This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
The UFC returns to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 69, with the card having three different main events scheduled. Originally it was Marlon Vera vs. Cory Sandhagen, but that turned into Erin Blanchfield vs. Taila Santos, and now Blanchfield will face Jessica Andrade -- who stepped in on a week's notice -- on Saturday.
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: Featherweight
Khusein Askhabov (23-0) vs. Jamall Emmers (18-6)
Khusein Askhabov is making his promotional debut, and although the level of competition hasn't been the best, this is a great style matchup for him to have success in.
Askhabov hasn't fought since March of 2020, which is a concern, but Emmets also enters this fight on a year-and-a-half layoff. Emmers is a solid grappler, and while on the feet, he does throw a lot of volume but is also there to be hit.
The Russian is dangerous on the feet as well, as he will throw flying knees and odd strikes which could catch Emmers. On the ground, I also expect him to hang with Emmers and possibly do what Pat Sabatini did -- catch Emmers in a submission.
Ultimately, Askhabov is better everywhere than Emmers and should be able to get a stoppage win in the second or third round.
UFC Vegas 69 Best Bet: Khusein Askhabov (-130)
Weight Class: Lightweight
Jim Miller (35-16) vs. Alexander Hernandez (13-6)
There are a handful of underdogs I like on this card from Erin Blanchfield in the main event and Ovince Saint Preux, but Jim Miller at +190 is way off in my opinion.
Miller is on a three-fight winning streak while finishing all three opponents, including KO'ing Nikolas Motta, who had some hype behind him and looked excellent in his next fight. Alexander Hernandez, meanwhile, is moving back up to 155lbs after fighting Billy Quarantillo at featherweight in December.
Hernandez is a great hammer but a terrible nail. When the going gets tough, he often gets finished. Miller, meanwhile, is a tough out for anyone and a savvy veteran. Hernandez's cardio has been an issue, and now he's taking a fight on less than two weeks' notice. There is a chance Hernandez does finish Miller in Round 1 with his power, but I'll take the chance Miller can survive. He'll then start to break Hernandez and get the win.
UFC Vegas 69 Best Bet: Jim Miller (+190)
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight
Zac Pauga (5-1) vs. Jordan Wright (12-4)
Zac Pauga vs. Jordan Wright is for some reason is a co-main event of a UFC card, but it will almost certainly end by finish.
Pauga is coming off a KO loss to Mohammed Usman in the TUF finale at heavyweight and now returns to his natural weight class of light heavyweight. Wright, meanwhile, is moving up to light heavyweight after fighting at middleweight, and he's on a three-fight losing skid.
Wright is a kill-or-be-killed fighter, as he will go for the KO or get knocked out. I don't like this matchup for him. The size and strength will be a big difference, as I expect Pauga to take Wright down early and get past the first round when Wright is dangerous. In the second round, I expect Pauga to once again shoot and this time, get the ground-and-pound TKO win.
UFC Vegas 69 Best Bet: Zac Pauga inside the distance (-150)
Weight Classes: Welterweight & Heavyweight
AJ Fletcher (9-2) vs. Themba Gorimbo (10-3)
Jamal Pogues (9-3) vs. Josh Parisian (15-5)
For my parlay, I'm taking AJ Fletcher and Jamal Pogues to get their hands raised at UFC Vegas 69.
Fletcher is 0-2 in the UFC but fought two good opponents and looked solid while doing so, as he just narrowly lost those fights. Themba Gorimbo, meanwhile, will be making his UFC debut, and I haven't been impressed by him. The 32-year-old is a good grappler, but I expect Fletcher to keep it standing. On the feet, his volume will be too much. Fletcher lands 4.04 significant trikes per minute, and although his striking defense is a concern, Gorimbo isn't on the same striking level, so I expect Fletcher to get a decision.
Jamal Pogues, meanwhile, is making his UFC debut against Josh Parisian, who is coming off a health issue that forced him out of his last bout on the day of the fight. He had a heart issue and did an interview about it before this fight, and it wasn't particularly comforting what he had to say. I worry that he shouldn't be fighting.
Pogues, meanwhile, should probably be a light heavyweight, but he's remaining at heavyweight for this one, and he's long had problems with grapplers in this division. Parisian, meanwhile, is far from a grappler. Pogues is also the better wrestler, as I expect him to just take Parisian down over and over again and grind out a decision win, similar to what Don'Tale Mayes and Parker Porter did to him. On the feet, Parisian is there to be hit, so even if it stays standing, I also believe Pogues will be faster and can land the better shots.
UFC Vegas 69 Best Bet: AJ Fletcher & Jamal Pogues parlay (-108)
UFC Vegas 69 Best Bets
Here is a recap of my best bets for this weekend's UFC Vegas 69 event:
- Khusein Askhabov (-130)
- Jim Miller (+190)
- Zac Pauga ITD (-150)
- AJ Fletcher & Jamal Pogues parlay (-108)
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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