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UFC Saudi Arabia Main Card Best Bets: Knockouts and Decision Wins

The Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, rolls out the red carpet for the UFC’s elite-level mixed martial artists this weekend, and we’re back to break down the most betting-worthy main card bouts.

Let’s waste no more time and dive right into the most noteworthy betting picks for the UFC Saudi Arabia main card, including in-depth analysis and our best bets.

And don’t forget to check more UFC picks on our YouTube channel. Today, our expert covered the Sergei Pavlovich vs. Alexander Volkov and Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov bouts.

Picks Summary

  • Sergei Pavlovich by KO/TKO (-125)
  • Kelvin Gastelum by Decision (+105)

*All odds from Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)


Sergei Pavlovich vs. Alexander Volkov

UFC Saudi Arabia Heavyweight Co-Main Event Bout

Saturday, June 22, 2024 – 03:50 PM ET at Kingdom Arena


Sergei Pavlovich

Let me start by highlighting that former world champion, Alistair Overeem, and the current UFC interim titleholder, Tom Aspinall, are the only two men to defeat Sergei Pavlovich during his decade-long career.

This 6-foot-3-inch representative of the Eagles MMA Academy in Russia has been an absolute wrecking ball. 15 of his 18 pro career wins were obtained by knockout; grappling isn’t his jam, and when the cage door closes, he’s looking to decapitate the opposition.

  • Pavlovich Pro MMA Record: 18-2-0
  • Pavlovich KOs: 15
  • Pavlovich Submissions: 0

Alexander Volkov

Fellow Russian and Pavlovich’s former training partner, Alexander Volkov, has been quite the mainstay in elite UFC heavyweight contests for seven consecutive years. In contrast to his weekend opponent, technical game plans have worked to his advantage, including his 6’7” frame and nearly 50 pro-MMA bouts of experience.

  • Volkov Pro MMA Record: 37-10-0
  • Volkov KOs: 24
  • Volkov Submissions: 4

Pavlovich vs. Volkov: Fight Tape Analysis

There’s no denying that Volkov has fought the best-of-best inside the UFC heavyweight division. However, it’s noteworthy that he’s never been able to cross that winning line and become a champion. Aspinall, Gane, Blaydes, and Derrick Lewis each presented title opportunities for him, and each time, he failed to get the job done.

Volkov has a diverse skill set, with a mixed style that delivers a smooth technical striking game and the ability to wrestle and threaten submissions against lower-level grapplers in the division. Unfortunately, he doesn’t excel in one particular area, and no matter how impressive some of his recent victories have been, I can’t look beyond the slow and plodding approach he often takes in the cage.

Conversely, Pavlovich is an absolute menace and owns that one-punch fight-ending power that is so dangerous to come up against. The Russian’s power is reminiscent of Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis, and while Volkov certainly has the size advantage and defensive abilities, one forced flurry of attacks from Pavlovich, and you can’t help but think he’ll be sleeping.

UFC Saudi Arabia Main Card Odds & Prediction

The UFC pricing with OddsTraders top sportsbooks has placed Pavlovich as a betting favorite, but instead of backing the juice, place your wagers on the KO-prop.

Pavlovich hasn’t gone the distance since 2017. All six of his UFC wins arrived in round one, and coincidentally, the two times Volkov lost via KO/TKO, it was against fighters with cracking power who aren’t afraid to get on the inside of the big man—something Pavlovich can certainly be.

UFC Pick: Pavlovich ML (-125) [1.25u returns 1u profit] at Bet365


Kelvin Gastelum vs. Daniel Rodriguez

UFC Saudi Arabia Welterweight Main Card Bout

Saturday, June 22, 2024 – 03:25 PM ET at Kingdom Arena


Kelvin Gastelum

Make no mistake, for the majority of the previous five years, Kelvin Gastelum’s time spent in the octagon has been horrendous, on paper at least. He’s lost six of his last eight fights and was most recently submitted by Sean Brady.

However, when you list some of the names Gastelum has fought—Cannonier, Whittaker, Adesanya—it becomes evident that fighting at middleweight against former champions and title contenders wasn’t a positive move. Now, back as a welterweight, he should find more success and potentially shine bright like he once did many moons ago.

  • Gastelum Pro MMA Record: 18-9-0
  • Gastelum KOs: 5
  • Gastelum Submissions: 5

Daniel Rodriguez

Daniel Rodriguez doesn’t have the elite list of opponents faced on his record like Gastelum, but he comes to fight, as evidenced by his 7-3 promotion record. He isn’t, however, getting any younger, aged 37, and with two straight defeats inside the distance, could he have already surpassed his prime and be suffering from a late-career decline?

  • Rodriguez Pro MMA Record: 17-4-0
  • Rodriguez KOs: 8
  • Rodriguez Submissions: 4

Gastelum vs. Rodriguez: Fight Tape Analysis

Although Gastelum comes from a wrestling background, it’s rarely a facet of his skillset we regularly see. He loves to strike, predominantly focusing on short one-two combinations behind some precisely delivered strikes that involve an in-and-out style with speedy footwork.

D-Rod also loves to strike, so we should expect a kickboxing battle to ensue. However, he’s a brawler who enjoys counterstriking. He isn’t a formidable power puncher, so I wouldn’t anticipate a one-pop KO. Still, he certainly builds an accumulative amount of damage to collect a TKO over his adversary from time to time.

The key difference between these men would be speed and age. They’ll both matchup in a southpaw stance. I believe a consistent jab alongside low kicks could work wonders for Gastelum, who’ll be a mili-second or two faster than his aging opponent in most exchanges.

UFC Saudi Arabia Main Card Odds & Prediction

The UFC odds have placed Gastelum as a heavy favorite despite the undesirable record of late. Why? Well, to be frank, he’s the better fighter all around.

Wrestling goes to Gastelum, and so does striking; there’s a significant age gap in his favor, and outside of a shock KO/TKO, it’s his fight to loose. I envision the leg kicks being crucial, and Rodriguez’s offense will diminish as a result.

We can boost the moneyline pricing by backing this fight to go the distance, and I believe this result will surface as both men will want to avoid another stoppage loss on their records. This, however, perfectly suits Gastelum, who’s going to deliver a higher output of strikes across 15 minutes,

UFC Pick: Gastelum Win by Decision (+105) [1u returns 1.05u profit] at Bet365

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

*21+ Seek help with a gambling addiction at 1-800-Gambler

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