On Saturday, October 31st, the UFC will be live from their Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC on ESPN+ 39: Hall vs Silva. Before we can discuss the five fight main card, we must first take a look at the seven fight preliminary card.
Notable fighters competing in the prelims are Adrian Yanez, Miles Johns, Priscila Cachoeira, Justin Ledet, Cole Williams, Sean Strickland and Alexander Hernandez to name a few. The prelims will begin at 4PM ET on ESPN+.
UFC betting sites have released their full slate of odds for the UFC on ESPN+ 39 preliminary card. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds, identify betting value, and choke out our predictions.
This contest was originally scheduled for Aaron Phillips to take on Adrian Yanez. However, Phillips pulled out of the fight due to an undisclosed injury and Victor Rodriguez agreed to fill in on less than one week’s notice.
Rodriguez is making his UFC debut this weekend and enters the octagon on a four fight win streak. He last fought in February for AFC 157 out of Alaska and won via 2nd round TKO. All four of his wins are via TKO/KO and he’s never gone the distance in a pro fight.
Yanez is making his UFC debut as well after earning a contract on DWCS in August. He defeated Brady Huang via 1st round TKO in 39 seconds.
Prior to joining the UFC, Yanez competed in LFA and Fury FC. He last lost two years ago to Miles Johns who’s also on this card. That fight was for the LFA bantamweight title and it ended in a split decision.
Eight of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with six victories by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-3 when going the distance.
Both men are preferred strikers, but Yanez has some grappling abilities and could rely on them if things get dicey in the standup battle.
I don’t see this fight going the distance (-210) and I believe it will most likely end in the 1st round, so go with the Under 1.5 rounds (-130).
More than likely, Yanez is going to get the victory with a 1st round TKO/KO. Three of his last four bouts have ended under 1.5 rounds. For Rodriguez, four of his six pro fights have ended under 1.5 rounds.
The best value for this fight is Yanez winning inside the distance at -145 odds, this allows us to bypass the Over/Under for this MMA fight altogether.
Adrian Yanez vs Victor Rodriguez –Yanez (-330)
Under 1.5 rounds (-130)
Fight ends inside the distance (-210)
Yanez wins inside the distance (-145)
Yanez wins via TKO/KO (+140)
Miles Johns vs Kevin Natividad
Miles Johns (-170)
Kevin Natividad (+150)
Over (-205)/Under (+165) 2.5 rounds
Natividad will make his UFC debut this weekend and is on a five fight win streak. The last four wins came in LFA where he last fought in July and won via 2nd round KO. Natividad boasts of knockout power and could catch Johns with a lights out shot if Miles is reckless.
Six of his nine pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-0 when going the distance.
As mentioned above, Johns defeated Yanez two years ago to win the LFA bantamweight belt. He parlayed that into a DWCS appearance in June 2019 where he won via unanimous decision. Johns made his UFC debut 13 months ago and won via split decision.
His last bout came in February and he lost via 2nd round TKO due to a flying knee. Four of his 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with two victories apiece for TKO/KO and submission. He’s 6-0 when going the distance in a pro fight.
This fight has “decision” written all over it. So, take the Over 2.5 rounds (-205) and for the fight to go the distance (-175). Johns has gone the distance in five of his last seven bouts and Natividad has gone to a decision in two of his last three contests.
As for the winner, I’m taking Johns. He’s the better striker with a significant advantage in the grappling department as well. He can takedown Natividad when desired and can also outwork Kevin on the feet. Johns just needs to remember this. He failed to rely on his wrestling in his loss to Bautista.
The value is with Johns winning via decision (+100). For a fighter that has gone the distance in six of his 10 pro bouts, and to win all six of them, this prop bet offers great value.
Miles Johns vs Kevin Natividad –Johns (-170)
Over 2.5 rounds (-205)
Fight goes the distance (-175)
Johns wins via decision (+100)
Cortney Casey vs Priscila Cachoeira
Cortney Casey (-230)
Priscila Cachoeira (+190)
Over (-295)/Under (+235) 2.5 rounds
Despite having the better record, Cachoeira is a significant underdog in this contest. She last fought in February and defeated Shana Dobson via 1st round knockout in 40 seconds. That win snapped a three fight losing streak. She’s now 1-3 inside the octagon.
