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UFC Best Bets
UFC Best Bets

Bantamweight contenders collide in San Antonio on Saturday, as Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen headline the UFC’s latest bill in a pivotal five-round matchup. Read on for our UFC best bets for Saturday's UFC San Antonio based on the odds from our best sportsbooks.

Vera has emerged as a dark horse in a talent-rich division of late, having extended his win streak to four with a KO of bantamweight luminary Dominick Cruz this past August. The Ecuadorian product boasts a solid UFC record of 14-6 and heads to Texas with the most stoppage victories in promotional bantamweight history at 10. As for Sandhagen, the 30-year-old makes his 12th walk to the Octagon with a UFC slate of 8-3, and was last seen stopping lauded prospect Yadong Song by TKO in September of last year.

Another pair of bantamweights are set to clash in Saturday’s co-main event, as former divisional queen Holly Holm meets Yana Santos (nee Kunitskaya). Holm looks to bounce back from a close split-decision loss to Ketlen Vieira suffered last May, while Santos returns to action nearly 20 months after falling to Irene Aldana via strikes.

Here are our UFC best bets for UFC San Antonio (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

UFC San Antonio schedule and odds

(odds via DraftKings as of Saturday, March 25 at 8:25 a.m. ET)

Main card (7 p.m. ET):

  • Marlon Vera (+135) vs. Cory Sandhagen (-155)
  • Holly Holm (-240) vs. Yana Santos (+200)
  • Nate Landwehr (-200) vs. Austin Lingo (+170)
  • Andrea Lee (+220) vs. Maycee Barber (-260)
  • Alex Perez (+165) vs. Manel Kape (-195)
  • Chidi Njokuani (-155) vs. Albert Duraev (+135)

Prelims (4 p.m. ET):

  • Daniel Pineda (+230) vs. Tucker Lutz (-275)
  • Steven Peterson (-150) vs. Lucas Alexander (+130)
  • Trevin Giles (-115) vs. Preston Parsons (-105)
  • CJ Vergara (-240) vs. Daniel da Silva (+200)
  • Victor Altamirano (-105) vs. Vinicius Salvador (-115)

UFC San Antonio best bets

  • Fight line: Kape ML vs. Perez (-180 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Upset: Vera ML vs. Sandhagen (+145 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Winning method: Landwehr by KO/TKO vs. Lingo (+195 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Parlay: Vera (+140) + Landwehr (-200) + Kape (-180) = +460 (via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

UFC top picks for UFC San Antonio

Fight line: Kape ML vs. Perez (-180 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

Alex Perez has outmuscled and outstruck much of the middling competition he’s faced in the Octagon, but struggled against the divisional elite. Now that he’s tasked with an emerging flyweight dark horse in Manel Kape, I think Perez sees his slump continue come Saturday night. 

Kape is a lethal striker who does his best work in space and lands over four significant strikes per minute, while Perez is a game bruiser in his own right and a slick grappler with a takedown average of 2.84. That said, the former’s defensive grappling is much improved since his days in Rizin FF, as he boasts a solid takedown defense of 69% and I expect his footwork and lateral movement will frustrate Perez’s efforts to get in on his hips.

With Perez looking to impose his will on the mat, look for Kape to work his way out of some dicey spots and land the cleaner shots on the feet en route to a fourth straight win.

Upset: Vera ML vs. Sandhagen (+145 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐

Yes, Vera has been outstruck by Cruz, Rob Font, and even Frankie Edgar, but he’s won every one of those matchups, and between him and Sandhagen, I believe Vera will be the first to make Saturday’s headliner a grappling match and steal a round or two if things get hairy on the feet. 

In a battle of two of the bantamweight division’s most violent men, Sandhagen should regale Vera with a duel and throw volume while the latter looks to make his lower output count, at least at first. I believe this matchup comes down to who makes it a dog fight, and the tape says that man will be Vera.

Indeed, I expect the streaking Vera to hold his own on the feet before crowding Sandhagen against the cage, scoring the occasional takedown, and maybe even putting in work from back control to make it five in a row.

Winning method: Landwehr by KO/TKO vs. Lingo (+195 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

Nate Landwehr has earned half his 16 career victories by KO/TKO, and he’ll likely get the upright duel he wants against a willing striker in Austin Lingo. The veteran featherweight is a wildman who can push a pace, and between his edge in strength of schedule, significant strike output (6.37 to 4.00 landed per minute), and Lingo’s 19-month layoff, I like Landwehr’s chances of adding to his knockout totals come fight night.

Look for the more seasoned Landwehr to claim the center of the cage and outgun a game Lingo before uncorking a fight-ending salvo with a touch of his patented showmanship.

Parlay: Vera (+140) + Landwehr (-200) + Kape (-180) = +460 (via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

UFC best bets made 3/24/2023 at 12:11 a.m. ET.

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