On Saturday, September 5th, the UFC will return to their APEX Center in Las Vegas for UFC on ESPN+ 34: Overeem vs Sakai also known as UFC Las Vegas 9 and UFC Fight Night 176. The main event of the evening is a Top 9 heavyweight battle between Alistair Overeem and Augusto Sakai.
The main card is scheduled to have at least five fights including notable competitors like Sijara Eubanks, Michel Pereira, Brian Kelleher, and Ovince St. Preux. It should be noted that the UFC could shuffle the lineup around before fight night. The main card is set to begin at 8PM ET on ESPN+.
UFC betting sites have released a full slate of odds and props for the main card of UFC on ESPN+ 34. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine all of these UFC wagers, identify betting value or potential upsets, and superman punch these predictions.
Jalin Turner is the underdog for this contest and has gone 2-2 inside the octagon since earning a contract in the summer of 2018. He last fought in February and won via 2nd round TKO over Joshua Culibao.
All nine of his pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by TKO/KO. Turner is 0-2 when going the distance and has three TKO/KO losses.
Thiago Moises also signed with the UFC in the summer of 2018 and sports a 2-2 octagon record as well. He last fought in May and pulled off the upset win over Michael Johnson via 2nd round submission.
Eight of his 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission. He’s 4-4 when going the distance.
Turner will have a four inch height and five inch reach advantage in this contest. They’re both the same age and both natural lightweight competitors.
Turner has only gone the distance in two fights while Moises has gone the full three rounds in eight fights. Although the odds favor the Under 2.5 rounds (-150) and ending inside the distance (-210), I am going with the Over as I believe this bout will go the full three rounds.
Moises has never been stopped in his career and is a submission artist with a black belt in BJJ while Turner is a striker with smooth boxing skills. I see why Moises is the favorite, but I am taking the upset in this contest.
Turner’s athleticism, boxing, and five inch reach advantage are going to be tough for Moises to overcome. He needs to score a takedown, but I see Turner having success in fighting from a distance, scoring points, and taking the decision win by time it’s all said and done.
Thiago Moises vs Jalin Turner –Turner (+145)
Over 2.5 rounds (+130)
Fight goes the distance (+160)
Turner wins via decision (+485)
Kevin Natividad vs Brian Kelleher
Kevin Natividad (+185)
Brian Kelleher (-225)
Over (+105)/Under (-125) 2.5 rounds
This fight was originally scheduled to be Ricky Simon versus Brian Kelleher, but one of Simon’s corner men tested positive for Covid, so Simon was removed from the fight. Kevin Natividad will take Simon’s place. This bout will be a featherweight contest despite both men typically fighting as bantamweights.
Kevin Natividad will make his UFC debut on short notice, but enters the octagon on a five fight win streak. He fought in July for the LFA and won via 2nd round KO. Eight of his nine pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-0 when going the distance.
Brian Kelleher dropped his last bout in June against Cody Stamann via decision. The loss snapped a two fight win streak. Kelleher is 5-4 all-time inside the octagon and is a large favorite for this contest.
17 of his 21 pro wins have come via stoppage with nine by way of submission. Kelleher is 4-4 when going the distance and has six submission losses in his career.
Fortunately for Kelleher, he won’t have to worry about getting tapped out as his opponent only has one submission win in his career. Instead, Kelleher will get to enjoy a striking battle where he’s earned the nickname “Boom.”
Kelleher has fought three times in 2020 already and both wins have come via stoppage. His bout in May against Hunter Azure ended in victory with a 2nd round KO. I see a similar outcome in this contest.
Natividad’s only loss has come via TKO/KO and I believe Kelleher can get one this weekend. However, let’s not overlook the fact that Brian does have nine submission wins and could possibly take this fight to the mat and find the victory.
Either way, I see Kelleher picking up the win inside the distance (-160) and Under 2.5 rounds (-125). My favorite bet for this bout is Kelleher landing the “boom” inside the distance and taking the victory via stoppage.
Kevin Natividad vs Brian Kelleher –Kelleher (-225)
Under 2.5 rounds (-125)
Fight ends inside the distance (-160)
Kelleher wins inside the distance (+125)
Kelleher wins via TKO/KO (+420)
Ovince St. Preux vs Alonzo Menifield
Ovince St. Preux (+110)
Alonzo Menifield (-130)
Over (-125)/Under (+105) 1.5 rounds
This fight was originally scheduled to take place two weeks ago, but a positive covid test for Ovince St. Preux pushed the bout back to this weekend.
