On Saturday, December 5th, the UFC returns to action with UFC on ESPN 19 live from their UFC Apex in Las Vegas Nevada. Before we can get to the main card action, we’ll take a look at the preliminary card which features six bouts as of this writing. The prelims begin at 7PM ET on ESPN+ and ESPN2.
UFC betting sites have released their odds for the UFC on ESPN 19 preliminary bouts. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds, identify any value, and liver punch these predictions.
Jose Quinonez has been with the UFC for six years now, and has a 5-3 overall record inside the octagon. He’s 1-2 in his last three fights. Quinonez last fought in March and suffered a 1st round TKO loss to Sean O’Malley.
Three of his eight pro wins have come via stoppage with two by way of TKO/KO. He’s 5-1 when going the distance.
Louis Smolka is currently 2-2 in his second stint with the UFC. He went 5-5 in his first run with the promotion, but a four bout losing streak sent him packing. Overall, Smolka is 7-7 inside the octagon.
He last fought in May and lost via 1st round submission to Casey Kenney. 14 of his 16 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven wins apiece for TKO/KO and submission. He’s 2-4 when going the distance.
This is going to be a competitive opening bout for the Las Vegas fight card. With that said, let’s start with prop bets first. I’m taking the Over 2.5 rounds (-170) and for this fight to go the distance (-150). Five of Quinonez’s eight UFC bouts have gone the distance.
Once at the scorecards, I am going with Quinonez to pull off the mild upset. I think he has the slight advantage with striking and grappling. Although, Smolka is better at finding the submission victory.
The best value is Quinonez’s moneyline at +115 odds. However, winning via decision also has a nice pay out at +195 odds.
Louis Smolka vs Jose Quinonez –Quinonez (+115)
Over 2.5 rounds (-170)
Fight goes the distance (-150)
Quinonez wins via decision (+195)
Gabriel Benitez vs Justin Jaynes
Gabriel Benitez (-220)
Justin Jaynes (+180)
Over (-105)/Under (-115) 2.5 rounds
Jaynes made his UFC debut in June on short notice and defeated Frank Camacho via 1st round TKO. However, his next fight which came about seven weeks later ended in a 3rd round submission loss to Gavin Tucker. Prior to the UFC, Jaynes had a solid run with WXC and a four fight win streak.
13 of his 16 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO. He’s 2-4 when going the distance.
Gabriel Benitez has been with the UFC for over six years and has an overall record of 5-4 inside the octagon. He enters this weekend’s contest on a two fight losing streak. His last bout came in May and he lost via unanimous decision to Omar Morales.
17 of his 21 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of submission. He’s 4-4 when going the distance.
I like this matchup for Benitez. I believe he will be able to stuff the takedown attempts and scramble to his feet if he is dragged to the mat. I give Benitez the edge in striking and cardio, which will make the difference in this contest.
I see Benitez doing a lot of damage with his striking and eventually finish off Jaynes inside the distance (-135). I believe he will get the TKO/KO win (+315) in Under 2.5 rounds (-115).
The best value for this bout is the fight ending inside the distance as both men are finishers. Combined, these two fighters have 30 finishes in 37 total wins.
Gabriel Benitez vs Justin Jaynes –Benitez (-220)
Under 2.5 rounds (-115)
Fight ends inside the distance (-135)
Benitez wins inside the distance (+175)
Benitez wins via TKO/KO (+315)
Damon Jackson vs Ilia Topuria
Damon Jackson (+190)
Ilia Topuria (-230)
Over (+130)/Under (-150) 2.5 rounds
Jackson made his return to the UFC in September after just three fights with the promotion from 2014 to 2016 that saw him go 0-1-1 with 1 NC.
After the octagon run, Jackson would go on to have a strong run in the LFA where he won a title. In fact, Jackson has won seven of his last eight fights before returning to the UFC.
Jackson took a short notice fight against Mirsad Bektic and pulled off the upset via 3rd round submission. He enters this weekend’s bout having won two fights in a row. 17 of his 18 pro wins have come via stoppage with 14 by way of submission. He’s 1-0-1 when going the distance.
Ilia Topuria is unbeaten in his career and stepped up on short notice in October to beat Youssef Zalal in his UFC debut. Prior to that, Topuria had success in Brave and Cage Warriors where he should’ve won a title, but missed weight.
🗣•¡IMPERIBLE LIVE CON TOPURIA!💣🔥 . Nos daremos un lujazo y charlaremos con la promesa @Iliatopuria 🇪🇸/🇬🇪 en la previa de su nueva presentación en @ufc ¡No se lo pierdan!💪👏 . HORARIOS 2PM 🇲🇽 3PM 🇺🇸🇨🇦🇨🇴🇵🇪🇪🇨 4PM 🇻🇪 5PM 🇦🇷🇺🇾🇨🇱🇧🇷 9PM 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/KSaFvmszJ1
Eight of his nine pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of submission. He’s 1-0 when going the distance.
These two men have combined to go the distance just three times in their 31 professional fights. So, it’s safe to say that this bout should end inside the distance (-195) and Under 2.5 rounds (-150).
With that in mind, both men have combined to tally 21 submission victories. Yet, I believe it will be whichever man that succeeds in the striking battle that will win this fight.
And, for me, I believe that will be Topuria. I think he has more pop in his punches and I expect the Spaniard to find a knockout somewhere in the middle of this bout as they nullify each other’s grappling.
I think the best value for this fight is with Topuria winning inside the distance at +120 odds. For a fighter that’s only gone the distance in one contest, these odds are quite appealing.
