UFC on ESPN 18: Blaydes vs Lewis Betting Preview, Odds and Picks
On Saturday, November 28th, the UFC will be live from its Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC on ESPN 18 also known as UFC Vegas 15. The main event of the night is a Top 4 heavyweight battle as #2 ranked Curtis Blaydes takes on #4 ranked Derrick Lewis.
The co-main event is a light heavyweight matchup between the 6th ranked Anthony Smith and unranked Devin Clark. Also on the main card is Spike Carlyle vs Bill Algeo, Miguel Baeza vs Takashi Sato, and Josh Parisian vs Parker Porter.
Originally, this event was to have six main card fights, but a flyweight bout between Amir Albazi and Zhalgas Zhumagulov was postponed. Now, the five bout main card will begin at 10PM ET on ESPN+.
UFC betting sites have released their odds for the main card of UFC on ESPN 18. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these UFC odds, identify any value, and hit these precisions with some vicious Muay Thai strikes.
— UFC (@ufc) November 24, 2020
Josh Parisian vs Parker Porter
- Josh Parisian (-230)
- Parker Porter (+190)
- Over (+125)/Under (-145) 1.5 rounds
Parker Porter will make his second trip into the octagon this weekend after losing his debut in August via 1st round TKO to Chris Daukaus. The loss snapped a two fight winning streak. He’s 4-2 in his last six bouts and also went 1-1 in Bellator.
Eight of his nine pro wins have come via stoppage with four wins apiece for submission and TKO/KO. He’s only gone the distance one time in a pro fight and was victorious.
Josh Parisian is on a six fight win streak and earned a UFC opportunity with a win on DWCS in August. It was his second appearance on the show with the first one coming in June 2018. During this winning streak, Parisian has knocked out all of his opponents for the victory.
10 of his 13 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 1-1 when going the distance. Speaking about this fight, Parisian made the following comments:
“I don’t know what to expect from my opponent — I don’t watch his videos because I want to be a little bit nervous because I perform better when I’m nervous. What I can expect from myself is to never quit and to give it my all. Winning and losing isn’t always in our control, but I know what is in my control is my effort and if I go out there and give all of my effort, I know I will be happy with myself.”
Additionally, Parisian stated that he trains to win fight night bonuses because the $50,000 dollars can change his life. There’s a chance he could pick up a bonus this weekend with another knockout victory.
And, I see that happening as Porter has already suffered three TKO/KO losses in his career. Furthermore, he doesn’t even appear to be on the same level as Parisian in terms of overall talent.
Take this fight to end Under 1.5 rounds (-145) and inside the distance (-505). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended in the 1st round (+115).
With 10 TKO/KO wins in his career, including six in a row, the best value for this fight is Parisian winning via TKO/KO at -135 odds.
Under 1.5 rounds (-145)
Fight ends inside the distance (-505)
Parisian wins inside the distance (-145)
Parisian wins via TKO/KO (-135)
Bill Algeo vs Spike Carlyle
- Bill Algeo (+150)
- Spike Carlyle (-170)
- Over (-110)/Under (-110) 2.5 rounds
Bill Algeo enters this bout as a sizable underdog. He’s dropped two of his last three fights including his UFC debut three months ago where he came out on the wrong side of a decision against Ricardo Lamas.
Algeo earned a shot on DWCS in June 2019 after winning four straight fights in Ring of Combat. Unfortunately, he also lost on DWCS via unanimous decision. However, he took the Lamas fight on short notice after fighting 16 days prior in CFFC where he beat Tim Dooling via unanimous decision.
Nine of his 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of submission. He’s 4-3 when going the distance. Algeo will have a four inch height and 2.5 inch reach advantage.
Carlyle made his UFC debut in February where he won via 1st round TKO over Aalon Cruz. He returned to the octagon in May, but lost via unanimous decision to Billy Quarantillo. The loss snapped a five fight win streak. Both of his pro losses have come via decision.
Eight of his nine pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission. He’s 1-2 when going the distance.
Algeo might have the reach advantage, but I don’t see him staying on his feet long enough to enjoy it. Carlyle will close the distance quickly and take down Algeo where he will pummel him on the mat and eventually find a submission. Two of Algeo’s five losses have come via tapping out.
I’m taking the Under 2.5 rounds (-110) in this one because Carlyle will get this fight to the mat pretty quickly. Even if Algeo survives the 1st round, I don’t see him surviving the second. This fight won’t go to a decision (-170). Carlyle is superior on the mat than Algeo who has a poor takedown defense.
