On Saturday, October 10th, the UFC will run their 5th Fight Island event titled UFC on ESPN+ 37: Moraes vs Sandhagen also known as UFC Fight Night 179 and UFC Fight Island 5. This show will have a main card start time of 8PM ET and air live on ESPN+.
The featured fight of the night is a Top 4 bantamweight battle as Marlon Moraes takes on Cory Sandhagen. Other notable fighters on the main card are Edson Barboza, Ben Rothwell, Marcin Tybura, Markus Perez, and Makwan Amirkhani.
UFC betting sites have released their odds and props for the UFC on ESPN+ 37 main card. Let’s step inside the octagon to examine these betting odds, identify any betting value, and liver kick these predictions.
Youssef Zalaal vs Ilia Topuria
Youssef Zalaal (-185)
Ilia Topuria (+160)
Over (-125)/Under (+105) 2.5 rounds
This was fight was originally scheduled to be Youssef Zalaal versus Seung Woo Choi. Unfortunately, Choi was forced out of the bout and Topuria is stepping in on a little more than one week’s notice.
Topuria is an unbeaten fighter out of Spain and has finished off all eight of his opponents. Seven of his eight wins have come via submission. He will be making his UFC debut this weekend versus another rising prospect in Zalaal.
Zalaal is on a four fight win streak which includes going 3-0 inside the octagon. All three of his UFC fights have come in 2020 and he won all of them via unanimous decision. Seven of his 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission. He’s 3-2 when going the distance.
Both fighters are prospects with potential. However, Zalaal appears to have the edge in terms of experience on a bigger stage and against higher caliber opponents.
I see this fight going Over 2.5 rounds (-125) and the full distance (-110). As mentioned, all three of Zalaal’s UFC fights have gone to a decision. And, it’s unclear as to how tough Topuria will be considering this is his first octagon appearance. So, the safe play is a decision outcome.
With that said, I’m taking Youssef Zalaal to pick up his 4th straight decision victory. He’s shown that he can carry a high pace for the entire fight and overwhelm his opponents with a high volume of striking. I don’t see Topuria matching Zalaal’s output.
For a fighter who has gone the distance in three straight bouts, and all three coming inside the octagon, his +150 odds of winning via decision offers solid value.
Youssef Zalaal vs Ilia Topuria –Zalaal (-185)
Over 2.5 rounds (-125)
Fight goes the distance (-110)
Zalaal wins via decision (+150)
Alan Baudot vs Tom Aspinall
Alan Baudot (+385)
Tom Aspinall (-485)
Over (+140)/Under (-160) 1.5 rounds
This fight has the largest disparity in betting odds as Tom Aspinall is the biggest betting favorite for the entire event while Alan Baudot is the biggest underdog.
Alan Baudot is making his UFC debut this weekend and enters the octagon with a two fight win streak. However, he hasn’t fought in 18 months and has primarily been on the regional circuit. Seven of his eight pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s never gone the distance in a pro fight.
Tom Aspinall made his UFC debut in July and won via 1st round TKO against Jake Collier in just 45 seconds. Aspinall has won four straight fights all within 90 seconds and via TKO/KO. Seven of his eight pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s also never gone the distance.
Speaking about his UFC debut, Aspinall made the following comments:
“That’s what I expected, really. It’s great to go out there and put on the performance that you hope to but I’m just looking to get better and better now. Those first-round finishes are what I’ve become known for and it’s always the aim.”
Aspinall will be aiming for another 1st round TKO/KO against Baudot. 15 of their combined 21 pro fights have finished inside 1.5 rounds, so take the Under 1.5 rounds (-160) in this contest. Also, go with the prop bet that this fight ends inside the distance (-490).
Aspinall will win this fight inside the distance (-240) and he will do so via TKO/KO (-180). Baudot does have one knockout loss on his career and I believe he will pick up another one this Saturday. At 27 years old, Aspinall still has room to grow into a solid Top 10 heavyweight with his striking and power.
Aspinall winning in the 1st round offers the best value for this contest as it’s listed at +100 odds on online betting sites.
