Discover more from Top UFC Predictions by Johnny Covers
UFC 279: Odds, Predictions, and Free Picks
Last Week's Results: 3-2 (+.77u) | Overall: 54% (26.29u)
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Early Prelims: 6:00 PM EST - ESPN+
Prelims: 8:00 PM EST - ESPN/ESPN+
Main Card: 10:00 PM EST - ESPN+ PPV
We got back to our winning ways last week in Paris, as we went 3-2 on the night.
One change moving forward; I’m not going to force a play on the main or co-main simply because they are the headlining fights. If I see there is value, I’ll share it, but we’re all here to win and I should’ve laid off those the past two weeks.
Almost always, those fights get posted at sportsbooks more than a month out, making them the hardest numbers to beat as the market has had weeks to pound and sharpen them. If you’re dying for a pick there; reach out to me on Twitter and I’ll give you my lean.
Also, while I’ll still do the recaps internally to adjust the handicapping, I’m going to refrain from sending those out moving forward. Not a lot of traction there and unless I hear a strong case for otherwise, going to stick to these write-ups.
Now let’s get to UFC 279.
Alateng Heili vs. Chad Anheliger
Anheliger made the most of his UFC debut in February with a third-round KO/TKO of Jesse Strader, setting up this fight and a significant step up in opponents. In steps Alateng Heili, who since joining the UFC in 2019 has amassed a record of 3-1-1, all but one of which has gone to the judge’s scorecards.
Coming into this fight, the average fight time between the two is 2.64 rounds, as both fighters have a tendency to start slow and feel their opponents out. Because both come into this fight fresh off an inside-the-distance finish, I think we’re seeing an over-correction in this number that I have closer to -180.
With a win from either fighter putting them in consideration for a ranked matchup in the division, look for an even more conservative approach once again.
Pick: Over 2.5 Rounds (-120 at BetOnline.ag) to risk 2 units
Jamie Pickett vs. Denis Tiuliulin
Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) veteran Jamie Pickett (fought there 3x) comes into this fight with a UFC record of 2-3, with two of those losses coming in the first round. His most recent fight, a first-round (loss) submission via former Cage Warriors champion Kyle Daukaus, I believe has him undervalued heading into this one.
Tiuliulin also is in desperate need of a win, having just lost his UFC debut in March via second-round submission.
With a combined record of 0-6 on fights that go to the ground, I don’t expect either fighter to feel comfortable there but Pickett has to know he has the edge. He also holds the edge in striking, as well as absorbing 50% fewer strikes.
Add in a 3” reach advantage for Pickett, who is also the more battle-tested fighter against high-level guys and I have this as the biggest misprice of the night.
Pick: Jamie Pickett (-125 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 4 units
Irene Aldana vs. Macy Chiasson
We’re playing some reverse line movement in this one, as Chiasson opened as a +136 underdog and has ticked up since. Her opponent, Aldana, comes into this fight having won six of eight since starting her UFC career off 0-2 in 2016.
A closer look, however, shows that Chiasson wins the striking battle here, as well as absorbs less than half the strikes of her opponent. Chiasson also holds the edge on the ground, with 3x the submission average and 9x the takedown average per 15 minutes.
With 7+ fights in the UFC from both and a similar level of competition, those are edges I’m willing to put stock in.
Add in a ring rust factor with Aldana having not fought in well over a year, and I think the wrong fighter is favored in this one.
Pick: Macy Chiasson (+150 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 2 units
Johnny Walker vs. Ion Cutelaba
You might want to hold your breath for this car crash between two guys that will be eager to get out of the octagon in one consciousness or another Saturday. Averaging a 91% clip of wins inside the distance and average rounds of 1.52, the total round # is priced correctly.
I don’t believe the sides are, however.
With edges in striking and grappling and a fairly even opponent history, I put stock in the edges Walker has here including 3x knockdowns and 7x submissions per 15 minutes. He also absorbs fewer blows and has the highest takedown accuracy in the division.
While both fighters are in desperate need of a win, I see Walker as having more ways to get there against an erratic Cutelaba who could very well be on his way out of the UFC.
Pick: Johnny Walker (+190 at BetOnline.ag) to risk 1 unit
BMP of the Week (Beer Money Parlay)**
Norma Dumont + Macy Chiasson + Jamie Pickett + Daniel Rodriguez + Tony Ferguson (+5185 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
Heili/Anheliger Over 2.5 Rounds (-120 at BetOnline.ag) to risk 2 units
Jamie Pickett (-125 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 4 units
Macy Chiasson (+150 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 2 units
Johnny Walker (+190 at BetOnline.ag) to risk 1 unit
All current and historical picks are tracked here.
*All odds as of the day of posting.
**Parlays are the fastest way to lose money in sports betting. That said there is nothing more fun. Have at it, but only with our weekly beer (High Noons at JC HQ) money.
Thanks for reading UFC Picks, Predictions, and Analysis by Johnny Covers! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.