The best value for this bout is Carlyle winning inside the distance at +115. Three of his last four fights have ended in the 1st round with Carlyle having his hand raised.
Under 2.5 rounds (-110)
Fight ends inside the distance (-170)
Carlyle wins inside the distance (+115)
Carlyle wins via submission (+700)
Miguel Baeza vs Takashi Sato
- Miguel Baeza (-150)
- Takashi Sato (+130)
- Over (-125)/Under (+105) 1.5 rounds
Takashi Sato enters as the underdog, but is 2-1 inside the octagon having debuted with the UFC in April 2019. He last fought in June 2020 and won via 1st round TKO over Jason Witt. His lone loss was a 3rd round submission to Belal Muhammad 14 months ago.
13 of his 16 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-0 when going the distance.
Miguel Baeza is unbeaten in his career which includes going 2-0 in the UFC. Baeza earned a contract with a victory on DWCS in June 2019. Both of his octagon appearances ended with a TKO victory in the 2nd round. He last fought in May 2020 and beat Matt Brown.
Miguel Baeza vs Takashi Sato will be 2nd bout on the main card for Nov 28th… Baeza's last win was over Matt Brown with a KO in the 2nd round. Was scheduled to fight Mickey Gall in Sept but it was cancelled. #MMA #UFC pic.twitter.com/Yg0mlSPAAP
— MMartial (@MMartial5) November 23, 2020
Seven of his nine pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 2-0 when going the distance. Speaking about his upcoming fight, Baeza made the following comments:
“I like the matchup; I think it’s going to be a good one. I think we’re both exciting fighters and there is a reason why they put us on the main card.”
This bout is going to be exciting. These two men have combined for 18 TKO/KO wins out of 25 total victories. They’re both known for loving to knockout their opponents. Saturday’s fight will have plenty of fireworks.
I do not see this fight going the distance at all (-280). In 28 pro contests, these two men have combined to go the distance in just five bouts.
The Over/Under could be a tricky one here. With that said, I am leaning with Under 1.5 rounds (+105) as these two men have combined to finish their fights within that time frame in 17 of them.
As for the method of victory, it’s clearly going to be a TKO/KO. Neither man will be looking to go to the mat. With that said, I am going with Baeza despite Sato having a better overall resume. Baeza will have the height and reach advantage in this matchup.
The best value is Baeza winning inside the distance at +140 odds.
Under 1.5 rounds (+105)
Fight ends inside the distance (-280)
Baeza wins inside the distance (+140)
Baeza wins via TKO/KO (+140)
Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs Amir Albazi
This bout was scheduled for the main card of UFC on ESPN 18, but it has been removed from the lineup as of this writing. Zhalgas Zhumagulov had issues with his passport and won’t be able to make it in time for the event.
The UFC has decided to postpone this fight and reschedule it for another show instead of trying to find Amir Albazi another opponent. Albazi is looking to make his second octagon appearance. He debuted in July and won via 1st round submission.
Zhumagulov was also scheduled to make his second octagon appearance, but unlike Albazi, he lost in his UFC debut.
Anthony Smith vs Devin Clark
- Anthony Smith (-140)
- Devin Clark (+120)
- Over (-135)/Under (+115) 2.5 rounds
I’ll start right now by saying that I am not a fan of this fight. I think Smith needs more time off to rest, heal and reexamine his UFC career. He was destroyed by Glover Teixeira in May and then dominated by Aleksandar Rakic in August.
Not only did Smith suffer consecutive losses, but he took a punishment in both fights. This is a veteran with 49 fights on his resume which is a ton of wear and tear on the mind and body. I just don’t see the reason for Smith taking another fight in 2020 especially three months after his last beating.
13 of his 16 pro losses have come via stoppage with nine of them being by TKO/KO. It has been a rough few years for Smith having dropped three of his last four fights.
With that said, if you watched the bout against Teixeira then you know how much punishment Smith has taken this year. Once again, I don’t believe his team is doing what’s best for him.
— MMA On Point (@OnPointMMA) November 24, 2020
Devin Clark joined the UFC in July 2016 and has gone 6-4 since then. For the first three years, he alternated between wins and losses. However, in 2020, Clark has gone 2-0 so far. In fact, he picked up a big win in June over the rising Alonzo Menifield.
Both of Clark’s wins this year have come against fighters that he was expected to lose to. Yet, the “Brown Bear,” has appeared to have figured out the recipe for success inside the octagon. That recipe includes improved boxing along with his strong wrestling background.
Clark believes that if he gets this win on Saturday, he would be deserving of a Top 10 ranking in the light heavyweight division. That might be a bit too high of an assessment as a Top 13 would be more likely.