Alan Baudot vs Tom Aspinall –Aspinall (-485)
Under 1.5 rounds (-160)
Fight ends inside the distance (-490)
Aspinall wins inside the distance (-240)
Aspinall wins via TKO/KO (-180)
Aspinall wins in 1st round (+100)
Markus Perez vs Dricus Du Plessis
Markus Perez (+135)
Dricus Du Plessis (-155)
Over (+120)/Under (-140) 2.5 rounds
Dricus Du Plessis is stepping in on roughly two weeks’ notice to replace Rodolfo Vieira who withdrew from the fight against Perez due to a rib injury.
Dricus Du Plessis is a standout international fighter from South Africa and has made a name for himself on the regional circuit. He will make his UFC debut this weekend and enters the octagon on a two fight winning streak.
Morning rounds done👌🏼It all comes down to this,the biggest moment of my career to date, and you better know I’m going to make it count. 👊 pic.twitter.com/eu7MNIz0ME
The former KSW champ has stopped his opponents in all 14 of his pro wins. Nine of those victories have come via submission. He’s never gone the distance in a pro fight.
Since joining the UFC in 2017, Perez has alternated between wins and losses. He’s 2-3 inside the octagon with a loss coming in his last fight 11 months ago to Wellington Turman. All three of those losses came via decision. Perez has never been stopped in his career.
Nine of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of submission. He’s 3-3 when going the distance.
Perez has the experience advantage inside the octagon and probably an edge in striking as well. But, Du Plessis is a potential star in the making and has a strong overall fight game both standing and on the mat.
Although Perez is a more well-known name with UFC fans, Du Plessis is going to win his debut this weekend. However, it will be via decision as Perez has never been stopped. Take the Over 2.5 rounds (-140) as well.
There’s plenty of value with this fight going the full three rounds (+150) and with De Plessis winning via decision. These are great options if you don’t want to take his moneyline.
Markus Perez vs Dricus Du Plessis –Du Plessis (-155)
Over 2.5 rounds (-140)
Fight goes the distance (+150)
Du Plessis wins via decision (+350)
Ben Rothwell vs Marcin Tybura
Ben Rothwell (-160)
Marcin Tybura (+140)
Over (-150)/Under (+130) 2.5 rounds
I must admit, I am intrigued by this heavyweight fight. I believe both competitors are fun to watch especially when Ben Rothwell is on top of his game, which he was for a few rounds in his last fight against OSP. I’m also surprised that Rothwell isn’t in the Top 15 rankings for the division.
Perhaps, after a win on Saturday, he will reenter the rankings. And, make no mistake about it, I do believe Rothwell win will. He has the advantage in every category, but the submission game. Tybura has a higher level of submission skills.
However, Tybura will struggle to get this fight to the mat as Rothwell is pretty solid when it comes to defending the takedowns. Furthermore, he’s a big man and a longtime veteran of the sport. Following three losses in a row, Rothwell has won two straight.
34 of his 38 pro wins have come via stoppage with 28 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-6 when going the distance in a fight.
Tybura is also on a two fight win streak after losing four of his previous five. In June, Tybura looked solid against Maxim Grishin as he won via unanimous decision. He’s 2-0 in 2020 and looking to extend that winning streak to three.
13 of his 19 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 6-2 when going the distance.
With the way these heavy hitters throw strikes, I don’t see this fight going the distance (-105). I also think it will come in Under 2.5 rounds (+130).
I see Rothwell defending the takedowns and eventually wearing out Tybura with his striking before finding the TKO/KO in the middle of this bout. Four of Tybura’s six pro losses have come via TKO/KO including his last three straight defeats.
In a combined 75 total fights, these two men have only gone the distance in 18 of them. So, the prop bet for this bout ending inside the distance (-105) has the best value as it gives you a better shot to cover both fighters scoring a stoppage win, which they’ve done a combined 47 times.
Ben Rothwell vs Marcin Tybura –Rothwell (-160)
Under 2.5 rounds (+130)
Fight ends inside the distance (-105)
Rothwell wins inside the distance (+170)
Rothwell wins via TKO/KO (+245)
Makwan Amirkhani vs Edson Barboza
Makwan Amirkhani (+220)
Edson Barboza (-260)
Over (+110)/Under (-130) 2.5 rounds
The co-main event of the night was originally scheduled to be Sodiq Yusuff vs Edson Barboza. However, Yusuff was removed from the event as Makwan Amirkhani replaces him on roughly two weeks’ notice.
