Dan Tom’s favorite lines for UFC Vegas 9. Overeem vs Sakai

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With MMA back in full swing, you can expect to see weekly betting articles from us here at Line Movement, as I’ll be providing you with a sample of plays I like for UFC Vegas 9 this weekend. 

The fight card airs on ESPN+ and is headlined by heavyweights Alistair Overeem (-160) and Augusto Sakai (+140). 

Sakai, who I officially sided with as my pick, opened at a very tempting +230, but has been bet down by a significant margin throughout this week. If you were able to grab an unassuming heavyweight at anything north of +150, then I don’t blame you for betting on the Brazilian in this spot.

Despite Sakai’s large frame and physique, the 29-year-old moves deceptively well, showing the ability to shift stances and stay light on his feet. And whether or not you want to credit that to the surprising fact of Sakai being a competitive runner, the 9-year pro also displays solid cardio for a heavyweight, maintaining a consistent/increasing striking pace throughout the fight. 

Most importantly, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt has yet to be stopped or submitted as a pro, seldom showing to be stung in contests. Couple that with that fact that Overeem has been dropped or stopped in 10 of his last 17 fights, and I believe that this collision may not bode well for the former PRIDE fighter.

That said, Overeem is clearly the more experienced and technically-skilled party, as I’ll be curious to see he can dust off his underrated takedown game against a man who is hard to move. But with the way this line has been trending, I suspect to see more support come in for Overeem given the point of entry for the favorite. 

Will this fight happen?

As for this Saturday’s co-main event, the UFC is re-packaging Ovince St. Preux (+110) vs. Alonzo Menifield (-130), which was supposed to take place 2 weeks prior until a positive COVID test canceled the meeting on fight day. Perhaps it was due to St. Preux being the one who tested positive, but Menifield opened as the slight favorite this time around with the public (once again) following suit by pushing the line even wider. 

As stated in my last breakdown of the initial matchup, I believe that St. Preux should be the deserved favorite due to his edge in both the experience and skills department. 

St. Preux is a deceptive counter fighter with knockout power and can be difficult to hit cleanly. And on the floor, whether we’re talking about wrestling or submissions, St. Preux should also be the one who is holding court.

Still, even though I’m admittedly on the southpaw vet at plus money, the intangible of making weight with a 2-week turnaround is a scary factor at play. For that reason, be careful with playing either side too hard here, as I’ll be offering my official straight play recommendations below.

As per usual with my content, I’ll offer my honest analysis as I try to explain my angles and attempt to add to your insight when it comes to both breaking down and betting on fights. 

Line Movement MMA Betting Show

This article is for entertainment purposes only, as I stress to anyone that gambles to do so legally and responsibly. 

Straight play: Alexander Romanov -140

I know what you’re thinking: “Betting on a debuting UFC fighter at chalk odds in the heavyweight division? You should know better, Dan.”

And you’re probably right.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised after looking at both the styles match and line movement at hand, as I find myself taking a shot on principle here.

Alexander Romanov (-140), who opened at a wide -330, will be taking on a veteran in Marcos Rogerio de Lima (+120). 

Similar to Augusto Sakai, Romanov looks like a character who is easy to overlook due to his large frame and physique. Couple that with the fact that Romanov has faced a lot of questionable competition in borderline-comical fights, and I suspect that that’s why we are seeing the line move toward the more experienced man.

The potential problem, however, is that – not only is Romanov better than meets the eye – but de Lima is one of the most undependable fighters on the UFC roster, as he’s prone to spontaneously combusting into submissions at any point of the contest (even in fights he’s winning). So, when paired opposite of a durable-looking southpaw who can wrestle and hit submissions, I can’t exactly say that I like the Brazilian’s chances. 

Although Romanov is often listed as a sumo-style fighter, the Moldovan can actually wrestle quite well for MMA (much less heavyweight) standards, showing the ability to hit explosive doubles in the open or against the fence. The 29-year-old has also earned his fair share of regional MMA and submission grappling titles, which come through in his in-cage process.

On the feet, Romanov actually looks quite comfortable, often launching hard, Thai-style kicks from a southpaw stance. Despite being listed as an undefeated fighter, Romanov has suffered knockout losses both in kickboxing and amateur MMA, but each of those hiccups came upwards of 9 years ago. 

If Romanov can make it to fight day complication-free (as their original booking was canceled due to a positive COVID test), then I suspect he’s but one takedown away from rolling through de Lima – who I’m more than happy to fade in this sort of styles matchup. 

Straight play: Jalin Turner +140

Although Andre Muniz is another attractive underdog at +140 that I’m considering making a play on, I ended up siding with Jalin Turner (+140), who faces Thiago Moises (-160) this Saturday.

After speaking with my co-host Daniel Levi on this week’s Line Movement MMA Betting Show (inserted atop this article), we not only agreed with each other in regards to Moises’ ceiling – but we also spotted a negative trend for the Brazilian involving long/southpaw strikers.

Turner, who can fight tall from both sides, offers stinging offense from the southpaw stance either coming forward or off the counter. More importantly, Turner, who is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, has an underrated ground game as he has yet to be submitted as a pro.

Despite being big for the weight class, Turner somewhat surprisingly has good cardio, as his pace and striking numbers appear to increase as the fight goes on. If Moises, who fights an incredibly low/suspect striking pace, can’t secure positions with his takedowns, then I’m not sure I see him being able to catch Turner with any fight-ending submissions.

For that reason, I can’t help but take a shot on the underdog to have his day by either knockout or decision, as I’m just not sold on the Moises love. 

Regardless of what you’re betting, bet responsibly, my friends!

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