After an unforgettable 3-week-stretch of fights in Abu Dhabi featuring Dustin Poirier’s (27-6-1 MMA, 19-5-1 UFC) jaw dropping finish of Conor McGregor (22-5 MMA, 10-3 UFC), and Max Holloway’s (22-6 MMA, 18-6 UFC) record setting performance over Calvin Kattar (23-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC), the MMA leader returns to the original fight capital of the world; Las Vegas, Nevada.
This Saturday night, the UFC hosts UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov live in their own arena, the UFC Apex. The main event features a showdown with the #5 and #6 heavyweights on planet earth as Alistair Overeem (47-18 MMA, 12-7 UFC) and Alexander Volkov (32-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC) clash in an attempt to secure respective title shots versus the winner of the upcoming rematch between champion Stipe Miocic (20-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) and challenger Francis Ngannou (15-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) at UFC 260.
The odds currently have Alexander Volkov listed as a -200 favorite with the comeback on Alistair Overeem at +170.
Prior to the main event, UFC fans can expect another deep fight card loaded with title contenders, former and future champions, legends, and under the radar matchups that will surely deliver the violence. The entire event will be streamed live on ESPN+.
In this article, I will discuss three of my favorite parlay legs on the UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov fight card. Please remember to always gamble legally and responsibly.
Timur Valiev (-345)
Although Timur Valiev (16-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) lost his UFC debut against Trevin Jones (13-6 MMA, 1-0 UFC), I truly believe he showed many effective tools which will translate to wins inside the octagon down the line. The Trevin Jones fight was the definition of an upset. Not just because Valiev was the favorite and Jones was the underdog. The real reason is because despite the result, Timur Valiev clearly seemed to be the better fighter. But as you know in mixed martial arts, the better fighter doesn’t always win.
Valiev simply got caught. It happens to the best of them.
That is the only knockout loss in Valiev’s 19 fight career. The reality is Timur Valiev was piecing up Trevin Jones to a point where he got carried away, and as a result fatigued badly. This is a mistake that can easily be corrected in the gym. Especially under the guidance of legendary coach Mark Henry. One could even make the argument that the Jones fight may have been stopped in the first round with a different referee. But that’s neither here nor there. The facts are Jones won and Valiev lost. This Saturday, Timur Valiev has the perfect bounce-back opportunity ahead of him as he faces off with fellow striker Martin “The Spartan” Day (8-5 MMA, 0-3 UFC).
I have a lot of respect for Martin Day, who accepted this bout on a week’s short notice like the true Hawaiian warrior that he is. Day will surely give his best effort and fight his heart out. I just think Timur Valiev is better. Everywhere.
This might be considered a hot take, but had Timur Valiev’s UFC debut been a win for the Russian, he’d be an even bigger favorite in this spot. I believe Timur Valiev makes for a solid parlay piece this weekend at UFC Vegas 18, and it would take a serious mental lapse for him to lose this fight.
Cody Stamann (-450)
Cody Stamann (19-3-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) is one of the most reliable commodities in the bantamweight and now featherweight divisions. The most underrated quality about the Michigan native is he never takes any unnecessary risks inside the octagon. This means he usually plays to his strengths, which includes outpointing his opponents in the stand up department, and using his wrestling to kill the clock with smothering top control.
In this matchup versus newcomer Askar Askar (11-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), not to be confused with flyweight contender Askar Askarov (13-0-1 MMA, 2-0-1 UFC), Stamann will look to display the same skill set that earned him a top 15 ranking in the 135 pound division. Stamann brings a mixture of disciplined striking with a heavy, top pressure wrestling game. In fact, Stamann has landed 23 takedowns throughout his 8-fight UFC run. The only fighters in the big show that have been able to get past Stamann are title challenger Aljamain Sterling (19-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC), and perennial contender Jimmie Rivera (23-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC).
In other words, you have to be on a certain level to beat Cody Stamann, and barring a major upset, Askar Askar is simply not on that level right now.
Devonte Smith (-280)
People told me not to parlay Devonte Smith (10-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC). That makes me want to test the waters and parlay Devonte Smith. Trust me, I get it, “King Kage” cost a lot of people a lot of money versus Khama Worthy (16-7 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in 2019. But no one told you to parlay Devonte Smith at -1000 in that spot. I also understand, he lost to John Gunther (7-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) on the regional scene, which is most definitely the kind of loss that will never age well. With all that said, this is a completely different matchup.
Devonte Smith’s entire game revolves around the jab, the straight right, and the calf kicks. It’s all about using his jab and kicks to find the range and set up his money straight cross. In this fight Smith holds a lengthy 8 inch reach advantage over his opponent Justin Jaynes (16-6 MMA, 1-2 UFC). Stylistically, being the longer man is extremely beneficial for the type of boxing-based gameplan Smith wants to impose.
Jaynes, a short brawler, will look to close the distance and chuck looping haymakers in pursuit of a one punch knockout. Make no mistake about it, Justin Jaynes packs a punch. 8 of his 16 wins are via first round knock out. However, Jaynes does seem to red-line in his approach, and if he is unable to get a first round finish, fights tend to progressively slip away from him.
Ultimately, I see Devonte Smith weathering the chaotic early storm Justin Jaynes brings to the table, and effectively finding a home for his calf kicks and straight right down the pipe. I think Devonte Smith gets back on track Saturday night in Vegas.
Check out our other UFC Vegas 18 content
- Select fight betting preview from TJ Calkins
- Dan Tom’s favorite lines