This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, September 10 for UFC 279, with a welterweight bout between Nate Diaz and Khamzat Chimaev headlining the card.
Below I'll share my favorite play, an underdog, a prop and a two-fighter parlay. All odds are via the DraftKings Sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
Weight Class: Welterweight
Darian Weeks (5-2) vs. Yohan Lainesse (8-1)
The very first fight of the night will come as my first bet, as I like Darian Weeks to get his first UFC win as a slight favorite.
Weeks is 0-2 in the UFC but has faced a high level of competition, as he dropped a decision to Bryan Barberena in a fight he took on a couple of days' notice. He then lost a decision to Ian Garry in April. Meanwhile, Lainesse is 0-1 in the promotion, as he suffered a second-round TKO loss to Gabriel Green.
Although Lainesse will have a sizable reach advantage in this fight, my big concern with the Canadian is his cardio. He had a strong first round against Green, including dropping him, but he gassed badly and was subsequently finished in the second.
I expect Lainesse to win the first round as Weeks tries to find his range, but in the later rounds, Weeks will turn it on and either edge out a decision or get a stoppage win when Lainesse is tired.
UFC 279 Best Bet: Darian Weeks (-125)
Weight Class: Light heavyweight
Johnny Walker (18-7) vs. Ion Cutelaba (16-7-1)
There aren't many underdogs I like on this card, but one spot I do like is Johnny Walker beating Ion Cutelaba in the pay-per-view opener.
Walker is coming off a brutal KO loss to Jamahal Hill in February, and before that, he lost to Thiago Santos. Although he is just 1-4 in his last five, he has fought better competition than Cutelaba, who has also struggled. Meanwhile, when I spoke to Walker before this fight, he told me he made some changes to his camp. He did part of it in Thailand to work on his Muay Thai and striking defense, which he thought was a big problem in his game.
As for Cutelaba, he is a kill-or-be-killed fighter. He is there to be hit, as he absorbs 3.39 significant strikes per minute while landing 4.81. Walker, on the other hand, lands slightly less at 3.45 but absorbs only 2.78. To me, this is a pick'em fight, as you are getting two very inconsistent fighters. I'll take the plus-money shot on Walker.
UFC 279 Best Bet: Johnny Walker (+170)
Weight Class: 180lbs Catchweight
Kevin Holland (23-7) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (16-2)
The UFC added two big fights to help add to the card, and one of them is Kevin Holland vs. Daniel Rodriguez -- a fight both men have wanted for quite some time.
Although they only had a few weeks' notice for this one, I like Kevin Holland to get the win and do so by decision at +200. Rodriguez hasn't fought since last August and has had three hand surgeries since then, which is a big concern for me. Holland, meanwhile, has been active and does look better at welterweight.
Holland, meanwhile, is a known finisher, which is why you are getting +200 on the bet, though Rodriguez is as durable as they come. He has yet to be finished in his MMA career and has fought some heavy-handed opponents. I expect this to be a kickboxing fight with Holland being too quick for Rodriguez and out-voluming him to win a decision.
UFC 279 Best Bet: Kevin Holland by decision (+200)
Weight Class: Women's bantamweight & featherweight
Irene Aldana (13-6) vs. Macy Chiasson (8-2)
Norma Dumont (7-2) vs. Danyelle Wolf (1-0)
For my parlay, I'm taking Irene Aldana to beat Macy Chiasson and Norma Dumont to get her hand raised against Danyelle Wolf.
Aldana hasn't fought since last July, which I don't love ,but against Chiasson, she is the more well-rounded fighter. Chaisson will be cutting back down to 135lbs, which is always a concern for her, and although she will have a reach advantage, I still the Mexican-born fighter is here to get the win. Aldana is the better striker and throws a ton of volume. She should be able to get in and out without Chiasson landing her big shots while also mixing in wrestling to help secure the win.
In the other leg, I like Norma Dumont to beat Danyelle Wolf, as this is a pure mismatch. Wolf is only 1-0 in MMA and is a former pro boxer, with her lone win coming on DWCS (and wasn't even that impressive). I expect Dumont to successfully shoot for takedowns early and often, which will lead to either a submission or ground-and-pound TKO early. Wolff is far from a complete MMA fighter, and it will show here.
UFC 279 Best Bet: Irene Aldana and Norma Dumont parlay (-105)
UFC 279 Best Bets
Here is a recap of my best UFC picks for this weekend's UFC 279 event:
- Darian Weeks (-125)
- Johnny Walker (+170)
- Kevin Holland by decision (+200)
- Irene Aldana and Norma Dumont parlay (-105)
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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