- Jan Blachowicz has his first fight since losing his light heavyweight title last October
- An intriguing light heavyweight bout between Ryan Spann and Ion Cutelaba serves as the co-main event
- See the UFC Vegas 54 odds below, along with our best bet predictions for the main card
The UFC returns to the Apex on Saturday, May 14th for a solid UFC Vegas 54 card. In the main event, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz returns for the first time since losing his belt to take on rising contender Aleksandar Rakic. The co-main event sees 13th-ranked light heavyweight Ryan Spann taking on the always entertaining Ion Cutelaba.
UFC Vegas 54 main card airs live on ESPN2 at 10:00 pm ET. The table below shows UFC Vegas 54 odds for the main card at Barstool Sportsbook followed by best bets.
UFC Vegas 54 Odds
*All odds as of May 9th
If you’re looking to learn how to bet UFC, this is a great card to try a few different strategies out.
Blachowicz vs Rakic Odds, Prediction & Best Bet
Jan Blachowicz and Aleksandar Rakic were supposed to fight on March 26th but an injury to the former champ delayed the fight until now. The winner of this could very well get the next light heavyweight title shot.
Blachowicz vs Rakic Recent Fights
|Glover Teixeira, loss by submission (title fight)
|Thiago Santos, win by decision
|Israel Adesanya, win by decision (title fight)
|Anthony Smith, win by decision
|Dominick Reyes, win by TKO (vacant title fight)
|Volkan Oezdemir, loss by split decision
|Corey Anderson, win by KO
|Jimi Manuwa, win by KO
This is a really intriguing matchup as it will tell a lot about both men. Blachowicz was a surprise champion as he pulled off upset wins over Corey Anderson to earn a title shot and then as an underdog, he beat Dominick Reyes to win the belt and Israel Adesanya to defend it. However, in his last fight against Teixeira, he looked terrible and suffered a submission loss.
Rakic, meanwhile, has had back-to-back lackluster fights which have dropped his stock quite a bit as in the past two fights he was able to outpoint Santos and Smith to win decisions. He also hasn’t fought since UFC 259 in March of 2021 – the same card Blachowicz beat Adesanya to defend his title for the first time – so how the layoff will impact him is uncertain.
Blachowicz vs Rakic Stats
The first round will tell a lot about how this fight will play out as if Blachowicz is tentative and looks slow as he did against Teixeira, then Rakic will likely swell as a massive favorite on the line betting line. However, in the lead-up to the fight, the Pole has made it clear that was a blimp and he will prove he still is an elite-level fighter on Saturday.
I expect the first couple of rounds to be a chess match of sorts as both will land leg kicks and body shots to try and wear each other down over five rounds. This is the first time Rakic is headlining a UFC card so how he will fare in five-round fights is another unknown.
Yet, Rakic has a difficult style to beat as he is such a good point fighter that he will be able to land his jab and leg kicks to control the round and end up winning a decision. Rakic at -182 still holds value as I personally lined him at -210 but taking Rakic by decision is another way to go about this fight.
- Pick: Aleksandar Rakic (-182)
Spann vs Cutelaba UFC Vegas 54 Pick
In the co-main event, light heavyweights with legit KO power collide as Ryan Spann takes on Ion Cutelaba in a very intriguing fight.
Spann & Cutelaba Recent Fights
|Anthony Smith, loss by submission
|Devin Clark, win by decision
|Misha Cirkunov, win by TKO
|Dustin Jacoby, draw
|Johnny Walker, loss by TKO
|Magomed Ankalaev, loss by KO
|Sam Alvey, win by split decision
|Magomed Ankalaev, loss by TKO
Spann’s chin is a concern as Walker was able to drop him and finish him via strike while Anthony Smith – who is not known for his KO power – was able to rock him. Cutelaba, meanwhile, is reckless and wild as he throws looping, heavy shots as he looks for the KO.
I expect Cutelaba to come out aggressive and land big shots that drops Spann and he finishes him with strikes. Cutelaba is a good parlay piece for this weekend or look for the Cutelaba by KO prop.
Pick: Ion Cutelaba (-210)
Other UFC Vegas 54 Picks:
- Davey Grant (-286): Grant is a great striker and will catch Smolk early to find the KO. Parlay Grant this weekend or take him by KO.
- Katlyn Chookagian (-167): Ribas is moving up in weight and the size will play a role as Chookagian will keep it standing and piece up Ribas to win a decision.
- Manuel Torres (-155): Camacho’s chin is a major worry and I expect Tores to land something big early to get the KO.
- Jake Hadley (-215): Hadley is the better all-around fighter and will edge out a decision.