UFC Best Bets: Picks, Odds, and Predictions UFC Vegas 73

UFC Best Bets: Picks, Odds, and Predictions UFC Vegas 73

This article is part of our UFC Picks series.

The UFC returns to the UFC Apex on Saturday, May 20 for UFC Vegas 73. In the main event, the top-15 strawweights collide, as Mackenzie Dern takes on Angela Hill.

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

Orion Cosce (8-1) vs. Gilbert Urbina (6-2)

Orion Cosce is finally returning for the first time since July of 2022, when he beat Blood Diamond by decision. Since then, he has been dealing with some health issues, but he is now set to return and gets a favorable matchup against Gilbert Urbina.

Urbina fought on TUF 29 and hasn't competed since August of 2021, when he lost to Bryan Battle in the finale (he only got the shot in the finals due to Tresean Gore getting hurt). Urbina, to me, isn't UFC-caliber, and if he doesn't get a quick submission win, he tends to fade. He's also there to be hit.

Although I do question Cosce's cardio, he did gut out a win over Blood Diamond despite clearly being gassed. 

Overall, I think Urbina's striking defense just leaves a lot to be desired, and effectively, I believe Cosce will land the better shots and keep it standing to win a decision.

UFC Vegas 73 Best Bet: Orion Cosce (-130)

Weight Class: Lightweight

Chase Hooper (11-3-1) vs. Nick Fiore (6-1)

For my underdog pick at UFC Vegas 73, I like Chase Hooper to beat Nick Fiore in Hooper's debut fight at lightweight.

Speaking to Hooper, he said two weeks out of the fight he would only eat a packet of honey and protein shakes in order to make 145lbs, which he thinks had an impact on his performance. I expect him to fare better at lightweight, and I especially like this matchup against Fiore.

Fiore is a good grappler, but his level of competition is a big concern. In his debut, he struggled against a tough opponent in Mateusz Rebecki

On the feet, I expect Fiore to get the better of Hooper, but I do expect Hooper to get it to the mat and eventually lock in a submission win, whether that be in the second or third round.

UFC Vegas 73 Best Bet: Chase Hooper (+115)

Weight Class: Lightweight

Diego Ferreira (17-5) vs. Michael Johnson (21-18)

Diego Ferreira is finally set to return to the Octagon, and he is a slight favorite over Michael Johnson. I like Diego to get the win.

Ferreira is entering the scrap on a three-fight losing skid and hasn't fought since December of 2021. Although he has lost three in a row, those defeats were to Mateusz Gamrot, Gregor Gillespie and Beneil Dariush, who are all much better than Michael Johnson.

I expect Johnson to try and wrestle Ferreira, but when standing, the Brazilian is much better. On the feet, I do think Ferreira is the better striker and is harder to hit. 

Additionally, both guys are durable. I think Ferreira by decision is badly mis-priced, as at (+400), oddsmakers seem to think Ferreira is more likely to KO him or submit him.

In Johnson's last five losses, three have come by decision. When he was finished, he was KO'd by Josh Emmett at 145 and submitted by Thiago Moises -- two fighters who are much harder hitters and superior grapplers, respectively.

UFC Vegas 73 Best Bet: Diego Ferreira by decision (+400)

Weight Classes: Heavyweight & Welterweight

Rodrigo Nascimento (9-1) vs. Ilir Latifi (16-8)
Joaquin Buckley (15-6) vs. Andre Fialho (15-6)

For my parlay, I like Rodrigo Nascimento and Joaquin Buckley to get their hands raised Saturday.

Nascimento is set to face Ilir Latifi, which should be a rather boring fight, but one I think Nascimento will out-size Latifi. On the feet, Latifi lands just 1.92 significant strikes per minute, while the Brazilian lands 4.05 significant strikes per minute. I also don't think Latifi will be able to get the fight to the mat. On the feet, I like Nascimento to out-strike Latifi and win a decision.

For the other leg, I'm taking Joaquin Buckley to win, as he drops down to welterweight and faces Andre Fialho

Fialho came out of the gates hot and had a lot of success, but as of late, his chin has been a concern. He now faces Buckley, who is a hard hitter. I do think 170 pounds will be much better for Buckley, as he was a smaller middleweight.

On the feet, Buckley and Filaho both land just over three significant strikes per minute, but there's a stark contrast in striking defense. Fialho absorbs 6.2,2 while Buckley only absorbs 3.22. This will be the difference, as Filaho is there to be hit, and Buckley will land the KO punch.

UFC Vegas 73 Best Bet: Rodrigo Nascimento and Joaquin Buckley parlay (+114)


UFC Vegas 73 Best Bets:

Here is a recap of my best bets for this weekend's UFC Vegas 73 event:

For up-to-date information on the latest odds and props from multiple sportsbooks, check out the UFC odds page on RotoWire.

If you're in Ohio where legal betting just launched, check out Ohio sports betting promos. Sports betting is also officially live in the state of Massachusetts. To get the most bang for your buck when selecting a sportsbook as a new customer, check out these Massachusetts Sports Betting Promos.

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Cole Shelton
Cole Shelton is a full-time sports writer focusing on MMA.
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