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UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval Odds & Picks: Bets for Rodriguez, Moreno & More

While Fight Nights aren’t the UFC’s marquee events, it’s disappointing to see a main card filled with a slew of lopsided matchups. It will be interesting to see Paul Rosas Jr. back in action because he is such a hyped prospect, but as a -250 favorite, there isn’t much of an edge or intrigue in this one. Fans are mainly left to wait for the main events, which should bring two good fights between top contenders in their respective divisions, but outside of them, there isn’t much action I would place on the rest of the card. Nonetheless, let’s dive into the odds and picks for UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval. If you’re hungry for more action, check out the rest of our UFC articles and or our betting model’s top picks!

UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval Odds & Picks: Bets for Rodriguez, Moreno & More

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Prelim Spotlight: UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval | Jesus Aguilar-Mateus Mendonca Pick

AguilarMendonca Odds

Odds via DraftKings
Weight Class: Flyweight
Aguilar: +110 | Mendonca: -140
Aguilar +3.5: -140 | Mendonca -3.5: +105
Over 2.5: +120 | Under 2.5: -150

AguilarMendonca Preview & Pick

In the penultimate prelim fight, Jesus Aguilar (9-2) takes on Mateus Mendonca (10-2), with each looking for a statement win to stick around on the UFC roster. While there isn’t much information to go off, Aguilar’s power combined with Mendonca’s lackluster performances have me leaning towards Aguilar as an underdog.

It hasn’t been a good start for Mendonca in the UFC. At all. Nonetheless, the books give him the edge over Aguilar for reasons I can’t quite understand. First, the good: Mendonca won his fight in the Contender Series with a quick knockout over Ashiek Ajim. However, watching the fight back shows real deficiencies in Mendonca’s striking. Even the shot that produced the knockout mostly missed its target before landing just behind Ajim’s ear, a shot that throws off its victim’s equilibrium, making it an effective one, even though it was not entirely planned.

Mendonca’s lack of technical striking came back to haunt him in his next two fights when he made the jump from the Contender Series to the UFC. In his first bout, he got a strong prospect in Javid Basharat, who thoroughly outclassed him. Mendonca was only able to muster a measly 29 significant strikes compared to Basharat’s 93. However, the striking difference is even more apparent when looking at each fighter’s efficiency. Mendonca only landed 32% of his significant strikes while Basharat landed a mind-boggling 73%. Mendonca was also taken down three of five times in the fight and controlled for over five minutes while only successfully landing two of his eleven takedown attempts.

Mendonca’s second UFC effort against Nate Maness wasn’t much better. He was once again dominated in striking, landing only three significant strikes compared to Maness’ 29. Once again Maness landed at a stunningly high rate, connecting on 82% of his significant strikes. Mendonca was eventually knocked out on the ground in the first round.

Aguilar similarly started well with a win on the Contender Series thanks to a perfectly set-up guillotine. While he stumbled making the jump to the UFC, succumbing to an armbar in the first round, it came against undefeated Tatsuro Taira, who finished two of his other five opponents. It didn’t take Aguilar long to bounce back from this loss, however, as he brutally knocked out Shannon Ross with just one punch. Ross hasn’t performed well in the UFC, losing all his fights by knockout, but the win was just what Aguilar needed to get himself back on track. Further, the punch had legitimate power behind it and could easily take down Mendonca, who has been susceptible on the feet against each of his prior opponents.

Ultimately, it doesn’t make much sense to me for the books to have Aguilar as the underdog. Until the books adjust and make him the favorite, I would ride with Aguilar for this one.

Best UFC Aguilar-Mendonca Bet & Pick: Aguilar ML +110 at DraftKings

UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval | Yair Rodriguez-Brian Ortega Pick

RodriguezOrtega Odds

Odds via DraftKings
Weight Class: Featherweight
Rodriguez: -150 | Ortega: +115
Rodriguez -5.5: -105 | Ortega +5.5: -125
Over 2.5: -166 | Under 2.5: +130

RodriguezOrtega Preview & Pick

The first fight between Yair Rodriguez (16-4) and Brian Ortega (15-3) ended in unfortunate fashion after Ortega was injured. Hopefully, this Saturday will have a more definitive result between two of the top contenders in the Featherweight division. Rodriguez is the slight favorite, but I would still ride with him in a fight that should showcase his superior striking.

We’ve seen Ortega struggle when he gets to the highest reaches of the division. While he almost submitted former champion Alexander Volkanovski in their title fight, he was thoroughly outclassed on the feet. He absorbed 214 significant strikes while landing only 88 of his own. In his title fight against Max Holloway, he was battered so heavily that Holloway took his hands to show him how to defend himself in the middle of the fight.

