The UFC returns to action on Saturday, February 20th, with UFC Fight Night 185: Blaydes vs Lewis live on ESPN+ beginning at 8PM ET. This event, also known as UFC Vegas 19, features a Top 4 heavyweight battle between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis.
The co-main event of the night features a Top 7 women’s bantamweight contest as Ketlen Vieira takes on Yana Kunitskaya.
Also on the main card is Aleksei Oleinik vs Chris Daukaus, Charles Rosa vs Darrick Minner, and Andrei Arlovski vs Tom Aspinall. There seems to be a slight change to the main card lineup, which I will explain in detail below.
Online sportsbooks have released their odds for the main card of UFC Fight Night 185. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds, identify any value, and heel hook our predictions.
Sabatini vs Alves Moved to Prelims, Replaced With Hawes Fight
It appears that the UFC might have tweaked the main card lineup for the event as they’re now listing Hawes vs Imavov on the main card in replacement of Sabatini vs Alves which is now listed in the prelims.
In the UFC Fight Night 185 Prelim Card betting preview, I already examined the Hawes vs Imavov fight. So, I’ll stick with the Sabatini vs Alves matchup in this preview.
Pat Sabatini vs Rafael Alves
Pat Sabatini (+160)
Rafael Alves (-185)
Over (-190)/Under (+165) 1.5 rounds
Mike Trizano was scheduled to take on Alves in this fight. But, Trizano withdrew from the bout and Pat Sabatini filled in on six days’ notice.
Sabatini is the former CFFC featherweight champ and has won five of his last six contests. He last competed in December where he won via 2nd round submission.
11 of his 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with nine by way of submission. He’s 2-2 when going the distance.
Alves is the former Titan FC lightweight champ and has won five straight bouts. He last competed in August 2020 where he won on DWCS via 2nd round submission.
14 of his 19 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven apiece for submission and TKO/KO. He’s 5-0 when going the distance.
Both men like to grapple and it should be a good matchup as they also hope to stick with the UFC after their debuts. Despite what the online betting sites say, I believe this contest can go either way.
I am going with the betting upset here as I think Sabatini can pull out a submission win. Alves does have six submission losses in his career.
I don’t see this bout going the distance (-140), but I do like it to go Over 1.5 rounds (-190). The best value for this bout is with the fight ending inside the distance.
Pat Sabatini vs Rafael Alves –Sabatini (+160)
Over 1.5 rounds (-190)
Fight ends inside the distance (-140)
Sabatini wins inside the distance (+370)
Sabatini wins via submission (+630)
Andrei Arlovski vs Tom Aspinall
Andrei Arlovski (+205)
Tom Aspinall (-245)
Over (-160)/Under (+140) 1.5 rounds
This heavyweight bout will almost certainly end with a knockout as both men love to put their opponents to sleep.
For Arlovski, I’ve stopped thinking he should hang up his gloves as he’s proven to still be very competitive in the octagon. Arlovski has won two straight bouts against rising heavyweights Philipe Lins and Tanner Bosa.
This will be his 34th heavyweight fight inside the octagon which is the most in UFC history for the division and 3rd most all-time in any division.
Since he returned to the UFC in his second stint (2014), he’s gone 9-9. He does have 19 victories in the UFC heavyweight division, which is the most all-time. He also has the second most stoppages in the division with 11.
20 of his 30 pro wins have come via stoppage with 17 via TKO/KO. He’s 10-7 when going the distance.
“Let’s let the rest of the division see as little as possible.”
Aspinall has won five straight contests which includes both of his UFC fights. The 27 year old Brit made his debut last July on Fight Island and won via 1st round TKO in 45 seconds over Jake Collier. He followed that up with a 95 second TKO over Alan Baudot last October.
All nine of his pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO. He’s never gone the distance and has just one stoppage loss via submission.
Arlovski has made me look silly the last two times I picked against him, but I don’t see the veteran surviving 15 minutes with the hard hitting Aspinall.
This will be the Brit’s biggest fight of his career and I expect him to come out swinging and finding the KO by the middle of the 3rd round. Arlovski has 11 TKO/KO losses in his career.
Take the Over 1.5 rounds (-160) and for the fight to end inside the distance (-165). The best value is with Aspinall winning inside the distance at -120 odds. It’s half of what his moneyline betting odds are listed at.
