The UFC will be heading to London for the second London card of the year. The first one did not disappoint as a very fun card from top to bottom, and this one is shaping up to be the same. The main event is a very important heavyweight fight between top-five gatekeeper Curtis Blaydes taking on England’s surging Tom Aspinall. An impressive Aspinall win would vault him into the top five, and he could possibly he in line for a title fight. A problem with betting the moneylines on this card is that 10 of the 14 fights have a favorite of -200 or wider, and of the four that are under -200, three of them are favored to end inside the distance. In terms of prop betting, there are a lot of matchups where both fighters are finishers, so looking at time or methods of victory provides multiple ways to bet UFC London. Let’s waste no more time and get into the top UFC London picks, predictions and best bets for Saturday, July 23.
UFC London Picks, Predictions & Best Bets
Paul Craig vs. Volkan Oezdemir Prediction
In an awkward light heavyweight bout, triangle submission specialist Paul Craig will take on veteran Volkan Oezdemir. Craig is a fun fighter to watch because the way he wins is certainly not sustainable, yet he keeps finding a way. Outside of a draw against Shogun Rua, Craig has won his last five fights, all inside the distance. His striking has certainly improved over the past few years, but Craig is still a liability of the feet. He will look to get the fight to the ground anyway he can, even if it means his opponent takes him down. Craig is very comfortable from his back because he has one of the best triangle submissions in the UFC. He has four triangle submissions — a light heavyweight record — and all four of them happened when he was in bottom guard. So while it may be easy to take Craig down, he has one of the most dangerous guards in the game.
Oezdemir will want to keep the fight on the feet, and he will look to take Craig’s head off. Oezdemir has a lot of power in his hands, and if he touches Craig’s chin, there is a good chance Craig will go down. The problem with Oezdemir is, if the fight goes into the later rounds, he tends to slow down a lot and could be susceptible to getting taken down. Oezdemir defends takedowns at an 80% clip, which is really good, and Craig isn’t necessarily the best wrestler, but Craig is one of those guys who just needs one to end the fight. This is fairly a binary fight; if Oezdemir wins, it more than likely will come from a knockout early. If Craig wins, it will probably come from a submission late. Considering the dynamic between two finishers, a bet for the fight to not start Round 3 is very good value at -154.
UFC London Best Bets: Craig/Oezdemir Won’t Start Round 3 -154 (FanDuel)
Jonathan Pearce vs. Makwan Amirkhani Prediction
In a battle of featherweight wrestlers, Jonathan “JSP” Pearce will take on Makwan “Mr. Finland” Amirkhani. Pearce is on a three-fight win streak, two of which were finished inside the distance. His last fight against Christian Rodriguez was a pretty telling fight, though. Rodriguez has some good success on the feet, so Pearce was selling out in the wrestling department, but he gassed pretty badly and Rodriguez put Pearce in some pretty tough positions. Pearce ultimately survived and won the decision. If Pearce gets put into a poor position on the mat against Amirkhani, chances are he won’t get out of it.
Amirkhani is a very advantageous submission grappler and has an excellent set of front chokes. He lands 4.08 takedowns per 15 minutes, which is a good rate, but he only defends takedowns at a 50% clip. Pearce lands 6.79 takedowns per 15 minutes, which is an excellent rate, but he also only defends takedowns at 60%. Chances are both fighters are going to land takedown early and will both be put into some funky positions. Pearce also is huge for featherweight, so he will seemingly have the power and strength advantage and should have the advantage on the feet. Amirkhani is most dangerous in the first round, but if the fight hits the second, it would not be surprising to see Pearce hurt him on the feet. Most of Amirkhani’s submission wins have come in the first, with a few coming early in the second. If Amirkhani does not finish the fight in the first 7.5 minutes, there is a good chance Pearce can hurt him and either finish him on the feet or on the mat.
UFC London Best Bets: Pearce/Amirkhani Won’t Start Round 3 -110 (FanDuel)