The delay has helped Alonzo Menifield as he was stepping up on short notice to replace Shamil Gamzatov. Now, Menifield has had a few extra weeks to prepare for Ovince St. Preux.
The last time we saw OSP he was competing in the heavyweight division and taking on Ben Rothwell. It was a very competitive and entertaining fight that saw Rothwell win via split decision. The result inspired OSP to return to the light heavyweight division where he’s spent most of his career at.
Ovince St. Preux is looking to add another tick in the win column and prove that he’s not past his prime at 37 years old. OSP has dropped three of his last four fights and there are some whispers that he’s nothing more than a gatekeeper now.
19 of his 24 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of TKO/KO. OSP is 5-9 when going the distance.
Alonzo Menifield last fought in June and lost via unanimous decision to Devin Clark. That was the first time he’s gone the distance and the first loss of his pro career. Prior to that, Menifield was 9-0 and boasted of eight pro wins via TKO/KO.
All nine of Menifield’s wins have come in under 1.5 rounds. His last four wins all came within the opening round. This fight will be all about Menifield’s blitz attack in the opening minutes and whether or not OSP can withstand it.
I believe that OSP will weather the opening storm and navigate safely through Menifield’s power punches. St. Preux took some nasty shots from the bigger Ben Rothwell and survived the entire three rounds. He should be able to survive the 1st round against Menifield.
Once he gets out of the opening frame, I expect OSP to take control of this fight. St. Preux is the better striker and grappler between the two. I expect him to push Menifield into deep waters and eventually take a tired Menifield down to the mat. From there, I see OSP most likely finding a submission win.
OSP still has the endurance to push a high pace and I see him ending the fight inside the distance (-245), but past the 1.5 round mark (-125).
Ovince St. Preux vs Alonzo Menifield –St. Preux (+110)
Over 1.5 rounds (-125)
Fight doesn’t go to a decision (-245)
Ovince St. Preux wins inside the distance (+210)
Michel Pereira vs Zelim Imadaev
Michel Pereira (-115)
Zelim Imadaev (-105)
Over (-150)/Under (+130) 1.5 rounds
Zelim Imadaev enters this bout on a two fight losing streak. He started off 8-0 in his career, which earned him a shot with the UFC. Unfortunately, both octagon bouts resulted in losses. Imadaev last competed in November and lost via 2nd round KO to Danny Roberts.
All eight of his pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 0-1 when going the distance.
Pereira has quite the following due to the excitement he brings inside the octagon. He won his UFC debut in May 2019, but dropped his next two contest. Pereira last competed in February and was disqualified for an illegal knee.
The circus is back in town 🎪
🇧🇷 @UFCPereira‘s high flying style returns this weekend!
Speaking on the DQ loss to Sanchez, Pereira had some harsh words for his previous opponent:
“Diego Sanchez was sneaky. He took advantage of the knee that I landed illegally. He used the rules to his advantage. He was (a) chicken and refused to return to the fight. He could have returned. I guess either he was afraid, or he realized he had no way to win the fight if he continued. He was chicken and gave up, so I got disqualified. I landed that knee believing it was allowed, based on his stance. I thought he needed to have a hand on the mat for it to be considered illegal. And the knee that cut his forehead was a previous one, not the one that was deemed illegal.”
16 of his 23 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 victories by way of TKO/KO. Pereira is just 6-8 when going the distance.
Pereira’s goal is to climb the welterweight ladder and become world champ. He still has a ways to go before even cracking the Top 10, but he’s certainly a fighter that creates a buzz whenever he fights and he has a sizable following. Those two attributes will help him move up the rankings as long as he wins.
Speaking of winning, I believe he will get the victory in this contest. I think things will end ugly for Imadaev as Pereira will find the knockout probably in the second round.
This fight will not go the distance (-190), but I do see it sneaking past the 1.5 rounds mark (-150). There’s solid value with Pereira’s moneyline as this fight shouldn’t even be that close in betting odds. My favorite wager for this bout is Pereira winning inside the distance (+155).