Andrei Arlovski vs Tom Aspinall –Aspinall (-245)
Over 1.5 rounds (-160)
Fight ends inside the distance (-165)
Aspinall wins inside the distance (-120
Aspinall wins via TKO/KO (-105)
Aleksei Oleinik vs Chris Daukaus
Aleksei Oleinik (+160)
Chris Daukaus (-185)
Over (+135)/Under (-155) 1.5 rounds
Oleinik is the 10th ranked heavyweight despite being a large underdog in this contest. He is the oldest active heavyweight in the UFC right now and has the second most submission wins in the division’s history with six.
Unfortunately, he’s dropped three of his last five bouts including his last trip inside the octagon where he lost to Derrick Lewis via 2nd round TKO. Oleinik is 8-5 all time in the UFC.
54 of his 59 pro wins have come via stoppage with 46 by way of submission. He’s 5-4-1 when going the distance.
Chris Daukaus will face the biggest fight of his career as he looks to crack the Top 15. He’s won three straight fights all via 1st round TKO including both of his UFC bouts.
Dakaus defeated Parker Porter via 1st round TKO last August and then followed that up with a 45 second KO win over Rodrigo Nascimento Ferreira in October.
Nine of his 10 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 1-0 when going the distance. The 31 year old American is confident in his overall fight skills as he’s not afraid to grapple with Oleinik:
“It’s a mixed martial arts fight – I’m not afraid to go to the ground with him. I feel that my skill set would favor the stand up and his would favor, obviously, the clinch and the ground game. I’m not concerned about getting taken down. If I get taken down, I have the skill set to either get back up or properly defend.”
Like all of Oleinik’s fights it will come down to whether or not he can survive the striking long enough to take his opponent down to the mat and lock in a submission win.
One way or another, I see this fight ending Under 1.5 rounds (-155) and definitely inside the distance. Either Oleinik locks in a submission or Daukaus finds the TKO/KO.
I’m going with the knockout win for Daukaus (-35). Oleinik folded against the last three heavy hitters he faced: Overeem, Harris, and Lewis. In fact, he didn’t make it out of the first round in two of those fights.
The best value for this fight is that it will end in round 1 at -110 odds.
Aleksei Oleinik vs Chris Daukaus –Daukaus (-185)
Under 1.5 rounds (-155)
Fight ends inside the distance (-505)
Daukaus wins inside distance (-140)
Daukaus wins via TKO/KO (-135)
Charles Rosa vs Darrick Minner
Charles Rosa (-185)
Darrick Minner (+160)
Over (+140)/Under (-160) 2.5 rounds
Minner will step inside the octagon for the 3rd time as he sports a 1-1 record. He debuted one year ago and lost via 2nd round submission to Grant Dawson. He then bounced back in September with a 1st round submission win over T.J. Laramie.
23 of his 25 pro wins have come via stoppage with 22 by way of submission. He’s 2-1 when going the distance.
Rosa is 4-4 inside the octagon as he’s alternated between wins and losses over the last several years. He last fought in June 2020 and won via split decision over Kevin Aguilar.
11 of his 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of submission. He’s 2-3 when going the distance.
A pair of submission specialists will clash at #UFCVegas19 this Saturday night on TSN when Charles Rosa battles Darrick Minner in a featherweight bout. @aaronbronsteter forecasts who comes out on top and whether this fight goes the distance. @TSNUFC https://t.co/XBO7CR5Acm pic.twitter.com/H6QJzz2NjL
As for this upcoming fight, Rosa had the following comments:
“I was supposed to fight him before but COVID hit. They brought his name up and I said yes but something weird happened and it didn’t happen. Darrick Minner is a newer guy in the UFC and him being a submission specialist and being a fast starter matches my style. I have nine first-round finishes and eight submission wins, I also have three Fight of the Night performance bonuses so it will be an exciting fight. I’m putting Minner out. I haven’t gotten a knockout in the UFC yet and I think this is the fight I can get the KO win.”
It’s hard to argue against Rosa’s logic here. In fact, I actually agree with him as I believe that he will get the finish. I expect Rosa to stuff the takedowns or effectively scramble to get back to his feet. The more time he spends upright, the more dangerous it will be for Minner.
Look for Rosa to score the TKO (+750) finish Under 2.5 rounds (-160) and inside the distance (-195). The value is with Rosa winning inside the distance at +120 odds.
Charles Rosa vs Darrick Minner –Rosa (-185)
Under 2.5 rounds (-160)
Fight ends inside the distance (-195)
Rosa wins inside the distance (+120)
Rosa wins via TKO/KO
Ketlen Vieira vs Yana Kunitskaya
Ketlen Vieira (-265)
Yana Kunitskaya (+225)
Over (-320)/Under (+260) 2.5 rounds
This Top 7 women’s bantamweight clash was originally set to take place in August 2020, but Visa issues forced Vieira to miss the bout. Kunitskaya would fight Stoliarenko instead.
