UFC on ESPN 3 Betting Tips, Picks and Predictions

Last week I spent a lot of time hunting for bets for UFC on ESPN+ 7 and I didn’t find a single bet that I liked. This week is very different. After just 30 minutes of researching this card, I managed to find a bet that I LOVE.

This week is going to be a very busy week for us. On Saturday we have 3 major MMA events with KSW, Bellator and the UFC all holding events. Don’t forget that we will also be able to Live Bet KSW. The good news is that the UFC is scheduled to start later this week, so there shouldn’t be any overlap in Live Betting on KSW like we had for the last event.

I do also have to remind you that the liquidity on KSW Live Betting is currently very low. This means that if a large number of us are online trying to all place the same bets at the same time the odds will become suspended and crash faster and harder than usual. Hopefully in time liquidity will improve.

Fight Betting Tip Pick
Jack Hermansson vs Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza No bet Jacare to win
Dmitry Smoliakov vs Greg Hardy 1 unit on Dmitry Smoliakov to win at odds of 3.85 | +285 | 57/20 Smoliakov to win
Alex Oliveira vs Mike Perry No bet Perry to win
Glover Teixeira vs Ion Cutelaba 2 units on Glover Teixeira to win at odds of 2.45 | +145 | 29/20 Teixeira to win
Cory Sandhagen vs John Lineker No bet Sandhagen to win
Roosevelt Roberts vs Thomas Gifford I’m looking for someone to parlay with Roberts. He should win easily. Roberts to win
Ben Saunders vs Takashi Sato No bet Sato to win
Andrei Arlovski vs Augusto Sakai I will bet Sakai if his odds improve Sakai to win
Carla Esparza vs Vima Jandiroba No bet Esparza to win
Gilbert Burns vs Mike Davis No bet Burns to win
Jim Miller vs Jason Gonzalez I will bet Gonzalez if his odds improve Gonzalez to win
Angela Hill vs Jodie Esquibel No bet Esquibel to win
Court McGee vs Dhiego Lima No bet Lima to win

Glover Teixeira vs Ion Cutelaba Betting Tip and Prediction

We’ve seen a lot of inaccurate odds this year, so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to see the oddsmakers make more mistakes setting the odds on this weekend’s fights at UFC on ESPN 3. But I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that Glover Teixeira was an underdog to Ion Cutelaba.

Sure, I get that Glover is on a steep decline, I get that he’s slow and I get that his striking defense is really bad. At this stage in his career, Glover is never going to be a safe bet. But this is a classic example of the betting sites and the casual betting public exaggerating Glover’s weaknesses while completely overlooking Cutelaba’s flaws.

Glover’s best days are definitely behind him, but he still has a decent single leg, a powerful double leg and an extremely high-level ground game. He also has the cardio and toughness to spam takedowns for as long as he needs to in order to drag his opponent to the ground.

At just 25 years old, Cutelaba is one of these up, and coming fighters who has some hype behind him because of a few highlight reel wins, but the skills that I have seen him display inside the Octagon do not justify the hype. Cutelaba is tough, aggressive and he hits hard, but he also has some of the worst takedown defense in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division, and he has a White Belt level ground game. This is surprising for someone who was part of the Moldovan Greco Wrestling team. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Greco Roman Wrestler with takedown defense as bad as Cutelaba’s.

If this fight stays standing Cutelaba will be the more dangerous fighter because of his youth and athleticism. He’s a strong, powerful, aggressive fighter with legit 1 punch KO power in every strike. This poses a significant risk to Glover who, at this stage in his career is now very slow and very easy to hit. Having said that, Glover still has the toughness and heart to fight through almost anything his opponent can throw at him. He’s the kind of guy that you have to practically kill in order to finish. It’s also worth noting that Glover has legendary cardio and we’ve seen Cutelaba slow down in the past…

If this fight goes to the ground, it will not be a contest. There are levels to the ground game, and Glover’s ground game is at such a high level compared to Cutelaba’s that I am struggling to put into words how doomed Cutelaba will be if this fight goes to the ground.

Throughout Cutelaba’s time in the UFC, we have seen him give up countless easy takedowns and look very vulnerable on the ground. Glover absolutely has the offensive wrestling to take him down and dominate him on the ground. This is an easy stylistic matchup for Glover, just so long as he can avoid eating one of Cutelaba’s bombs. At 39 years old Glover is never going to be a totally safe bet, but at underdog odds, I do believe he’s one of the best bets of the year so far.

