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UFC Best Bets
UFC Best Bets

The UFC’s final card before the holiday break pits middleweight contenders Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland in the main event at the Apex. Check out below for our UFC best bets for Saturday’s event.

A handful of months after a failed bid to dethrone Israel Adesanya, Jared Cannonier will aim to get back in the win column at Sean Strickland’s expense in the Apex cage. After a pair of brief stops at heavyweight and light heavyweight, Cannonier moved down to 185 pounds in late 2018 and has settled in nicely, going 5-2 against solid competition and earning four wins by KO/TKO.

As for the other half of Saturday’s main event, Strickland moved to middleweight himself in 2020 following a lengthy layoff and boxed his way to five straight victories, only to fall to the man who would become king, Alex Pereira, by knockout the same night Cannonier fell to Adesanya. Strickland heads to Vegas with a UFC record of 12-4.

Moments prior to the bill’s closer, Arman Tsarukyan will meet Damir Ismagulov in a pivotal lightweight matchup.

Here are our best bets for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Strickland event (odds via Caesars Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Strickland Card and Odds

(Odds via Caesars)

  • Jared Cannonier (-110) vs. Sean Strickland (-110)
  • Arman Tsarukyan (-190) vs. Damir Ismagulov (+160)
  • Amir Albazi (-450) vs. Alessandro Costa (+350)
  • Alex Caceres (+145) vs. Julian Erosa (-170)
  • Drew Dober (-155) vs. Bobby Green (+130)
  • Cody Brundage (+230) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (-280)
  • Cheyanne Vlismas (-190) vs. Cory McKenna (+160)
  • Jake Matthews (-280) vs. Matthew Semelsberger (+230)
  • Said Nurmagomedov (+100) vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov (-120)
  • Rafa Garcia (-140) vs. Hayisaer Maheshate (+120)
  • Bryan Battle (+125) vs. Rinat Fakhretdinov (-150)
  • David Dvorak (+210) vs. Manel Kape (-260)
  • Sergey Morozov (-310) vs. Journey Newson (+250)

UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Strickland Best Bets

  • Fight line: Strickland (-110 via Caesars)
  • Upset: Ismagulov (+164 via FanDuel)
  • Winning method: Green by decision (+230 via FanDuel)
  • Prop bet: Oleksiejczuk-Brundage ends in Round 1 (+100 via FanDuel)
  • Parlay: Kape (-260) + Green (+130) + Strickland (-110) = +508 (via Caesars)

Saturday’s UFC Fight Night Top Picks

Fight line: Sean Strickland (-110) ★★★

Strickland is not only a superior striking technician than Cannonier, he’s also busier, landing 5.54 significant strikes per minute to his foe’s 3.73. The California product’s high-volume striking begins with a crisp, active jab, and I expect him to throw it early and often to make Cannonier think twice about slinging his devastating hooks.

Each of these bruisers has gone the full five rounds, but I believe Strickland will remain the fresher fighter in the later rounds and open up on Cannonier with combinations as his foe’s output wanes. I expect him to build a comfortable lead in the punch count and get back in the win column.

Upset: Damir Ismagulov (+164) ★★★

Many lightweights have struggled opposite the cagey Ismagulov, and Tsarukyan will only be the latest. The unflappable Ismagulov boasts a slight edge over Tsarukyan in significant strikes per minute (4.05 to 3.76) and significant strike defense (63% to 54%), as well as an outstanding takedown defense of 91%. I expect that figure to improve come fight night, even against a dogged wrestler in Tsarukyan.

Simply put, the wily Ismagulov isn’t one to offer foes his hips for a shot, and Tsarukyan isn’t the most disciplined when it comes to head movement. I see the former stuffing a few takedown attempts, picking the latter apart in space, and cruising to an upset.

Winning method: Bobby Green by decision (+230) ★★★

Green is a marvel to watch when he’s in his bag, and luckily, Dober will give him the kind of duel he wants. “King” has earned seven of his 10 UFC wins on points and enjoys an advantage in significant strikes per minute (5.88 to 4.47) and striking defense (62% to 52%). With the pair meeting in space, Dober will aim to find a home for his missile of a left cross while Green keeps him honest with his active jab and stance switches.

As the duel wears on and Dober slows down, Green will remain the busier striker, push the pace, and keep popping his foe with his stunning jab to claim another unanimous verdict.

Prop Bet: Michal Oleksiejczuk-Cody Brundage ends in Round 1 (+100) ★★★★

Oleksiejczuk has earned all but one of his five UFC victories in the first round, while Brundage boasts seven stoppages and five first-round finishes in eight pro wins. The former is no world-beater, but he’s a gamer who loves taking the center and uncorking zingers to the body, while Brundage packs a solid wallop himself and isn’t above finishing with a squeeze on the mat.

In short, styles make fights, and these two are perfectly matched for a brief, yet ultraviolent matchup on Saturday.

Parlay: Manel Kape (-260) + Bobby Green (+130) + Sean Strickland (-110) = +508

UFC Fight Night: Cannonier-Strickland best bets made 12/16/2022 at 10:12 a.m. ET.

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