Discover more from Top UFC Predictions by Johnny Covers
UFC Paris: Odds, Predictions, and Free Picks
Location: Accor Arena, Paris, France
Prelims: 12:00 PM EST - ESPN+
Main Card: 3:00 PM EST - ESPN+
The UFC will head to France this weekend for the first time in the promotion’s history, as MMA only recently became legal in a country that has quietly been brewing killers for years. With the debut in this MMA-hungry country, the card is littered with UFC debuts from French fighters that we’ll have to keep an eye on, and for the most part, stay away from the unknown.
Time for a bounceback.
Christian Quinonez vs. Khalid Taha
This fight was just put together in the last few days, as Taha’s original opponent Taylor Lapilus pulled out on Monday due to injury. In steps DWCS winner Christian Quinonez, who is a much longer fighter than Taha had been training for, and the market expect has already reacted by dropping him from a +150 dog to where he sits now.
Holding edges in striking, as well as grappling, Quinonez draws a fighter in Taha who has just one win since 2018. Despite it being against lesser competition, Quinonez has racked up a record of 7-1 in the time since including an outright underdog win against Xiao Long in October’s DWCS season nine.
Add in Taha not being inside of an octagon for over 400 days, and I give Quinonez the edge in this one.
Pick: Christian Quinonez (+110 at FanDuel Sportsbook) to risk 1.1 unit
Nassourdine Imavov vs. Joaquin Buckley
Following what I expect to be two slower fights to start the card, this one should offer violence early as two guys with a propensity to strike will square off. Starting with the sizeable underdog in Buckley, eight of his nine fights have gone by way of KO/TKO, all inside of 2.5 rounds.
For Imavov, five of seven have come inside of the distance, all inside of two rounds including his last two which ended via KO/TKO in the second round. A flash win here for the #12 ranked Imavov is likely enough to get him inside of the top 10 in the middleweight division, but the power and experience of Buckley give me pause for the side.
Look for one of these two elite strikers to cancel the other out inside of 2.5 rounds.
Pick: Under 2.5 Rounds (-148 at FanDuel Sportsbook) to risk 1.48 units
Charles Jourdain vs. Nathan Wood
This number has moved more than 30% since its opener, and I’m in agreement with the move here as well. Both of these guys come into this fight with 7+ fights in the UFC, more than enough to draw real conclusions from their metrics thus far.
Woods holds the signficant striking edge by more than 3x, as well as the edge on the ground. Amassing a record of 4-4-1 in his time with the UFC, Jourdain has proven to be a middle-of-the-pack fighter while Wood has quietly racked up a record of 5-2 with an equally difficult opponent history.
Both of these guys are also coming into this fight having fought less than a month ago, with Wood taking less damage in his win over Charles Rosa.
Pick: Nathan Wood (+115 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 1.15 units
John Makdessi vs. Nasrat Haqparast
While the statistical edges are close here, this fight checks a lot of boxes for me otherwise and is going to be my biggest play of the week. As often mentioned here, fighters with an age advantage of more than 5 years win at a 60%+ clip, only growing higher as the gap widens.
This age gap is 11 years, in favor of Haqparast.
Makdessi also checks the (fade) box of ring rust, in it has been nearly two years since we last saw him in the octagon, a split decision win over Ignacio Bahamondes in early 2021.
Having lost his last two fights (both via decision) to Dan Hooker and Bobby Green, I think we’re getting Haqparast at a bargain here at a number I have closer to -300.
Pick: Nasrat Haqparasat (-220 at FanDuel Sportsbook ) to risk 4.4 units
Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa
You always hold your breath when taking anything “over” in a heavyweight clash, but I think we have an edge here. For a heavyweight, Gane really likes to take his time with guys and is as good of an athlete as the division has ever seen.
Over his eight fights in the UFC, only two have ended inside of 2.5 rounds, and none of his past four which have been against upper echelon guys. Usually taking a round or two to feel out his opponent, I’d argue it hurt Gane in his title fight loss to Ngannou, but I don’t see him changing now.
As for “Bam Bam” Tuivasa, four straight KO/TKO wins have overshadowed a 3-3 start to his UFC career, as he’s taking another significant step up in this fight; as the odds would suggest.
While he very well may get it done, I like for Gane to be in control early which points to this five-round affair reaching the third round.
Pick: Over 2.5 Rounds (-120 at BetOnline.ag) to risk 2 units
BMP of the Week (Beer Money Parlay)**
Nasrat Haqparast + Alessio Di Chirico + Saint-Denis/Miranda Inside the Distance - Yes + Nathaniel Wood + Tuivasa/Gane Inside the Distance - No (+2691 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Christian Quinonez (+110 at FanDuel Sportsbook) to risk 1 unit
Imavov/Buckley Under 2.5 Rounds (-148 at FanDuel Sportsbook) to risk 1.48 units
Nathaniel Wood (+115 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 1 units
Nasrat Haqparasat (-220 at FanDuel Sportsbook ) to risk 4.4 units
Tuivasa/Gane Over 2.5 Rounds (-120 at BetOnline.ag) to risk 2 units
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 drinking (High Noons at JC HQ) money.
Unsure about something you see above? Check out the FAQ to likely find your answer.