Welcome to my betting breakdown for UFC Vegas 43: Vieira vs Tate.
The UFC remains in the fight capital of the world this weekend as they host a midday fight night event at their apex facility. In the main event, we have a matchup between two contenders at women’s bantamweight as former champion Meisha Tate looks to continue her run towards the title following a brief retirement. She’s a small betting underdog to Ketlen Vieira. Despite there being 12 fights on this card, I have struggled to find many edges to bet on. You can find all my plays for free in the FTN Bets Tracker. I’ll be writing this column 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 might have. We'd love to continue building the community through Discord.
If you’re interested in DFS and betting takes for every fight on this card, you can check out The Undisputed MMA Show with Jon Kelly and myself.
Luana Pinheiro vs. Sam Highes Betting Odds
Odds: Pinheiro -450 vs. Hughes +340, DraftKings Sportsbook
Pinheiro is 9-1 in her MMA career and was granted a UFC contract after a first-round finish on Contender Series just over a year ago. She won her UFC debut via DQ against Randa Markos. She was very impressive in the early going against Markos, but then was seemingly slowing down prior to being hit with an illegal upkick that ended the fight. Stylistically, Pinheiro is hyper-aggressive and has some great judo throws with solid offensive grappling. I do have some worries about her cardio over the long term, as she has only been out of the first round twice in her career and her conditioning seemed suspect in her UFC debut.
Hughes is 0-2 in the UFC and is potentially fighting for her job this weekend. She lost via corner stoppage to Tecia Torres in her UFC debut. The rookie simply looked outclassed against Torres. Hughes then lost a unanimous decision to Loma Lookboonmee in May. Physically, Hughes is lacking the athletic skills which most fighters have at 115 pounds. Her technical abilities aren’t awful, but she has poor footwork and is slow in her movements.
This appears to be one of the biggest athleticism mismatches in recent memory. Pinheiro may be a flawed fighter - particularly against competition that forces her to fight extended bouts at a high pace - but she is very explosive in the early rounds and figures to have a striking and grappling advantage. Of Pinheiro’s nine career wins, seven have come inside the first round. I’m not sure that Hughes is a UFC-quality fighter yet. I’ll take Pinheiro to finish this fight.
- Luana Pinheiro Wins Inside The Distance +140 1x until +120 (Placed Friday on Caesar’s)
Rafa Garcia vs. Natan Levy Betting Odds
Odds: Garcia -115 vs. Levy -105, DraftKings Sportsbook
Garcia was given a tough test in his UFC debut in the form of Nasrat Haqparast. He put up a good fight early on but ultimately lost a fairly one-sided decision. In Garcia’s last matchup, he was lined as a big favorite over UFC veteran Chris Gruetzemacher and again had a solid start to the fight but lost the last two rounds. Stylistically, Garcia has had a lot of success grappling on the Combate Americas scene but I’m not overly impressed with those skills at the UFC level.
Levy is making his UFC debut this weekend following a win on Contender Series just over a year ago. Stylistically, he is a karate fighter on the feet with a wide array of kicking attacks and some flashy strikes in his arsenal. However, his striking defense is poor and his head movement is nearly non-existent, which has led to him getting hurt in fights despite a 6-0 pro record. However, his best skill is likely his grappling. I’d seen Levy land many different types of takedowns in LFA prior to the Contender Series. His jiu-jitsu is impressive while in top control positions as well as off his back.
It’s clear that the betting market had trouble reading Garcia at the start of his UFC career. His debut was not very competitive but he was then lined as a massive favorite over Gruetzemacher, where he fell short. Some may argue that him being in a pick-em fight against an unproven UFC debutant is an overreaction, but I actually think this is a really solid matchup for Levy. While I have concerns about Levy’s defense, Garcia is not an especially hard hitter and is reliant on winning via grappling in many of his fights. When these two do grapple, Levy is the much craftier grappler and better technical wrestler, so I have to favor him to win the fight. I also think he’s capable of winning by submission, but playing an under will allow us to salvage some profit if Garcia exposes his poor striking defense.
- Natan Levy +106 1x until -105 (Placed Friday on Fanduel)
- Rafa Garcia/Natan Levy Fight Does NOT Go The Distance +130 1x until +120 (Placed Friday)
Adrian Yanez vs. Davey Grant Betting Odds
Odds: Yanez -305 vs. Grant +240, DraftKings Sportsbook
This is a relatively straightforward read that I’m only allotting a half-unit towards. so we can keep things short. Yanez is a counter-striker who has put together three consecutive knockouts to begin his UFC career. Despite that, he is not a fast starter and often takes at least a round to get reads on his opponents. Grant is in the opposite camp, as he’s historically been a fast starter that has slowed down late in fights. Additionally, I have worries about Grant’s durability as he’s been knocked down in three of his last five fights. I expect Yanez to make his reads early in this fight and then take over down the stretch, finding a finish.
- Adrian Yanez Wins by Knockout in Round 2 +500 0.25x until +400 (Placed Friday on Fanduel)
- Adrian Yanez Wins by Knockout in Round 3 +1100 0.25x until +900 (Placed Friday on Fanduel)