Reasons for betting on Glover Teixeira

  • Ion Cutelaba has some of the worst takedown defense in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division.
  • Ion Cutelaba has a White Belt level ground game.
  • Glover Teixeira has excellent offensive wrestling. He has a very nice single and double leg takedown and he does a great job of chaining his takedown attempts together.
  • Glover is relentless with his takedown attempts. He has the cardio and toughness to spam takedowns for 15 minutes no problem.
  • Glover has an extremely high level ground game. He is at a much higher level than Cutelaba on the ground.
  • Glover has a very heavy top game. He is able to inflict an enormous amount of damage from top position.
  • Glover has legendary cardio. He can fight at a high pace for 3 rounds.
  • Glover is extremely tough. He has amazing heart. He’s the kind of guy that you have to practically kill in order to beat.
  • Ion Cutelaba tends to slow down as the fight progresses. He becomes significantly less dangerous from the midway point of the second round onwards.
  • Ion Cutelaba is wild and reckless. This opens him up to easy takedowns.
  • Glover is tough enough to get inside and work for takedowns. His chin isn’t totally shot yet.
  • At just 25 years old, Ion Cutelaba is very inexperienced. He makes a lot of mistakes, particularly on the ground.

Risk Factors with betting on Glover Texiera

  • At 39 years old Glover Teixeira is on a very steep decline.
  • At this stage in his career, Glover is very slow and very easy to hit.
  • Ion Cutelaba is young, hungry, athletic and powerful.
  • Ion Cutelaba has legit 1 shot KO power in every strike.
  • Ion Cutelaba is only 25 years old, so he should be making big improvements from fight to fight.

My Betting Tip

Glover Teixeira to win

Recommended Stake

2 Units

[2% of your bankroll]

Odds

Decimal = 2.45
Moneyline = +145
Fractional = 29/20

41%

Implied Probability

The bookies believe that Glover Teixeira has a 41% chance of beating Ion Cutelaba based on their current odds.

65%

Our Probability

I believe that Glover Teixeira has a 65% chance of beating Ion Cutelaba based on my extensive research and analysis.

Dmitry Smoliakov vs Greg Hardy Betting Tip and Prediction

I like to keep things tight and only ever put our money in very strong positions, but every once in a while a unique opportunity pops up to take a small gamble on a highly speculative bet where I feel the risk is worth the reward.

For various reasons that I will cover in this breakdown, I believe Dmitry Smoliakov to beat Greg Hardy at his current odds is a good bet. But this bet is also based on assumptions and speculation. This is one of those bets where I am either going to look like a genius or an idiot. There won’t be much middle ground.

If you dislike losing, I recommend that you do not tail this bet because there’s a good chance it will lose. If however you have been with me for a long time and you’re now playing with house money, this is a very speculative but equally calculated bet that I recommend you tail.

This is a risky bet because I cannot tell you that Smoliakov is a good bet based on his past fights. If you go back and watch his previous fights in the UFC, you’ll see a guy with sloppy striking, bad cardio, bad fight IQ and a low-level ground game. Greg Hardy isn’t anything special either but based on what I’ve seen from both guys Hardy certainly has the skills to beat a guy like Smoliakov.

This fight was not a fight I was planning to bet on. I actually finished researching it on Monday and didn’t even come close to betting on either guy. But as a fight week progresses, new information becomes available to us in the form of promotional material, fight week interviews and weigh in footage that can occasionally change how I feel about a fight. Before I get into the reasons why I think Smoliakov is now a good bet at underdog odds, I’d really like you to watch this interview he did with MMA Junkie. It was published on the Thursday before fight day. 3 days after I finished my research for this matchup:

As you can see Smoliakov accepts that his past performances in the UFC were bad. He also looks calm, relaxed, confident and seems to have an aura about him. He seems to think that he can beat Hardy quite easily. He alludes to the fact that they’ve trained together at ATT and he did well in those sessions. He also suggests that Hardy struggled to deal with his wrestling.

We hear these kinds of things from fighters all the time in interviews, so it’s important not to take them too seriously because fighters generally have big egos and will believe things to be true when they’re not. They will tell themselves things to motivate themselves for a fight and boost their confidence. For these reasons I don’t usually take the things, fighters say in interviews too seriously, but the calmness and calculated nature of how Smoliakov spoke did pique my interest… So I decided to dig into this guy a little bit deeper…

In that interview, Smoliakov said that he had been training at ATT and also had spent time training in Poland and Russia. He also said he had surrounded himself with new training partners, coaches and got himself a new manager. I wondered who these new people were and also why he felt so confident that they were going to help him beat Hardy.

