UFC on ESPN 20 Preliminary Card Betting Preview, Odds and Picks

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On Wednesday, January 20th, the UFC returns for their second event in the last four days with UFC on ESPN 20: Chiesa vs Magny. For this betting preview, we will be focusing on the eight fight preliminary card that features some exciting bouts.

A few of the notable fighters competing in the prelims are Ricky Simon, Su Mudaerji, Dalcha Lungiambula, and Umar Nurmgomedov. The featured bout of the prelims is shaping up to be #13 middleweight Omari Akhmedov taking on Tom Breese.

As of now, all eight prelim bouts are set to take place. As usual, the card is subject to change. The UFC on ESPN 20 prelims will begin at 9am ET on ESPN and ESPN+.

UFC betting sites have released their full slate of odds for the preliminary card of UFC on ESPN 20. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds, identify any potential value, and force these predictions to tap out via rear naked choke.

Victoria Leonardo vs Manon Fiorot

  • Victoria Leonardo (+165)
  • Manon Fiorot (-190)
  • Over (-200)/Under (+170) 2.5 rounds

This bout was originally set for Natalia Silva to take on Victoria Leonardo. However, Silva was forced out with a fractured ulna. Manon Fiorot takes this bout on three weeks’ notice.

Victoria Leonardo will be making her UFC debut this week after earning a contract with a 2nd round TKO win last November on DWCS. The former Invicta FC and Bellator competitor has won two straight fights and six of her last seven.

Five of her eight pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of submission. She’s 3-0 when going the distance.

Manon Fiorot will also make her UFC debut this week and rides into the octagon on a five fight win streak. Her last three wins have come via TKO. Four of her five pro wins have come via TKO. She’s 1-1 when going the distance.

In a battle of relatively unknown fighters to the casual MMA fan, I like Leonardo to get the win. I think she has more balance to her fight game. She also has the advantage on the mat.

I’m leaning towards the Over 2.5 rounds (-200) because these women could potentially go the full 15 minutes (-170). If the fight does end inside the distance I see it happening via a Fiorot TKO win or a Leonardo submission win.

With that said, I am taking the upset here which offers the best value (+165). Leonardo can take this fight to the mat and control the grappling to win on points or via submission.

Victoria Leonardo vs Manon Fiorot –Leonardo (+165)

Over 2.5 rounds (-200)

Fight goes the distance (-170)

Leonardo wins via decision (+270)

Umar Nurmagomedov vs Sergey Morozov

  • Umar Nurmagomedov (-550)
  • Sergey Morozov (+425)
  • Over (-210)/Under (+175) 2.5 rounds

This fight has the largest disparity in betting odds and that’s saying something considering that there are two other fights with very large disparities as well.

Morozov enters his UFC debut on a five fight win streak all coming in M-1 where he went 10-3 overall. He’s a decent fighter, but not on the same level as Nurmagomedov.

11 of his 16 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO. He’s 5-1 when going the distance.

Khabib’s cousin Umar will make his UFC debut this week and enters the octagon undefeated at 12-0. Just like his champion cousin, Umar has a similar grappling style where he mauls his opponents and either grinds them into submission or an easy decision win.

Six of his 12 wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission. He’s 6-0 when going the distance.

It will be a moral victory for Morozov if he can survive the full 15 minutes. I am going with the Over 2.5 rounds because half of Nurmagomedov’s wins have gone the distance. So, we’re basically a 50-50 chance this bout goes the full three rounds (-175).

Morozov has suffered two defeats via submission, so there is the chance it could happen here. But, the odds favor a Nurmagomedov decision (-125) more than any other method of victory. This prop also offers the best value.

Umar will be victorious in his octagon debut and the UFC will have another Nurmagomedov to hype up.

Nurmagomedov vs Morozov –Nurmagomedov (-550)

Over 2.5 rounds (-210)

Fight goes the distance (-175)

Nurmagomedov wins via decision (-125)

Mike Davis vs Mason Jones

  • Mike Davis (-170)
  • Mason Jones (+150)
  • Over (-150)/Under (+120) 2.5 rounds

Despite being unbeaten in his pro career, Mason Jones comes into this bout as a sizable underdog. Jones has spent the majority of his career in Cage Warriors and last competed four months ago where he won via 1st round TKO.

Seven of his 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-0 when going the distance. Jones went 2-0 last year.

Jones had the following comments about his opponent this week on Fight Island:

“The boy I am fighting is a very dangerous fighter. Mike Davis is a very, very tough test but I am more than ready for the challenge. I am going to put it on him and I think I will stop him in two rounds. My last two fights have been first round stoppages. Mike Davis is the toughest fight so far but I think I will overwhelm him on the first and put the pressure on him in the second.”

Mike Davis will be making his 3rd trip inside the octagon where he’s currently 1-1. He lost his UFC debut to Gilbert Burns via 2nd round submission, but bounced back in his second fight six months later via 3rd round KO over Thomas Gifford.

