Let’s take a look at the opening odds, early betting pick, and breakdown of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 42 main event. UFC Vegas 42 takes place Saturday at the UFC’s Apex Facility in Las Vegas. The event is of course coming off the heels of both UFC 267 and UFC 268, which went down in Abu Dhabi and New York City the last two weekends and saw four tremendous title fights.

This weekend certainly figures to be a step back in terms of notability of the fight card following two absolutely stacked numbered events. However, the UFC has one of its biggest stars in Max Holloway headlining the fight night event. Holloway will look to build on his record-breaking performance over Calvin Kattar this past January as he takes on Mexican striker Yair Rodriguez in what figures to be a No. 1 contender matchup that will set the winner up with a matchup against Alexander Volkanovski.

Here are the latest odds for Holloway vs. Rodriguez, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.


Holloway enters this bout as a massive favorite priced at -720, meaning you have to lay $720 to win $100 with a bet on “Blessed.” Rodriguez is entrenched as the sizable underdog in this matchup with a betting line of +500, meaning a $100 bet would profit $500 should “El Pantera” be able to pull off a significant upset at the Apex.

 

 

Holloway vs. Rodriguez fight breakdown

This matchup figures to be billed as a No. 1 contender matchup in the featherweight division. Holloway has dropped three of his last five fights, but two of those were to the current champion Alexander Volkanovski. Rodriguez is coming off a massive layoff, as his last fight took place in October of 2019, but he is ranked No. 3 in the division, and a win this weekend would vault him into title contention immediately. 

Holloway is considered by many to be one of the best featherweights of all time, as he carries an 18-6 UFC record coming into the matchup including a ludicrous 13-fight win streak and five successful defenses of his title. Holloway went through a rough stretch where he lost decisions to Dustin Poirier in an attempt to become a double champion at lightweight and then two losses to Volkanovski, the second one being very competitive. However, Blessed bounced back in incredible fashion earlier this year as he landed a UFC-record 445 significant strikes against Calvin Kattar in what will likely go down as one of the best performances in history. Stylistically, Holloway is one of the best strikers in UFC history, with ridiculous offensive output. The Hawaiian lands upward of seven strikes per minute and carries a great gas tank that allows him to systematically break opponents as fights go on. If there’s one clear blemish on Holloway’s skillset, it’s that he’s such an offense-first fighter that he is very hittable at times solely due to his tendencies to sacrifice defense for offense. However, Holloway is extremely durable and has never been knocked down throughout his entire UFC career. 

Rodriguez has had an interesting career in the UFC so far. He began in the promotion as just a 22-year-old and went 6-0 leading to a matchup against Frankie Edgar where Rodriguez simply got dominated in the wrestling portion of MMA. However, that is his sole loss in the UFC at this point as he followed his loss with a crazy comeback knockout against Chan Sung Jung and then a decision victory over Jeremy Stephens in 2019. Stylistically, Rodriguez is primarily a striker whose striking arsenal is widely made up of an array of kicks. He has solid leg kicks, is able to strike to all three levels with his legs, and also has had success with wild elbow strikes in the past. One clear weakness in Rodriguez’s game has been his takedown defense, which sits at just 63% and he’s been taken down 12 times through nine UFC bouts (not including his 15 second no contest against Jeremy Stephens prior to their rematch).

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MMA betting picks — UFC Vegas 42

I wish I had some groundbreaking analysis to offer on this main event, but no matter how I look at this fight, Yair Rodriguez is facing an uphill battle. We have to give Rodriguez credit: He is a seasoned striker who has had the advantage on the feet in all of his UFC fights to date. However, he is very much a one-dimensional fighter who needs fights to stay standing, and it just seems unlikely that he can compete with the pace and output of Holloway. If there’s one potential pathway for Rodriguez to have success it would be landing a big shot that ended the fight, but he is not the type of striker that is normally able to put opponents away with one punch or one combination. Holloway historically has been incredibly durable and his punching combinations figure to be much cleaner and faster than Rodriguez. Additionally, Rodriguez has only landed 0.90 takedowns per 15 minutes, and Holloway is one of the best anti-wrestlers in UFC history. It just feels as though Rodriguez is quite outgunned in this matchup. Normally, I don’t lay prices upwards of -250 in striking matches solely due to the variance of throwing punches in 4 oz. gloves, but Holloway being a massive favorite seems extremely justified this weekend. Many people will look to the prop market in this matchup and try to play Holloway by either decision or knockout, but those plays aren’t of interest to me this weekend. Rodriguez has been knocked out twice and never made the judge’s scorecard in a loss, but Holloway doesn’t have a finish since 2018 and we’ve seen him put on incredibly dominant performances that don’t result in a finish. Playing a prop in this fight feels more like guessing than a considerable edge, so I’ll just pass and enjoy the striker’s delight. 

Pick: Max Holloway by knockout