Two of the most devastating knockout artists in mixed martial arts (MMA) do battle inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, this Saturday (Oct. 2, 2021) when Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker headline the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) show on ESPN+. UFC Vegas 38 will also see Kevin Holland look to reignite his career against the dangerous Kyle Daukaus, Niko Price trade leather with Alex Oliveira, and Krzysztof Jotko welcome Misha Cirkunov to the Middleweight division.
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What Went Wrong at UFC 266?
Damn-near soiled myself when Marlon Moraes scored that knockdown (watch highlights) and Brian Ortega (watch highlights) locked up that guillotine, but every one of our picks came out on top, including impressive underdog performances from Jalin Turner and Jonathan Pearce. Well done, all.
UFC Vegas 38 Odds For The Undercard:
Joe Solecki (-127) vs. Jared Gordon (+107)
Casey O’Neill (-220) vs. Antonina Shevchenko (+180)
Karol Rosa (-470) vs. Bethe Correia (+375)
Devonte Smith (-150) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (+130)
Douglas Silva de Andrade (-245) vs. Gaetano Pirrello (+205)
Stephanie Egger (-125) vs. Shanna Young (+105)
Alejandro Perez (-235) vs. Johnny Eduardo (+195)
Thoughts: “King” Casey O’Neill looks like a solid anchor for this event, while Jamie Mullarkey boasts some serious underdog value.
It’s blatantly obvious at this point that Antonina Shevchenko’s ground game is not UFC-caliber. Four of her last five opponents landed at least one takedown on her, with three of them combining to rack up 11, and she tends to get decisively beaten once her back hits the mat. She faces a top-notch grappler in O’Neill, who’s also developed her stand up enough to be a legitimate threat on the feet.
In the end, I expect O’Neill to win big, so be sure you’re in position to benefit.
As scary as Devonte Smith is, I have far more faith in Mullarkey’s ability to take his best shot than vice-versa. Mullarkey walked through absolute Hell against Brad Riddell and was still intact after 15 minutes, while Smith succumbed to Khama Worthy’s power in minutes. Mullarkey also figures to be the better wrestler, which should both open up his striking and give him an out if Smith’s power does wind up being too much.
UFC Vegas 38 Odds For The Main Card:
Thiago Santos (-157) vs. Johnny Walker (+137)
Kevin Holland (-152) vs. Kyle Daukaus (+132)
Niko Price (-157) vs. Alex Oliveira (+137)
Krzysztof Jotko (-147) vs. Misha Cirkunov (+127)
Aspen Ladd (-245) vs. Macy Chiasson (+205)
Alexander Hernandez (-525) vs. Mike Breeden (+415)
Thoughts: I like Kyle Daukaus as an underdog, and parlaying him with Aspen Ladd gives some delectable odds.
Though Daukaus’ 1-2 UFC record isn’t great on paper, his losses came against two extremely tough customers in Brendan Allen and Phil Hawes. He’s still a super-durable grappler with the wrestling prowess to exploit the awful takedown defense that Derek Brunson and Marvin Vettori feasted on in Holland’s recent defeats. That alone makes him worth a look against Holland, whom I don’t trust to have fixed his long-time flaws in the last six months.
It’s always risky betting on someone who’s coming off a long layoff — especially one who suffered a gnarly knee injury — but Ladd has enough going her way to merit an investment. Macy Chiasson gave up takedowns to the aging Marion Reneau just seven months back, suggesting that she hasn’t fixed the wrestling issues that let Lina Lansberg knock her from the ranks of the unbeaten in 2019. If nothing else, Ladd is a ferocious and relentless takedown machine with the capacity to do real damage from the top, and that looks like a recipe for success in this match up.
If you’re willing to risk money for the sake of science, try betting on Thiago Santos. His chin has held up amazingly well since moving up from Middleweight (as seen in his absolute war with Jimi Manuwa) while Johnny Walker turns into a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man if you so much as look at him funny. By all accounts, Santos should reduce Walker to a ragdoll physics glitch within three minutes, but Walker keeps winning when I bet against him. I’m committed enough to this experiment to bet on Santos, and you joining me will make for a good sample size.
UFC Vegas 38 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Casey O’Neill and Jamie Mullarkey: Bet $100 to make $235
- Parlay — Kyle Daukaus and Aspen Ladd: Bet $100 to make $227
- Parlay — Casey O’Neill and Thiago Santos: Bet $100 to make $138
UFC Vegas 38 features one bonkers main event, and the rest of the match ups aren’t too shabby, either. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 38 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 on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.
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