Five of her nine pro wins have come via TKO/KO. Cachoeira is 4-2 when going the distance.
Casey has been with the UFC for over five years and has racked up a record of 5-7 inside the octagon. She last fought in June and lost to Gillian Robertson via 3rd round submission on a short notice fight. She defeated Mara Romero Borella one month prior via 1st round submission.
Casey has fought some solid competition in her UFC tenure. At times, she looks ready to climb the rankings, but at other times she looks overmatched in the octagon. Seven of her nine pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of submission. She’s 2-6 when going the distance.
This weekend, Casey should look like a Top 15 competitor once again as her opponent only has a one punch chance at winning. Casey is the better all-around fighter with a clear advantage on the mat. Her two stoppage losses have come via submission, but Cachoeira is no threat in this department.
This really should be quick work for Casey if she can get the fight to the mat early. However, Casey’s inability to consistently fulfill her potential leaves me thinking that she will grind out the win via unanimous decision instead.
Go with the Over 2.5 rounds (-295) and for the fight to go the full 15 minutes (-265). Take Casey to win via decision (-115), which offers the best value for this fight. Casey has gone the distance in eight of her 17 pro fights including in six of her last eight trips inside the octagon.
Cortney Casey vs Priscila Cachoeira –Casey (-230)
Over 2.5 rounds (-295)
Fight goes the distance (-265)
Casey wins via decision (-115)
Dustin Jacoby vs Justin Ledet
Dustin Jacoby (-310)
Justin Ledet (+255)
Over (+100)/Under (-130) 2.5 rounds
Justin Ledet enters this weekend’s contest on a three fight losing streak. Those losses came after he decided to drop down to light heavyweight. Prior to that, he was 9-0. Ledet last fought in January and lost via unanimous decision to Aleksa Camur.
Seven of his nine pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission. He’s 2-2- when going the distance.
Jacoby earned a chance to fight for the UFC a second time after winning on DWCS two months ago. His first stint inside the octagon came in 2012 where he lost both of his UFC bouts. He also dropped fights in WOFC and Bellator.
In 2015, Jacoby decided to switch to kickboxing where he found success. In 2019, he decided to come back to MMA and has won two fights since then. Eight of his 12 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 3-2 when going the full 15 minutes.
Neither man is known for being a grappler. Both have shoddy takedown skills and prefer to stand and strike. Ledet is a solid boxer, but Jacoby’s kickboxing is better. I expect Dustin to win this fight via decision due to his combination of punches and kicks from a distance.
Take the Over 2.5 rounds (-130) and for the fight to go the distance (+125). Also take Jacoby to win via unanimous decision (+175). All three of these wagers off betting value.
Dustin Jacoby vs Justin Ledet –Jacoby (-310)
Over 2.5 rounds (-130)
Fight goes the distance (+125)
Jacoby wins via decision (+175)
Jason Witt vs Cole Williams
Jason Witt (-145)
Cole Williams (+125)
Over (-215)/Under (+170) 2.5 rounds
According to MMA betting sites, this is the closest fight of the prelims. In fact, it’s tied with the co-main event for the closest betting odds for the entire UFC on ESPN+ 39 show.
Cole Williams made his UFC debut two months ago on short notice and lost via 1st round submission to a dangerous grappler in Claudio Silva. Prior to that loss, Williams had won nine straight contests.
Both of Williams’ career losses have come via submission, something he shouldn’t have to worry about in this bout. Eight of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with four apiece for submission and TKO/KO. He’s 3-0 when going the distance.
Witt made his UFC debut in July and lost via 1st round TKO to Takashi Sato. The loss snapped a four fight win streak. 10 of his 17 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of submission. He’s 6-0 when going the distance.
Although he’s the underdog, I like Williams in this fight. I believe he’s the better striker with more technically sound skills. Neither man are great grapplers. They’re more of an opportunist when a chokehold presents itself than a submission artist.
I see this fight being more of a standup battle for as long as it lasts. With that said, I like Williams to win via TKO/KO (+750). Four of Witt’s six pro losses have come via TKO/KO including his last three defeats. I also like this fight to end inside the distance (+145) and to finish Under 2.5 rounds (+170).