Amirkhani last fought in July and defeated Danny Henry via 1st round submission. The win improved his record to 6-2 inside the octagon. 11 of his 16 pro wins have come via submission. He’s 4-2 when going the distance.
Edson Barboza is on a three fight win streak with the last two coming via split decision. I do believe Felder won their fight 13 months ago, but I thought Barboza defeated Dan Ige in May. However, the judges saw it differently.
A second straight split decision loss irked Barboza as he called for his release. If he loses this weekend then I see the UFC granting that request. Fortunately for fans of Barboza like myself, I believe he will win on Saturday.
This should be three full rounds of exciting action. These two men enjoy striking and looking for the stoppage. 12 of Barboza’s 20 pro wins have come via TKO/KO, but he can also grapple on the mat.
I believe Barboza will do enough in the striking department and defending takedowns to edge out Amirkhani with the judges. Edson will pick up his first win as a featherweight and snap the three fight losing streak. This bout is also a contender for fight of the night.
My favorite bet for this contest is the fight starting round 3 at -110 odds. I believe that even if this fight falls short of going the full 15 minutes, these two will still go into the final round of the night.
Makwan Amirkhani vs Edson Barboza –Barboza (-260)
Over 2.5 rounds (+110)
Fight goes the distance (+130)
Barboza wins via decision (+225)
Fight starts round 3 (-110)
Marlon Moraes vs Cory Sandhagen
Marlon Moraes (+110)
Cory Sandhagen (-130)
Over (+105)/Under (-125) 3.5 rounds
The main event of the night is a battle of Top 4 bantamweights as the #1 ranked Marlon Moraes takes on the 4th ranked Cory Sandhagen. The winner of this fight will be next in line to take on the winner of Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling, which is for Yan’s bantamweight belt.
Speaking of Sterling, Sandhagen lost to him in June which was a fight to determine the next contender to Yan’s bantamweight title. However, if Sandhagen can beat Moraes this weekend then he will get another chance to move to the front of the line for a title shot.
Sandhagen had won seven straight fights prior to the Sterling loss including going 5-0 in the octagon. He has a big gas tank and fantastic striking skills to go with a solid grappling skillset. Seven of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of TKO/KO. He’s 5-1 when going to a decision.
Moraes has fought the cream of the crop in this division and was beating Henry Cejudo on the scorecards before eating a 3rd round TKO. He bounced back from that fight to beat Jose Aldo 10 months ago via split decision. Yet, some pundits felt that Aldo actually won that fight.
Where Sandhagen failed, Moraes defeated Sterling in December 2017 via 1st round KO. He also put away Jimmie Rivera and Raphael Assuncao following the Sterling win. 16 of his 23 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 7-1-1 when going the distance.
Moraes has the advantage in power and on the ground. He’s a prolific Muay Thai fighter with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. So, he will win this bout if it goes to the mat.
Sandhagen will do his best to fight from a distance and to wear down Moraes as his cardio is as much of a weapon as his jab and leg kicks are. Cory has a five inch height, three inch reach and three inch leg reach advantage.
I’m not comfortable choosing a winner in this fight. I believe both men are very capable of picking up the victory. I am going to take Moraes to win as he will close the distance and try to control Sandhagen in the clinch, against the cage or on the mat.
I feel more comfortable with taking the Over 3.5 rounds (+105) in this contest. I think whoever wins will have to go into the championship rounds to do so. I’m 50/50 on whether or not this fight will go the full distance. The odds favor it finishing inside the full 25 minutes (-190).
Sandhagen has never been knocked out before, but he does have one submission loss along with a decision defeat. So, your guess is as good as mine on how this bout will end inside the distance. Since I have to pick, I’m taking Moraes to win inside the distance via submission.
Marlon Moraes vs Cory Sandhagen –Moraes (+110)
Over 3.5 rounds (+105)
Fight ends inside the distance (-190)
Moraes wins inside the distance (+185)
Moraes wins via submission (+655)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …