UFC Fight Night Best Bets, Picks and Predictions

VSiN Primetime producer Britton Hess offers his UFC best bets on the Fight Night card from Louisville and put pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) to hammer out his thoughts on every fight on the docket.

UFC 302: 5-4 (+2.0 Units, +21.62%)
Article History: 46-49 (+5.59 Units, +5.4%)


UFC Fight Night 302: 8-4 (66%)
Article History: 87-63 (58%)

Main Event

Jared “Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (+102) vs Nassourdine “Russian Sniper” Imavov (-122)

Over 4.5 Rounds (-145) | Under 4.5 Rounds (+114)

Jared Cannonier has had an unusual path in MMA. Not because he spent time as a professional fighter in a different discipline, but because it took him several years to accept the fact cutting weight was in his best interest. He started his career in the UFC as a 5’11” heavyweight in 2015, weighing in at 235 in his debut loss. He fought once again at heavyweight and got a KO, but decided cutting down to light heavyweight was worth the effort. He fought five times at light heavyweight and went 2-3 (losses to two LHW title holders and a challenger. Glover Teixeira, Jan Blachowicz, Dominick Reyes), before moving down to the appropriate weight class, middleweight. Finally, he was able to live up to his potential and now has a 7-2 record in the division. He even got a title shot versus Israel Adesanya for the strap back in 2022.

Cannonier potentially could have been a champion, but he wasted too much of his career fighting in the wrong weight class. He is now 40 years old, coming off a major knee injury, and has been inactive for the last year. Cannonier started his career by knocking out heavyweights. It goes without saying that he is extremely powerful, but he is also a great technician with great defense. Opponents have to respect his power and often end up crafting a gameplan specifically around controlling range.

On the subject of controlling range, Nassourdine Imavov is masterful in this regard. He possesses a lightning-fast jab, but he is also an elite wrestler, meaning his opponents cannot haphazardly close distance because they will get hit, or they will end up on the mat. Imavov’s last fight was perhaps his best overall performance in the UFC. He faced the powerful grappler Roman Dolidze, don’t let the split decision scorecard fool you, Imavov dominated. Imavov kept his opponent 0/4 on takedown attempts and outstruck Dolidze 112 to 34. The way he was able to handle the physically imposing Dolidze is a good omen for this matchup with Cannonier.

Overall, Imavov is 5-2, 1 NC in the UFC, with the most recent loss coming to Sean Strickland, who was beginning his run to hold the UFC light heavyweight title. His other fight was in his second trip to the UFC octagon, a majority decision loss to Phil Hawes who was in the middle of his best run as a professional mixed martial artist. I am not trying to make excuses for Imavov, but considering he is still in his 20s I do not have a problem with him experiencing bumps as he develops as a prospect.

If I knew I was getting prime Cannonier in this fight, I would give him a hard look. But the number 40 means something for a middleweight and coming off of a serious injury does not inspire confidence in the veteran. If Imavov fights smart, he should have no trouble out landing his opponent and winning this thing on the scorecards.

FIGHT WINNER: Nassourdine Imavov
UFC BEST BET: Nassourdine Imavov (-122), Risk 1.22 Units to Win 1

Co-Main Event

Dominick “The Devastator” Reyes (+195) vs Dustin “The Hanyak” Jacoby (-238)

Over 2.5 Rounds (+105) | Under 2.5 Rounds (-135)

Dominick Reyes entered the UFC with a 6-0 record seven years ago. He proceeded to win six fights in a row (4 finishes) before putting Jon Jones to the test in a light heavyweight title bout in February of 2020. He did not get the decision, but it seemed that he would be knocking on the champ’s door again in short order, but that did not happen. He fought 3 times in 27 months after the failed title bid, he was knocked out in all three fights, and has not been active since November of 2022. He is a physically gifted fighter and was a high-level college football player. He has great power and an accompanying athleticism rarely seen in the 205-pound division, but now there are serious concerns about his chin.

Dustin Jacoby is a professional fighter. He doesn’t have devastating speed or power, and he does not have a sparkling resume, as he is 7-5-1 in the UFC. What Jacoby does have going for him is a lifetime of competitive martial arts. Before returning to the UFC in 2020 (had a short-lived 0-2 stint in 2011/12), he was a high-level kickboxer and even fought for a Glory championship. He is solid in the clinch and has great technique. He is not a guy who is going to end up among the leaders at a fighter’s combine. He is also coming off a tough streak in his UFC career. He is 1-3 in his last four fights, with all three coming via highly contested decisions (outstruck his opponents in two of the three losses). He has a very obvious path to victory in this fight by testing The Devastator’s chin early and often, but I think it is more likely that he fights with a more controlled style, he knows that if he keeps range and makes it a clean kickboxing match he will out land his opponent.

I expect Reyes to be mindful of the damage he has suffered over the last four years and to fight as cautiously as possible, and I already mentioned that I do not expect Jacoby to overextend for the knockout early. I think the significant strikes landed price for Jacoby is mispriced in this fight. DraftKings currently has over/under 47.5. Jacoby averages 70+ significant strikes landed per three-round fight in the UFC. I also think this fight has a good shot at going longer than people expect, if the over hits, Jacoby is crushing his significant strike’s landed number. I like this play more than the total because there is a real possibility that Jacoby lands 48+ significant strikes in the first round and a half of this fight, regardless of if a finish comes before 2.5 rounds are completed.

FIGHT WINNER: Dustin Jacoby
UFC BEST BET: Jacoby OVER 47.5 Significant Strikes Landed (-115), Risk 1.15 Units to Win 1

Raul “El Niño Problema” Rosas Jr. (-238) vs “Pretty” Ricky Turcios (+195)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-145) | Under 2.5 Rounds (+114)

This fight was supposed to take place in February, but Rosas missed weight and the bout was rescheduled. There has been a bit of contentious talk in the lead up, including Turcios accusing Rosas of trying to duck him. I don’t think that’s the case, I think Rosas is just an extremely young fighter (age 19) who has a lot to learn about being a professional.

Rosas is a BJJ savant, when he wins, it is because he has a massive edge on the ground. The one loss on his 8-1 record came from Christian Rodriguez, who is an excellent grappler who has built a career on derailing hype trains. Rosas has been discussed as a future title contender since he made his debut on Dana White’s Contender Series as a 17-year-old. But I am not 100% sold yet, too much too soon can slow development. Chase Hooper, another grappling ace, had similar goals after winning on Contender Series as a teenager, but he has had ups and downs as a pro fighter. The “mixed” in mixed martial arts is often forgotten by athletes who are tip of the spear in a specific discipline.

Ricky Turcios was a bantamweight champion of The Ultimate Fighter TV show. His first fight after winning the tournament was a decision loss to veteran Aiemann Zahabi. He followed that up with a split-decision win over Kevin Natividad. He is 31 years old and has a professional record of 12-3. Both of his losses on the regional scene were against guys who ultimately ended up fighting in the UFC, Boston Salmon and Mana Martinez.

I have to take Turcios in this spot. He has the experience, comes from a legit gym, and the two opponents Rosas has beaten in the Octagon have a combined 0-5 UFC record. One of these fighters has been given an easy road to the spotlight, the other is Ricky Turcios. Lets just hope Turcios can defend the takedown better than in his last fight.

FIGHT WINNER: Ricky Turcios
UFC BEST BET: Ricky Turcios (+195), Risk 1 unit to win 1.95.

Brunno “The Hulk” Ferreira (-258) vs Dustin Stoltzfus (+210)

Over 1.5 Rounds (-110) | Under 1.5 Rounds (-120)

Brunno Ferreira is an 11-1 fighter with a 100% finish rate as a pro. Eight of his wins are via KO, and he has never seen a third round in his career. His style and intent in the cage are no secret. It’s why Nursulton Ruziboev was able to come into the cage and surprise him with a counter-right KO victory in his debut, and it’s why Ferreira will be in the UFC for as long as he is physically able to compete. He is only 5’10” in the 185 weight class, but possesses a 72” reach. He is 2-1 in the UFC with both of his victories coming versus fighters with reputations for KOs, Phil Hawes and Gregory Rodrigues.

Dustin Stoltzfus is 2-4 in the UFC and needs to show up in this fight for job security reasons. Both of his wins in the UFC are versus guys who currently have more losses in the promotion than wins. He is a grappler by nature with six career submission victories in his 15 professional wins. Ferreira is not going to respect his striking, but he needs to be careful in the clinch and other grappling scenarios.

This fight feels too obvious, but I am not opposed to taking the low-hanging fruit. I love Ferreira in this matchup.

FIGHT WINNER: Brunno Ferreira
UFC BEST BET: Brunno Ferreira Wins in Round 1 or 2 (-140), Bet 1.4 Units to Win 1

Julian “The Cuban Missile Crisis” Marquez (-142) vs Zach “Savage” Reese (+120)

Over 1.5 Rounds (+130) | Under 1.5 Rounds (-166)

Zach Reese debuted in the UFC as a 6-0 prospect and was lined as a -225 favorite versus Cody Brundage. He was knocked out via slam & punches in the first round. His previous five fights were first-round finishes (4 KO, 2 Sub). He won on Contender series as a -160 favorite. The combined record of his five pre-UFC opponents is 12-14.

