Check out our best UFC Night bets for Saturday’s event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, streaming on ESPN+.
UFC Night celebrates Mexican Independence Day and features a rematch between women’s flyweight champion Alexa Grasso of Mexico and former longtime champion Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan.
Grasso pulled off a major upset and won the duo’s first meeting via submission earlier this year, and the rematch headlines an 11-bout card.
Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2 is a matchup we’re targeting for Saturday’s top UFC Night picks. But he’s not the only one.
So where should you look to place your bets? Our team has identified four fights and picks on Saturday’s ESPN+ card that present betting value.
You can find his analysis and picks on those games, plus Sean Zerillo’s projections, below using odds from BetMGM.
Money Line Projections
Tony Sartori: Josefine Knutsson vs. Marnic Mann
Editor of The Action Network
Fighters’ strikes: Approx. 6:55 pm Eastern Time
An unequal strawweight fight begins the UFC Night card with Sweden’s Josefine Knutsson facing Marnic Mann.
Knutsson is a heavy -700 favorite, so we’ll head to the aftermarket and back her to win by decision at +105 via BetRivers.
A former kickboxer, Knutsson made a seamless transition to MMA and won all six of his professional fights, five of which were by decision. At 27 years old, the Contender Series veteran is establishing herself as one of the top prospects in the 115-pound division, which is due to her clinical striking and ability to dominate the mat.
While she is a strong and tenacious fighter, she has never shown much in the jiu-jitsu department, which bodes well for the decision if a submission attempt is likely to be off the table. And then, of course, Knutsson’s striking is elite as a former Muay Thai gold medalist and professional kickboxer.
There are multiple avenues for her to rack up points against Mann, who is also a Contender Series veteran. Mann is also off to a good start in her career, posting a 6-1 professional record.
That being said, he has never won in any of the elite promotions, and will now face a legitimate prospect in the strawweight division in what will likely be a tough test.
The problem for Mann in this fight is that there really are no paths to victory for her unless she gets the finish. Knutsson is the better striker, defender and fighter, and although she was able to get the finish early on, I think she will implement a good amount of grappling to achieve an easy and dominant unanimous decision victory.
The pick: Josefine Knutsson by decision (+105 via BetRivers)
Dann Stupp: Tracy Cortez vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighters’ strikes: Approx. 7:55 pm Eastern Time
Betting odds say Jasmine Jasudavicius wins her UFC Night fight against Tracy Cortez about 47.6% of the time (+110).
But I? I think those chances are closer to 65% (-185).
And getting extra money on a bet that, in theory, you should win two out of three times is a good way to win a little money in the long run. We just need our justification to hold up, and fortunately, I feel pretty good about this.
Saturday’s preliminary bout features two flyweights with a solid wrestling foundation. And maybe just because of his wrestling ability, Cortez vs. Jasudavicius would make sense as a choice.
But I also give Jasudavicius the edge in hitting, power hitting, grip work, and superior play. I like the size and durability of it. She has also been more active. She thrives as a UFC underdog (3-0) and has faced a tougher opponent.
This last point is especially relevant, at least to me, an MMA bettor who highly values a fighter’s level of competition. And in that sense, Jasudavicius has a pretty solid advantage. Especially recently.
Cortez is a rising star, no doubt, but he’s also coming off a 16-month layoff. Meanwhile, Jasudavicius is just months away from an impressive decision victory over human biceps Miranda Maverick. I thought Maverick’s victory would be the one that finally gave the Canadian some respect in the betting world. But hey, much better for us, the supporters of Jasudavicius.
We simply have too many factors in our favor not to accept some additional money for the once again overlooked Jasudavicius, who also just has that dog in her.
I’ll take it to +110 at the time of writing, and I’m fine with dropping it down to -150 for a 5% advantage compared to my number.
The choice: Jasmine Jasudavicius (+110 at bet365)
Sean Zerillo: Kevin Holland vs. Jack Della Maddalena
Editor of The Action Network
Fighters’ strikes: Approx. 11:25 pm Eastern Time
The MMA betting community had been waiting for the right opportunity to successfully fade the exciting, but relatively one-dimensional, Jack Della Maddalena (“JDM”) as the heavy favorite, but saw that opportunity squandered in a split decision loss for the Bassil Hafez on short notice (closed until +500) in mid-July.
Haffez (he scored three takedowns with 6:48 of control time) exposed Della Maddalena’s lackluster defensive grappling – a glaring shortcoming of his regional career – likely ruining the potential of betting against JDM in the future with a wrestler in good numbers.
Kevin Holland rarely participates in offensive takedowns, but he is a highly underrated submission wrestler and possesses the potential to snatch a club and substitute a wobbly opponent in a likely high-tempo striking affair.
While Della Maddalena is the superior pocket boxer and combination puncher, Holland’s physical gifts (four inches taller, eight-inch reach advantage), performance and durability should prove problematic for the Australian.
We’ve rarely seen JDM spread out against competitive opponents at the UFC level. Still, I suspect Holland has the stamina advantage in a high-tempo war, along with superior length, power, and submission wrestling.
Holland’s power is more prodigious at 170 pounds than it is at 185. He has also faced much taller competition than JDM, competed in main events, and developed his cardio to fight five rounds.
Back Holland at +120 or better and use his submission accessory (+600) to boost your round-robin tickets.
The choice: Kevin Holland (+125 at Caesars)
Billy Ward: Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko
Editor of The Action Network
Fighters’ strikes: Approx. 11:55 pm Eastern Time
The recent history of immediate title rematches is mixed at best. Most of the time we see these fights when a long-standing champion is dethroned, although occasionally a fluke title win also plays a role. (These are not mutually exclusive, as in the case of Leon Edwards’ Hail Mary head kick on Kamaru Usman.)
There is no clear pattern to what happens in rematches. Israel Adesanya and Amanda Nunes regained their belts, while Usman and Petr Yan were defeated more definitively in rematches.
All of which makes Saturday’s UFC Night main event difficult to handicap. On the one hand, it’s easy to say that it was a fluke victory for Alexa Grasso: she jumped on Valentina Shevchenko’s back when the former champion launched a spinning kick, something we don’t see often.
On the other hand, if he hadn’t gotten the touch there, the score would probably have been 2-2 heading into round five, with Grasso already having Round 1 in the bag. He showed that he can hang with Shevchenko, 35, for long periods and isn’t dependent on a miracle stoppage to get the job done.
What really pushes me towards Grasso here is Shevchenko’s steady decline leading up to her last fight. She narrowly edged out Taila Santos in a split decision victory before fighting Grasso, and probably deserved the loss there.
Grasso clearly appeared to be the better boxer in their fight, and was able to survive Shevchenko’s ground game, managing to get to her feet on numerous occasions. That’s something past opponents couldn’t do, and arguably says more about Shevchenko’s declining ability than it does about Grasso.
While I don’t think Grasso will keep this belt for long given his fighting talent at flyweight, at only 30 years old, he continues to improve with every fight. I expect her to beat Shevchenko on the feet here and send the aging former champion down to bantamweight to chase the vacant title there.
I love getting a defending champion with more money, and I’d bet Grasso up to +120.
The choice: Alexa Grasso (+145 at Caesars)
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