This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
Below I'll share two of my favorite plays, a prop, and a two-fighter parlay on. All odds are via the DraftKings Sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
UFC Best Bets: UFC Vegas 54
Katlyn Chookagian (17-4) vs. Amanda Ribas (11-2)
Weight Class: Women's Flyweight
Chookagian is a difficult person to fight, as she uses her reach and range effectively and can just jab opponents to get the win. Ribas, meanwhile, will need to get the fight to the ground to have success, as she is a jiu-jitsu ace. We have seen fighters like Marina Rodriguez – and Polyana Viana on the regional scene – knock her out, as her chin is a bit of a concern.
Chookagian has a two-inch reach advantage, and she lands 4.59 significant strikes per minute. Meanwhile, Ribas only has a takedown accuracy of 47 percent, and the size and strength will likely make it harder for her to get Chookagian down. This won't be the most entertaining fight, but Chookagian has all the tools to win, and I think she should be around a -225 favorite.
UFC Best Bet: Katlyn Chookagian (-170)
Michael Johnson (19-17) vs. Alan Patrick (15-3)
Weight Class: Lightweight
This card seems to me like a very chalk-heavy lineup that most of the favorites will win. So, instead of the usual underdog play, I'm sharing another slight favorite play I like, and that is Michael Johnson to get his hand raised.
Johnson is about as inconsistent as he can be, but he gets a very favorable matchup in Alan Patrick, who I don't think is UFC-caliber. He had a no-contest against Mason Jones last time out in a fight in which he was getting dominated, and after getting eye poked, he said he couldn't continue. If he had lost, it would have been his third straight, likely resulting in a release.
On the feet, Johnson is the much better striker, as he lands 4.21 significant strikes per minute while Patrick only lands 1.76 and absorbs 2.9. Johnson has a fan-friendly style and can just piece up Patrick on the feet. Once again, the odds are off on this one so I'll lay the slight chalk on Johnson to get the win.
The Play: Michael Johnson (-150)
Manuel Torres (12-2) vs. Frank Camacho (22-9)
Weight Class: Lightweight
Camacho is returning for the first time in two years when he suffered a KO loss to Justin Jaynes, which is not a good look at all. His chin is also a concern, as he's been knocked out in two of his last three losses, with the other being by submission to Beneil Dariush.
Both Torres and Camacho like to brawl, and in a fight like that, I'll trust the fighter that has the better chin. Torres has proven on the regional scene he can take a shot. This should be a very fun fight, but Torres will connect on something big and get the TKO win.
UFC Best Bet: Manuel Torres by KO/TKO (+215)
Davey Grant (11-6) vs. Louis Smolka (17-8) &
Ion Cutelaba (16-6-1) vs. Ryan Spann (19-7)
Weight Class: Bantamweight & Light Heavyweight
Grant is on a two-fight losing streak but dropped a split decision to Adrian Yanez and lost to Marlon Vera by decision in two close fights. He now gets a favorable matchup against Louis Smolka, who got knocked out by Vince Morales last time out. Grant will be able to keep this standing and use his crisp boxing to either piece up Smolka on the feet or get the KO win, as this is a very favorable matchup.
For my other leg, I'm taking Ion Cutelaba to beat Ryan Spann, as it's hard to trust Spann's chin at this point. Spann is coming off a submission loss to Anthony Smith in a fight he got rocked badly, and he also has a TKO loss to Johnny Walker (and even got hurt to Sam Alvey). Cutelaba is a vicious striker that throws heavy shots, and eventually one of those will land and rock Spann, which will lead to a finish via strikes.