Julian Marquez is a UFC veteran with a 3-3 record in the organization. He has lost his last two fights, and has not fought in the last two years after taking significant damage while losing both fights via knockout.

Both fighters are not known for their defense, but Marquez is the more accomplished grappler. His submission prop at +450 seems like solid odds, but there are too many unknowns in the fighters’ mindsets heading into this fight. I prefer Marquez to win ITD +110.

FIGHT WINNER: Julian Marquez

Miguel “Caramel Thunder” Baeza vs Punahele “Puna” Soriano

Over 1.5 Rounds (-130) | Under 1.5 Rounds (+100)

Miguel Baeza is coming off of a two-year layoff after suffering consecutive devastating knockout losses from two of the more powerful strikers in the division. Overall he is 10-3 as a pro with eight finishes inside the distance. His power is real, and his kicks can change the complexion of a fight. He has only seen the judges scorecards in one of his six UFC fights.

The same can be said of the strikes of Punahele Soriano. He is 3-4 in the UFC, with all three victories coming via KO. Two of his losses have also come inside the distance and overall he has only seen the judges scorecards three times in 13 pro fights.

This fight does not seem like it will be long, but there is a real possibility there will be a slower start than expected because both guys need to get back in the win column in a major way.

FIGHT WINNER: Michael Baeza
UFC BEST BET: Parlay Piece, see Below

Thiago Moises (+110) vs Ludovit Klein (-130)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-130) | Under 2.5 Rounds (+100)

Thiago Moises has seen some of the best competition in the lightweight division despite being only 29 years old. He has a 7-5 record in the organization, but his strength of schedule is about as good as it gets in the UFC, with fights against Islam Makhachev, Benoit Saint-Denis, Bobby Green, Michael Johnson, Beneil Dariush, and Damir Ismagulov. He is an accomplished BJJ practitioner who is not a huge threat in stand-up fighting.

Ludovit Klein is a stand-up fighter with KO power and more of a wrestler than a grappler. This stylistic matchup is one we have seen many times before. If the fight stays standing at distance, Klein will win. If there are prolonged exchanges on the ground, Moises will have a chance to find a submission.

Moises has not seen the judges scorecards in his last six fights, but Klein has gone the distance in four of his seven trips into the octagon. That said, I think that these guys are good in vastly different areas, and I do see some value in this fight not going to the final bell.

Fight Winner: Ludovit Klein

Charles Radtke (+170) vs Carlos Prates (-205)

Over 1.5 Rounds (-150) | Under 1.5 Rounds (+120)

Charles Radtke is 2-0 in the UFC and 9-3 overall, with all three losses coming to fighters who have fought in the UFC or Bellator. In February he was a +165 underdog versus Gilbert Urbina but was able to win with a left hook near the end of the first round.

Prates is a former kickboxer with an 18-6 MMA record. He is 1-0 in the UFC and riding an eight-fight win streak. He has thirteen wins via knockout and three by way of submission. Prates is the younger and longer fighter, but did get hit substantially more often than Radtke in his UFC debut and contender series fight.

There is a case to be made for this fight to not go long, however if Radtke is able to enact a grappling gameplan, we could see the final horn.

FIGHT WINNER: Carlos Prates
UFC BEST BET: Parlay: Baeza/Punahele Third Round Does Not Start + Prates/Radtke Fight Does Not Go Distance (+120), Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.2

Brad Katona (-700) vs Jesse Butler (+500)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-245) | Under 2.5 Rounds (+185)

Brad Katona is a grinder. He is a TUF champion and 13-3 as a professional fighter. He has gone the distance in 12 of his fights and has never been finished. His best shot at earning a bonus in this fight is via submission, but generally speaking, he’s more interested in winning than finding a highlight.

Jesse Butler got his shot under the bright lights of the UFC as a replacement opponent for Jim Miller. That fight lasted 23 seconds as he was KO’d by the veteran. He is likely a guy who does not deserve to be in the UFC but arrived in this position due to circumstance.


Andrea “KGB” Lee (-162) vs Montana De La Rosa (+136)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-425) | Under 2.5 Rounds (+300)

Andrea Lee is a UFC veteran who has fallen on some tough times in the cage as of late. She is 0-4 dating back to 2022 and now holds a 5-7 UFC record. All of her losses have been via judges’ scorecards, but she does have one submission and one TKO to her name in the organization.

Montana De La Rosa is similarly in a tough spot. She has lost three in a row and fallen to 5-5-1 in the UFC. She also sees a lot of decisions, but she does have three submission victories in the organization. De La Rosas is six years younger than Lee and an inch taller, but will be at a 2.5-inch reach disadvantage.

