Contender Series Week 1 Picks and Best Bets: The first week of the Contender Series kicks off on Tuesday, August 31st from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event is headlined by a men’s light heavyweight match-up between undefeated Russian Azamat Murzakanov and Brazillian Matheus Scheffel.
Murzakanov comes in as the biggest favorite on the four-fight card, and is lined at a steep -275 to win the fight ‘Inside the Distance.’
⇢ Contender Series Week 1 Preview
AJ Fletcher vs. Leonardo Damiani: DWCS Week 1 Picks
AJ Fletcher comes in as the -145 favorite to open up the fifth season of Dana White’s Contender Series. Fletcher is 8-0 as a pro, with his most recent win coming in April of this year, in Russia fight promotion AKA.
His opponent Leonardo Damiani is 10-2-1 as a pro, fighting most of his career on the European circuit.
Damiani comes in with the far more impressive strength of schedule, with most of Fletcher’s bouts coming against low-level competition. While there is a slight skillset edge in favor of Fletcher in this match-up, the collegiate wrestler turned pedestrian level strikers have dropped fighter in his eight-fight career. Damiani has a solid enough skill set to get the win in this spot, especially if he can stuff a few takedowns and get Fletcher winded and force him to adjust his game plan. In a close fight between a preceived can crusher and a mid-level European, your best bet is to back the plus-money side on the moneyline and the total.
Victor Altamirano vs. Carlos Candelario: DWCS Week 1 Picks
Altamirano is 9-1 in his pro career, with three straight wins since making his return to LFA back in early 2020. He takes on the undefeated Candelario, who has show the ability to put fights away, with five stoppage wins in his professional career. Candelario has already made an appearance on the Contender Series back in 2017, winning by way of decision over Ronaldo Candido, but failed to earn a contract.
This fight is being looked at as one of the most competitive bouts on Tuesday’s card. However, Altamirano may have the better skill set in this match-up and in a coin-flip fight, the Mexican is probably on the value side in this bout as the -140 betting favorite.
Diego Lopes vs. Joanderson Brito: DWCS Week 1 Picks
As a pro, Diego Lopes is 19-3, fighting most of his MMA career on the Mexican and South American MMA circuit. Lopes has an 89% rate, with 11 wins by submission and five by knockout.
Meanwhile, his opponent Joanderson Brito is 11-2-1 as a pro but hasn’t fought since May 2019. Brito made his US MMA debut in 2019, putting Jose Mariscal away in just under 45 seconds at LFA 65. Brito throws big shots and has a dangerous jiujitsu game off of his back. While the prevailing market opinion sees this ending within the first round, there is some value on the ‘Over 1.5 Rounds’ prop at plus money.
Diego Lopes will have to weather the storm early and could find himself in some deep trouble in the opening moments of this fight. Brito’s path to victory is a narrow window, but it’s worth backing in this match-up.
Azamat Murzakanov vs. Matheus Scheffel: DWCS Week 1 Picks
The undefeated Azamat Murzakanov makes his US MMA debut on Tuesday night, having not competed since November of 2019. The former Brave CF open weight champion comes in as the monstrous -490 betting favorite against Matheus Scheffel. Scheffel will also be making his United States debut on Tuesday night, and even as a Brazillian regional champion, Scheffel is being slated as an easy out for the Russian.
While Murzakanov probably gets the job done inside the distance in this match-up, there is some betting value on this fight reaching the 2:31 mark of the second round, considering the Russian hasn’t fought in almost two years.
Contender Series Week 1 Best Bets
Contender Series Week 1 Free Picks
|1.25% (0.5u)||Lopes/Brito (Over 1.5 Rounds)||+105||Bet365|
|1.3% (0.52u)||Joanderson Brito (to Win Fight)||+102||FanDuel|
|1.6% (0.64u)||Murzakanov/Scheffel (Over 1.5 Rounds)||+160||5Dimes|
@AlMacOdds MMA Record Since 2020: 824-785, +12.29u Verified via BetMMA.tips
For all the latest UFC betting content, keep it locked to CombatOdds.ca