Discover more from Top UFC Predictions by Johnny Covers
UFC San Diego: Odds, Predictions, and Free Picks
Location: Pechanga Arena, San Diego, CA
Prelims: 4:30 PM EST - ESPN/ESPN+
Main Card: 7:00 PM EST - ESPN/ESPN+
It will be tough to beat the action from the Apex last week, as all 10 fights were decided inside the distance for the first time in nearly a decade. We will certainly try, however, with the UFC returning to San Diego for the first time since 2015 for a card that is full of great fights from top to bottom.
In an effort to constantly be enhancing our proprietary dashboard, I’ve added two metrics in MMA Record and # Fights in the UFC, adding even more context for each matchup. A Strength of Past Opponents metric is in the works, and hopefully will be ready by end of summer.
Let’s dive in.
Ariane Lipski vs. Priscila Cachoeira
We had given out Cachoeira in the lookahead spot following UFC 277 for last week, but this fight was postponed following Lipski missing weight and subsequently being hospitalized from the attempted cut. The missed weight supposedly stemmed from a bout with COVID during her camp, which leads me to believe issues are ongoing.
What pointed me towards Cachoeira in the first place, however, was her edges nearly across the board, something I put extra weight on given them fighting the same amount of fights in the UFC. She also comes in having won three of her past four, with the outlier being the first-round submission loss vs. Gillian Robertson; a facet of her game she has the edge here in, anyway.
Lipski also just narrowly misses our ring rust trigger, with it having just days outside of a year between her fights.
All signs point toward a Zombie Girl victory here.
Pick: Priscila Cachoeira (+165 at Barstool Sportsbook) to risk 2 units
Jason Witt vs. Josh Quinlan
*Play from last week that was postponed
Typically, I will stay away from fights featuring one fighter making their UFC debut, but I’m on DWCS product Josh Quinlan in this fight. Officially 5-0-1, Quinlan’s “draw” came in his DWCS win in September, originally a first-round KO over Logan Urban that was later ruled an NC from a failed drug test. It’s also worth noting all of Quinlan’s wins have come inside the distance.
On the otherside, we mostly know who Witt is, having now lost three of four in the UFC, with his three losses coming via KO/TKO inside of two rounds.
Quinlan’s striking metrics jump off the page, and the scary thing is his formal training comes in jiu-jitsu, having ended two of his fights via rear-naked chokes. The UFC debutant gets it done in his first fight in the big leagues.
Pick: Josh Quinlan (-245 at DraftKings) to risk 2.45 units
Ode Osbourne vs. Tyson Nam
Having lost three of his last five fights, Nam’s time in the UFC might be coming to an end soon at 38 as-is; and I see this fight as his farewell. In addition to the age factor here, Nam also checks our ring rust box at 589 days since his last fight.
All of this before Osbourne dominating in the metrics department with nearly 2x the knockdowns and edges in everything except for defense. With both having five fights in the UFC, we largely know who they are and I think Osbourne could be an even bigger favorite by the time this one goes off.
Gabriel Benitez vs. Charlie Ontiveros
We missed the best number on Benitez here as he’s ballooned to nearly -400, but it’s for good reason as he comes into this fight with edges nearly across the board. Yes, I’m aware he’s lost four of his past five, but he’s facing a fighter in Ontiveros who has yet to win in the UFC; making this a potential get-right fight for the favorite.
While I think we might see a more conservative approach from Benitez with his livelihood in the UFC on the line, I think he gets it done and would be wise to take to this one to the ground as soon as possible.
Pick: Parlay - Ode Osbourne & Gabriel Benitez (-127 at DraftKings) to risk 1.27 units
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Nina Nunes
To be blunt; I think we’re in for quite the snooze fest here.
Both are fighters on the tail end of their careers as-is and now come into this one on losing streaks (Calvillo 3, Nunes 2); with a loss here all but sealing their fate in the division.
For Nunes, who hasn’t fought since April of 2021, four of her past five fights have gone the distance, with a career average fight distance of 2.71 rounds (with no title fights).
Calvillo’s history is similar, with an average round history of 2.5, also having never fought a five-round fight.
Add in the fact we have two fighters here who favor grappling, and much like we saw from Nina’s wife at UFC 277, I expect a ground and pound type fight; but with much less action.
Pick: Goes the Distance - Yes (-210 at BetOnline.ag) to risk 2.1 units
Dominick Cruz vs. Marlon Vera
Despite seemingly coming out of nowhere in a career resurgence that now has him #5 in the bantamweight division, “Chito” Vera is a UFC veteran. At 29, Chito has fought 19 times since joining the ranks in 2014, one of the most active fighters in the promotion over that span.
Cruz, on the other hand, joined the UFC in 2011 and won the belt in his very first fight before defending it once. Since then, it’s been one injury after another with two torn ACLs, one botched ACL surgery, one torn groin, and a torn quad.
Even still, his only professional losses have been in title fights (Faber, Garbrandt, Cejudo), and I think this fight is much closer to even than the odds suggest with the public sentiment inflating it.
The more technical fighter, to begin with, Cruz holds edges nearly across the board, with his biggest issue being knockdowns; a metric I think he cancels out with some of the best striking defense in the division. While Chito gets praised for his cardio, I think Cruz matches it, coming into this fight with one of the highest total round averages in UFC history with his career fights averaging over 3.3 rounds per.
The longer this fight goes, the more it favors Cruz, who I think we see (at worst) tread water and then dominate the later rounds.
Pick: Dominik Cruz (+200 at Caesars Sportsbook) to risk 1 unit
BMP of the Week (Beer Money Parlay)**
Cachoeira + Osbourne + Landwehr + Cruz (+2979 at Barstool Sportsbook)
Priscila Cachoeira (+165 at Barstool Sportsbook) to risk 2 units
Josh Quinlan (-245 at DraftKings) to risk 2.45 units
Parlay: Ode Osbourne & Gabriel Benitez (-127 at DraftKings) to risk 1.27 units
Calvillo/Nunes Goes the Distance - Yes (-210 at BetOnline.ag) to risk 2.1 units
Dominik Cruz (+200 at Caesars Sportsbook) 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 drinking (High Noons at JC HQ) money.
Unsure about something you see above? Check out the FAQ to likely find your answer.
Thanks for reading. Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.