These two fights no doubt contribute heavily to Ortega’s poor strike defense numbers, absorbing a whopping 6.66 significant strikes per minute at a 49% defense rate. Another reason is Ortega’s heavy-pressure style. In his last fight against Rodriguez, Ortega plodded forward through the entire first round, getting tagged with heavy shots.

He can’t afford to come into this fight with the same strategy because Rodriguez is too dangerous. In his 10 UFC victories, Rodriguez scored knockouts in four, although one of them came from the Ortega injury. Rodriguez lands at a solid rate, tagging opponents with 4.63 significant strikes per minute, at a respectable 46% rate. This compares favorably with Ortega’s 4.19 significant strikes per minute and 38% hit rate.

Ortega’s biggest advantage will come on the ground, as he is a dangerous submission grappler with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He can certainly take advantage of Rodriguez’s poor takedown defense, successfully defending only 59% of the time. However, to do so, Ortega will have to increase his takedown rate, as he only lands 0.95 takedowns per fifteen minutes of fight time. Part of his low takedown numbers comes from his inefficiency, as he only successfully earns a takedown 23% of the time. To pose a threat to Rodriguez on the ground, he will need to find a way to get him there.

One element that is likely to play a factor in the fight is the year-and-a-half hiatus Ortega took between his last fight and this one. While it isn’t the longest layoff we’ve seen, ring rust and fatigue are real risks, particularly in a five-round co-main event against a high-paced and dangerous striker. Ultimately, the books haven’t given enough of an edge to Rodriguez at -150. If he can avoid the submission, he should be able to take this one either by knockout or by decision.

Best UFC Rodriguez-Ortega Bet & Pick: Rodriguez ML -150 at DraftKings

UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval | Brandon Moreno-Brandon Royval Pick

Moreno-Royval Odds

Odds via DraftKings
Weight Class: Flyweight
Moreno: -325 | Royval: +225
Moreno -5.5: -145 | Royval +5.5: +110
Over 3.5: -145 | Under 3.5: +114

Moreno-Royval Preview & Pick

The main event features another rematch in which the first fight ended due to injury. Brandon Moreno (21-7-2) looks to get himself back in title contention against recent title challenger, Brandon Royval (15-7). More is heavily favored — for good reason — but I can’t buy him at the market price.

Royval’s power and submission grappling are far too dangerous for me to play the moneyline. Instead, I’m looking at playing the under in a fight that I’ll take a chance on ending earlier than the books expect.

Moreno had the advantage over Royval in their first matchup. While both fighters have improved greatly since then, Moreno’s title run, when compared with Royval’s disappointing title bout with Alexandre Pantoja, indicates Moreno is likely still the superior fighter. In their first matchup, Moreno almost won by submission with an incredibly rare twister. He’ll look to maintain his edge in grappling in this one, as Royval only defends the takedown at a 40% rate.

It usually doesn’t bode well for the under to have long periods of the fight take place on the ground. However, watching the first fight makes clear that both Moreno and Royval are incredibly active on the ground, looking for submissions nearly the entire time while down. Neither fighter can afford to relax on the ground or they may find themselves deep in a submission before they can have time to react.

This aggression has led to results for both fighters, as each won three times by submission. Royval’s aggression hasn’t always paid off. In his first fight against Pantoja, Royval got caught in a rear-naked choke and eventually tapped. The danger each of them poses while on the ground will bring the fight closer to a finish with each grappling exchange.

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Neither Moreno nor Royval has to simply rely on submissions to get a finish, as each fighter has more than enough stopping power in their strikes to knock the other out. Moreno achieved three knockouts, while Royval won by knockout once.

While neither fighter may throw a particularly large number of strikes, both landing 3.8 significant strikes per minute, the number can be deceiving. Both of them throw almost exclusively to the head, which bodes well for potential finishes. In Moreno’s most recent fight, for example, he only threw 12 significant strikes to the body and legs in a five-round fight, for a rate around one every two minutes of fight time. For his part, Royval only threw double-digit body strikes and double-digit leg strikes in one of his eight UFC fights. It’s almost certain that either Moreno or Royval will land a clean shot to the head which is all that it takes to stop the fight early.

Looking at the line for the under reveals something interesting. The implied probability for the under to hit sits around 41%. Moreno ended six of his 15 fights before the bell, which comes out to a rate of 40%. In essence, the under for Moreno alone is almost one-to-one with the line as it’s set, and this is before accounting for Royval’s numbers, who has only gone to decision twice in his eight UFC fights. Combined, the fighters ended their fights before the bell 52% of the time, leaving a nice 11% edge over the line.

Best UFC Moreno-Royval Bet & Pick: Under 3.5 +114 at DraftKings

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