On Saturday, May 8th, the UFC will be live from their Apex Center in Las Vegas, NV, for UFC on ESPN 24. This event has undergone many changes to the lineup and there could possibly be a few more during fight week.
Before looking at the evolving main card, we’ll take a look at the UFC on ESPN 24 preliminary card that currently has six bouts scheduled as of this writing. The prelims are set to begin at 5pm ET on ESPN+.
UFC betting sites have released their lines for the preliminary card of UFC on ESPN 24. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these UFC betting odds, identify any betting value and heel hook these predictions.
Tafon Nchukwi vs. Jun Yong Park
Tafon Nchukwi (-135)
Jun Yong Park (+115)
Over (-125)/Under (-105) 2.5 rounds
Park comes into this contest as the slight underdog despite having three times as many pro fights as his opponent. The South Korean fighter rode a seven fight win streak into the UFC in August 2019, but came up short against Anthony Hernandez as he lost via 2nd round submission.
Park bounced back from that loss with two consecutive wins via decision over Marc-Andre Barriault in December 2019 and John Phillips in October 2020. That’s a 9-1 stretch since the fall of 2016.
Eight of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-2 when going the distance.
Nchukwi debuted as a pro in Marc 2019 and won via TKO. He started off his career with four straight TKO/KO wins including a 2nd round knockout victory over Al Matavao on DWCS last September.
Tafon Nchukwi vs. Jun Yong Park set for May 8th.#UFC #MMA #UFCESPNhttps://t.co/LDOFD3puww pic.twitter.com/hxz1s5zHve
— MMA DNA (@MMADNANL) March 2, 2021
That KO win earned his a shot with the UFC and a debut in December where he beat Jamie Pickett via unanimous decision. It was the first fight of his pro career that had gone the full distance.
Nchukwi aims to be the first man to knockout Park in his MMA career:
“Yeah, that’s definitely what I’m expecting him to come and make it a wrestling match and try and take me down. I’m ready for that. I’m prepared; I saw what he did to the last guy. I’m not going to be that guy, haha. I’m going to take my time with him. I’m definitely looking to be the one to do that [knock Park out] to anyone in front of me. I know he’s going to be at the top of his game; I’m going to be there on the top of my game too. I definitely plan to put him out.”
There’s plenty of potential with Nchukwi as he’s just 26 years old, but I like Park in this contest. I believe that Jun Yong has the technical advantages in striking and the overall advantage in experience.
Furthermore, he’s never been stopped via TKO/KO as his two stoppage defeats have come via submission. Nchukwi doesn’t have the grappling game to score a submission win. And, despite what he says, I don’t see Tafon getting the knockout.
I like this fight to go Over 2.5 rounds (-135) and the full distance (-105). Once with the judges, I like Park to have his hand raised as he wins via decision (+310).
The betting value is with the moneylines for this bout.
Tafon Nchukwi vs. Jun Yong Park –Park (+115)
Over 2.5 rounds (-135)
Fight goes the distance (-105)
Park wins via decision (+310)
Ryan Benoit vs. Zarrukh Adashev
Ryan Benoit (-145)
Zarrukh Adashev (+125)
Over (-205)/Under (+165) 2.5 rounds
Adashev enters this contest as a slight underdog and on a two fight losing streak. He started off his career with a pro loss then went 3-0 with Bellator.
Last summer, Adashev ditched Bellator for the UFC, but lost in his debut against Tyson Nam via 1st round KO. He followed that up with a decision defeat to Su Mudaerji four months ago.
Two of his three pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 1-1 when going the distance and has been stopped by TKO/KO and submission.
Benoit has alternated between wins and losses since joining the UFC eight years ago. However, he’s 1-3 in his last four octagon appearances which includes two losses in a row.
Benoit most recently fought in July 2020 and lost via decision to Tim Elliott. His last win came in November 2017 via 3rd round KO against Ashkan Mokhtarian.
Nine of his 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO. He’s 1-5 when going the distance.
Both men have losing streaks coming into this contest and need the win. A loss could end either fighter’s tenure with the promotion.
With that in mind, I like Benoit in this contest. He’s the veteran of the two and has fought tough competition for eight years now. I believe he will edge out Adashev in this contest and win via decision.
Go with the Over 2.5 rounds (-205) and for the fight to go the distance (-175). Benoit has gone the distance in four of his last five contests. Adashev has gone to a decision in two of his last four fights.
