UFC Best Bets

This week for our UFC best bets, the action returns to its APEX facility for a thirteen-bout fight card. Preliminary action begins at 4 pm PT, and the main card follows at 7 pm PT.

This fight card features eleven fights in which the combatants are lightweight (155 lbs.) and smaller. Blended finish rates for fights in that size range are 51.2%. The smaller octagon in use at the APEX may help force confrontation, but these smaller, obscure athletes on this production may produce more decision results from this perspective.


Last week, I released two ducks. Thiago Moises, who looked 40, and 40-year-old Jared Cannonier were both defeated. Moises was never in his bout and looked old, slow, and washed.

Recent rumblings around the UFC surround the suspect stoppage for Cannonier and the potential for an immediate rematch between he and Nassourdine Imavov in France on a card currently scheduled for September 28th. Interesting.

Thus, profitability for 2024 digital releases stands at 14-11 +6.73, and the focus will be on earning those units back plus.

Alex Perez +155 vs. Tatsuro Taira -180

Flyweight (125 pounds) main event

Twenty-four-year-old submission savant Taira ships in from Japan and is currently the face of UFC expansion in that country. He enters thirteenth ranked in the division at 15-0. A purple belt in BJJ, he is also a gifted grappler who has performed exceptionally well in his five UFC fights.

Taira is getting special treatment as Japan is a fertile expansion area for the organization. The UFC is providing him with this opportunity to face an established adversary in Perez, who is ranked fifth in the division.

Perez is a formidable challenge for the young Japanese fighter. Though Taira is an inch taller and will hold a five-inch arm reach advantage, the fact is that the stringency of UFC adversary Taira has faced pales in comparison to the elite-level opponent Perez has battled.

Those who read my columns understand how much I factor a fighter’s body of work, and recent fights Perez has thrived in, specifically against Muhammad Mokaev, force me to lean to him in this fight.

In addition to the people Perez has competed against, he’s been active. This will be his third fight since March 2nd, while Taira’s last bout was this past December.

Once this fight begins, Taira will use his natural athleticism, speed, and length to try to bewilder Perez.

Taira’s advances will revolve around grappling and trying to coax Perez into a roll on the mat. Taira’s grappling has been foundational in his past victories, and Perez has been submitted in prior bouts.

However, being submitted by experienced world-class flyweight BJJ practitioners like Deiveson Figueiredo (now the sixth-ranked bantamweight) and current flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja carries little shame in my handicapping, and Taira is not at that level of ability at this point in his fight career.

For his part, Perez will look to forcefully press the younger man backward and eventually against the cage and make this fight a toe-to-toe throwdown. Perez must establish his dominance early in this fight by showing little to no respect for his younger, less experienced foe. He must employ his wrestling acumen to thwart Taira’s grappling and keep this fight on the feet.

Perez’s strength, savvy and who he has competed against force me to favor him in this spot against a talent in Taira who is stepping up substantially in competition for this opportunity.

In this fight, Taira will have to prove to mixed martial arts investors that his grappling and overall fight acumen are complete enough to compete against one of the division’s elites in Perez.

Taira opened -250 to Perez +210, and in this situation, it is likely he will be awarded his Ph.D. in MMA, as I judge the current flow of money coming in on the more established mixed martial artist Perez as justified.

Total in this fight: 2.5 Rds. Over -145.

Garrett Armfield -175 vs. Brady Hiestand +145

Bantamweight (135 pounds)

I try to highlight bouts that have the potential to be real bangers, and this bantamweight battle is set up to be an edge-of-your-seat brawl.

Hiestand is a willing striker with decent wrestling ability. Fighting out of Washington state he is 7-2 professionally and 2-1 in the UFC.

He dropped his first UFC fight against a solid fighter, Ricky Turcios, but he came back to defeat a couple of journeyman athletes, so he enters carrying momentum.

One concerning aspect of Hiestand is his inactivity. He has not stepped into the cage since April of last year. Time off can indicate potential injury issues, yet time may also allow for fighter development, so Hiestand must be regarded as dangerous in this situation and surely ready to fire fresh.

On the other corner of the cage stands Garrett Armfield who opened -220 for this fight and is now a more reasonable -175. Armfield has had the opportunity to compete twice since July of last year. His most recent win was against established commodity Brad Katona who he defeated via impressive decision.

Armfield has solid wrestling and is aggressive on the feet. He is a finisher, earning eight of his 10 professional victories via submission or KO. His sole UFC loss was in his UFC debut, which he took on short notice and up a weight against featherweight fury David Onama.

It is the more complete fighting arsenal of Armfield that makes him the legitimate favorite in this bout. Now supplement his fight prowess with a contracting price and it is my handicap that Garrett Armfield is well positioned to continue his climb up the rankings Saturday against Brady Hiestand in what is more than likely a high-octane decision outcome.

UFC Best Bet: Armfield -175

Total in this fight: 2.5 Rds. Over -195

The ‘Bout Business Podcast drops mid-day Friday. It offers listeners my best bets for each UFC card. Access it each week there is a UFC event at GambLou.com. Thank you for reading and enjoy the hostilities!