UFC Vegas 55 gambling preview: Best bets, parlays, and the long shot of the week

Holly Holm | Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

After six straight weeks of betting action, the UFC is finally set to take a small break before embarking on a 12-week run of events through the summer. But before they go, the world’s premiere MMA organization is offering one final Fight Night card at their home base of the UFC Apex: UFC Vegas 55. In the main event, former bantamweight champion Holly Holm takes on rising contender Ketlen Vieira in a bout with possible title implications. Plus, we’ve got 10 more competitively matched fights on the docket, with plenty of chances to make your fortune.

As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Straight Bets

Ketlen Vieira, +200

In her prime, Holly Holm was a much better fighter than Ketlen Vieira, but it seems a reach to suggest Holm is still in that prime. She’s 40 years old, hasn’t fought in 19 months, and is coming off a knee injury and a medical diagnosis (hydronephrosis) which I won’t pretend to understand but sounds bad. By contrast, Vieira is 30 years old and seems to be hitting her peak. Add in that she’s the superior grappler and it feels like this line should be much closer. Yes, Holm will mostly outbox her at range, but Vieira is going to try and make this ugly, and when she does so, I think that gives her a real chance.

Santiago Ponzinibbio, +115

Ponzinibbio opened as a -150 favorite, but that line has shifted dramatically over the past week and I’m not sure why. Yes, Pereira has been on a good run and he’s enormous, but Ponzinibbio isn’t small and he’s a much better technician than Pereira, and has a better gas tank. The question is whether Ponzinibbio’s chin can hold up to Pereira’s gigantic explosions, as we’ve seen Ponzinibbio get sparked by a big, athletic welterweight before. My belief is that won’t happen this time around though, and Ponzinibbio will get the job done.

Tabatha Ricci, -135

Both Ricci and Polyana Viana are accomplished grapplers, but Ricci is the more accomplished of the two, winning a silver medal at Mundials as a brown belt. Ricci is also the better striker, packing more pop in her punches and throwing in combination. Normally, those two things would make her a healthy favorite over Viana, but there’s one big issue: She’s small. Ricci is a natural atomweight and will be giving up a clear size advantage to Viana, which could make everything else moot. I doubt it though, as Viana has struggled in the past to impose her will on smaller fighters who could match her skills.

Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Prop Bets

Chidi Njokuani by KO/TKO/DQ, +110

Simply put, Njokuani has a big size advantage and is a much better striker than Dusko Todorovic, and that leads to one inevitable outcome. Todorovic is a BJJ black belt but he prefers to strike, and when he does so, his defense largely relies on head movement, preferring to keep his hands at his waist. That’s a terrible idea against something with the speed, power, and ability of Njokuani, and I suspect it’s one that will get him punished.

Chase Hooper by Submission, +500

This is probably dumb, but I can’t help it. Hooper is a +155 underdog but this prop is at this number, despite Hooper’s grappling attacks being his most obvious path to victory. Colares has proven easy to take down but difficult to hold there, and Hooper is not a good wrestler, but he’s a tricky grappler and he finds his way into leg entanglements, even in fights he losing. At this number, it’s worth a flyer to see if Hooper can fish out a heel hook one more time.

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Parlay of the Week

Chidi Njokuani -235

As mentioned above, this should be a good night for Njokuani. I don’t hate a play on him by himself, but at this price, having him as a parlay piece just makes sense.

Jonathan Martinez, -225

This is the fight I am the most confident of, and for a very simple reason: Jonathan Martinez excels at kicking legs and Vince Morales excels at having his leg kicked. Benito Lopez did it to him and won, and Martinez’s teammate, Chris Gutierrez, did also. I see no reason to think things will be any different here. Martinez should chop his way to victory.

Holly Holm/Ketlen Vieira Over 2.5 Rounds, -450

In their last five fights apiece, this over could have cashed in eight of them. Neither woman has won a fight by stoppage since 2017 and I’d be shocked if either of them broke that streak now.

Parlay these three bets together for +151 odds

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Long Shot of the Week

Parker Porter by Decision, +1600

I’ll be honest, this is my favorite bet of the week because either it’s going to be dead almost immediately (if Jailton Almeida can score a takedown early) or it’s going to be the most exciting 15 minutes of the weekend. Look, there’s a reason Almeida is the biggest favorite on the card, and he probably will win. But this line is insane. Almeida is a natural light heavyweight and this move up to the max weight is entirely unnecessary. Yes, he has the more chiseled physique, but Porter is going to have 30 pounds of weight on him — and he’s actually not a bad fighter! He can wrestle some and he pushes a tremendous pace for the division.

If Almeida comes in trying to force a takedown, he could easily gas himself out and Porter can outpoint him down the stretch. I’ll also add that it’s insane that Porter is a +410 underdog, but this line is high as it is, given that Porter has not finished anyone since joining the UFC.

Wrap Up

It was a difficult go for us last week. We looked like we had a good shot at taking home a small profit, before Aleksandar Rakic’s knee took us down for a small loss instead. Alas, that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. And our own inability to hit parlays has proven to be brutal (as always, parlays are for suckers). But we press on.

Good luck y’all, and gamble responsibly!

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