Davis is 3-2 in his last five fights which also includes the Square Ring Promotions and DWCS. Seven of his eight pro wins have come via TKO/KO. His other win came via submission. Davis is 0-1 when going the distance.

It’s a toss-up as to whether or not this bout will go Over or Under the 2.5 round mark. I’m going to pick Under 2.5 rounds, but I’m not confident in either. However, I do like the fight to end inside the distance (+105) as these two men have combined to go the distance in just four of their 20 pro bouts.

As for the winner, I like Davis here. I believe he’s faced tougher competition and has a better stand up game than Jones does. For a riskier wager, take Davis to win via TKO/KO (+230).

Mike Davis vs Mason Jones –Davis (-170)

Under 2.5 rounds (+120)

Fight ends inside the distance (+105)

Davis wins inside the distance (+215)

Davis wins via TKO/KO (+230)

Francisco Figueiredo vs Jerome Rivera

  • Francisco Figueiredo (-150)
  • Jerome Rivera (+130)
  • Over (-190)/Under (+150) 2.5 rounds

Jerome Rivera enters this bout as the underdog as he lost in his last fight four months ago via TKO in the 2nd round to Tyson Nam. The loss snapped a three fight winning streak which brought him to the UFC as he earned a contract via victory on DWCS five months ago.

Seven of his 10 pro wins have come via submission. He’s 3-0 when going the distance. Rivera made the following comments about the Figueiredo brothers:

“I think Francisco looks like a tough well rounded martial artist. Looks like a less polished and explosive version of his brother. That being said I don’t care. If it was his brother that I was fighting that night I am the sharpest version of myself I’ve ever been and there’s nothing this man can do to stop me from getting that victory.”

Francisco Figueiredo, the brother of Deiveson, is making his UFC debut this week and hasn’t fought since September 2019 where the Brazilian went to a Draw in the Jungle Fight Promotion.

10 of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of submission. He’s 1-1-1 when going the distance.

Deiveson, the current UFC flyweight champ, had the following prediction for the fight against Rivera this week:

“You better believe it Junior (Francisco) is going out there to dominate him. If it hits the ground, it’ll be even worse for Rivera, Junior is 100% better than him on the ground. We are real blackbelts. We train with the best. When it comes to striking, that’s what we do. I see him as copy of Adesanya against Rivera.”

This is going to be an intriguing matchup between two fighters who like to rely on their submission game. Figueredo hasn’t competed in 16 months where Rivera fought three times last year with two in the UFC. I am going to pick that this fight goes Over 2.5 rounds (-190) and the full distance (-155).

With that said, Deiveson has convinced me to take his brother in this bout. So, I am going with Francisco to win this contest via decision. Yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a stoppage since Francisco should be the better striker in this matchup.

Francisco Figueiredo vs Jerome Rivera –Figueiredo (-150)

Over 2.5 rounds (-190)

Fight goes the distance (-155)

Figueiredo wins via decision (+210)

Dalcha Lungiambula vs Markus Perez

  • Dalcha Lungiambula (-135)
  • Markus Perez (+115)
  • Over (-120)/Under (+100) 1.5 rounds

This bout was originally scheduled for Isi Fitikefu to take on Dalcha Lungiambula. However, Fitikefu was forced out of the fight and Marku Perez stepped in on more than two weeks’ notice.

Markus Perez enters this fight having lost two in a row and three of his last four. Overall, he has a 2-4 record inside the octagon since joining in late 2017 after a successful run in other regional promotions.

Nine of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of submission. He’s 3-3 when going the distance.

Dalcha didn’t fight in 2020 and has a 1-1 record inside the octagon since joining in the summer of 2019. He was 9-1 entering the UFC where he won his debut via 3rd round TKO over Dequan Townsend. He lost his second fight via 3rd round KO versus Magomed Ankalaev.

Six of his 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-0 when going the distance.

For Perez, this fight is a must win situation. I can’t imagine the UFC giving him many more opportunities if he loses a third straight and for the 5th time in seven UFC bouts.

For Dalcha, the time away could have been useful as he improves his fight game and makes a move towards the Top 15 rankings in his division.

As entertaining as Perez is in the prefight build-up, he has failed miserably inside the octagon. I just don’t seem him being able to outslug Dalcha in this bout. I’m taking the South African fighter to pick up the win via TKO/KO. He has more power than Perez and Markus’ chin is suspect at best.

As for the duration of the fight, I see it ending inside the distance (-275), but I am going to say that Perez pushes it beyond the 1.5 round mark (-120).

