UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, hosts the final Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event of 2021 this Saturday (Dec. 18, 2021), headlined by a Heavyweight clash between division stalwart Derrick Lewis and fast-rising knockout artist Chris Daukaus. UFC Vegas 45 will also see Stephen Thompson look to make his way back into Welterweight contention at Belal Muhammad’s expense and Amanda Lemos hunt her third consecutive knockout victory against Angela Hill.
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What Went Wrong at UFC 269?
Thankfully, my two bad picks were contained to a single parlay. Everything else worked out, albeit with some brief moments of terror when watching Dominick Cruz and Charles Oliveira get cracked in the first round. We’re back in business!
UFC Vegas 45 Odds For The Undercard:
Gerald Meerschaert (-225) vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (+185)
Raoni Barcelos (-280) vs. Victor Henry (+225)
Justin Tafa (-335) vs. Harry Hunsucker (+260)
Sijara Eubanks (-180) vs. Melissa Gatto (+155)
Charles Jourdain (-200) vs. Andre Ewell (+170)
Raquel Pennington (-190) vs. Macy Chiasson (+160)
Don’Tale Mayes (-195) vs. Josh Parisian (+165)
Jordan Leavitt (-115) vs. Matt Sayles (-105)
Thoughts: There’s a decent amount to work with here. I’m thinking Gerald Meerschaert, Raoni Barcelos, Charles Jourdain and Don’Tale Mayes for the favorites, plus a sprinkle on Macy Chiasson as an underdog.
I may not trust Meerschaert’s chin against heavy hitters anymore, but Dustin Stoltzfus and his two professional knockout wins are well within tolerance. Meerschaert has a significant edge in striking and submission skills, and Stoltzfus’ wrestling failed him against both Kyle Daukaus and Rodolfo Vieira.
In other words, “GM3” should be able to snowball his way to victory like normal.
Though Victor Henry’s accomplishments on the Japanese scene are laudable, I simply do not see how he wins this. He’s slower than Barcelos, easier to hit and the lesser wrestler by a significant margin. Barcelos can win this on the feet or the ground with equal ease, and Henry lacks any sort of quick-kill secret weapon to make the bet risky.
In short, bank on Barcelos.
It’s clear by now that Jourdain is a fun, flawed action fighter, not any sort of genuine title threat. That said, we’ve seen Andre Ewell fail to impress against lesser fighters than “Air,” and that’s not even taking into account that “Mr. Highlight” is fighting at Featherweight for the first time in five years. Jourdain just seems the likelier of the two to land eye-catching shots, which is enough to earn him my vote.
Josh Parisian is certainly capable of some impressive feats of violence, but he also lost badly to Parker Porter and should have tasted defeat against Roque Martinez. He just can’t seem to figure out the sort of distance management he needs to make his kick-heavy style work, while Mayes is actually pretty decent at keeping things at his preferred range.
I like “Lord Kong” to tear up Parisian, so be sure you’re in position to benefit.
As far as Chiasson, she’s got significant height and reach advantages over Raquel Pennington, plus the physical and technical ability to keep up in the clinch. Chiasson’s also by far the bigger hitter of the two, so I say she’s worth a look. Maybe parlay her with Justin Tafa — who’s going to smash Harry Hunsucker in one round — for a little extra juice.
UFC Vegas 45 Odds For The Main Card:
Chris Daukaus (-140) vs. Derrick Lewis (+120)
Stephen Thompson (-220) vs. Belal Muhammad (+180)
Amanda Lemos (-365) vs. Angela Hill (+280)
Ricky Simon (-275) vs. Raphael Assuncao (+220)
Mateusz Gamrot (-180) vs. Diego Ferreira (+155)
Cub Swanson (-200) vs. Darren Elkins (+170)
Thoughts: Stephen Thompson and Mateusz Gamrot look like the best investments here.
Muhammad’s cardio and relentlessness are top-notch, but his actual cage cutting isn’t quite up to snuff and neither is his offensive wrestling. You need both to get through even a 38-year-old Thompson, who’s run circles around plenty of come-forward bruisers in his day.
“Wonderboy” figures to win without too much issue.
Twice now we’ve seen Diego Ferreira fade against superior wrestlers, and Poland’s Gamrot absolutely fits that bill. Between his top-notch takedown skills and ADCC-level ground game, “The Gamer” is absolutely a match for Ferreira’s pace and grappling. I trust Gamrot’s ability to stay strong through 15 minutes more than I do Ferreira’s, especially since the Brazilian is five years older than him.
UFC Vegas 45 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Gerald Meerschaert and Stephen Thompson: $150 to make $165
- Parlay — Raoni Barcelos and Mateusz Gamrot: $150 to make $165.50
- Parlay — Charles Jourdain and Don’Tale Mayes: $120 to make $152.40
- Parlay — Macy Chiasson and Justin Tafa: $100 to make $238
UFC Vegas 45 is an interesting card at the very lease, one that figures to be fun viewing. It’s not the worst way to end the year, I’d say. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Initial (Boosted) Investment For 2021: $600
Current Total For 2021: $2,651.43
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 45 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.
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