UFC Fight Night 124 goes down this Sunday night (Jan. 14) from St. Louis, Missouri, and if you’re looking for exciting scraps and juicy wagers, this is a card you’ll want to check out.
The first-ever UFC event in St. Louis has a tantalizing featherweight bout as the main attraction with South Korean prospect Doo Ho Choi facing grizzled veteran striker Jeremy Stephens in a likely slugfest.
In the co-main event, two hard-hitting middleweights will clash when Vitor Belfort steps into the Octagon for the final time against knockout artist Uriah Hall.
If that farewell tour doesn’t float your boat then maybe Paige VanZant will? The former Dancing with the Stars contestant will be returning to the Octagon in the new flyweight division where she will look to dance her way through Jessica-Rose Clark and, hopefully, into a title shot against Nicco Montano.
Speaking of dancing, there are some betting plays on this card that we can cut a rug to. Below are the best underdogs, props, and parlays to sashay to.
We already broke down the fight between Jeremy Stephens vs. Doo Ho Choi and Stephens is still a live ‘dog worth playing. Outside of the main event, there are a few other underdogs worth a wager.
Jessica-Rose Clark (-125) vs. Paige Van Zant (+105): Flyweight
When this fight was announced, the initial moneyline had Paige Van Zant (7-3) as a big favorite at -175, however, as I thought would happen, the line has shifted with the money going onto Jessica-Rose Clark (8-4). Now is your time to take VanZant at +105.
After being choked out by Michelle Waterson, VanZant took a year off and is now looking to get back on track in the new women’s flyweight division. Meanwhile Clark is coming off a split decision win over Bec Wyatt in her UFC debut.
I understand why some of the experts out there like Clark in this matchup, but Van Zant has improved a lot over the last 13 months and she is the more well-rounded fighter. Take the live ‘dog here with a small bet.
My bet: $25 on VanZant (+105)
Potential payout: $27.50 profit
Uriah Hall (-326) vs. Vitor Belfort (+265): Middleweight
There is some real value right now in betting on Vitor Belfort (26-13) in this matchup. Uriah Hall (13-8) is young and throws a lot of strikes (3.13 significant strikes per minute), but he also absorbs a lot of punishment (3.16 strikes absorbed per minute).
Hall definitely has the knockout power to end this fight early. I understand why the bookies have him as the favorite. His current odds (-326) are too short, though, and +265 on Belfort is a steal. The Phenom only has to win about 30% of the time for this bet to have value. Neither man has the best of chins and both throw power shots. This is a fight that could — and likely will — end with one punch or kick, and Belfort has shown in the past that he thrives in such conditions. He may not throw as many strikes (1.63 strikes landed per minute) as Hall, but he loves to throw counters and, throughout his career, we have seen him clip guys as they come in too aggressively. Hall’s style plays right into Belfort’s hands.
My head is saying that Hall is going to win this and probably by spectacular KO/TKO, but a few dollars on Belfort at +265 is too juicy to pass up.
My bet: $25 on Belfort (+265)
Potential payout: $66.25 profit
Mads Burnell (+160) vs. Mike Santiago (-185)
This is a fight that is buried in the prelims, but that’s where we have been able to find the gold in the past. Mads Burnell (8-2) has won three of his last four, including two submission victories by Japanese necktie. Mike Santiago (19-10) loves to put on the pressure and fights with a very aggressive style, but he has ten losses on his resume with eight being by submission. He was unceremoniously welcomed to the UFC by Zabit Magomedsharipov, who locked him up in a rear-naked choke at UFC Fight Night 115.
Santiago’s fighting style opens him up to takedowns, and if this fight goes to the mat, Burnell will take over and lock him up for a submission win. I love the line on this. Take the ‘dog.
My bet: $50 on Burnell (+160)
Potential payout: $80 profit
Best Prop Bets
James Krause via Decision (+175)
Although I don’t think Krause has enough in the toolbox to beat some of the top fighters in the lightweight division, he does have strong enough striking and grappling to beat a guy like Alex White. I see him threatening a few takedowns and hitting some jabs from a distance to take the boring decision win at +175.
My bet: $50 on Krause via decision (+175)
Potential payout: $87.50 profit
Irene Aldana via Knockout (+275)
Irene Aldana had a lot of hype coming into the UFC because she was a knockout machine in Invicta. Although she has struggled to find that form in the Octagon, this is a matchup that smells like a (T)KO victory. Bernardo is a complete novice on the feet and, although she is better on the ground, Aldana can frustrate her takedown attempts and score the knockout. I like the +275 moneyline.
My bet: $50 on Aldana to finish fight (+275)
Potential payout: $137.50 profit
Mads Burnell via Submission (+300)
As mentioned above, Burnell is a live underdog who is armed with an arsenal of submissions. His opponent is aggressive and solid on the feet, but the majority of his ten losses have been via submission. It’s worth giving this prop a go.
My bet: $25 on Mads Burnell to finish fight (+300)
Potential payout: $75.00
Best Parlay Plays
There are a few multiples you could play on this card. Just by coincidence, the two I like best both include James Krause.
My bet: $25 on Kyung Ho Kang winning (-345) + James Krause winning (-170)
Potential payout: $26.21
My bet: $25 on Irene Aldana via KO/TKO (+275) + James Krause decision win (+175)
Potential payout: $232.75
Let's have fun and keep it civil.