A quick look at Smoliakov’s Instagram profile revealed some pretty interesting findings. Smoliakov hasn’t fought in 2 years which would give him a lot of time to train and develop as a fighter, and it certainly looks like he has been busy…

The first thing that surprised me was that there are a lot of pictures and videos of Smoliakov living good. He’s wearing expensive designer clothes like Gucci, Moncler, and Stone Island and he’s also seen regularly driving fancy cars:

Anybody can rent performance cars and buy the odd piece of expensive designer clothing, but living an extravagant lifestyle is so prevalent through Smoliakov’s Instagram profile that it appears someone is financing his career. He certainly would not have earned enough from fighting to be able to afford this kind of lifestyle. After all he’s 0-2 in the UFC and has only fought 1 time in a small regional promotion in Russia in the last 2 years. Where is he getting his money from? Who is supporting him?

Then I found out that Ali Abdel-Aziz was now managing Smoliakov. An MMA manager with a wide network of rich, influential businessman and a guy associated with many powerful figures in the MMA world. Here you can see Smoliakov having pictures taken with the CEO of KSW:

Why would a top MMA manager like Ali Abdel-Aziz manage a low-level guy like Smoliakov? Ali only makes money if Smoliakov makes money, so surely he must have seen something in him in the last 2 years to want to support him? Ali only manages the best athletes in MMA. Take a look at his website and see for yourself. A large percentage of the fighters he manages are top of the food chain talent:

List of fighters who Ali Abdel-Aziz manages

So then we have to question what Smoliakov has been doing for the past 2 years. In that interview, he said that he had been training hard and now he is a completely new fighter. He said that he had spent a lot of time training at ATT and also spent time training in Poland and in Russia. After checking his Instagram profile it certainly looks like he’s been a busy boy. Here you can see him in several pictures with guys that train at ATT:

Here are some pictures of his time training in Russia with some monsters such as Alexander Shlemenko and Andrey Koreshkov:

In that interview, Smoliakov also said that he had spent some time training in Poland and if you scan through his Instagram profile, you’ll see many, many pictures with Polish MMA legend Mamed Khalidov. Khalidov is a high-level grappler and one of the best fighters to never compete in the UFC. It turns out that Smoliakov is his longtime wrestling coach!!!

In this picture you can see Smoliakov in Khalidov’s corner for one of his recent KSW fights:

View this post on Instagram

Ты пример для нас и все твои верные друзья и те , кто верит в тебя и просто переживает, и болеет! Если бы люди знали , что ты ещё мужественнее ,человечнее за картинкой телевизора в обыденной жизни, то обязательно прониклись уважением ещё больше! Показав очередной пример , как надо принимать данное и выходить из любой ситуации с честью и достоинством, уступив в поединке , но не уступив в морали и духе ,так могут только поистине настоящие мужчины! Благодарю Б-га, что вижу настоящих мужчин в твоём лице и в окружении твоих друзей ,которые с тобой до конца при любом раскладе , а с таковыми ты никогда не будешь проигравшим , потому -что ты уже победил в этой жизни! Ты настоящий МУЖЧИНА! @mamed_khalidov

A post shared by Dima Smoliakov (@all_is_good_dima) on

These pictures confirm that Smoliakov has, indeed been very busy over the last 2 years training at some of the best gyms in the world, with some of the best fighters in the world and this appears to be having an effect on his health. If you go back and watch Smoliakov’s last two fights in the UFC against Cyril Asker and also Luis Henrique, you’ll see him looking soft, chubby and out of shape. But in pictures on his Instagram profile you can now see him in great shape, showing off much more muscle definition and even a 6 pack:

All of the stuff I have shown you so far appears to be very interesting, but it still wasn’t enough for me to pull the trigger on Smoliakov. But then, I found the missing link. The final piece of the puzzle which made me think Smoliakov could be a very good bet. Check out the pic below… We can see Smoliakov, also Khalidov in the middle and who’s the guy on the left? That’s SAPARBEK SAFAROV. Remember the guy we bet last month at decent underdog odds who looked TERRIBLE in his first few fights in the UFC and then made massive improvements in a short space of time and put on a grappling clinic in his last fight against Nick Negumereanu:

It turns out that Smoliakov and Safarov are longtime training partners and that Smoliakov is also Safarov’s wrestling coach!!! Here he is cornering Safarov in his fight last month!

Smoliakov has never really shown off any wrestling skills in the Octagon before. But if he’s Khalidov and Safarov’s wrestling coach and both those guys are strong wrestlers, surely Smoliakov has some legit wrestling skills when he actually shows up in shape and motivated to fight?

In that fight week interview that I posted above, Smoliakov said that he had been training in Combat Sports for 20 years and he’s very experienced. He also said that he didn’t take fighting that seriously when he first came into the UFC, and now he’s much much better now that he is taking it seriously.

Just last month we saw one of Smoliakov’s teammates in Saparbek Safarov make GIGANTIC improvements in a short space of time. I believe it’s very possible that we could see the same thing from Smoliakov.

