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UFC Vegas 82 Allen vs. Craig: Main Card Best Bets

Michael Morales v Adam Fugitt During UFC 277
Michael Morales of Ecuador looks on before his welterweight bout against Adam Fugitt during UFC 277. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

The UFC returns to Vegas this Saturday, and we could witness a BJJ masterclass as two renowned grapplers, Brendan Allen and Paul Craig, headline the event.

Australia’s Jake Matthews and the undefeated (15-0) Michael Morales exchange leather in the co-main event, ensuring this weekend’s fight card will bring fireworks to the octagon.

Let’s waste no more time and dive into the most noteworthy betting picks for the UFC Vegas 82 main and co-main event.

Picks Summary

  • Brendan Allen By Submission (+215) at Unibet
  • Matthews-Morales Under 2.5 Rounds (-145) at Bet365

Paul Craig vs. Brendan Allen

UFC Vegas 82 Middleweight Main Event Bout

Saturday, November 18, 2023 – 07:15 PM ET at UFC Apex


Brendan Allen

Allen has already achieved three victories in 2022 and aims to repeat that record with a victory this weekend. As of his first scheduled UFC main event this Saturday, he has accumulated five consecutive wins, three of which were decided by rear-naked choke submission.

The 27-year-old native of Louisiana has always exhibited promise. Still, at this moment in his UFC tenure, he appears to be achieving his full potential, fighting with greater composure and assurance than at any other time in his career.

  • Brendan Allen Pro MMA Record: 22-5-0
  • Brendan Allen KOs: 5
  • Brendan Allen Submissions: 13

Paul Craig

Craig defends his middleweight title for the second time on Saturday. However, in his divisional debut, the Scottish fighter immediately made an impact, dispatching Andre Muniz in London to signal his arrival and end a two-fight slide.

His substantial build, consistent improvement in his striking abilities, and involvement with many elite light heavyweight competitors make him a genuine wild card in the 185-pound division.

  • Paul Craig Pro MMA Record: 17-6-1
  • Paul Craig KOs: 4
  • Paul Craig Submissions: 13

Allen vs. Craig: Fight Tape Analysis

This grappling match has the makings of a high-level contest, as both Allen and Craig perform admirably on the canvas; furthermore, the Scotsman is smooth off his back and is, therefore, possibly amenable to takedowns.

Allen ought to have the upper hand in terms of the variety and fluidity of his striking on the feet, but Craig is susceptible to breakdowns; therefore, regardless of the outcome, the evening should conclude with a competitive struggle.

UFC Vegas 82 Main Event Odds & Prediction

The UFC pricing with OddsTrader’s top sportsbooks believe Allen is the rightful favorite, but at -400, wagering on a KO/TKO or submission finish is a must, especially with a five-round bout and the lack of decision bouts these two fighters have been involved with.

In most cases, Allen achieves his submission finishes through an outstanding top game. Since his inception in the Octagon, he has spent over 27% of his time in the top position. He had two minutes and 27 seconds of control time in his most recent bout against Bruno Silva, which lasted less than five minutes and concluded with one of his signature rear naked chokes.

While Craig is also known for his BJJ offense, his defense from the bottom hasn’t been great, and this is a huge red flag heading into the weekend. While most expect Allen to keep it standing and win via KO/TKO, I believe the value lies with the price of +215 on the submission stoppage.

UFC Pick: Allen By Submission (+215) [1u returns 2.15u profit] at Unibet


Jake Matthews vs. Michael Morales

UFC Vegas 82 Welterweight Co-Main Event Bout

Saturday, November 18, 2023 – 06:50 PM ET at UFC Apex


Michael Morales

Morales, who enters the Apex this weekend with a perfect 15-0 record that includes victories in each of his first three UFC appearances, seeks to continue his methodical ascent through the rankings.

Following his impressive performance in Season 5 of Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS), the Ecuadorian prospect began his inaugural season on the roster with stoppage victories over Trevin Giles and Adam Fugitt. At the beginning of July, he advanced to the DWCS by way of a hard-fought decision against Max Griffin.

  • Michael Morales Pro MMA Record: 11-0-0
  • Michael Morales KOs: 1
  • Michael Morales Submissions: 13

Jake Matthews

Matthews, who is only 29 years old and has been a member of the UFC roster for a decade, has accumulated 18 more octagonal appearances than Morales has in bouts. The former TUF Nations contender began his welterweight career with six victories in seven bouts.

However, he has exhibited a pattern of defeats and wins over the past four bouts. Still, he’s also showcased his exceptional athleticism and finishing prowess during this stretch.

  • Jake Matthews Pro MMA Record: 19-6-0
  • Jake Matthews KOs: 5
  • Jake Matthews Submissions: 8

Matthews vs. Morales: Fight Tape Analysis

Although this bout does not resemble the archetypal “novice versus veteran” confrontation, its purpose seems to be to assess Morales’ progress against a challenger with considerably more experience in the Octagon while elevating his finishing prowess from his previous performance.

Matthews may have exhibited some inconsistency in his last four bouts, but he has also dispatched Fialho and dominated Darrius Flowers; if Morales is not on point on Saturday night, it is evident that he can do the same to his 25-year-old opponent.

UFC Vegas 82 Co-Main Event Odds & Prediction

The UFC odds have placed Morales as a significant betting favorite, but similar to the main event, the juiced moneyline is too wide to consider as a value wager.

I see two outcomes: Morales’ touch of death proves successful once again, and he flatlines Matthew’s within the first two rounds, or the Australian underdog capitalizes on a fatigued Morales who folds late in round two and is stopped by his experienced opponent.

Either way, backing the under 2.5 rounds at -145 feels like the safest play. Three of Matthew’s previous four UFC bouts ended inside the distance, while Morales has gone the distance in just 3 of his 15 pro-MMA bouts.

UFC Pick: Under 2.5 Rounds (-145) [1.45u returns 1u profit] at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)

*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.

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