This article is part of our MMA Best Bets series.
The UFC returns to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 42 on Saturday, November 13. In the main event of the card, top featherweight contender, Max Holloway battles the returning Yair Rodriguez.
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 DraftKings online sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
Cynthia Calvilo (9-3-1) vs. Andrea Lee (12-5)
Weight Class: Women's Flyweight
Calvillo is coming off a first-round TKO loss to Jessica Andrade at UFC 266 but gets a favorable matchup against Lee. Calvillo is the better grappler, as she averages 1.77 takedowns per 15 minutes while Lee only has a 59 percent takedown defense.
On the feet, they both are high-volume strikers, as Calvillo lands 4.24 significant strikes per minute while Lee lands 5.48. I do think Lee is the better striker, but Calvillo should have a more wrestling-heavy gameplan, similar to what Roxanne Modafferi and Lauren Muphy did to Lee to get the win.
The Play: Cynthia Calvillo (-130)
Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-1) vs. Da Un Jung (14-2-1)
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight
Nzechukwu has exceptional cardio and a great chin, as he showed that off in his past two fights to survive the early onslaught to find a stoppage win himself. Jung, meanwhile, fades as the fight goes on and nearly lost to Sam Alvey, which is not a good look.
On the feet, Nzechukwu is the better striker, as he lands 5.0 significant strikes per minute while Jung only lands 3.95. I do think Jung will try and take him down, but the Fortis MMA fighter has an 80 percent takedown defense. As the odds suggest, this is a super close fight, but I think Nzechukwu can win the second and third rounds to win a decision.
The Play: Kennedy Nzechukwu (+100)
Ben Rothwell (39-13) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (18-7-1)
Weight Class: Heavyweight
Both men returned to the win column last time out, but where Rothwell has the biggest advantage is on the ground. We have seen de Lima get submitted a handful of times to worse grapplers than Rothwell, who is phenomenal at getting ahold of chokes.
I expect Rothwell to get the fight to the ground and get ahold of de Lima's neck, ultimately choking him out. You could play Rothwell inside the distance at +175, but I'll take a bold shot of Rothwell by submission.
The Play: Ben Rothwell by submission (+550)
Max Holloway (22-6) vs. Yair Rodriguez (13-2) &
Felicia Spencer (8-3) vs. Leah Letson (5-1)
Weight Class: Featherweight & Women's Featherweight
Holloway is welcoming Yair Rodriguez back to the Octagon, and it's a tough matchup for the Mexican-born fighter. Rodriguez is also a striker by trade, but he won't be able to keep up with Holloway's pace on the feet. The Hawaiian is the best striker at featherweight and will piece up Rodriguez until he finds the stoppage.
On the other leg, I'm backing Felicia Spencer to defeat the returning Leah Letson. Letson hasn't fought since November of 2018 and like Rodriguez, I'm fading the fighter coming off a big layoff. I also spoke to Letson before this fight, and she is coming off major health concerns and is in the army, so fighting is not a full-time thing – which is a concern.
Ultimately, Spencer's grappling will be too much for Letson, as she'll get the fight to the ground and either find the sub or get the TKO. Regardless, this is a mismatch, and Spencer will return to the win column in a big way.
The Play: Holloway & Spencer parlay (-198)