The UFC will be heading to Paris, France, for the first time ever with a heavyweight title eliminator bout between Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa. Let’s dive into the MMA betting odds and get into a few of the best UFC Paris predictions for the Gane vs. Tuivasa fight card on Saturday, Sept. 3.
UFC Paris Predictions: Cyril Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa Picks
Joaquin Buckley vs. Nassourdine Imavov Prediction
In a banger of a middleweight bout, Joaquin Buckley will take on the surging Nassourdine Imavov.
Imavov was matched up with Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 273 in April. However, Imavov had visa issues and could not get to Florida on time. Now, with this card being in Paris, he will get a matchup with Buckley that is a step down in competition. Buckley is an exciting fighter with arguably the best knockout in UFC history over Impa Kasanganay — a spinning back kick that you usually only see in a video game.
In the UFC he is generally a kill-or-be-killed fighter, with six of his seven fights ending inside the distance. Four of his five victories in UFC have come via knockout and both of his losses have come via finish. It is a trend that should continue this week against Imavov.
Imavov has had back-to-back impressive finishes over Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan. Imavov is also a very efficient fighter, landing 4.29 significant strikes per minute, while only absorbing 2.23. He also defends takedowns at a 72% clip, which is a good rate considering Buckley may try to wrestle in this matchup.
Buckley lands 1.68 takedowns per 15 minutes, which is not the best. however, in Imavov’s lone UFC loss to Phil Hawes, Hawes took Imavov down four times and controlled him for over 11 minutes. That being said, Imavov should be able to defend the takedowns moderately, and on the feet it will be a dangerous fight in the pocket.
Both fighters have power to put each other’s lights out, and the way both fight, there is a good chance that someone will get finished.
Vegas agrees with the fight not going the distance prop sitting at -200. However, if the bettor cuts out the last 2.5 minutes of the fight, they can get the prop at -148 and chances are the fight will end before the third round anyway.
Best UFC Paris Betting Prediction: Buckley/Imavov Under 2.5 Rounds -148 (FanDuel)
Khalid Taha vs. Cristian Quinonez Prediction
Khalid Taha was originally scheduled to fight Taylor Lapilus this weekend, but Lapilus had to withdraw late due to injury, so Cristian Quinonez will step in on short notice.
While Quinonez is coming in late here, he was in camp to face Youssef Zalal in August. However, that bout got cancelled and Quinonez remained in camp waiting for a fight. Quinonez fought and won on Season 5 of Dana White’s Contender Series, where he earned his contract. Despite not finishing that fight, he did land a knockdown and a takedown, and landed 5.07 significant strikes per minute in the fight. That should be a big edge for Quinonez in this fight against Taha, as Taha’s output it very limited.
Taha in his five-fight UFC career has landed only 2.69 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 4.02. He is very hittable, and with those numbers, one would think he relies on wrestling to win fights. However, he has not landed a single takedown in five UFC fights, where he is a 1-4. His lone win was an early knockout of Boston Salmon, but Salmon had notorious durability issues.
Most of Taha’s losses have a common theme, he gets taken down and controlled, so Quinonez may look to wrestle here and will probably have some success.
On the feet if Quinonez can avoid the power shots from Taha he will outland him and should have the advantage.
Quinonez opened at +130, and at the time of writing, he has already been bet down to +110, and there is a good chance by the time these fighters enter the cage that Quinonez will have flipped to become the favorite.
Best UFC Paris Betting Prediction: Christian Quinonez +110 (Caesars)