UFC’s tumultuous 2022 comes to a close this Saturday (Dec. 17, 2022) when Sean Strickland and Jared Cannonier duke it inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC Vegas 66 will also feature Arman Tsarukyan battling Damir Ismagulov in a pivotal Lightweight battle and rising Flyweight, Amir Albazi, taking on late-notice newcomer, Alessandro Costa.
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What Went Wrong at UFC 282?
Edmen Shahbazyan, Billy Quarantillo, Dricus Du Plessis and Ilia Topuria
Top marks! Just please do a better job of protecting your face next time, Billy.
Well, so much for that. I mentioned that Raul Rosas Jr. can struggle to maintain position unless he gets the body triangle and that’s exactly what he got.
As I’ve said before, I’ll be real when I’m wrong, but Gordon did exactly what I said he was going to do and he won that fight. I know it, you know it ... and Paddy Pimblett knows it.
UFC Vegas 66 Odds For The Under Card:
Cheyanne Vlismas (-190) vs. Cory McKenna (+160)
I’m definitely going with Vlismas here. While the specter of Montserrat Ruiz hangs over her head whenever she’s up against a wrestler, her takedown defense held up nicely against Mallory Martin last time out. It’s a total wash on the feet thanks to her huge reach advantage, technical kickboxing and power, so provided she’s got the goods to keep it there, she’ll dominate.
Jake Matthews (-255) vs. Matthew Semelsberger (+215)
Even at these odds, Matthews is worth a look. He just ran over an extremely dangerous power-puncher in Andre Fialho and has long possessed the sorts of grappling skills with which Semelsberger struggles. Semelsberg’s only real shot is to land a one-hitter quitter, which Matthews is too durable to fall victim to. Invest in “The Celtic Kid.”
Julian Marquez (-170) vs. Deron Winn (+145)
On one hand, Marquez is going to eat Winn alive on the feet, and his penchant for late comebacks meshes nicely with Winn’s tendency to fade late. On the other, Marquez isn’t a particularly adept wrestler, which multiple UFC opponents have taken advantage of. Still, Winn’s ineffectiveness from the top suggests that Marquez will be able to weather the storm and take over down the stretch, and that’s enough to earn a nod.
Said Nurmagomedov (-110) vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov (-110)
It’s 50/50 on the scorecards and 50/50 in the cage. If I had to choose one, I’d bank on Kakhramonov eking out a decision, but -110 isn’t enough to recommend a bet.
Rafa Garcia (-130) vs. Maheshate (+110)
Garcia is exactly the sort of fighter a young, fresh-faced prospect is likely to struggle with: a durable, relentless grappler with enough striking skill to hold his own on the feet. Maheshate’s never faced a wrestler this good, and just based on the toughness Garcia’s shown, I doubt Maheshate can find a kill shot in his brief windows of opportunity between Garcia dragging him to the mat. I love the -130 line.
Rinat Fakhretdinov (-135) vs. Bryan Battle (+115)
Battle is the best underdog pick on the undercard. He already defeated a physically imposing, power-punching takedown specialist in Andre Petroski not too long ago, and I feel like Fakhretdinov’s win over the hapless Andreas Michailidis has given an inflated impression of his abilities. I like Battle to take him apart at long range and I’m willing to call for a bet on that.
Manel Kape (-240) vs. David Dvorak (+200)
Speaking as someone who really likes watching David Dvorak work, I think Manel Kape’s going to really hurt him. “Undertaker” has a bad habit of getting clipped early, as we saw against Bruno Silva and Matheus Nicolau. It’s not a great habit to have against someone this destructive, especially since Kape appears to have fixed his tendency to start slow. Also, as someone who likes Dvorak, getting some money from his defeat will be a nice consolation prize.
Sergey Morozov (-280) vs. Journey Newson (+235)
Use Morozov as a parlay stuffer. He is, as far as I can tell, better than Newson wherever the fight goes. Any worries about his grit and endurance were dashed when he battled his way past Raulian Paiva last time out, and though Newson can do good work at times, Morozov is a much more polished and consistent operator.
UFC Vegas 66 Odds For The Main Card:
Sean Strickland (-115) vs. Jared Cannonier (-105)
Cannonier is tough as hell and carries his power late, which should work well for him against a fighter as direct and upright as Strickland. He’s worth a look as the underdog because I can absolutely see him tearing up Strickland’s lead leg and knocking him into next week.
Arman Tsarukyan (-190) vs. Damir Ismagulov (+160)
I’d prefer not to get involved in this one. They’re both really darn good, and while Tsarukyan deserves to be the favorite, Ismagulov’s going to give him a helluva fight.
Amir Albazi (-425) vs. Alessandro Costa (+350)
This is a little too rich for my taste. Costa’s probably going to lose, but he’s better than he’s being given credit for.
Julian Erosa (-165) vs. Alex Caceres (+140)
After years of underestimating Julian Erosa, I’m ready to believe, which probably means he’ll end up losing. Still, he’s ostensibly better than Caceres at the long-range game “Bruce Leroy” prefers and should be aggressive enough to sway the judges even if Caceres’ resilience proves too tough to overcome.
Drew Dober (-150) vs. Bobby Green (+130)
As one of the most consistent purveyors of contentious decisions, Bobby Green fights probably shouldn’t be bet on.
Michal Oleksiejczuk (-275) vs. Cody Brundage (+230)
Honestly? It might be worth slapping down a little bit on Brundage. There’s an argument to be made that Oleksiejczuk should be 2-4 in his last six, and smashing what’s left of Sam Alvey doesn’t convince me that he’s fixed his long-time issues with wrestling and cage cutting. Brundage is tough and he can wrestle, which merits a small investment in my book.
UFC Vegas 66 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Cheyanne Vlismas and Julian Erosa: Bet $60 to make $87
- Parlay — Julian Marquez and Sergey Morozov: Bet $50 to make $58
- Single bet — Bryan Battle: Bet $60 to make $69
- Parlay — Jake Matthews and Jared Cannonier: Bet $50 to make $86
- Parlay — Manel Kape and Rafa Garcia: Bet $60 to make $96
- Single bet — Cody Brundage: Bet $40 to make $92
I don’t know about you, but with all the love and companionship in the air, sometimes you just need a little violence to even things out. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Initial Investment For 2022: $600
Additional Investment (Aug. 2022): $400
Current Total: $987.65
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 66 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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