This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
15 fights may seem like a lot to navigate, but bettors shouldn't fear, because we are back to give them our best plays for the UFC 283 card. This month, all four of our selections come at long odds, including a jiujitsu player looking to exploit a weakness and a powerful former champion looking to make her way back to the top. Our plays this month come from William Hill and are accurate as to the posting date of this article
Weight class: light heavyweight
Paul Craig (16-5-1) vs. Johnny Walker (19-7-0)
I'm sure most people in the gambling and DFS communities are familiar with recency bias. This describes a phenomenon in which someone gives greater importance to a recent event than a historic one. This is useful in explaining why Craig currently sits as a significant underdog against Walker, as "The Bear Jew" lost his last bout, while the Brazillian won via submission in the first round.
If we strip away those last performances and dig a bit deeper, however, evidence emerges of a favorable matchup for Craig. We have seen Walker struggle with relentless grapplers in the past, as Nikita Krylov was able to take him down three times and log 11:20 of top position during a three-round fight in 2020. It's also the case that Craig has found his way into fights against long, powerful opponents in the past, as evidenced by his submission of Kennedy Nzechukwu in 2019. Walker hasn't finished an opponent by strikes since September of 2020, and it occurs to me that letting Craig hang around in a fight like this simply gives him time to find a way to win.
Walker's status as a fan favorite may still be alive and well from the days that saw him light up his opponents with flying knee attacks, but his last few fights have shown us a man who is hesitant to engage and without a clear idea of how he can win. Submitting Ion Cutelaba doesn't do much to change that perception. While Craig has been known to stall out if he can't find a takedown, this line is simply too juicy for us to pass on.
UFC 283 BET: Paul Craig wins via submission (+270)
Wight class: flyweight
Jessica Andrade (23-9-0) vs. Lauren Murphy (16-5-0)
Andrade has stumbled against the best fighters in the division, but the Brazillian fighter has been a nightmare for everyone else, notching finishes in her last five fights against competitors not named Valentina Shevchenko or Rose Namajunas. To Murphy's credit, she has won in a similar pattern of late but doesn't possess anything close to the power or submission ability of the Brazilian, having finished just nine of her 16 career wins.
That finishing threat is bad news for Murphy, who likes to work her way into fights with her boxing and create exchanges in the pocket. Andrade's aggression has gotten her in trouble in the past, but it's the perfect way to fight an opponent like Murphy, who should have a hard time keeping up with the speed of this fight. I expect "Lucky" to simply be overwhelmed by the power and pressure Andrade brings, which should result in a finish.
While both submission and KO/TKO are live here, it's been a while since Andrade made an effort to take an opponent down and work her jiujitsu, as her submission of Amanda Lemos by standing arm triangle was the first time she made an opponent tap out since Joanne Wood in 2016. Murphy will come into this fight with a five-inch height advantage, but that shouldn't do much to deter bettors, as we saw Andrade close the distance and secure a vicious KO/TKO of a much taller fighter in Katlyn Chookagian in 2020.
UFC 283 BET: Jessica Andrade wins via KO/TKO or DQ (+180)
Weight class: light heavyweight
Glover Teixeira (33-8-0) vs. Jamahal Hill (11-1-0 1 NC)
After Alexander Gustafsson capped off a virtuoso performance by knocking out Teixeira in the fifth round of their fight in 2017, one could be forgiven for thinking that the aging fighter was close to the end of his run. Despite the fact that Glover went on to win seven of his next nine fights (including the light heavyweight championship) it seems that oddsmakers still see him as a guy who is one step away from retirement, as he comes into this fight as an underdog to Hill, despite being literal seconds away from defeating powerhouse Jiri Prochazka the last time we saw him.
Glover is unlikely to have as much success boxing the long and speedy Hill, but it can't be forgotten that Paul Craig was able to drag Hill to the floor less than a minute into their fight. He found a brutal submission soon after, dislocating Hill's shoulder in the process. We haven't seen as much activity from Teixeira from the bottom, so pulling guard may be out of the question, but Hill was taken down six times by Thiago Santos, an explosive Muay Thai fighter who is known for anything but his wrestling. As long as Glover can survive a potential early barrage (a feat we have seen him accomplish numerous times in the past few years), he should be able to bring this fight to the ground. Once there, he shouldn't have an issue plying his trade as a BJJ champion.
I'm not sure how long we'll continue getting favorable lines when it comes to Glover, but oddsmakers still can't come to terms with the fact that a plodding wrestle-boxer in his 40s is one of the elites in a division full of super athletes, and we should take advantage of that whenever possible. This is particularly true when he gets a matchup against someone who has struggled against his exact skill set.
UFC 283 BET: Glover Teixeira wins via submission: (+220)
Weight class: bantamweight
Luan Lacerda (12-1-0) vs. Cody Stamann (20-5-1)
Stamann has used his strength, agility, and wrestling to compile some decent wins in the UFC, but "The Spartan" has dropped three of his last four fights, which may be an indication that his limited skill set is beginning to catch up with him. Luan Lacerda has won 10 of his 12 fights by submission but has a surprisingly well-rounded game that should give Stamann trouble here.
The first thing to point out is the incredible disparity in reach, as the debutante comes into this matchup with a seven-inch advantage in length. This means that Lacerda should be able to control this fight at range until Stamann feels like he has to shoot, at which time Lacerda will be able to be aggressive from the bottom and look to lock up a submission. The fact that Lacerda's sharpest skill will work to negate Stamman's wrestling will be a problem, as it means that the Brazilian will be able to dictate where the fight takes place. While he's certainly powerful enough to land a big shot, it's difficult to see Stamann getting on the inside without being lit up by hard kicks from his opponent.
Injuries to this card have left us with quite a few debuting fighters, and while they all have their merits, no one finds themselves in such a favorable matchup as Lacerda. The former training partner of Jose Aldo should spend most of his time picking Stamann apart on the feet, with a finish possible if he decides to take the fight to the ground.
THE PLAY: Luan Lacerda (+190)
UFC 283 Best Bets
Here is a recap of my best UFC picks for this weekend's UFC 282 card:
- Paul Craig wins via submission (+270)
- Jessica Andrade wins via KO/TKO (+180)
- Glover Teixeira wins via submission (+220)
- Luan Lacerda (+190)
For up-to-date information on the latest odds and props from multiple sportsbooks, check out the UFC odds page on RotoWire.
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