With the Ultimate Fighting Championships coming through with a slew of shows in 2020 that afforded us plenty of betting opportunities, you can expect another solid year of content from everyone here at the Line Movement family, as I’ll be providing you with everything from technical analysis to my favorite lines for upcoming UFC offerings.
UFC Vegas 19 is headlined by a fun heavyweight styles fight between Curtis Blaydes (-460) and Derrick Lewis (+365).
Although I don’t disagree with Blaydes being favored, I always express general caution when seeing lines north of a 2-1 spread in this division. If MMA isn’t volatile enough, heavyweight MMA can be an unforgiving battleground in more ways than one. That said, I still find myself with some action this weekend.
I’ll be picking Lewis to survive the storm in order to stage a comeback in the later rounds, but don’t blame anyone for not following me off this cliff. Blaydes should be able to take Lewis down throughout the fight, as I suspect that his riding style should serve him well against his tripoding opposition. But if Blaydes fails to find a finish on his durable foe, I worry what his cardo will look like come round 4.
Regardless of which side you’re on, I suggest taking a look at the over 1.5 (-170) rounds as a chalky middle-ground. Sure, the opener at -135 was a lot sexier in hindsight, I just have a hard time seeing this go under (unless Lewis wins, that is).
The co-main event in Las Vegas features a bantamweight battle between Ketlen Vieira (-270) and Yana Kunitskaya (+230).
Although Vieira missed the bantamweight limit by 2 pounds on Friday morning (weighing in at 138.0 pounds), the line on this matchup has stayed surprisingly steady all week. And I say ‘surprisingly’ because I honestly thought that Vieira would get steamed higher.
A fighter who came with some deserved hype and grappling credentials attached, Vieira let down many when she lost by knockout to Irene Aldana. However, as someone who doesn’t condemn her for that loss, I see a lot of upside in the Brazilian here.
The Nova Uniao product sports both a black belt in judo and wrestling experience to boot, as I see the smaller octagon serving her well against a fighter with a propensity to clinch. Despite carrying her creds in kickboxing, Kunitskaya is more of a point-fighter who now appears to seek safety inside of clinching scenarios.
Kunitskaya may be big for the division, but she’s not great at applying her strength, nor is she a knockout artist. For that reason, I believe that Vieira is one of the safer parlay pieces on the card. I suggest at looking to pair her with either Charles Rosa (-190) or Drakkar Klose (-170) for plus money.
Straight play: Chas Skelly (+205)
With my initial underdog play on Pat Sabatini getting canceled due to Rafael Alves coming in 12 pounds heavy for a featherweight affair, Chas Skelly now becomes my favorite dog on the undercard.
I can understand why Jamall Emmers (-245) is favored in this spot, I’m just not sure I agree with this fight being north of a 2-1 spread. Emmers may be the more active man, but both fighter’s resumes are deceiving.
Emmers holds a win over Cory Sandhagen, but that fight came up a division when Sandhagen only had 5 fights, as he was tasked with what ended up being a tough stylistic matchup. Other than that, Emmers’ best win is Chris Avila.
Skelly’s age and activity may be an issue on the other side, but his grapple-heavy style should have a longer shelf life as Skelly has stayed busy in the gym – consistently training with all the beasts at Sanford MMA.
Emmers also admits that he has a tendency to fight close, which is something you don’t want to do against someone who can wrestle like Skelly (particularly inside of the small cage). So, for that reason, I’ll be siding with Skelly, as he’s more proven against higher-level competition and – win or lose – will fight for your money.
Regardless of what you’re betting, bet responsibly, my friends!
Check out our other UFC Vegas 19 betting content:
Parlay Pieces from Dan Levi