After years of torpor, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight division looks to pick up some momentum this Saturday (April 22, 2023) when Curtis Blaydes battles Sergei Pavlovich inside UFC APEX. Down at Middleweight, eternal contender Brad Tavares squares off with knockout artist Bruno Silva, who’s looking to rebound from rough losses to Alex Pereira and Gerald Meerschaert.
UFC Vegas 71 only requires an ESPN+ subscription, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get more money involved. Let’s see if we can’t beef up those coffers ...
What Went Wrong at UFC Kansas City?
Max Holloway, Edson Barboza, Rafa Garcia and Gillian Robertson
Good work, team.
Hard to be more wrong than saying, “he’s going to knock Brandon Royval out with a counter” and then watching Brandon Royval knock him out with a counter.
What makes the pie in my face extra messy is that I knew Brasil backed up with her hands down when pressured — I explicitly called it out as one of her weaknesses in “New Blood.” I mistakenly believed her counters would be enough to make up for it and, well, they weren’t.
That first round knockdown just completely took the wind out of his sails. He spent the rest of the fight too gun-shy to make any sort of headway. Good thing Brasil had already busted the parlay or I would have been screaming at my screen.
UFC Vegas 71 Odds For The Under Card:
Rick Glenn (-170) vs. Christos Giagos (+145)
Glenn has been out for ages and often struggles to keep it on the feet, making it unwise to bet on him, but Giagos consistently falls short against capable opponents. Best avoided.
Montel Jackson (-600) vs. Rani Yahya (+450)
Skip it. Yahya is extremely adept at winning the first half of a fight and then surviving long enough to squeak out a decision. And considering how much Jackson struggles to finish people despite racking up hilarious amounts of knockdowns, I could definitely see Yahya pulling it off again.
Norma Dumont (-115) vs. Karol Rosa (-105)
A bit on Rosa makes sense. She’ll be the smaller woman, but she’s also a much more active striker and can lean on her wrestling if needed. Considering Dumont gave up six takedowns to Macy Chiasson, that second part could be the key.
Junior Tafa (-115) vs. Mohammed Usman (-105)
Tafa was more than a 2:1 favorite going into the weekend, but the line absolutely cratered on Sunday. While I have my own reservations about Tafa — namely his lack of MMA experience and questionable grappling — Usman is extremely limited himself and benefitted from his The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 30 opponents’ lethargy. At near-even odds, I’m willing to bank on “The Juggernaut” winning a slugfest.
Francis Marshall (-215) vs. William Gomis (+185)
I’d go with a moderate bet on Marshall. Though Gomis is extremely elusive and kicks well, he’s also highly reliant on his wrestling, which puts him squarely in Marshall’s wheelhouse. “Jaguar” can also get sloppy when throwing combinations, while Marshall’s hands looked super crisp in his knockout of Marcelo Rojo.
Karine Silva (-190) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (+160)
I do think Silva wins this, but she doesn’t respond well to pressure and her gas tank is an open question. Bit too spicy for my tastes.
Danaa Batgerel (-130) vs. Brady Hiestand (+110)
Too close to call. Danaa is a heavy hitter with some shaky takedown defense, while Hiestand is a quality wrestler with poor striking defense. The combination makes for a highly volatile match that I’d rather not have money on.
UFC Vegas 71 Odds For The Main Card:
Curtis Blaydes (-170) vs. Sergei Pavlovich (+145)
I can’t pass up Blaydes at better than -200. As terrifying as Pavlovich is, Blaydes’ hands have improved dramatically. Even if Pavlovich’s Greco-Roman background proves sufficient to shut down Blaydes’ takedown onslaught, which is a stretch, Blaydes can more than hold his own on the feet.
I’d ordinarily hesitate to bet on a fight involving a knockout artist of Pavlovich’s caliber, but Blaydes is extraordinarily durable. Indeed, it took an absolutely perfect uppercut from Derrick Lewis to put him to sleep where Mark Hunt’s overhand right and the Uberknee failed. Add that to his experience going five rounds and you’ve got a winner.
Brad Tavares (-175) vs. Bruno Silva (+150)
I’m not touching a Bruno Silva fighter after that bizarre performance against Gerald Meerschaert. He looked like a shell of his former self, complicating what looks like a volatile matchup in its own right.
Bobby Green (-250) vs. Jared Gordon (+210)
I like “King’s” chances here. His boxing looked sharper than ever against Drew Dober, and though that fight ultimately ended in disaster, Gordon can’t punch or box near as well as Dober. Gordon’s wrestling is a threat, to be fair, but Green generally does well against grinders not named Islam Makhachev. Green’s technique and reach advantages make him a worthy investment.
Iasmin Lucindo (-305) vs. Brogan Walker (+255)
Lucindo may be the second-biggest favorite on the card, but she’s still worth a look. Walker was helpless off of her back against Juliana Miller and constantly put herself in position to be taken down, a habit Lucindo is very well-equipped to exploit.
Matthew Semelsberger (-115) vs. Jeremiah Wells (-105)
A bit on “Semi the Jedi,” but don’t invest too much. Wells is a willing slugger, which is generally a losing proposition against Semelsberger. At the same time, Semelsberger has had issues with grapplers before and Wells showed against Mike Mathetha that he’s willing to grind out someone if the situation calls for it.
UFC Vegas 71 Best Bets:
- Single bet — Karol Rosa: Bet $21 to make $20
- Parlay — Junior Tafa and Francis Marshall: Bet $30 to make $51.90
- Parlay — Iasmin Lucindo and Matthew Semelsberger: Bet $30 to make $44.40
- Parlay — Curtis Blaydes and Bobby Green: Bet $30 to make $36.60
Losing Song vs. Simon is a blow, but there’s still some good stuff here. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Initial Investment For 2023: $600
Current Total: $115.97
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 71 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.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 71: “Pavlovich vs. Blaydes” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.