Dalcha Lungiambula vs Markus Perez –Lungiambula (-135)

Over 1.5 rounds (-120)

Fight ends inside the distance (-275)

Lungiambula wins inside the distance (+110)

Lungiambula wins via TKO/KO (+115)

Su Mudaerji vs Zarrukh Adashev

  • Su Mudaerji (-450)
  • Zarrukh Adashev (+360)
  • Over (-105)/Under (-115) 1.5 rounds

Jeff Molina was originally set to face Zarrukh Adashev, but he was forced out of the contest. Su Mudaerji agreed to step in on three weeks’ notice.

Adashev will make his second trip into the octagon as a massive underdog. His debut came last June where he lost via 1st round KO in 32 seconds. The loss snapped a three fight win streak, which earned him a look from the UFC.

All three of those wins came in Bellator where two victories were by TKO. His other victory came via decision.

Su Mudaerji, nicknamed “the Tibetan Eagle,” lost his UFC debut in August 2018 after a lengthy stint in the WLF. He fell to Louis Smolka via 2nd round submission.

Su Mudaerji would return to action in August 2019 with a decision win over Andre Soukhamthath. He last fought two months ago and beat Malcolm Gordon via 1st round KO in 44 seconds.

12 of his 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 1-0 when going the distance. All four of his losses have come via submission.

I see no reason to think that Mudaerji won’t win this fight. The only question is whether or not Adashev can make it out of the 1st round.

I believe Su Mudaerji is too talented for Adashev and he will win via TKO/KO in Under 1.5 rounds (-115), which offers the best value for this fight.

Su Mudaerji vs Zarrukh Adashev –Mudaerji (-450)

Under 1.5 rounds (-115)

Fight ends inside the distance (-275)

Mudaerji wins inside the distance (-165)

Mudaerji (wins via TKO/KO (-155)

Ricky Simon vs Gaetano Pirrello

  • Ricky Simon (-400)
  • Gaetano Pirrello (+325)
  • Over (-145)/Under (+125) 2.5 rounds

This is the third prelim bout where we have a massive disparity in betting odds.

This bout was originally scheduled to be Brian Kelleher vs Ricky Simon on January 16th. However, Kelleher tested positive from covid and was removed from the card. Simon was then rescheduled for this January 20th event against newcomer Gaetano Pirrello.

Gaetano Pirrello is making his UFC debut this week and is riding a two fight win streak as he enters the octagon. Pirrello is 5-1 in his last six fights with all of them coming in the European regional MMA scene.

14 of his 15 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 1-1-1 when going the distance.

Ricky Simon looks to fight for the first time in eight months. His last bout came in May 2020 where he beat Ray Borg via split decision in a highly competitive matchup. The win snapped a two fight losing streak. Simon is 4-2 inside the octagon with losses to Rob Font and Urijah Faber.

Seven of his 16 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 9-1 when going the distance.

If Pirrello can pull off the win, it will be due to his striking. With that said, I expect Simon to successfully navigate the striking and to get this bout to the mat. In the end, Simon will have scored more points due to takedowns and top control, which should give him the decision victory (+135).

I like the value for Simon to win via decision at +135 odds. It’s certainly better than his moneyline. 10 of his 19 pro fights have gone the distance. Four of his last five fights have gone the full 15 minutes.

In addition to this bout going the distance (-125), take the Over 2.5 rounds (-145).

Ricky Simon vs Gaetano Pirrello –Simon (-400)

Over 2.5 rounds (-145)

Fight goes the distance (-125)

Simon wins via decision (+135)

Omari Akhmedov vs Tom Breese

  • Omari Akhmedov (+140)
  • Tom Breese (-160)
  • Over (-155)/Under (+135) 2.5 rounds

This bout was originally scheduled for UFC on ABC 1 which took place on January 16th, but it was pushed back four days due to covid.

Omari Akhmedov has been with the UFC for over eight years. In that time, he’s gone 8-4-1. Akhmedov last fought five months ago and lost via decision to Chris Weidman. The loss snapped a six fight unbeaten streak.

12 of his 20 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 8-1-1 when going the distance.

Tom Breese has been with the UFC since the spring of 2015 and has gone 5-2 in that span. However, he’s 2-2 in his last four fights.

Breese last competed in October 2020 and won via 1st round TKO over KB Bhullar. It was a bounce back win after losing to Brendan Allen via 1st round TKO 11 months ago.

11 of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of TKO/KO. He’s 1-1 when going the distance.

This really is going to be a good fight. With that said, I am going with the underdog and taking Akhmedov. I believe the Russian is the better all-around fighter. Furthermore, he will have the advantage on the mat in the wrestling department.

I see Akhmedov picking up the win via decision (+235) as he grinds out Breese. Take the Over 2.5 rounds (-155) and for the fight to go the full 15 minutes (-135) which offers the best value outside of Akhmedov’s moneyline.

Omari Akhmedov vs Tom Breese –Akhmedov (+140)

Over 2.5 rounds (-155)

Fight goes the distance (-135)

Akhmedov wins via decision (+235)

Rick Rockwell

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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