Welcome to my betting breakdown for UFC Vegas 36: Till vs. Brunson, which goes down Saturday night in front of a small crowd at the Apex facility in Las Vegas. After a solid fight card last weekend, the promotion returns with a 10-fight offering headlined by middleweights who are trying to stake their claim for a title shot with an impressive victory this Saturday afternoon.
While this card is relatively short in terms of the actual amount of fights and there aren’t any matchups that I would consider to be must-watch TV, I do think we see some solid finishes and some violence at the Apex during this card.
While it isn’t looking like a massive week in terms of volume for myself, I anticipate having bets on at least three of the 10 scheduled bouts, but nothing I feel super strongly about with multiple unit plays.
You can find all my plays free in the FTN Bets Tracker. I’ll be writing this best bets article weekly with extended breakdowns for up to three of my best bets and occasionally some leans if I don’t have three plays. I will be in the FTNBets Discord for about two hours before the early prelims this weekend to answer any questions that readers have. We'd love to continue building the community through Discord.
Martinez has historically been somebody that I was much lower on compared to the market, as we've seen the Factory X product priced as a significant favorite a few times in the UFC now. Although Martinez has come through with a few impressive performances, he is just 4-3 inside the UFC and is coming off a knockout loss to Davey Grant earlier this year. Martinez is a solid kicker who really uses kicks to all three levels to set up the entirety of his striking game. Outside of his kicks, I just don’t see much about Martinez’s game to love, as he’s relatively hittable and his fights don’t normally feature much grappling.
Rojo dropped his UFC debut to Charles Jourdain via knockout on the same night that Martinez was knocked out vs Davey Grant. Rojo has lost three of his last six, but people love watching him fight due to the amount of chaos he brings to the cage. Rojo is what I would consider a “kill or be killed fighter,” as he’s always hunting a finish on his opponent, which leaves himself susceptible to getting hurt as well. Out of Rojo’s 24 career fights, just three have made it to the judges’ scorecards. Stylistically, defense is an afterthought for Rojo, who kind of just tries to overwhelm his opponents with pace and volume.
I favor Martinez to win this fight as the slightly more finished product in terms of his process and technique, but I do think it’ll be competitive early, as Rojo is typically a fast starter who fades down the stretch. Instead of backing a side here, I’m making a play on the under 2.5 rounds at plus money. We know how reliable Rojo is to cause chaos, and we’ve seen both men hurt on multiple occasions. Rojo was dropped twice and eventually finished in his debut, while Martinez was also knocked out in his last fight and has been hurt in other UFC bouts, specifically against Andre Soukhamthath. These two guys should fight at a high pace and bang it out until one man hits the floor. I think there’s a greater than 50% chance this fight ends in under 12.5 minutes, so I’m taking a stab at +130.
Bet: Martinez/Rojo Under 2.5 Rounds +130 1x until +125 (Placed Tuesday)
Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Dalcha Lungiambula betting odds
Barriault’s UFC run certainly got off on the wrong foot with three consecutive decision losses to Andrew Sanchez, Krzysztof Jotko and Jun Yong Park, but he has since turned things around with back-to-back knockout wins over Oskar Piechota (overturned to a NC) and Abu Azaitar earlier this year. Barriault has solid durability, having never been finished in his career, and above average cardio and pace. He doesn’t necessarily excel at any one skill, his striking is powerful but relatively basic and his offensive wrestling isn’t non-existent, but that’s about the best compliment I can give it. While MAB is not an exciting fighter per-se, durability and cardio can get you to the fringe of the top 20 at 185 pounds, and that’s about where I rank Barriault.
Lungiambula made his UFC debut against Dequan Townsend which was a layup of a matchup that the former African champion made good on, but then was given a stiff test against Magomed Ankalaev where he was finished in brutal fashion. After a long layoff, Dalcha returned to the win column with a solid performance over Markus Perez earlier this year. Physically speaking, Lungiambula can only be described as “an absolute unit” with muscles growing out of his muscles. While those muscles lead to a ton of strength for Lungiambula, his physique seems to cause him to slow down in fights frequently, and his technical skills aren’t good enough to compete with other average fighters once he slows down.
I like Barriault in this matchup. He throws more output and has better durability and cardio than Dalcha. I think Dalcha’s striking is pretty underwhelming despite the power he carries, so he likely needs to land takedowns in this spot. While we’ve seen Barriault taken down before in the UFC, his getup game is extremely strong and he should make Dalcha really work for every minute of control he wants. I think round one here is somewhat competitive, but Barriault should take over soon after that and secure a late finish or one-sided decision.
Aspinall has been impressive thus far in the UFC, amassing a 3-0 record with three finishes against Jake Collier, Alan Baudot and Andrei Arlovski. He’s now getting the biggest opportunity of his career to date in a co-main event spot right before his fellow Englisman Darren Till makes the walk on Saturday afternoon, which will be primetime across the pond. Aspianll on the surface appears to be a decently well-rounded fighter for heavyweight, with quick hands and lengthy combinations for the division. He also has a black belt in BJJ and landed a takedown against Arlovski. However, I have seen Aspinall struggle to defend takedowns and get up off his back before on the regional scene, and I wouldn’t be surprised if those issues resurface at some point in the not-to-distant future...perhaps even on Saturday.
Spivak is taking this fight on short notice, and for a guy who got knocked out in the first minute of his UFC career back in 2019, the Moldovan heavyweight has looked solid of late, picking up wins in his last three outings. Spivak’s striking is slightly below average for the heavyweight division in my opinion. His metrics are decent, but he doesn’t appear to carry too much power in a division that is oftentimes reliant on finishing your opponents to sustain dominance. However, Spivak has shown that he is a more than willing grappler, having landed 3-plus takedowns in exactly half of his UFC fights. On top, Spivak has really solid control and has finished Jared Vanderaa via TKO (whooping) and Tai Tuivasa via submission (Arm Triangle).
While I don’t doubt that Aspinall is some bum or a guy who I’ve been hating on for a long time (I cashed a max bet on him vs. Alan Baudot), I do think that there are still some questions he needs to answer. He has not yet defended a takedown at the UFC level, and he remains 1-2 in his career in fights that leave the first round, meanwhile he is a perfect 9-0 in fights that end within five minutes. Spivak is likely to make this fight dirty with lots of clinch work and takedown attempts, which should also potentially zap the gas tank of Aspinall, who seemed like he was slowing down in the Arlovski fight prior to finding a finish. I still make Aspinall a favorite in this spot, but Spivak has the tools to pull off an upset and the durability to take this fight over 7.5 minutes.
Bets: Aspinall/Spivak Over 1.5 Rounds +115 1x until +105. (Placed Tuesday) Sergey Spivak +225 1x until +195. (Placed Tuesday at Fanduel Sportsbook)
A student at the University of Colorado and +EV bettor, Jonah will be contributing both MMA betting and DFS content at FTN. He’s studying journalism and sports media at CU, and this is his first job in the betting industry. Jonah is the MMA Dog of The Night Challenge champion amassing a 90% ROI in the contest and has been a profitable MMA bettor with tracked results. He is known for betting early lines and getting out ahead of the betting market, and looks forward to helping subscribers do the same!