Michel Pereira vs Zelim Imadaev –Pereira (-115)
Over 1.5 rounds (-150)
Fight ends inside the distance (-190)
Pereira wins inside the distance (+155)
Pereira wins via TKO/KO (+170)
Sijara Eubanks vs Karol Rosa
Sijara Eubanks (+110)
Karol Rosa (-130)
Over (-235)/Under (+195) 2.5 rounds
Eubanks came into the UFC and won her first two fights including a decision victory over Roxanne Modafferri. Unfortunately, she then dropped two bouts in a row. Both losses came via decision to Aspen Ladd and Bethe Correia.
Eubanks would snap that losing streak by scoring a unanimous decision win over Sarah Moras in May and is looking to continue down this winning path. Seven of her 11 pro fights have gone the distance. She’s 3-4 in those contests and 3-2 overall inside the octagon.
Karol Rosa enters the co-main event bout having won four straight contests including both of her UFC fights. Six of her 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with four wins via TKO/KO. Rosa is 7-1 when going the distance. Her other two losses have come via submission.
Let’s start with the easy picks here. This fight is going Over 2.5 rounds (-235) and the full distance (-210). Combined, these two women have seen 15 of their 25 pro fights go the distance.
Rosa is just 25 years old and trending upwards in her career, whereas Eubanks is 35 and appears to have reached her ceiling. I just don’t see any paths to victory for Eubanks in this contest as Rosa is the bigger of the two fighters and seems to have a better all-around fight game.
Take Rosa to win this fight via unanimous decision (+160), which offers a great return on investment.
Sijara Eubanks vs Karol Rosa –Rosa (-130)
Over 2.5 rounds (-235)
Fight goes the distance (-210)
Rosa wins via decision (+160)
Alistair Overeem vs Augusto Sakai
Alistair Overeem (-147)
Augusto Sakai (+127)
Over (-175)/Under (+155) 1.5 rounds
The main event of the night is a Top 9 heavyweight showdown between the veteran Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem and August Sakai.
The 29 year old Augusto Sakai is making his 5th trip inside the octagon where he’s 4-0 all-time and riding a six fight win streak into this weekend’s main event bout. He last fought about nine weeks ago and defeated Blagoy Ivanov via split decision.
This is a big step up in competition for the 9th ranked Sakai, but the Brazilian is not intimidated in any way as he faces the “Demolition Man” on Saturday:
“He’s very experienced. He has good skills. He hits hard, and so do I. He’s a good striker, as am I. When we meet, I’ll show that I’m ready for this challenge. I’m 110 percent ready for one more win.”
11 of his 15 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. Sakai is 4-1-1 when going the distance in a fight.
The 6th ranked Alistair Overeem last fought in May and scored a 2nd round TKO win over the 10th ranked Walt Harris. He’s 3-1 in his last four fights as he also beat the 12th ranked Aleksei Oleinik and the 14th ranked Sergei Pavlovich over that stretch.
Despite being 40 years old, Overeem is still highly competitive in the heavyweight division and a danger to anyone that stands across from him. 41 of his 46 pro wins have come via stoppage with 24 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 5-3 when going the distance.
This fight comes down to two dangerous strikers in the heavyweight division, which typically equals knockouts. Combined, the two men have 35 total TKO/KO wins. Overeem is one inch taller and will have at least three inches in reach advantage.
Sakai has dangerous power, but Overeem is the better striker. Also, I believe Overeem is better on the mat than Sakai as he does have 17 submission wins. Sakai has yet to make anyone tap out.
Sakai has never been stopped before in a fight, which is why after looking at some UFC betting sites, I think this bout will go Over 1.5 rounds (-175), but I don’t see it going the distance (-270).
I think Sakai is biting off more than he can chew against Overeem who proved that he’s more than a gatekeeper to the Top 5 of the heavyweight division.
I believe Sakai has potential, but I don’t see it being enough to beat Alistair this weekend. I’m taking Overeem to win via TKO in this contest . However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulled off a submission victory.
Alistair Overeem vs Augusto Sakai –Overeem (-147)
Over 1.5 rounds (-175)
Fight doesn’t go the distance (-270)
Overeem wins inside the distance (+120)
Overeem wins via TKO/KO (+150)
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. …