Fast-rising Light Heavyweight contender, Jamahal Hill, looks to step into title contention this Saturday (Aug. 6, 2022) when he takes on destructive veteran, Thiago Santos, inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC Vegas 59 also features a clash of Welterweight knockout artists in Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal, as well as The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 30 Heavyweight and Flyweight final matches.
The card’s free to watch on ESPN in the United States (it also streams on ESPN+), but that doesn’t mean we can’t get money involved. Let’s dig in ...
What Went Wrong at UFC 277?
Man, some real heartbreakers there. Don’Tale Mayes was in total control of his fight with Hamdy Abdelwahab before giving up a critical takedown, and while Matthew Semelsberger wound up getting dominated by the best Alex Morono I’ve ever seen, he got my hopes painfully high with that flying knee in the third. Oh, well! At least Drew Dober and Magomed Ankalaev won with authority.
UFC Vegas 59 Odds For The Under Card:
Michal Oleksiejczuk (-600) vs. Sam Alvey (+450)
Bryan Battle (-245) vs. Takashi Sato (+205)
Terrance McKinney (-850) vs. Erick Gonzalez (+600)
Josh Quinlan (-215) vs. Jason Witt (+185)
Cory McKenna (-225) vs. Miranda Granger (+190)
Stephanie Egger (-120) vs. Mayra Bueno Silva (EVEN)
Thoughts: The -200s look like the best bargains here, namely Bryan Battle, Josh Quinlan and Cory McKenna.
I honestly believe Battle should stay at Middleweight. His movement and output are his best assets, and they’re going to be less effective against smaller, more agile men. It’s not like he was getting out-muscled at 185 pounds if his win over Andre Petroski was anything to go by. Still, he has a clear edge in height, reach and volume that should serve him well against Sato, plus some of the grappling chops that Sato has struggled with of late.
Jason Witt is far from helpless in this match up, as Quinlan’s takedown defense can be hit-or-miss and he struggles off the back foot. That said, Quinlan has a massive edge on the feet, boasts solid cardio, and is adept at getting back to his feet.
He’ll have plenty of opportunities to knock Witt’s block off and I fully expect him to capitalize.
Under ordinary circumstances, I’d steer clear of betting on McKenna, who’s badly underwhelmed in her two UFC appearances. I just really like her chances against Granger because “Danger” struggled with Ashley Yoder’s limited takedown arsenal in her most recent appearance, and McKenna at least has the skills to recreate those efforts.
UFC Vegas 59 Odds For The Main Card:
Jamahal Hill (-265) vs. Thiago Santos (+225)
Vicente Luque (-180) vs. Geoff Neal (+155)
Zac Pauga (-240) vs. Mohammed Usman (+200)
Juliana Miller (-125) vs. Brogan Walker (+105)
Serghei Spivac (-245) vs. Augusto Sakai (+205)
Ariane Lipski (-175) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (+150)
Thoughts: There’s a lot to like here, namely Jamahal Hill, Vicente Luque, Zac Pauga and Ariane Lipski.
Thiago Santos has very few advantages in Saturday’s main event outside of one-shot power, and it’s not like Hall can’t dish out the hurt himself. “Sweet Dreams” is taller, rangier, younger, faster and a much better mover than the aging “Marreta,” not to mention the red-hot momentum he has at the moment. That’s not to say Santos can’t turn back the clock, just that it’s a lot less likely than Hill running circles around him.
Geoff Neal appears to have hit a wall of late. He failed to make any necessary adjustments against “Wonderboy” Thompson, was painfully inactive against Neil Magny, and wasn’t particularly impressive against Santiago Ponzinibbio. Luque is versatile and powerful enough to take him apart, especially when combined with “The Silent Assassin’s” top-notch durability. It could get hairy, but Luque has all the right tools to win this. Parlay him with the two massive favorites on the undercard, Michal Oleksiejczuk and Terrance McKinney, to nudge him into the positives.
The only thing Mohammed Usman has going for him in his TUF finals match with Zac Pauga is size ... and that’s not sufficient. Pauga’s boxing is far crisper and faster than Usman’s, and despite “The Motor’s” last name, he’s not much of a wrestling threat. Pauga looks like a UFC-worthy talent, while Usman benefitted from his two opponents in the house having zero urgency.
This is about as perfect a match up for Ariane Lipski as she could have asked for. She’s got massive advantages in speed, technique and power on the feet. And Priscila Cachoeira isn’t going to be able to zombie-walk through this level of firepower. Plus, Cachoeira is ill-equipped to exploit the grappling deficiencies that have dogged the “Queen of Violence” in the past. It’ll be a slugfest, and Lipski is more fearsome in those than Cachoeira.
UFC Vegas 59 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Zac Pauga and Ariane Lipski: Bet $120 to make $147.60
- Parlay — Michal Oleksiejczuk, Terrance McKinney and Vicente Luque: Bet $100 to make $103
- Parlay — Josh Quinlan and Jamahal Hill: Bet $100 to make $102
- Parlay — Bryan Battle and Cory McKenna: Bet $120 to make $123.60
There’s some serious violence potential in those top two bouts, plus some sleeper hits scattered throughout. UFC Vegas 59 looks like a solid free “Fight Night” to me — see you Saturday, Maniacs.
Initial Investment For 2022: $600
Current Total: $722.99
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 59 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN/ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.
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