Greg Hardy is a dangerous fight for anyone. He’s big, strong and powerful. He also hits very hard, and he’s very aggressive. But if you can survive the first few minutes, he becomes significantly less dangerous. We also saw in his last fight against Allen Crowder that he is extremely weak off his back. If Smoliakov really is a hard-nosed, tough Russian wrestler, it’s very possible he could ragdoll and dominate Hardy for 3 rounds.

It’s also very possible that I am way off here and that Smoliakov is still as bad as he was in his first stint in the UFC back in 2017. But there’s enough information to suggest that he will look completely different on Saturday night and in my opinion, the odds are good enough to take a gamble on this information.

Greg Hardy is devastating early, but he also has bad striking defense, a super low-level ground game and he slows down as the fight progresses. The current implied probability on the odds of 3.85 | +285 | 57/20 on Smoliakov to win is just 26%. This is crazy when you think about how dangerous Heavyweight fighters are. They all carry KO power, and for all, we know Hardy might be carrying an injury or get flash KO’d. Anything can happen in MMA, especially in the Heavyweight division…

Based on everything I’ve covered in this breakdown I strongly feel that there is value on Smoliakov. I could be completely wrong, and this is a total gamble, but at the current odds I feel that the risk is worth the reward.

Hardy is still very inexperienced, and he has a lot of holes that can be exploited. Smoliakov is a tough Russian with a lot of influential people backing him. He also has world-class training partners, and he’s saying all the right things during fight week. Let’s hope he can come through for us.

Please remember that this is a highly speculative bet. Do not tail it if you do not like to lose. Anything can happen in this fight, but that’s one of the reasons why I think Smoliakov is a good bet at such big underdog odds. Good luck if you decide to tail. Smoliakov will probably lose, but we’re up huge this year so it doesn’t hurt to take a gamble once in a while on big underdogs who have a legit shot of winning.

Reasons for betting on Dmitry Smoliakov

  • Dmitry Smoliakov has a background in wrestling. He is the wrestling coach for several fighters, including Polish MMA legend, Mamed Khalidov.
  • Greg Hardy is very weak off his back. He doesn’t appear to know how to work his way back to his feet.
  • Greg Hardy is at a very low level on the ground.
  • Greg Hardy is wild and reckless. He is wide open to the KO.
  • Greg Hardy throws wild, looping hooks when he is off balance. He also over commits into different directions and angles when throwing punches. This leaves him wide open to big counters and KO shots.
  • Smoliakov said he has been training hard at ATT and also with high level training partners in Poland and Russia over the last 2 years. He says he has made huge improvements.
  • Smoliakov is managed by high profile MMA manager, Ali Abdel-Aziz who only tends to manage guys who he believes have a big future.
  • When Smoliakov last fought in the UFC 2 years ago he looked soft, chubby and out of shape. He looks in much better shape going into this fight.
  • Smoliakov is Saparbek Safarov’s wrestling coach. Last month we saw Safarov make huge improvements to his cardio, grappling and fight IQ in just a short space of time.

Risk Factors with betting on Dmitry Smoliakov

  • Smoliakov looked terrible when he last fought in the UFC back in 2017.
  • Smoliakov wasn’t particularly dangerous with his striking back in 2017.
  • Smoliakov had a very low level ground game back in 2017.
  • Smoliakov had bad cardio back in 2017.
  • Greg Hardy is VERY dangerous early in a fight. He is extremely aggressive.

My Betting Tip

Dmitry Smoliakov to win

Recommended Stake

1 Unit

[1% of your bankroll]

Odds

Decimal = 3.85
Moneyline = +285
Fractional = 57/20

26%

Implied Probability

The bookies believe that Dmitry Smoliakov has a 26% chance of beating Greg Hardy based on their current odds.

40%

Our Probability

I believe that Dmitry Smoliakov has a 40% chance of beating Greg Hardy based on my extensive research and analysis.

Allsopp
I'm a Professional Gambler from the UK. I specialize in betting on MMA. I've got 1 kid, a Shih Tzu and I've been making money from gambling for around 8 years now.

2 Comments

  1. Cutelabas takedown defense was better than expected. Fortunately Glover is a legend and held his own on the feet. I stayed away from the Hardy fight. I also hit on Sandhagen and Sakai. Sakai was a gift though, dude is a bum. Will be staying far away from him in the future. Interested to see your picks this week. Looking real hard at Brad Katona he opened as a favorite and is now already an underdog so people are seeing something I’m not. Which is why I joined your site! Thanks for your work!

    1. Hey man,

      Thanks a lot for joining us and that’s a lot for your kind words, I really appreciate it!

      I haven’t researched the Katona fight yet so can’t speak about it yet because Dvalishvili is very tough.

      Hopefully I’ll find some decent bets for us soon.

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