Lee is the cleaner striker in that she lands more accurately and gets hit less. She is also better in takedown success but has a worse takedown defense rate. This one looks like a decision

UFC BEST BET: Andrea Lee via Decision (+120), Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.2

John Castaneda (+110) versus Daniel Marcos (-130)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-250) | Under 2.5 Rounds (+190)

Daniel Marcos is a 15-0 fighter who is appearing for the octagon for the fourth time on the prelim card. His last fight ended early as a no contest due to an unintentional groin strike, but up to that point, he was outlanding his opponent at nearly a 2:1 rate. Seven of his wins are via decision, he has eight knockouts too.

John Castaneda is 21-6 overall, 4-2 in the UFC and currently on a two-fight winning streak. One of his UFC losses has come as an underdog, the other as a favorite. His success has come in a greater variety of ways than his opponent, seven KOs, seven submissions, and seven decisions. He has been knocked out twice, but never submitted.

FIGHT WINNER: Daniel Marcos

Eduarda Moura (-198) vs Denise Gomes (+164)

Over 2.5 Rounds (+105) | Under 2.5 Rounds (-135)

As an undefeated 10-0 fighter with a 90% finish rate, there is hype building behind Eduard Moura. However, she missed the strawweight limit of 116 pounds for the second consecutive fight, which happens to be her second fight in the UFC. She has four rear-naked choke victories to her name, and an additional submission to accompany her four KO/TKO victories.

Denise Gomes is 2-2 in the UFC, with both losses coming via decision. She is 8-3 overall as a pro with 6 knockouts to her name. She is 2-2 in the UFC with both of her wins coming via knockout.

She is a dangerous striker, as is Moura. This is rare strawweight fight where I want to take an alt under.

FIGHT WINNER: Denise Gomes
UFC BEST BET: Round 3 Does Not Start (+110), Risk 1 Unit to win 1.1

Cody Stamann (+225) versus Taylor Lapilus (-278)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-410) | Under 2.5 Rounds (+290)

Cody Stamann is a well-rounded fighter who is 7-5-1 in the UFC. Six of his seven wins in the organization are via decision and three of his losses have gone the distance. Taylor Lapilus is similarly a combatant who likes to go the full 15 minutes, as five of his six UFC bouts have hit the final bell. The long fight trend for these fighters extends beyond the UFC as most of their career fights have hit the cards. Stamann has seen much tougher competition, and when fights go to the cards anything is possible. In 28 career fights, Stamann has been involved in three split decisions and one majority draw. In 23 fights, Lapilus has gone to three split decisions. That is seven non-unanimous decisions in 51 fights or 14%. Twenty-one of their combined fights have finished inside the distance which is 41%. That means that only 55% of their combined fights have ended with a unanimous decision, and 45% have ended with a different result. If we shrink the sample size down to just these guys’ UFC fights, that number increases to the odds at DraftKings for this fight to not end in a unanimous decision are +125, which is implied odds of 44%. I think there is thin value on this +125 because you are covering the finish, and you are also getting a win if there is anything weird on the scorecards regarding splits and majorities.

FIGHT WINNER: Cody Stamann
UFC BEST BET: Fight to Be Won by Unanimous Decision, NO (+125), Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.25

Rayanne dos Santos (-340) vs Puja Tomar (+270)

Over 2.5 Rounds (-145) | Under 2.5 Rounds (+114)

Rayanne dos Santos is 0-1 in the UFC after a successful title run in Invicta.  She is 14-7 overall as a pro with 8 submission victories. Puja Tomar had a 1-3 stint in ONE Fighting Championship but found a four-fight win streak in the India regional promotion, Matrix Fight Night. She is 8-4 overall with three losses coming via submission, and the other via KO. Rayanne is in a great spot to make a highlight versus this opponent.

FIGHT WINNER: Rayanne Dos Santos
UFC BEST BET: Rayanne Dos Santos to Win Inside The Distance (+150), Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.5

UFC Best Bets Recap

  • Imavov (-122) vs Cannonier, Risk 1.22 Units to Win 1
  • Jacoby OVER 47.5 Significant Strikes Landed (-115), Risk 1.15 Units to Win 1
  • Ricky Turcios (+195) vs Rosas Jr, Risk 1 unit to win 1.95
  • Ferreira Win in Round 1 or 2 (-140) vs Stoltzfus, Bet 1.4 Units to Win 1
  • Parlay: Baeza/Punahele Third Round Does Not Start + Prates/Radtke Fight Does Not Go Distance (+120), Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.2
  • Lee via Decision (+120) vs De La Rosa, Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.2
  • Moura vs Gomes Round 3 Does Not Start (+110), Risk 1 Unit to win 1.1
  • Fight to Be Won by Unanimous Decision, NO (+125), Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.25
  • Dos Santos to Win Inside The Distance (+150) vs Tomar, Risk 1 Unit to Win 1.5