The betting value is with each fighter’s moneyline.
Ryan Benoit vs. Zarrukh Adashev –Benoit (-145)
Over 2.5 rounds (-205)
Fight goes the distance (-175)
Benoit wins via decision (+145)
Christian Aguilera vs. Carlston Harris
Christian Aguilera (+120)
Carlston Harris (-150)
Over (-170)/Under (+140) 1.5 rounds
Aguilera is the underdog in this matchup as he makes his third trip inside the octagon. He’s 3-1 in his last four fights and had a three fight winning streak snapped in his last outing.
Aguilera debuted with the UFC in June 2020 and won via 1st round TKO against Anthony Ivy in just 59 seconds. However, he lost in his next fight which came in August 2020 via 2nd round submission against Sean Brady.
11 of his 14 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 3-2 when going the distance.
Aguilera likes the matchup with Harris as he feels this clash of styles favors him:
“He’s definitely like; he has a very specific style. He likes to take people down. He likes to grind them out. He likes to push them. Yeah, he likes, like, a slow-paced fight. He likes to grab people and look for submissions. Grab people, drag them to the floor; grab people, hold them on the fence; which is like cool. Like, I’ll take that. I like that. I like that as a matchup. Should be fun.”
Harris will make his UFC debut this weekend. He’s 7-1 in his last eight fights which includes a three fight winning streak spanning two promotions Shooto Brazil and ADW.
Eight of his 15 pro wins have come via stoppage with four apiece via submission and TKO/KO. He’s 7-3 when going the distance. He’s been stopped just one time in his 19 fight pro career.
Harris is a smothering grappler with the gas tank to go the full 15 minutes. He will pressure Aguilera from the opening bell and once he gets his hands on Christian, this fight is going to the mat.
Aguilera likes the clash of styles because he thinks it favors him. I believe it favors Harris and I’m taking Carlston to win via unanimous decision (+280). So, take the Over 1.5 rounds (-170) and for the fight to go the distance (+135).
The betting value is with the moneylines.
Christian Aguilera vs. Carlston Harris –Harris (-150)
Over 1.5 rounds (-170)
Fight goes the distance (+135)
Harris wins via decision (+280)
Ludovit Klein vs. Mike Trizano
Ludovit Klein (-245)
Mike Trizano (+205)
Over (-120)/Under (-110) 2.5 rounds
“Mr. Highlight” Ludovit Klein returns to the octagon as the favorite in this fight. It will be his second UFC bout as he was successful in his debut last September by defeating Shane Young via 1st round KO in 76 seconds. Klein is on a seven fight win streak.
16 of his 17 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight apiece for submission and TKO/KO. He’s 1-0 when going the distance.
Trizano will fight for the first time in two years. He was supposed to fight last year but suffered an ankle injury and was forced out of his scheduled bout.
Ľudovít Klein fight week!!!
87% finish rate and on an 8-fight win streak.
He’s nicknamed Mr Highlight for a reason.#UFCVegas26
— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) May 3, 2021
“The Lone Wolfe” is 2-1 inside the octagon with wins over Joe Giannetti and Luis Pena via decision in both. He last fought in May 2019 and lost via 2nd round submission to Grand Dawson. That was the first defeat in his pro career.
Four of his pro wins have come via stoppage with two apiece for submission and TKO/KO. He’s 4-0 when going the distance.
Trizano made the following comments about his upcoming fight with Klein:
“I think it’s a great matchup. I think it’s gonna be a hell of a fight. I am excited to get in there and really just let it all go. I hope he is training hard. I have been training my a*s off. I am gonna go in there and get the W.”
Trizano is a talented fighter, but he’s not going to get the win here. Klein is the better striker between the two and Trizano doesn’t have the grappling skills to win this fight on the mat. Instead, I see Klein blasting “The Lone Wolfe” in this contest and picking up the TKO/KO win (+140).
Take this fight to go Under 2.5 rounds (-110) and for it to end inside the distance (-135). Klein winning inside the distance (+120) offers the best betting value considering he’s only gone to a decision in one of his 19 pro fights.
Ludovit Klein vs. Mike Trizano –Klein (-245)
Under 2.5 rounds (-110)
Fight ends inside the distance (-135)
Klein wins inside the distance (+120)
Klein wins via TKO/KO (+140)
Phil Hawes vs. Kyle Daukaus
Phil Hawes (+120)
Kyle Daukaus (-140)
Over (+115)/Under (-145) 2.5 rounds
This is going to be an intriguing middleweight matchup. Kyle Daukaus was supposed to fight Aliaskhab Khizriev at UFC Vegas 23 but that bout was pulled due to covid issues. Daukaus was given a new opponent and fight date which is this weekend’s bout against Phil Hawes.
