This article is part of our MMA Best Bets series.
The UFC has a very intriguing middleweight bout headline UFC Vegas 22 on Saturday, March 20 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
In this series of articles, I'll share my favorite play, an underdog pick, a prop, and a two-fighter parlay I like. All lines are taken from William Hill online sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
Macy Chiasson (6-1) vs Marion Reneau (9-6-1)
Weight Class: Women's Bantamweight
Macy Chiasson is one of the better women's bantamweight prospects and will continue her rise here.
Although Chiasson hasn't fought since February of 2020, and this will be her first time fighting in the pandemic-era, she still is a much better fighter than Reneau.
Chiasson is a tall, lengthy fighter as she is 5-foot-11 with a 72-inch reach. Reneau, meanwhile, is 5-6 with a 68-inch reach. That size and reach advantage will play a big factor in this fight, as Reneau will no doubt want to try and get inside and clinch up Chiasson and try and take her down.
A big problem for Reneau in this fight is Chiasson will likely be the stronger fighter, and her takedown defense is good enough to keep it standing. Although Reneau is tough to finish, I think Chiasson will be able to pick her apart and win a clear-cut decision. She should be well over -300, so to get her at -200 is a good bet.
The Play: Macy Chiasson (-200)
Derek Brunson (21-7) vs Kevin Holland (21-5)
Weight Class: Middleweight
Derek Brunson will derail another hype train on Saturday night.
Brunson has been used as a gatekeeper as of late, but has beaten Elias Theodorou, Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan (who he was a big underdog against). Throughout his career, the only people to beat him are fighters who go on to become UFC champions or are former champions, minus Jacare Souza and Yoel Romero.
Although Holland did beat Souza, that isn't the same Souza who beat Brunson. On his five-fight winning streak, he beat two UFC newcomers, and also TKO'd Anthony Hernandez and scored a split decision win over Darren Stewart.
Why I like Brunson in this fight is because of his cardio and wrestling. We have seen Holland gas out in a three-round fight against Stewart, and struggle on the ground against both Stewart and Thiago Santos. He was also submitted by Brendan Allen in his last fight prior to the winning streak.
If Brunson gets out of the first round, this is his fight to lose, and I expect him to finish Holland in the championship rounds when he gasses out.
The Play: Derek Brunson (+138)
Adrian Yanez (12-3) vs Gustavo Lopez (12-5)
Weight Class: Bantamweight
Against Lopez, I expect Yanez to continue his streak of scoring highlight-reel knockouts. We saw Lopez gets knocked out by Andre Ewell and John Castaneda on the regional scene, and I'm confident in saying Yanez hits more precisely and harder than both of them.
Although Yanez's takedown defense is a worry, I think he will use his 3.5-inch reach advantage to keep Lopez at range to pick him apart. Lopez also absorbs 5.08 significant strikes per minute and only lands 2.26, Yanez, meanwhile lands 7.02 and absorbs 2.63. There is no doubt, Lopez's striking defense leaves a lot to be desired, so I like Yanez to get the knockout win.
The Play: Adrian Yanez by KO/TKO (+100)
Gregor Gillespie (13-1) vs Brad Riddell (9-1) &
Max Griffin (16-8) vs Kenan Song (16-5)
Weight Classes: Lightweight & Welterweight
Although I normally don't like betting on fighters who are coming off a layoff, this is a very favorable matchup for Gillespie. Riddell is a decorated striker and is a teammate of Israel Adesanya, but he doesn't have the one-punch KO power, which is really his only path to victory. Gillespie is a dominant wrestler. Riddell has been taken down a few times in the UFC and has a 60 percent takedown defense, which is a worry against Gillespie.
I expect Gillespie to go back to his roots and out-wrestle Riddell and possibly get a late stoppage.
The other leg on the parlay is Max Griffin to beat Kenan Song.
Although Griffin's record is not the best to look at, there are a lot of controversial decisions that did not go his way. In this fight, this is a good matchup for him as both Griffin and Song are strikers.
Despite both men being strikers, Song gets hit a lot, as he absorbs 4.2 significant strikes per minute (but does land 4.3). Griffin, meanwhile, lands 4.08 and absorbs 3.91. However, Griffin has proven himself to have a solid chin, as his only KO/TKO loss was a ground and pound TKO loss to Colby Covington. Song, meanwhile, was KO'd by both Brad Riddell and Israel Adesanya on the regional scene. I'm not sure Griffin will be able to finish him, he should be able to land the better shots and even mix in his wrestling to win the fight.
The Play: Gillespie & Griffin parlay (+110)