UFC Best Bets

From South America to St. Louis, Missouri, we search for UFC best bets at this week’s Fight Night event. This fight slate is comprised of thirteen scheduled bouts to be competed in the larger thirty-foot octagon, with participants arriving from thirteen differing countries.

Six of the thirteen bouts feature athletes 170 pounds or greater. Finish rates in three round fights comprised of fighters weighing 170 pounds and above are 58.3%, so we may witness violent finishes on this card, at least that is the hope!


Last week, Alexandre Pantoja -185 earned a close decision victory over Steve Erceg as well as my release of big dog Anthony Smith +435, who won via first-round submission. What was not anticipated was how efficiently Smith would dispose of Vitor Petrino his Brazilian foe as I advised the over 1.5 Rounds. Smith disposed of Petrino some two minutes into the fight.

Digital profit for 2024 now stands at 12-8 +7.73 after last week’s success. The task this week is to keep momentum rolling as we search for profitability in this week’s UFC event.

Derrick Lewis -1450 vs. Rodrigo Nascimento +125

Heavyweight (265 pounds) main event

Brazilian mixed martial artist Nascimento is the fifteenth-ranked athlete in the division. The 31-year-old is a blue belt in BJJ and a well-rounded grappler/striker who steps up in level of competition for this, his first five-round main event.

Derrick Lewis is now 39 and ranked twelfth in the division. Lewis is not a mixed martial artist. Rather, he is a behemoth who stalks opponents down and clubs them into unconsciousness with his singularly dimensioned one-strike KO power.

Lewis is short on footwork, take down defense and stamina though early in fights he displays athleticism and explosion though the limit for his explosiveness is around four minutes, then Lewis is a telegraphing headhunter.

At this stage of his career, when Lewis fights, he’s calculating how best to expend his precious energy. His one way to earn victory is to touch the opponent on the teeth. With one detonation, Lewis can put adversaries to sleep with one telegraphed connection. That is Lewis’ plan of attack in any fight.

Nascimento’s last three bouts have all gone to decision so he can effectively compete for fifteen minutes, and it must be his approach to take Lewis past the first five minutes to burden the ‘Black Beast,’ force him to tire and therefore make any takedown attempt that much easier to execute.

The issue for Nascimento may be his chin. Is his sole loss earlier in his career to journeyman Chris Daukaus, who is no longer in the organization, Nascimento was knocked out, and Daukaus has fractions of the speed and power that Lewis holds.

Should Nascimento, who opened a pick ’em against Lewis, be ‘chinny’ as that fight against Daukaus indicated, then it is fair to say that he is in real danger against a profuse pounder like Lewis.

The total in this fight is lines 1.5 Under -145, which is concerning if one is trying to make a case for the Brazilian traveling to the ‘show me state’ to compete against a pure knockout threat like Lewis.

UFC Best Bet: Pass

Joaquin Buckley -170 vs. Nursulton Ruziboev +150

Welterweight (170 pounds) co-main event

We last saw eleventh-ranked Buckley 18-6 overwhelm top-fifteen-ranked Vicente Luque with his power striking in New York on March 30th. That display put Buckley in the rankings and put the division on notice that this man is a natural-born finisher.

Buckley rarely employs a wrestling base developed in high school, as his vicious fighting style was groomed in the streets of East St. Louis.

Besides fighting in his home city, Buckley totes momentum into this fight and he is exuding great confidence. Confidence is one weapon UFC fighters often boomerang into dynamic success.

Ruziboev, 34-8-2, enters this fight with vast experience, though there are legitimate questions surrounding the authenticity of his record as well the caliber of athletes he’s faced.

Fighting out of the Renzo Gracie camp in Philly, which is known for its cultivation and refining of wrestling/grappling based talent, Ruziboev enters this fight off an impressive KO finish of the modestly talented Sedriques Dumas, which he accomplished March 30th on the same card as his opponent Buckley.

Ruziboev will hold seven inches of height supremacy and four inches of leg reach, in addition to his vast advantage in grappling.

To date, we have not witnessed Ruziboev tussle against pedigreed UFC talent, nor have we watched him have to endure any form of real trouble. That changes in this fight.

Once this scrap starts, Ruziboev will look to distance himself strategically from the aggressive keg of TNT that is Buckley. Buckley will be impatient in his attempt to gain inside access and detonate hooks, crosses, elbows, and kicks on the tall man from Uzbekistan.

Ruziboev has everything to gain in this most intriguing battle. He must weather the furious first five minutes of this fight. He must find a way to clasp hold of and press the explosive Buckley against the fence, then onto the floor.

After Buckley’s explosiveness is usurped by battle (that is the hope anyway), the fight could well turn to the towering, but well-structured grappler Ruziboev, who uses a grinding methodology as opposed to immediate and sudden impact.

‘Styles make fights’ as Angelo Dundee used to chime, and I regard this fight as exhibit ‘A’ for that quote.

Buckley opened -150 for this fight and his price has risen steadily early in the week. The total in this fight is 1.5 over -130, which indicates potential success for the Uzbeki grappler, as I do see this fight eclipsing that total.

I am back to an underdog release this week.

UFC Best Bet: Ruziboev +145

GambLou ‘Bout Business Podcast, with all my releases for this fight card, will drop Friday mid-day Pacific time. Look for it at GambLou.com.

Enjoy the fights, and thank you for reading.