UFC Atlantic City gambling preview: Will Erin Blanchfield keep rolling toward a title shot?

After back-to-back weekends in the APEX, the UFC hits the road on Saturday for UFC Atlantic City, which is headlined by a women’s flyweight bout between Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot. Given the state of the flyweight division, this seems like a surefire title eliminator bout, so who will leave Saturday night next in line for the throne, and how can you profit? Let’s get to it.

As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

UFC Fight Night: Blanchfield v Santos Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Straight Bets

Erin Blanchfield (-192)

I’ve made my thoughts about Blanchfield no secret on the various MMA Fighting videos and podcasts: She’s the best female fighter alive today. Blanchfield is a nightmare to deal with on the ground, and her athleticism, pace, and durability make her nearly impossible to beat over 25 minutes. Her weakest area remains her striking, but she’s more than willing to throw down, and she’s tough enough that she can win that phase of the game through will power. The worst part for other flyweights is she’s only 24 years old; she is just scratching the surface of her peak form, and that’s bad news for everyone else.

That said, I have a lot of respect for Manon Fiorot. She’s big and athletic and a good striker, if not a particularly threatening one. I’ve compared her to athletic Katlyn Chookagian before, and I stand by that. She’s also a good defensive wrestler, which means she is going to be able to test Blanchfield. But since she lacks big power in her striking, I expect “Cold Blooded” to walk through the fire and take over as the fight heads into the later rounds.

Vicente Luque (-112)

Luque is only 32 years old, but he somehow seems ancient. Some of that comes from being around for so long. But it’s also from the fact that he’s taken a lot of damage over the course of his career (the man has four “Fight of the Night” bonuses for a reason). But in his most recent outing against Rafael dos Anjos, he got away from his reckless, brawler style and leaned on his grappling advantage. He should be able to do the same against Joaquin Buckley, who is a powerful fighter but tends to fade down the stretch.

Buckley has looked good since dropping back down to welterweight, but Luque is a big step up, and I think the young-but-old dog still has enough tread on the tires to get this done.

Ibo Aslan (-130)

I’ve been betting all of my favorite prospects from the most recent season of Contender Series this year, and thus far, it’s been working out. Combined, the “Big Paws On A Puppy” tier is 6-0 since joining the UFC, and with Aslan slotting into that group, this is an easy bet for me. Some of you might be thinking, wait, didn’t Aslan lose to Anton Turkalj a few years ago? Sure did. But they were both 23 years old then. Aslan has improved leaps and bounds since then, and I think “The Pleasure Man” is in for a rough evening.

UFC 295: Ricci v Godinez Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Prop Bets

Loopy Godinez To Win By Decision (-135)

In one of the best fights on the entire card, Godinez faces Virna Jandiroba in a bout that has outside implications for the 115-pound title. And fortunately for Godinez, she’s got a good chance to win it.

Godinez is all pressure, pace, and volume, and that lines up well against Jandiroba, who is an elite grappler but not the best wrestler. On the feet, she should simply out-work Jandiroba, and given how strong of a defensive wrestler she is, it’s unlikely she’ll be taken down consistently. Given that a finish is highly unlikely (Jandiroba has never been stopped, and nine of Godinez’s 12 career wins came on the cards), this prop bet is the right play.

UFC 292: Sterling v O’Malley Photo by Paul Rutherford/Getty Images

Long Shot of the Week

Chris Weidman To Win By Submission (+650)

Yes, Weidman is 39 years old. Yes, he’s lost seven of his past nine fights. Yes, he suffered a catastrophic leg injury that forever changed him and his career. All of these things are undoubtedly true.

But what if?

Even factoring in all of the above facts, Bruno Silva is not a world beater. He’s 1-4 in his past five bouts, and seven of his 10 career losses have come by submission. Before he became famous for knocking out Anderson Silva, Weidman was an NCAA All-American wrestler and a damn good submission grappler. Add to that, Weidman is undefeated against fighters named Silva – and undefeated in New Jersey.

Everything is lining up Weidman on Saturday.

Wrap Up

While last week’s APEX card may not have been great, it was at least a winning week. Now that we’re out and into a real venue, let’s hope we bring the good luck with us. No parlay this week, as I only had a few bets I really liked, so let’s hope the straight action does us well.

Until next week, enjoy the fights, good luck, and gamble responsibly!

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