wins have come via KO/TKO.
When it comes to Villante, he has solid striking skills and is a hard hitter. However, he’s not known for his defense and that will once again be his downfall. Both fighters will stand in the middle of the octagon and exchange punches. Whoever has the better chin should win. I’m going with Oleksiejczuk in this one. However, like with Dodson, Villante does offer betting value and is worthy of a flyer. In a fight where one punch can win it, Villante is certainly capable of landing that punch.
UFC Bet: Michal Oleksiejczuk (-205)
Stefan Struve (+105) vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima (-125)
In the co-main event of the night, Stefan Struve (28-11) will take on Marcos Rogerio de Lima (16-5-1) in a heavyweight battle.
This could quite possibly be Struve’s last stand. The “skyscraper” has lost three straight fights and hasn’t won in nearly 2 ½ years. Stefan has a 10 inch height and 9 inch reach advantage over his opponent. Two areas that could work for him if he uses them effectively, which he hasn’t done in his last three fights.
Marcos de Lima is 5-3 inside the octagon and won his last fight via Unanimous Decision in November 2018. 11 of his 16 wins have come via KO/TKO, which isn’t a surprise since he has solid kickboxing skills. He also has a respectable ground and pound game, provided he can be on top and doing the striking.
This fight has two likely scenarios, they stay standing and Struve’s chin gets tested or they go to the ground and Struve gets the submission. I believe that Struve would be better suited taking this fight to the ground that way he doesn’t eat any powerful strikes. From there, Struve has the advantage in a ground battle and I expect the Dutch fighter to get the win.
UFC Bet: Stefan Struve (+105)
Jan Blachowicz (+105) vs Thiago Santos (-125)
In the main event of the night, Santos and Blachowicz are most likely fighting to become the top contender for the light heavyweight title, which will be on the line in March as the champ Jon Jones defends his belt.
Jan Blachowicz (23-7) comes into this contest on a 4 fight win streak, which has seen two of them come via Decision and two come via submission. Jan is a respected fighter, but his past losses seem to hold him back from really being considered a title challenger. With that said, a win over Santos will boost his stock enough to get him over the hump and into the title conversation.
Thiago Santos (20-6) is a name that can strike fear in his opponents. From middleweight to light heavyweight, Santos brings that raw violence into his fights. From there, he looks to take someone’s head off or simply outmuscle his opponent. Since going up to 205 pounds, Santos is 2-0.
Thiago fights in a controlled chaotic manner that can KO an opponent when he connects. However, it also opens him up to counterstrikes. And, Blachowicz has solid counter striking skills that could come into play early in this fight. Blachowicz will need to close the distance and fight in the proverbial phone booth or take Santos to the ground to ensure a win.
Jan also has the advantage in the endurance department. More than likely, Blachowicz will fight a similar gameplan like he did against Jimi Manuwa when he smothered him to an easy UD victory. If Jan can do that to Santos then he will cruise to another UD victory. I think that Jan’s advantages are just too much for Santos to overcome. If Blachowicz avoids the big shot from a distance then he will win this fight. I’m going with Jan to pull off the minor upset.
UFC Bet: Jan Blachowicz (+105)
Best UFC Fight Night 145 Betting Value
The following fighters offer decent betting value based on their career success, current betting odds and UFC Fight Night 145 matchups:
Carlos Diego Ferreira (+120) offers modest betting value in a tough matchup against Khabilov. I believe this fight is basically a Pick, which is why I like his +120 betting odds. This bout will probably be a 3 round grinder.
Dwight Grant (+105) is a slight underdog in a very even matchup. His opponent Pedersoli is only a -125 favorite. Both fighters are coming off a loss, but Grant seems to have more potential and probably should’ve won his last fight. Whereas, Carlo was KO’d in less than a minute.
John Dodson (+195) is as tough as they come, but his record doesn’t reflect this. Dodson has the fight skills to be undefeated in the UFC. Unfortunately, he’s been out-smarted and outworked in his octagon career. With that said, I expect the younger Yan to win the fight, but these odds are too high. Dodson has the punching power to stop Yan and the skills to win. He’s worth a flyer and could pull off the upset of the night according to MMA betting sites.
Lucie Pudilova (+110) is the only Czechoslovakian on the card. Because of that, I like her chances in what could be a brawl between these two women. As long as Pudilova can defend the takedown, she should win this fight.
Gian Villante (+175) is heading into a fight with another striker that’s willing to go toe-to-toe and see who can knock the other out. With that said, the smart bet might be on his opponent, but Villante has more than a puncher’s chance and could pull off the big upset. He certainly has value and is worthy of a flyer.
Stefan Struve (+105) is a slight underdog in this contest. But, he has the height, reach and ground advantage over his opponent who likes to stand and strike. If Struve can survive massive shots and get this to the ground, then he can pull out the win.
Jan Blachowicz (+105) comes in as the small underdog in this matchup. However, Jan has all of the tools to beat Santos and is the better all-around fighter. Santos can take Jan’s head off if he’s not careful, but all of the other advantages are in Jan’s favor. I like Blachowicz to get the upset in the main event.
Final Thoughts on UFC Fight Night 145
Whenever the UFC goes into a new market, especially a different country, I’m always curious to see how the fans react. Typically, the UFC loads up on fighters from the host country. However, in this event, there’s only one Czechoslovakian on the card and that’s Lucie Pudilova.
There are no championships on the line or superstars on the card, but there are some solid matchups that will be fun to watch. I also believe there’s plenty of betting value and potential for increasing that UFC bankroll.
UFC Fight Night 145 Betting Recap
Michel Prazeres (-360)
Chris Fishgold (-220)
Carlos Diego Ferreira (+120)
Damir Ismagulov (-265)
Marco Polo Reyes (-130)
Gillian Robertson (-160)
Dwight Grant (+105)
Magomed Ankalaev (-240)
Petr Yan (-230)
Lucie Pudilova (+110)
Michal Oleksiejczuk (-205)
Stefan Struve (+105)
Jan Blachowicz (+105)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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