The UFC tried to rebook this matchup in November, but another issue came up and so the promotion rescheduled this bout for Saturday.
Ketlen Vieira is the 6th ranked bantamweight and a large betting favorite over her opponent. Her only pro loss came in December 2019 to Irene Aldana via 1st round KO.
She’s also 5-1 in the UFC with her last bout coming in September against Eubanks. Vieira won that fight via unanimous decision. Six of her 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of submission. She’s 5-0 when going the distance.
Yana Kunitskaya is the 7th ranked fighter in this division, but comes in as a large underdog as she hopes to move back into the title scene.
Yana last fought in August 2020 and won via unanimous decision over Julija Stoliarenko. She’s 3-1 in her last four fights and 3-2 overall in the UFC. However, she has competed in the bantamweight division for the last four contests.
Eight of her 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. She’s 5-1 when going the distance.
This bout should go Over 2.5 rounds (-260) and the full 15 minutes (-275). For Vieira, five of her last seven bouts have gone the distance and three of Yana’s last four have as well.
As for the winner, go with Vieira here. She is the superior grappler and should be able to get this fight to the mat. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ketlen found a submission win along the way, but the safe play is a decision victory which is also the best value at -120 odds.
Ketlen Vieira vs Yana Kunitskaya –Vieira (-265)
Over 2.5 rounds (-320)
Fight goes the distance (-275)
Vieira wins via decision (-120)
Curtis Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis
Curtis Blaydes (-430)
Derrick Lewis (+345)
Over (-185)/Under (+160) 1.5 rounds
This main event fight has the largest disparity in betting odds for the entire show.
For the 4th ranked Derrick Lewis, this will be his 21st UFC fight since 2014, which is the second most among any fighter in the promotion behind Cerrone at 25. He has the 2nd most stoppage wins at 11 which have all come via TKO/KO and is the most in the division’s history.
Lewis is on a three fight win streak since dropping two straight contests in 2018-19 when he lost to Junior dos Santos and Daniel Cormier. Since then, he’s beat Blagoy Ivanov, Ilir Latifi, and Alexey Oleynik.
20 of his 24 pro wins have come via stoppage with 19 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-2 when going the distance. Four of his seven pro losses have come via TKO/KO.
Blaydes is 9-2 in the UFC with both of those losses coming to Francis Ngannou. He’s on a four fight win streak, which is tied for the longest active streak in the division.
He has the most takedowns in the heavyweight division with 59. He also holds the record for the most top control and the second highest takedown percentage in the division’s history.
During his four fight win streak, Blaydes defeated Willis, Abdurakhimov, Junior dos Santos and most recently Alexander Volkov.
10 of his 14 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 4-0 when going the distance. His two losses were via TKO/KO to Ngannou.
The biggest criticism of Blaydes is his top control wrestling where he lays on his opponents for the majority of fights just like he did against Volkov in his last bout in June 2020. That drew the ire of fans and UFC President Dana White.
Yet, Blaydes doesn’t care as long as he keeps winning. He has taken to social media in recent weeks to argue with his critics as he’s questioned their level of intelligence.
In fact, he plans on cleaning out the division to get a title shot and isn’t afraid to keep using his wrestling skills to win those fights:
“The more aggressive you are, the easier is it is for me to get to your hips. Even if you’re more counter oriented like Junior dos Santos was, as long as I’ve got you on your back heel, I’m winning the fight and eventually either the takedown or the strikes will open up. I view the majority of the division like that. I view Ngannou like that. The majority of the guys in the division, I get them on the ground and they’re not a problem no more.”
There’s no secret when it comes to this fight. Lewis will try to knockout Blaydes quickly. The longer the fight goes, the more it favors Blaydes who will push for the takedowns.
I give Lewis a puncher’s chance in this contest, but you have to go with Blaydes to win because he will get Lewis to the mat and control the fight for as long as it lasts.
Go with Over 1.5 rounds (-185) at UFC betting sites and for the fight to end inside the distance (-325). Take Blaydes to win via TKO/KO somewhere in the middle rounds of this contest. Lewis has never gone to a 5th round and has only gone to the 4th round just twice.
Blaydes will take this bout into the deep waters as he uses his wrestling and top control to win this contest via TKO/KO (-145). I expect Blaydes to rain down elbows on a tired Lewis for the finish.
Curtis Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis –Blaydes (-430)
Over 1.5 rounds (-185)
Fight ends inside the distance (-325)
Blaydes wins inside the distance (-165)
Blaydes wins via TKO/KO (-145)
Fight starts round 3 (-120)
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. …