On Saturday, November 28th, the UFC will be live from Las Vegas for a post-Thanksgiving event – UFC on ESPN 18: Blaydes vs Lewis. Like always, before we look at the main card, we must first examine the preliminary card which features six bouts.
Notable fighters in the prelims include Luke Sanders, Nate Maness, Su Mudaerji, Kai Kamaka, Gia Mazany, Anderson dos Santos, Martin Day, Ashlee Evans-Smith and Norma Dumont Viana. The prelims for this event begins at 7PM ET on ESPN+.
UFC betting sites have released their odds for the full slate of UFC on ESPN 18 preliminary fights. Let’s step inside the betting octagon, examine these odds, identify any value, and slide into the full mount position to ground and pound these predictions.
This bout was originally scheduled for Sean Woodson to take on Jonathan Pearce. Woodson was taken off the card and Kai Kamaka will replace him on one week’s notice.
Pearce rode a five fight winning streak into his octagon debut 13 months ago, but lost to Joe Lauzon via 1st round TKO. During that span, he earned victories in different promotions including Bellator and on DWCS.
Eight of his nine pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by TKO/KO. He’s 1-1 when going the distance.
Kamaka enters this event on a six fight win streak which includes victories in KOTC, LFA and Bellator. He made his UFC debut in August and won via unanimous decision. Kamaka only has one stoppage win in eight career victories. He’s 7-1 when going the distance.
This bout will go the distance (-165) and Over 2.5 rounds (-200). Eight of Kamaka’s 10 pro fights have gone the distance including seven in a row.
As for the winner, Kamaka will pick up the unanimous decision victory (+105) due to his striking advantage and takedown attempts. This MMA prop bet also offers the best betting value.
Kai Kamaka vs Jonathan Pearce –Kamaka (-330)
Over 2.5 rounds (-200)
Over 2.5 rounds (-160)
Fight goes the distance (-165)
Kamaka wins via decision (+105)
Luke Sanders vs Nate Maness
Luke Sanders (-140)
Nate Maness (+120)
Over (-185)/Under (+160) 2.5 rounds
Maness made his UFC debut in August and won via unanimous decision over Johnny Munoz Jr. He’s won two straight fights since suffering the only loss of his pro career in May 2019. Six of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of TKO/KO. He’s 6-0 when going the distance.
Sanders debuted with the UFC in 2016 and has gone 3-3 overall inside the octagon. He’s 2-1 in his last three contests, but hasn’t fought since February 2019 where he defeated Renan Barao via 2nd round TKO.
Nine of his 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-0 when going the distance.
Sanders biggest weakness inside the octagon has been against superior grapplers and submission artists. He won’t have to worry about that in this contest as Maness doesn’t fit the bill for either. This is actually a very favorable matchup for Sanders despite the close betting odds.
Sanders’ moneyline betting odds of -140 offers the best value considering he’s clearly the better fighter between the two. He could win via TKO or end up going the distance.
For me, I’m taking the Under 2.5 rounds (+160) and for the fight to end inside the distance (+125) as Sanders finds the TKO/KO victory by round 3. Maness lone loss came via TKO/KO.
Luke Sanders vs Nate Maness –Sanders (-140)
Under 2.5 rounds (+160)
Fight ends inside the distance (+125)
Sanders wins via TKO/KO (+375)
Su Mudaerji vs Malcolm Gordon
Su Mudaerji (-330)
Malcolm Gordon (+270)
Over (+140)/Under (-160) 2.5 rounds
Gordon rode a four fight win streak into the UFC where he made his octagon debut this July, but lost via 1st round submission to Amir Albazi. The former TKO champ has some grappling chops, but appears to struggle against better competition.
10 of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of submission. The Canadian is 2-0 when going the distance.
Mudaerji is 4-2 in his last six pro fights which includes both WLF and UFC bouts. He’s 1-1 in the UFC having lost his debut to Louis Smolka two years ago. He last fought 15 months ago and defeated Andre Soukhamthath via unanimous decision.
11 of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 1-0 when going the distance.
All four of Mudaerji’s losses have come via submission. Although Gordon has six submission wins under his belt, I have a hard time seeing him get the win in this fight. Yes, he has the grappling advantage, but he’s outgunned on the feet and I don’t see him surviving the striking battle.
Three of Gordon’s four losses have come via TKO/KO. I believe Mudaerji will pick up the TKO/KO win in this contest. Take the Under 2.5 rounds (-160) and for the fight to end inside the distance (-210).
Mudaerji winning inside the distance at -115 odds offers the best value for this bout.
Su Mudaerji vs Malcolm Gordon –Mudaerji (-330)
Under 2.5 rounds (-160)
Fight ends inside the distance (-210)
Mudaerji wins inside the distance (-115)
Ashlee Evans-Smith vs Norma Dumont Viana
Ashlee Evans-Smith (-120)
Norma Dumont Viana (+100)
Over (-275)/Under (+235) 2.5 rounds
Smith enters as the slight favorite, but has lost three of her last four fights and is just 3-4 inside the octagon. She last fought in February 2019 where she suffered a unanimous decision defeat to Andrea Lee. Her last win came in April 2018 via unanimous decision against Bec Rawlings.
