After a two week layoff, UFC Fight Night 149 edition of picks and props has arrived. It was a self-imposed layoff that required some reflection after going zero for the field last time out at UFC on ESPN 2. However, the past is behind us and we are onto greener pastures this weekend in St. Petersburg.
Again, the evergreen reminder here is that these aren’t the best plays of the week. Well, statistically speaking they aren’t. Large in part these are going to be bets that you place six of and then brag to all your friends about the one you actually hit. There’s only one way to go from zero for the board so let’s look at the best longshots on the board for UFC Fight Night in St. Petersburg.
UFC Fight Night 149 Picks
Alistair Overeem wins via TKO (-150)
So, this isn’t necessarily a longshot, but it’s a prop so it qualifies. If you’re planning on betting on Alistair Overeem there’s no sense in going out and paying the -235 for the outright win when you can get him by TKO at -150. It’s tempting to cover all your bases, but in this scenario it’s unnecessary. Jon Snow has a better chance of dying in this week’s episode of Game of Thrones than Overeem has of submitting Alexey Oleynik so no need to worry there. Then keep in mind it’s a five-round fight. Five rounds with one of the most powerful strikers at heavyweight and a guy who has a penchant for absorbing punishment. As tough as Oleynik is, five rounds is a long time to absorb punishment from Overeem. Unless he can get this to the ground quickly it should be an early night for Oleynik.
Alen Amedovski wins via TKO (+245)
On paper, Alen Amedovski gets a tough draw for his UFC debut in Krzysztof Jotko. In reality, I think this matchup will be more manageable than it seems. Certainly, Jotko brings the more complete resume and skill set into the cage, but as of late he seems lost. His moments of promise in this three-fight skid are often undone by subsequent moments of inability. His volume comes and goes especially in his grappling. In this matchup with Amedovski, Jotko would be smart to lean on his grappling.
If you’ve watched any of Amedovski’s fights you know he throws every shot with the same heat Kelvin Gastelum was throwing in the first few rounds of last weekend’s interim title tilt. He wants to stand and trade, which is exactly the type of fight I think he’ll get.
Yes, this pick invests a lot in Jotko abandoning his grappling game but at +245 it’s worth it. He hasn’t gone to that skill frequently enough to inspire confidence he’ll come out shooting doubles. Leaving him to stand and bang with a power puncher. Jotko’s chin has been cracked in his last two outings and it seems like there’s a good chance it happens a third time in St. Petersburg.
Roxanne Modafferi wins via submission (+620)
This is it. This is the real long ball on this card. I believe the UFC isn’t putting Roxanne Modafferi on the main card in Russia against a Shevchenko sister to get back on track with a W. Which is probably why Antonina Shevchenko is an outright -280 favorite. The plan here is for Shevchenko to go out strike well at range, do serious damage in the clinch, and take a bow to the roaring hometown crowd when Bruce Buffer announces her the winner. All that said, we haven’t really seen Shevchenko’s ground game. It’s a total mystery. For all we know she could be just as savvy as her younger sister, UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. It also could be as bad as some fear it to be for a 7-0 kickboxer fighting MMA. We don’t know.
Given the lack of depth on her MMA resume, I think the safer side to air on is that of Shevchenko possessing a green knowledge of BJJ. If Modafferi can pull off one or two takedowns there is a very good chance she’ll be able to find her way to Shevchenko’s back and secure a choke. A feat she’ll have 15 minutes to accomplish. Against an opponent so inexperienced in MMA, +620 is too good a price to ignore.
As stated above it can’t get any worse than the previous outing. Even one winner would be a massive improvement. Cheers, and if you’re betting, good luck Saturday.
All odds taken from 5Dimes.