The Ultimate Fighting Championship is in action for a sixth straight week, and the fourth consecutive weekend the promotion will be in Las Vegas. UFC Fight Night 221 does not consist of a title fight, but there are some intriguing matchups and substantial betting opportunities.
A bantamweight bout between former UFC Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan, No. 2 ranked contender, and No. 3 Merab Dvalishvili headlines the event. The co-main event is a heavyweight fight between No. 8 Alekander Volkov and No. 14 Alexander Volkov and is one of two other fights with both competitors ranked. A total of five ranked fighters will head into the octagon at The Theater at Virgin Islands on Saturday night.
The following are my best bets for the stacked 14-fight card. The preliminaries begin at 3 p.m. (ET) on ESPN+, while the main card is slated to start at 6 p.m. Odds are from DraftKings.
Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann , Catchweight
Krylov and Spann were initially scheduled to face each other on Feb. 25, but Krylov was forced out of the fight with an illness on the day of the event, resulting in the pair being rescheduled here. Both fighters enter the octagon and look to move up the light heavyweight ladder. Krylov is ranked sixth in the light heavyweight division, while Spann is ranked eighth.
Krylov (29-9, 10-7 UFC) snapped a two-fight losing streak last year with an early first-round knockout of Alex Gustaffson, earning him performance of the night. The 31-year-old Russian defeated Volkan Oezdemir via unanimous decision at UFC 280 in his last outing.
Spann (21-7, 7-2) picked up his second straight win with a knockout of Dominick Reyes at UFC 281. The 31-year-old Memphis native has earned two performance of the night bonuses.
I expect this match to be fascinating and entertaining as long as it lasts. I like Krylov, who is listed as a -170 favorite, to pick up the victory.
Krylov is the more versatile and mobile and harder hitter than Spann. He also has more experience against tough competition, with four of his most recent losses coming against ranked opponents.
I also don’t believe the fight will last three rounds. Krylov, who has 22 first-round finishes, has only gone the distance in four of his bouts, while Spann, with 15 first-round finishes, has gone the distance on five occasions.
Neither fighter is very good defensively. Moreover, Krylov’s average fight time is a touch over seven minutes, and Spann is in the ring on an average of under five minutes.
Prediction/Best Bets: Nikita Krylov (-175) to win
Other option: Krylov to win by knockout/submission or DQ (-115)
Krylov to win in Rounds 1 and 2 (+100)
Sedriques Dumas vs. Josh Fremd, Middleweight
Two young fighters aim to kickstart their career with a victory in this middleweight bout. Dumas (7-0), making his UFC debut, enters the octagon undefeated with six finishes, including a 47-second submission over Matej Penaz in the Dana White Contender series to earn a contract the last time out. Meanwhile, Fremd (9-4, 0-2) has struggled since joining the UFC, losing both of his promotional bouts and three of five overall.
Fremd hasn’t had an easy go of it lately, and it doesn’t look like that will change, as Dumas is another tough matchup for the 29-year-old Pittsburgher. Dumas is a technical and ferocious striker who can combine his high striking ability with quick leg strikes. While the 27-year-old American has to be weary of Fremd’s wrestling ability, Dumas’ power and skill should be able to create space and overwhelm Fremd.
Prediction: Sedriques Dumas (-215) To Win
Other Betting Option: Over 1.5 Rounds (-115)
Mario Bautista vs. Guido Cannetti, Bantamweight
This bantamweight fight is expected to be very spirited as each fighter looks to move up the bantamweight ladder. Both combatants enter the octagon on a winning streak.
Bautista (11-2, 5-2) won three straight bouts in 2022. The 28-year-old Nevada native is coming off a first-round submission victory, via reverse triangle bar, over Benito Lopez on November 5, earning performance of the night. He has won five of six overall.
Cannetti (10-7, 4-5) is in the best form since joining the UFC. The 43-year-old Argentinian has won two straight fights, defeating Randy Costa via first-round submission to earn performance of the night.
Bautista is coming off the best performance of his career and should roll here. While there is no value in betting Bautista to win, as he is a considerable favorite at -950, there are a couple of other bets to make. I like Bautista via finish, as eight (5 submissions) of his 11 victories have ended before the final bell, and Cannetti has five losses via knockout or submission.
Best Bets: Mario Bautista To win via Submission (-110)
Other Bets: Bautista to win in Rounds 1 and 2 (-280)
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