MMA Best Bets: UFC Vegas 52

MMA Best Bets: UFC Vegas 52

This article is part of our UFC Picks series.

The UFC remains at the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, April 23 for UFC Vegas 52. In the main event Amanda Lemos welcomes back Jessica Andrade to the strawweight division.

In this series of articles, I'll share my favorite play, an underdog pick, a prop and a two-fighter parlay for this card. All lines are taken from DraftKings online sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.

Marcin Prachnio (15-5) vs. Philipe Lins (14-5)
Weight Class: Light heavyweight

Philipe Lins won the PFL heavyweight tournament in 2018, and when he signed with the UFC, many expected him to do well. However, that hasn't been the case, as he lost a lackluster decision to Andrei Arlovski and was quickly knocked out by Tanner Boser. He's now deciding to drop down to light heavyweight to face Marcin Prachnio, which I don't think goes his way.

Lins hasn't fought since June of 2020, and the layoff is a concern, as he has had six canceled fights during that time (with him being responsible for five). He was either hurt or not medically cleared, which is a major red flag. Mix that with his UFC performances to date, and I like Prachnio.

Prachnio lands 6.28 significant strikes per minute, while Lins only lands 2.66. His volume is the reason he lost the Arlovski fight and something I believe will play a key role in him losing this fight, as Prachnio will be able to land more strikes and get the decision win.

The Play: Marcin Prachnio (-125)

Dwight Grant (11-4) vs. Sergey Khandozhko (27-6-1)
Weight Class: Welterweight

This card is full of close fights or massive favorites, so although Dwight Grant is not plus-money (depending on your book), the odds are in favor of Khandozhko.

Khandozhko hasn't fought since September 2019, when he lost to Rustam Khabilov, and he's just 1-1 in the UFC. I never like to back fighters coming off a long layoff. While Grant has been active, and even though he lost to Francisco Trinaldo last time out, he spoke about how he learned that he needs to throw more volume, which is a good sign in this fight.

Grant has a ton of power and could find the KO, but he also has sneaky good wrestling. He has a 100 percent takedown accuracy with a 70 percent takedown defense, so clinching and wrestling could work well. Ultimately, Grant will get in Khandozhko's face right away and not let him get going and land more shots to win a decision.

The Play: Dwight Grant (-115) 

Maycee Barber (9-2) vs. Montana De La Rosa (12-6-1)
Weight Class: Women's Flyweight

For my prop, I'm taking Maycee Barber by decision at plus-money.

Barber and De La Rosa were booked to fight at UFC 269, but both suffered a similar ankle injury which forced the fight to get postponed until now. They are similar fighters, with both having a grappling and wrestling background, but the difference will be Barber's striking and her toughness. 

Barber will be right in De La Rosa's face and land hard shots. As we saw against Mayra Bueno Silva, when De La Rosa can't get the fight to the ground, she gets teed off on, which I expect Barber to be able to do. However, Barber doesn't have the power to get the stoppage, along with the fact De La Rosa has never been finished in the UFC, so take Barber to win by decision.

The Play: Maycee Barber wins by decision (+110)

Jessica Andrade (22-9) vs. Amanda Lemos (11-1-1) & 
Manel Kape (17-6) vs. Su Mudaerji (15-4)
Weight Class: Women's Strawweight & Flyweight

For my parlay, I'm backing Jessica Andrade and Manel Kape to get their hands raised Saturday night.

In the main event, Andrade is returning to strawweight and gets a very favorable matchup against Amanda Lemos. Andrade is the former strawweight champion and has only lost to the very best in Rose Namajunas, Zhang Weili, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko. Lemos is not on that level. Additionally, in Lemos' last fight, she gassed heavily and arguably lost to Angela Hill. In a five-round fight, I can't see that going well for her. Andrade is a great parlay piece for this weekend, while you can also take a look at her by KO ,as once Lemos fades in the late rounds, Andrade will get the TKO win.

In the first leg, I'm taking Manel Kape to beat Su Mudaerji at flyweight. Kape is the former RIZIN champ, and although he was disappointing in his first two UFC fights, he has looked impressive since then. He has two straight first-round KO's, while Sumudaerji had a lackluster win over Zarrukh Adashev last time out.

In his last two fights, Kape has upped the volume. In a kickboxing fight, which I expect this to be, I'll take the better striker in Kape to get the win.

The Play: Andrade & Kape parlay (+130)

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Cole Shelton
Cole Shelton is a full-time sports writer focusing on MMA.
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