Three of her six pro wins have come via TKO/KO. She’s 3-2 when going the distance.
Viana made her UFC debut nine months ago and lost via 1st round KO to Megan Anderson. The loss snapped a four fight winning streak. Two of her four pro wins have come via submission. She’s 2-0 when going the distance.
Combined, these two women have gone the distance in seven of 15 pro fights. I believe they will go the full 15 minutes in this contest (-255) and Over 2.5 rounds (-275). As you can see, online betting sites favor these options as well.
As for the winner, this bout can go either way. I’m not impressed by either combatant. Since they’re so close on paper and with the odds, I’m going with Viana to win since she is the slight underdog and offers a bit more on a wager.
The betting value is with each fighter’s moneyline since this fight can go either way.
Ashlee Evans-Smith vs Norma Dumont Viana –Viana (+100)
Over 2.5 rounds (-275)
Fight goes the distance (-255)
Viana wins via decision (+175)
Rachael Ostovich vs Gina Mazany
Rachael Ostovich (+130)
Gina Mazany (-150)
Over (-225)/Under (+185) 2.5 rounds
Ostovich is making her return to the octagon for the first time in nearly two years. She hasn’t fought since January 2019 where she lost to Paige Van Zant via 2nd round submission. The Hawaiian fighter commented on her return to action:
“With it being a year and being not active at all, it definitely brings back that passion, that fire, that motivation. Just being grateful for the opportunity to still be able to do what I love to do, and that’s really what it is — I love MMA, I love the arts, I love the grind. Can’t say it’s easy but I definitely wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
It’s crazy to see that people are still supporting me and still showing me love and still keep asking me, ‘Oh, when’s your next fight?’ I get asked that every day for the past year so I finally have to tell them, ‘Nov. 28, I’m fighting next weekend, tune in.’”
Ostovich feels rejuvenated, focused and confident in picking up the win this weekend. It would be her first win since December 2017 when she defeated Karine Gevorgyan via 1st round submission. Ostovich is 1-2 inside the octagon.
Two of her four pro wins have come via submission. She’s 2-0 when going the distance. Three of her five pro losses have come via submission.
Mazany last fought in June and lost to Julia Avila via 1st round TKO in just 22 seconds. She’s been with the UFC since early 2017, but has a losing record inside the octagon at 1-4.
She’s 1-3 in her last four pro bouts with the one win coming in KOTC. Mazany has dropped her last three UFC fights. Four of her six pro wins have come via stoppage with two wins apiece for TKO/KO and submission. She’s 2-1 when going the distance.
Neither fighter instills betting confidence with their poor records inside the octagon. With that said, I am taking Ostovich to win the fight via split decision (-195). I believe the long layoff has done her some good whereas Mazany should probably do the same.
I’m not confident in either fighter and don’t see any real betting value for this fight.
Rachael Ostovich vs Gina Mazany –Ostovich (+130)
Over 2.5 rounds (-225)
Fight goes the distance (-195)
Ostovich wins via decision (+270)
Martin Day vs Anderson dos Santos
Martin Day (-165)
Anderson dos Santos (+145)
Over (-230)/Under (+190) 2.5 rounds
Anderson dos Santos comes into this contest as the underdog despite having more than twice as many pro fights and pro wins. Although he clearly has the experience advantage dos Santos hasn’t had much success in the UFC since joining the promotion two years ago.
He’s 0-2 inside the octagon with both losses coming via unanimous decision. Furthermore, he hasn’t fought since June 2019 when he lost to Andrew Ewell via decision.
Another factor that might be concerning is that dos Santos was to fight this past July, but tested positive for covid and was off the card. Will there be any lingering health issues?
16 of his 20 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of submission. He’s 4-3 when going the distance.
Martin Day has lost two straight fights, which both were inside the octagon. He debuted with the UFC two years ago and lost via split decision to Pingyuan Liu. He returned to the octagon four months ago, but lost via 3rd round KO to Davey Grant. He’s 3-3 in his last six fights.
Five of his eight pro wins have come via stoppage with three by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-2 when going the distance.
MMA betting sites heavily favor this bout going Over 2.5 rounds (-230) and for it to go the full 15 minutes (-195). I see no reason to think otherwise. They do have 12 combined bouts go the full distance.
As for the winner, we have another tossup despite what the odds say. Day is the favorite, but he hasn’t been any more impressive than dos Santos inside the octagon. Additionally, both men haven’t won in at least two years.
When you look at the different factors in this bout, it’s hard to find a clear advantage for either combatant. Day is the better striker, but dos Santos is the better grappler. Both men have suffered stoppage losses as well.
With that said, I’m going with dos Santos to win. At least he hasn’t been stopped in the UFC as of yet and he offers a larger payout. I don’t see any betting value in this matchup.
Martin Day vs Anderson dos Santos –dos Santos (+145)
Over 2.5 rounds (-230)
Fight goes the distance (-195)
dos Santos wins via decision (+370)
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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