While most major sports are in the midst of an offseason, the UFC will be giving us an event every weekend for our viewing pleasure for the foreseeable future. This gives us MMA fans something to lean on until the return of football season, spending our late Saturday nights watching the carnage unfold in the octagon while also potentially making a few bucks in the process.
UFC Fight Night Best Bets (7/1/23)
The often loud and always entertaining Sean Strickland makes his return to the octagon to headline this weekend’s main event as he takes on Abus Magomedov. Question marks loom largely over this contest as Abus was hailed as the next big thing in the middleweight division and has looked the part after a 19 second win in his UFC debut. We also target some other fights as we look to cash a parlay to help fill our pockets leading into the holiday.
Sean Strickland Vs. Abus Magomedov
The contrast of styles between these two fighters could not be any more different leading into this fight which brings intrigue for what will be an exciting main event. While doing it in their own unique way, we can expect plenty of stand-up carnage as both fighters will look to push their game plan with their striking ability.
As for Strickland, he has built a career on picking apart his opponents by keeping his space and wearing them down with calculated jabs and leg kicks. While lacking power with this style of fighting, Strickland opts into the idea of wearing out his opponents for either a decisive victory or late TKOs after a barrage of strikes from the opening bell.
Abus on the other hand, has given us little to work with as he put the division on notice with an impressive 19 second victory in his UFC debut. He landed a front kick that dazed Stoltzfus and backed him into the cage before finishing him off with a flurry of strikes that led to the fourth fastest debut victory in UFC history.
Front Kick & Punches KO in 19 seconds
He faces Sean Strickland this weekend pic.twitter.com/mnmxbxTSzM
— Ocelot MMA (@Ocelot_MMA) June 26, 2023
While Magomedov’s victory looks impressive on paper, I was less than impressed with the defense he faced as Strickland will be a far tougher opponent to ground. Granted Strickland recently suffered a KO loss to Pereira off of standing strikes, yet I would not put Magomedov near Pereira’s level of striking.
Strickland also found redemption against middleweight bull style striker Jared Cannonier and rising middleweight Nassourdine Imavov, going back to his roots of breaking down his opponents with his cautious spacing and elite tactical striking style of fighting for decisive victories.
I would group Magomedov’s striking ability closer to the likes of Cannonier and Imavov as he has yet to prove himself in the UFC. With a two-inch reach advantage, this forces Strickland to continue going back to his roots and continue his judge friendly style of fighting. Magomedov has never fought this style of fighter, giving me conviction he will struggle to close the gap against the always moving Strickland and getting out struck over the full course of the fight.
Pick: Sean Strickland by Decision
Main Card Parlay
With so many exciting matchups on deck, I decided to couple my main event bet with two other betting angles for a little parlay entertainment as we head into the holiday weekend. We nearly cashed last weekend’s parlay as Torpuria had a chance to put away Emmett in the second round. Those hopes were dashed as he was saved by the bell and the fight continued to go all five rounds which burned our finish in rounds 1,2,3 leg of the parlay.
The first leg of the parlay comes in the middle of the main card as up and comer Michael Morales looks to continue his ascent up the rankings against the older Max Giffin. Seemingly the same situation as we witnessed in last weekend’s main event with Torpuria and Emmett, as Giffin is looking like a lamb waiting to be slaughtered against the much more fiery Morales. Take Morales to win inside the distance as he looks to catch the UFC executives’ attention early in his career.
As for the co-main event, we have a near pick’em as Grant Dawson takes on Damir Ismagulov. I have gone back and forth on this fight, but I am settling with Grant Dawson pulling out the victory as he has a slight advantage in the takedown and mat control department. Should he avoid Damir’s striking early on, we may see Dawson take this to the mat and rely on ground control in what could be a long and decisive victory.
Pick: Sean Strickland by Decision + Morales Vs. Giffin does not go the distance + Grant Dawson ML