Williams’ moneyline offers great value. The safest wager for this contest is on the fight ending inside the distance at +145 odds.
Jason Witt vs Cole Williams –Williams (+125)
Under 2.5 rounds (+170)
Fight ends inside the distance (+145)
Williams wins inside the distance (+325)
Williams wins via TKO/KO (+750)
Sean Strickland vs Jack Marshman
Sean Strickland (-320)
Jack Marshman (+260)
Over (-150)/Under (+120) 2.5 rounds
This bout was originally scheduled for Wellington Turman to take on Sean Strickland. However, Turman tested positive for covid and was removed from the bout. Jack Marshman is stepping in on two weeks’ notice.
Marshman comes into this contest as a large underdog. He last fought in 15 months ago and lost via 1st round submission to Edmen Shahbazyan. Marshman has lost three of his last four fights and has a record of 3-4 inside the octagon.
18 of his 32 pro wins have come via stoppage with 13 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 5-3 when going the distance.
Strickland returns to the octagon after a two year hiatus. He’s gone 7-3 inside the octagon for his career and went 5-3 in the welterweight division. However, Strickland is making a move back to the middleweight division where he went 2-0 when first joining the UFC.
13 of his 20 pro wins have come via stoppage with nine by way of TKO/KO. He’s 7-2 when going the distance.
It will be interesting to see how Strickland has evolved as a fighter over the last two years. As for Marshman, we already know what we’re getting. That’s a striker who tries to “hammer” his way to victory via TKO/KO.
However, I don’t see that happening in this contest. Even if this were the 2018 version of Strickland, he would win this bout due to being a better all-around fighter. As long as he doesn’t make any big mistakes, Strickland should win this contest handedly.
The only question now is whether or not Strickland can win inside the distance. Since we haven’t seen him in quite some time, it’s probably safer to take the Over 2.5 rounds (-150) and for the fight to go the full 15 minutes (-130).
Once with the judges, I expect Strickland to win via decision (+120), which offers the best value for this contest.
Sean Strickland vs Jack Marshman –Strickland (-320)
Over 2.5 rounds (-150)
Fight goes the distance (-130)
Strickland wins via decision (+120)
Alexander Hernandez vs Chris Gruetzemacher
Alexander Hernandez (-350)
Chris Gruetzemacher (+290)
Over (-155)/Under (+125) 2.5 rounds
Chris “Gritz” Gruetzemacher is making his first trip to the octagon in 2 ½ years. He’s been out of the UFC due to injuries including a torn ACL. Gritz has a 2-2 record in the octagon with a win over Joe Lauzon via 2nd round TKO in April 2018.
10 of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-0 when going the distance.
Hernandez burst on the scene in March 2018 with a 42 second win over Beneil Dariush. He would score another victory in his second octagon appearance and crack the Top 15 rankings for the lightweight division.
Unfortunately, Hernandez has dropped two of his last three contests including TKO losses to Donald Cerrone and Drew Dober. His last contest was in May when he lost via 2nd round TKO to Dober.
Six of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of TKO/KO. He’s 5-1 when going the distance in a fight.
Despite the loss five months ago, Hernandez is still the better overall fighter than Gritz. I expect his skills to be on display in this contest. He doesn’t have to worry as much about Gritz’s striking compared to Dober’s. Additionally, I think he’s better on the mat than Gritz.
I’m not confident in this Over/Under of 2.5 rounds as it could really go either way. I do believe the fight will not go the full distance (-105), which offers the best value. It’s probably better to go with the Under 2.5 rounds as it offers better odds at +125.
With that said, I see Hernandez taking advantage of Gritz’s cage rust and weaknesses to capture the victory inside the distance. Alexander will need to make sure that he doesn’t get caught up in a brawl in this fight as that will play to the strength of Gruetzemacher.
All three of Gritz’s losses have come via submission, so that’s probably the best path to victory for Hernandez.
Hernandez vs Gruetzemacher –Hernandez (-350)
Under 2.5 rounds (+125)
Fight ends inside the distance (-105)
Hernandez wins inside the distance (+165)
Hernandez wins via submission (+300)
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. …