With that said, Clark actually likes his opponent this weekend, but believes that he will get the win and put on a show for the fans:
“I like Anthony as a fighter because he’s a tough fighter, and I believe in myself as being a tough fighter, and I think that’s just a really good matchup for the fans to see, who’s gonna be more tough and last the 15 minutes in this fight. But we’re pretty opposite in styles, I feel, him being striker, jiu-jitsu stuff like that. Mine’s wrestling, power, speed, striking. It’s power striking. It’s not all that technical, so we’re kinda pretty opposite of each other, so I think that makes it a good fight for us.”
The key to Clark’s comments is “last the 15 minutes in this fight.” Clark has gone the distance in eight of his 16 pro fights and has won all eight of them including two straight octagon appearances. Smith has only gone the distance in five pro bouts with a 3-2 record. But, he did so in his last fight.
Smith’s best days are clearly behind him. He just doesn’t look like the same fighter anymore. I’m not sure if he should retire or just take some time off to figure things out and get 100% healthy, but he’s in trouble this weekend.
I believe Clark is going to pick up the biggest win of his career via unanimous decision. He will get Smith to the mat for long stretches, maintain control, and win rounds.
This fight will go Over 2.5 rounds (-135) and the full distance (-115). From there, Clark’s wrestling will earn him the win (+225). The best value is with Clark’s moneyline of +120 odds.
Over 2.5 rounds (-135)
Fight goes the distance (-115)
Clark wins via decision (+120)
Curtis Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis
- Curtis Blaydes (-360)
- Derrick Lewis (+300)
- Over (-170)/Under (+150) 1.5 rounds
For fight fans, this is a great post-Thanksgiving bout as we have two Top 4 heavyweights fighting to get the next crack at a title shot after Francis Ngannou.
The 4th ranked Derrick Lewis is on a three fight win streak since dropping two in a row to Junior dos Santos and Daniel Cormier. His last bout came in August where he won via 2nd round TKO over the outgunned Alexey Oleynik.
Lewis is a heavy handed powerhouse that has 19 TKO/KO wins in his career and holds the record for most knockouts (11) by a UFC heavyweight. It’s a record that he hopes to extend this weekend.
Blaydes enters this weekend’s bout on a four fight win streak. He’s 9-2 inside the UFC with both losses coming against Francis Ngannou via TKO/KO. Since the second Ngannou fight, Blaydes has shown a marked improved and ferociousness inside the octagon.
Blaydes’ name has been mentioned as a potential candidate for Jon Jones debut in the heavyweight division. This is something that Blaydes doesn’t support:
“No, I’m not (fighting Jones). If I win this fight (with Lewis), I want the title shot. I’m not going to be cannon fodder to build up someone else. I’ve already built up myself and I feel like I’ve earned that. I feel like I don’t have to take that fight if I don’t need it. That’s a title fight. I’m not fighting Jon Jones to prove that I deserve a heavyweight title shot, that’s ridiculous.”
Blaydes has a point. If he wins this weekend, he will have defeated five straight heavyweights including three in the Top 7 when he fought them. That’s a resume that typically earns one a title shot. Unfortunately, the UFC has created a logjam at the top of the division.
Right now, Francis Ngannou is the next man in line for a title shot. However, nobody knows when that will be as Stipe Miocic is healing from his win over Cormier this summer. There’s no need to book Ngannou against Blaydes because Francis already beat Curtis twice.
Even with a highlight reel knockout of Lewis on Saturday, it won’t help Blaydes leapfrog Ngannou for a title shot. The reality is, he will have to wait probably another year before being the next man up.
As for the winner of this heavyweight showdown, I like Blaydes. I believe he will get this fight to the mat where he can gain leverage, top control and look for one of his brutal ground and pound finishes. Lewis won’t be able to hang with Blaydes on the mat.
I see this fight going Over 1.5 rounds (-170), but it will end inside the distance. Lewis has never gone past the 4th round in a fight. Blaydes has gone to the 5th round just once and that came in his last bout against Alexander Volkov who has the conditioning to go 25 minutes. Lewis does not.
I see Lewis fading as the fight goes longer. Blaydes will capitalize on Lewis’ fatigue, score a takedown and find the TKO/KO via ground and pound. Blaydes winning inside the distance at -125 odds offers the best value for this main event heavyweight battle.
Over 1.5 rounds (-170)
Fight ends inside the distance (-255)
Fight won’t start round 4 (-170)
Blaydes wins inside the distance (-125)
Blaydes wins via TKO/KO (+130)
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