Damon Jackson vs Ilia Topuria –Topuria (-230)
Under 2.5 rounds (-150)
Fight ends inside the distance (-195)
Topuria wins inside the distance (+120)
Topuria wins via TKO/KO (+322)
Jimmy Flick vs Cody Durden
Jimmy Flick (-165)
Cody Durden (+145)
Over (-130)/Under (+110) 1.5 rounds
Cody Durden earned a UFC shot after winning seven straight fights in four different promotions. He made his octagon debut in August, and went to a draw with Chris Gutierrez. Durden showed his grappling skills in that fight, but couldn’t find the finish.
10 of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with five wins apiece for TKO/KO and submission. He’s 1-1-1 when going the distance.
Flick earned his UFC opportunity with a submission victory over Nate Smith on DWCS three months ago. He’s won three straight fights and five of his last six bouts.
Flick has a strong grappling background and it shows as he’s scored 13 submission wins in his 15 pro victories. He’s 2-1 when going the distance.
Now, Flick has suffered four losses via TKO/KO, but the good thing is that his opponent Durden isn’t a striker. In fact, this bout should be a tremendous grappling contest with scrambling, takedown attempts, submission attempts and eventually a win via chokehold.
I think we will go Over 1.5 rounds (-130), but this fight won’t go the distance (-255) as someone will eventually find a submission victory. Combined, they have 18 submission wins in 26 total victories.
The best value for this fight is Flick winning inside the distance (-104). Since both men are finishers, the odds of this fight ending inside the distance is high. Additionally, Flick is the better overall fighter in my opinion.
Jimmy Flick vs Cody Durden –Flick (-165)
Over 1.5 rounds (-130)
Fight ends inside the distance (-255)
Flick wins inside the distance (-104)
Flick wins via submission (+115)
Matt Wiman vs Jordan Leavitt
Matt Wiman (+325)
Jordan Leavitt (-400)
Over (+100)/Under (-120) 2.5 rounds
This contest has the second highest disparity in betting odds for the entire UFC on ESPN 19 event. Jordan Leavitt is the second largest betting favorite behind Movsar Evloev (-630) and Matt Wiman is the second largest underdog behind Nate Landwehr (+465).
After nearly a five year hiatus, Matt Wiman returned to action in the summer of 2019. Unfortunately, he’s dropped both of his return fights. The longtime UFC competitor is in danger of not only being cut from the promotion, but also being forced to retire.
His last fight came 12 months ago and he lost via unanimous decision to Joe Solecki. It was an improvement from his 3rd round TKO loss to Luis Pena in June 2019.
Nine of his 16 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission. He’s 7-6 when going the distance and has also suffered three TKO/KO losses.
The unbeaten Jordan Leavitt earned his UFC opportunity with a 1st round submission win over Jose Flores on DWCS in August. Five of his seven pro wins have come via submission and he’s 2-0 when going the distance.
Jordan Leavitt will make his #UFC debut on Saturday at #UFCVegas16 and he joined @Jason_Floyd to discuss his matchup against Matt Wiman and explained how his strength and conditioning program has been a humbling experience https://t.co/4HBpekpP0A
I really don’t see Wiman being able to win this fight. I believe his best days are behind him. Additionally, he’s already showed that he can’t beat a grappler in his two return fights. Now, the UFC has put him in with a third straight grappler.
I’m taking Leavitt to win this fight at UFC betting sites, but I will give Wiman credit for his resiliency and say that he goes the distance (+120). Also, take the Over 2.5 rounds (-120) as Wiman went the distance in his last fight and almost made it 2.5 rounds in his return fight against Pena.
As for the winner, I think it’s clear that Leavitt will win. He’s the better fighter at this stage of their respective careers. The best value is Leavitt winning via decision at +195 odds.
Matt Wiman vs Jordan Leavitt –Leavitt (-400)
Over 2.5 rounds (-120)
Fight goes the distance (+120)
Leavitt wins via decision (+195)
Gianpiero Villante vs Jake Collier
Gianpiero Villante (-200)
Jake Collier (+170)
Over (-150)/Under (+130) 1.5 rounds
This fight is a bit uninteresting to me as both competitors have seemed to lose their focus and commitment as they’ve climbed up in weight to now compete as heavyweights. At least Villante was a light heavyweight beforehand whereas Collier used to compete at middleweight many years ago.
Speaking of Collier, he was blasted in his last fight against Tom Aspinall via 1st round TKO in just 45 seconds. It was his first fight in over 2 ½ years. Collier has alternated between wins and losses since joining the UFC in 2014.
Eight of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-1 when going the distance. Collier has three TKO/KO losses.
Villante made his heavyweight debut in June and lost via 3rd round submission to Maurice Greene. However, he was winning the fight up to that point. He’s dropped three of his last four bouts and five of his last seven, which prompted the move up in weight.
12 of his 17 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 5-6 when going the distance. Villante has five TKO/KO losses.
This fight will end inside the distance (-195) as one of these men will score the knockout victory. With that said, I believe it will be Villante who wins. He showed me more promise in his last fight than Collier did. Villante has the power to end this bout in the 1st round.
I am taking the Under 1.5 rounds (+130) in this contest as I do believe we will see a TKO/KO in the opening five minutes. Neither man is adept at defending the striking nor are they agile on their feet. Instead, it will be a fist to the face fest and Villante should come away the victor.
Villante winning inside the distance offers the best value at +134 odds.
Gianpiero Villante vs Jake Collier –Villante (-200)
Under 1.5 rounds (+130)
Fight ends inside the distance (-195)
Villante wins inside the distance (+134)
Villante 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. …