Parlay Pieces for UFC Vegas 16

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Tomorrow at UFC Vegas 16, middleweights take the marquee as #4 ranked contender Jack Hermansson (21-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC) faces off with #13 Marvin Vettori (15-4-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) in the main event. The winner looks to get one step closer to a title shot versus undefeated reigning champion Israel Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC). In an all-European clash, Hermansson walks to the Octagon with two flags, representing Norway and Sweden, while Vettori proudly drapes the tri-colored Italian flag over his shoulders. Stylistically speaking, Hermansson and Vettori matchup uniquely too. A proven finisher, Hermansson has ended 6 of his 8 octagon wins inside the distance, with a variety of methods including ground n pound TKO’s, all the way to guillotine chokes and heel hooks. Vettori, on the other hand, has finished 2 of his 5 UFC wins, both by first-round submission.

It’s safe to say that if this fight hits the mat, there will surely be nail-biting scrambles in a chess match between two hungry fighters on the rise. Also, these two warriors have a history together. On May 21st, 2016, both Hermansson and Vettori competed on the same regional card, Venator FC 3: Palhares vs. Meek, in Milan, Italy. Hermansson defeated Poland’s Ireneusz Cholewa via 3rd round TKO, while Vettori beat UFC veteran Igor Araujo by 1st round guillotine. Over 4 years later, Hermansson and Vettori will meet in a UFC main event, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Odds currently have the “Italian Dream” Vettori slightly favored at -140, with the comeback on “The Joker” Hermansson at +120. Prior to the night’s headliner, the fans will be treated to a stacked card loaded with promising prospects and grizzly veterans all looking to end 2020 with a bang. 

In this article, I will discuss two of my favorite parlay legs on the UFC Vegas 16 fight card. Please remember to always gamble legally and responsibly.

Ilia Topuria (-250)

Georgia’s Ilia Topuria (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is only 9 fights into his mixed martial arts campaign, yet already shows the signs of a seasoned vet. A ripe 23 years of age, Topuria is wise beyond his years mixing in a unique blend of relentless wrestling with powerful striking. With the country of Georgia producing a stacked crop of talent such as Merab Dvalishvili, Giga Chikadze, and Roman Dolidze, Topuria fits the mold of a blue chip prospect, and has top 10 potential written all over him. In Topuria’s UFC debut, he took on then undefeated-in-the-UFC Youssef Zalal and handed him his first octagon defeat. As an underdog in that bout, Topuria landed 5 takedowns over the 3 round duration. Just remember folks, Topuria took that fight on a week’s short notice. Zalal was originally slated to face off with Korea’s Seung Woo Choi. After Choi withdrew, Topuria jumped on the opportunity and made the most of it.

A very impressive part of Topuria’s performance was the fact that this was the Georgian’s first time ever seeing the judges scorecards in a professional bout. Topuria has finished 8 of his 9 wins inside the distance, which always begs the question, “what happens if he goes to decision?” On October 10th, 2020 in his UFC debut versus Youssef Zalal, Topuria answered that question decisively by winning a unanimous decision. What better place to show off that you’re not just a finisher and can win decisions too than under the brightest lights of the MMA leader? 

Another big factor that stood out was Topuria’s ability to dig deep during gut-check time. Taking a fight on such short notice, even the most well-conditioned athletes will tire. After pure domination of takedown after takedown, and submission attempt after submission attempt in the first two rounds, Topuria began to understandably slow down in the third stanza.

Did Topuria give up a takedown in that vulnerable moment? No. Ilia did the complete opposite. Even in his most fatigued state, Topuria still had the wherewithal to land that final takedown in the last minute to minimize damage and seal the victory. Now with a full camp and the valuable experience of his UFC debut behind him, fans and bettors can expect Topuria to have his best showing to date. 

In this matchup versus tough veteran Damon Jackson (18-3-1-1 MMA, 1-1-1-1 UFC), Topuria will once again have to show the goods that make the 23 year old one of the brightest prospects in the featherweight division. Jackson will not only have the experience advantage over Topuria, but he’ll also have 4 inches of height and 2 inches of reach over his Georgian counterpart. In addition, Jackson trains at the esteemed gym Fortis MMA under respected coach Sayif Saud. Despite these nods for “The Leech” Jackson, Topuria holds a big edge in the wrestling department, which should ultimately dictate where this fight takes place. In Jackson’s last bout versus the formerly touted Mirsad Bektic, Jackson weathered a storm that saw him taken down 7 times and outstruck 76 to 20. In that fight, Damon Jackson had a miraculous 3rd round comeback win via guillotine choke.

I am under the impression that if Ilia Topuria can keep it together in the composure department, that he will dominate Jackson similar to how Bektic did, minus “pulling a stunt” and throwing the fight away in the final round. Topuria can win this fight by mixing in takedowns, but if he wants to test out his standup against the Texan, that option is there as well. I applaud anyone that played Topuria straight in the -170 to -225 range, and still think there is value upwards of -250 for a solid parlay leg. 

The Line Movement MMA betting show w/Dan Levi & Dan Tom

Movsar Evloev vs Nate Landwehr Over 2.5 Rounds (-210)

Longtime rivals Movsar Evloev (13-0, 3-0 UFC) and Nate “The Train” Landwehr (14-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will do battle in the main card opener at UFC Vegas 16. These emerging featherweights have a longstanding history together which dates back to their days on the M1 Global scene in Russia. Movsar Evloev was the posterboy for M1 Global, as the undefeated Russian brings a style similar to that of the great Khabib Nurmagomedov. Hardcore fans thought it was only a matter of time before Evloev would make an impact in the lighter weights of the UFC rankings. For Nate Landwehr, he was a bit of an enigma, because he was the American that went to Russia and beat Russians. At first, it was like “who’s this American beating our guys?” But Landwehr kept winning fights and eventually earned the respect of the Russians by winning the M1 Global featherweight title and defending it two times. In 2018, both Evloev and Landwehr were champions in M1 Global in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, respectively. Yet, the two champions never squared off in a champion versus champion superfight for the Russian promotion. 

This Saturday night, in Las Vegas, Nevada, that changes. Interestingly enough, the current betting odds have Movsar Evloev as a whopping -650 favorite, with the comeback on Nate “The Train” Landwehr at +450. While I agree that Evloev should be favored, I definitely did not expect the line to be this wide for the Russian. This is a dog or pass situation, despite me picking Evloev to win outright. That being said, I found another angle to tackle this fight with at the betting window. And that’s the over 2.5 rounds. Movsar Evloev has won all 3 of his UFC victories by decision, and Nate Landwehr has only been finished twice in 17 professional fights. While that doesn’t automatically mean that neither man won’t win inside the distance, I just view this as most likely another decision win for Evloev. The over 2.5 rounds opened at -235, and I believe the current line of -210 still holds value considering the durability of both men. 

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Dan Levi has gained a reputation as MMA's premiere handicapper by consistently going against the grain with a sharpshooter approach that has coined him one of the top underdog players in the industry. Boasting an over 5 year sample size & track record, Levi has proven that he can deliver a profit year after year. Even in his toughest years, Levi still ended in the green. Host of the weekly show “Half The Battle,” Levi can be found giving entertaining & insightful analysis on the fights every single week. Levi gives back to the fight community by sponsoring over 7 professional & amateur fighters, as well as handling commentary duties for the NFC, the Southeast’s #1 regional MMA promotion. A true student of the game, Levi is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blue belt under Professor Gui Cury. All true fans of mixed martial arts can count on Levi to provide a one-of-a-kind listening experience with his unique, enthusiastic approach.