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July 12th, 2021
Islam Makhachev (19-1) is rapidly ascending the lightweight ladder, but can Thiago Moises (15-4) stop him dead in its tracks when they meet at UFC Fight Night?
We have the betting odds and pick you need ahead of their eagerly anticipated clash on Saturday, July 17.
Makhachev is surging despite a slew of questionable opponents, but the ninth-ranked lightweight can only deal with what’s in front of him. In his last appearance, Makhachev submitted Drew Dober with an arm triangle at UFC 259, thereby extending his winning streak to seven.
The Sambo specialist has eight submission wins. His home is the mat, and he is an absolute terror to handle once he scores a takedown. Makhachev is also a tremendous defender, absorbing less than one significant strike per minute, and he stuffs 93% of his opponents' takedowns.
Moises shares a lot of similarities with Makhachev in terms of technique and strategy. We last saw Moises outwork Alexander Hernandez last February in a fight where Moises had to rely on striking more than his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The light-hitting Moises has won four of his last five, and has won six fights by submission.
Moises is effective because he can be busy in his stand up compared to his robotic opponent. He opts to work his way in behind a steady attack to aim for a takedown. Unlike Makhachev, Moises’ defense is below par for striking and takedowns, though he has never been stopped or submitted in his career.
How the UFC keeps finding these kinds of fighters for Makhachev is a story for another day. Makhachev is the more refined fighter and won’t be troubled by an opponent whose best path to victory means outsmarting a superior fighter at his own game.
The best possible outcome for Makhachev is to somehow finish the durable Moises within the distance. All things considered, he’ll likely settle for a decision win. While we can’t discount Moises out entirely, he lacks the power to test Makachev’s chin, and is out of his depth should he try to beat him on the mat.
Expect Makhachev to win a dominant decision on the cards in what should be a dull fight to watch.
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