Daukaus was 9-0 entering the UFC, but lost via decision to Brendan Allen in his debut last June. He would bounce back with a win over Dustin Stoltzfus last November via decision.
Eight of his 10 pro wins have come via submission. He’s 2-1 when going the distance.
Daukaus is very confident heading into this matchup as he believes that he will get the stoppage in the 2nd round:
“In the first round, I’m just gonna put a pace on him and he’s just gonna break. Coming out in that second round, I’m not gonna be tired and I believe he will be, and I’m gonna finish him. Phil is just one of those guys who’s a tough wrestler that just looks to strike. I really don’t think he’s going to be able to stand with me. And if we go to the ground, I’m confident in myself wherever the fight goes.”
Hawes enters this bout on a six fight win streak. He lost in his first DWCS appearance in August 2017, but was successful in his second appearance in September 2020.
Hawes made his UFC debut in October 2020 and defeated Jacob Malkoun via KO in 18 seconds. He followed that up with a decision win over Imavov three months ago.
Nine of his 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 1-0 when going the distance.
Considering these two fighters have gone the distance in just four of their 24 total fights, I don’t see this bout going to a decision (-190). I also believe it will end Under 2.5 rounds (-145).
As for the winner, I like Daukaus in this one. I believe he’s the better overall fighter despite not having a TKO/KO win on his resume. I can see him picking up a TKO win, but will play it safe and go with Daukaus picking up a submission victory.
The value is with each fighter’s moneyline.
Phil Hawes vs. Kyle Daukaus –Daukaus (-140)
Under 2.5 rounds (-145)
Fight ends inside the distance (-190)
Daukaus wins inside the distance (+165)
Daukaus wins via submission (+325)
Ben Rothwell vs. Philipe Lins
Ben Rothwell (-115)
Philipe Lins (-105)
Over (-175)/Under (+145) 2.5 rounds
As of now, this heavyweight battle is set to be the featured fight of the preliminary card for UFC on ESPN 24. It also has the closest betting odds for the entire event as it’s basically a toss-up.
Furthermore, these two heavyweights were originally scheduled to fight in March, but the bout was postponed due to a Rothwell injury.
Lins is the slight underdog for this matchup. He’s lost two fights in a row after debuting with the UFC. Philipe went 4-0 with PFL after a ho-hum stint with Bellator.
Philipe Lins wary of Ben Rothwell at UFC on ESPN 24: I can’t ‘get into a brawl’ with him (via @CopperHeartCT) https://t.co/FfXIdJXVoI
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) April 30, 2021
That run with PFL earned him a shot with the UFC, but he lost his debut inside the octagon via decision to Andrei Arlovski in May 2020. Lins followed that up with a 1st round KO against Tanner Boser in June 2020. Another loss could put his tenure with the UFC in jeopardy.
12 of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO. He’s 2-1 when going the distance.
Lins made the following comments about his upcoming contest against Rothwell:
“He’s tough and experienced. He’s been on this road for a long time. It’s an honor to face someone like him. He’s dangerous. He hits hard, has a good chin, and doesn’t run from a fight. I have to be intelligent when facing him. I need to combine all my skills so I can impose my own game. I can’t fall into his and get into a brawl.”
Rothwell is 2-1 in his last three fights after losing three in a row. He had a solid win over Ovince St. Preux one year ago, but ended up losing to Marcin Tybura via decision last October.
34 of his 38 pro wins have come via stoppage with 28 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-7 when going the distance.
This contest is really tough to pick a winner. Either man can win this fight and do so via TKO/KO or going the distance. Since the online sports betting sites favor the bout to go Over 2.5 rounds (-175) and the full distance (-160), I am going to side with them for this one.
As for the winner, I am taking Lins to pick up his first UFC victory. He’s too talented to lose three in a row. I think he will show an improvement from his last two fights and pick up the decision win. His footwork and agility should be enough to edge out Rothwell.
The best betting value is with each fighter’s moneyline.
Ben Rothwell vs. Philipe Lins –Lins (-105)
Over 2.5 rounds (-175)
Fight goes the distance (-160)
Lins wins via decision (+215)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …
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