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UFC Long Island Best Bets

MMA article at Knup Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship is back in action this weekend with a 12-fight card at UBS Arena on July 16. ABC will televise the six main events, headlined by the intriguing co-main events Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez and Michele Waterson vs. Marina Rodriguez. Meanwhile, ESPN+ will have all the action starting at 11 a.m. (ET). 

Brian Ortega (-170) Over Yair Rodriguez

This co-main pits two evenly matched fighters in what should be a fantastic featherweight bout.  The winner could get the next crack at champion Alexander Volkanovski.

Ortega comes into the match as the No. 2 ranked contender at 16-2 (1 NC) with 10 finishes, including seven submissions. His losses have occurred in the last three fights to Volkanovski and Max Hollowell, respectively. 

Rodriguez ranked No.3 in the division, owns a 15-3 (1 NC) record with nine finishes though five were by KO/TKO. He is 2-2 (1-NC) in his last five bouts, with the setbacks coming against Hollowell and Frankie Edger, whom Ortega has a victory over.

Rodriguez is the stronger boxer and is better defensively. However,  I believe Ortega will take the fight to the ground and keep it there.  

Muslim Salikov (-170) Over Li Jiangliang; Over 2.5 Rounds (-140)

Salikov may be able to crack the UFC welterweight rankings with an upset victory over 14th-ranked Li Jiangliang. Salikov enters the contest with an 18-2 record and is on a five-fight win streak. He has recorded 14 finishes, including 12 via KO/TKO. 

Meanwhile, Jiangliang owns an 18-7 record, with eight victories coming via KO/TKO.  The 34-year-old has reeled off two straight wins though he is just 3-2 in his last five. 

This bout could be a barn burner, as both are relentless counter strikers. Where Salikov has the advantage is on the ground due to his Wushu combat background. While I like Salikov, the best bet is the over on 2.5 rounds. 

Emily Ducote (-150) Over Jessica Penne 

Ducote is making her UFC debut after spending the past six fights in the Invicta Fighting Championship, where she was the strawweight champion. The 28-year-old is 12-6 overall with eight finishes with four KO/TO and four submissions. She has won five of her last six, last having a match on May 11.  

Penne is ranked No. 14 in the welterweight division with a 15-6 record, including 11 of the victories coming by finishes (9 submissions, 2 TKO). The 39-year-old has won each of her two fights following a four-year layoff.  

This should be a good matchup. Ducote is the younger, hungrier fighter looking to make a name for herself.  She is also a harder-hitter and has a more potent offensive repertoire than Penne.

More Picks

There are two other fights on the card that I like. In a preliminary Bantamweight fight, I like  No. 14 Jack Shore (-140) to remain undefeated (28-0, 16-0 UFC) with a victory over No. 13 Ricky Stone (22-3). The other fight I like is Punahele Soriano (-235) to dispatch Dalcha Lungiambula in a middleweight bout.

Read more about the UFC Fight Night bout between Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez.

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