It would be hard for Jairzinho Rozenstruik or Ciryl Gane to top the finish that we saw from Derrick Lewis last weekend, but we know that heavyweight fights always have the chance at highlight-reel knockouts.
When you get fighters that have an 18-1 combined record, you should be in for a good one and that is what we expect to see from Rozenstruik vs. Gane in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 44 on Saturday February 27.
What you can expect to see is a sign-up bonus worth up to $500 when you deposit at BetMGM Sportsbook to bet on UFC. BetMGM has all of the straight wagers for the winner and the total that you would expect, but also a bevy of prop betting options including exact result and finishing round.
There are quite a few interesting fights on the card for this one, but we’ll highlight the ones that appear to have the best betting opportunities for Saturday night on ESPN+. This is the 20th event at the UFC Apex facility since the COVID shutdown of last March. Hopefully we aren’t that far away from welcoming fans back around the Octagon. Sports are just better with fans and the lack of a crowd response to Lewis’s knockout last week really drove that home.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Ciryl Gane
Ciryl Gane will step into the Octagon as the favorite here against Jairzinho Rozenstruik. It is the underdog who brings the only loss between these two fighters to the cage, but there is absolutely no shame in losing to Francis Ngannou, which is what Rozenstruik did back at UFC 249. It only took 20 seconds, so we don’t really know how the Suriname native would have fared if the fight had progressed forward.
Rozenstruik 10 career knockout wins and one decision triumph. Gane has one decision win, three knockouts, and three submissions. “Paths to victory” are important to consider with most UFC fights, but maybe less important in these heavyweight matchups, where one well-timed, well-located punch can end things.
Gane is -275 here as the unblemished fighter, but Rozenstruik’s list of past opponents does seem to be a bit stronger, especially when you consider that he’s actually faced some guys with takedown ability. Gane has faced some guys with some power and has gone deep into some fights, but not guys with Rozenstruik’s striking ability.
The +220 underdog in Rozenstruik seems very live here. You can even sweeten the prize with Rozenstruik by finish or DQ at +290 at BetMGM.
Even Gane by stoppage or DQ is -105. This seems like a good way to bet the fight. You can put more on Gane -105 by stoppage/DQ and also play Rozenstruik +290 by stoppage or DQ and should come out ahead.
Nikita Krylov vs. Magomed Ankalaev
Betting heavy favorites is not easy. It is a tough pill to swallow to know that you are putting out 3.5x to win 1x like you have to do with Magomed Ankalaev. The thing about Ankalaev is that he’ll probably win the light heavyweight title one day and his only loss came with one second left on the clock against Paul Craig. Ankalaev would have been ahead on the cards in all likelihood, but he couldn’t make it one more tick.
Nikita Krylov is a good fighter, but he’s lost to the better fighters that he has faced, like Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira. He beat Ovince Saint Preux, but OSP has been on the backside of his career for a while now.
Ankalaev at -350 seems kind of cheap here, as crazy as that is to say. He’s getting set up for a well-deserved title shot down the line in this division.
Pedro Munhoz vs. Jimmie Rivera
These two were supposed to fight at UFC 258, but they’ll get together here instead. Rivera is the -150 favorite with +125 on the takeback for Munhoz. It would seem like these two guys are fairly even, but there is something that matters in this fight. The total on the fight is heavily juiced at -300 on over 2.5.
In Munhoz’s career, he is 5-5 in fights that have gone to the cards. Rivera is 17-3. Being able to stay active and impress the judges is a skill, especially when you are a fighter like Rivera without a lot of finishing ability. Because of that, I give Rivera the edge here and like the -150 price.
Kevin Croom vs. Alex Caceres
This might be the fight with the most intrigue on the card because of the circumstances. Alex Caceres is a UFC fixture. He’s been around for a long time. Kevin Croom paid his dues and lost a lot of fights before getting his UFC chance against Roosevelt Roberts last September.
Croom locked in a guillotine choke and won the fight in the first minute. The fight result was ultimately overturned because of a positive marijuana test for Croom, but it shouldn’t take away from what was an impressive debut bout.
On the other hand, Croom is 21-12 and we aren’t talking about a lot of good fighters in his past. He did start his MMA career at 5-5 and has been much better since, but Caceres has been in the UFC since 2011. He’s had a lot of losses in that time, but does ride a three-fight winning streak into this one.
I lean with Croom here because of the big +170 underdog price to Caceres’s -200 favorite number. This fight has to mean a lot to Croom after his debut wound up being tainted.
How about the fact that Alonzo Menifield goes from the main card to being buried on the undercard against William Knight? Furthermore, the fight is -110 both ways. That would seem to be a bad sign for Menifield, no?
Angela Hill is a -375 favorite against Ashley Yoder. That is a big number for a women’s fight likely to go the distance, but Hill should be the stronger fighter as both ladies battle for top control.
Montana De La Rosa and Mayra Bueno Silva are on the main card with Silva lined at -145 to De La Rosa’s +120. This one will also go to the judges barring a submission, which is possible with these two combatants. If you like De La Rosa, I think taking the by KO/DQ/Sub at +700 is a good gamble. I don’t think she can win a decision here. De La Rosa by submission is +850.