UFC predictions, picks and best bets for UFC on ESPN 18
We are in Las Vegas this week at the UFC Apex for UFC on ESPN 18. This weeks’ Main Event was cancelled due to one of the fights testing positive for Covid-19, so our Co-Main Event will feature a Light Heavyweight fight.
We’ll share our UFC on ESPN 18 best bets here but head over to our main UFC on ESPN 18 predictions homepage if you want picks for every fight on the main and preliminary card. Please gamble responsibly when following our MMA picks and predictions.
UFC on ESPN 18 Best Bets
Devin Clark (+108) vs. Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith comes into this fight as a small favorite, which I find interesting because of how bad he has looked recently. Smith is 33-16 in the MMA, but 8-6 in the UFC. He has lost his last two fights, one by TKO in May and the other by unanimous decision in August. Combined in these fights, Smith was out struck 182 to 95, so clearly, he is going to have to change something. He is averaging 2.97 significant strikes per minute, landing them with an accuracy of 46%. He is also now absorbing 4.43 strikes per minute, which part of the reason why he has been inconsistent recently.
Devin Clark comes into this fight 12-4 in the MMA and 6-4 in the UFC. He has won two fights in a row and most recently beat Alonzo Menifield by unanimous decision back in June of this year. Clark is averaging 3.40 significant strikes per minute and is landing them with an accuracy of 57%. He is absorbing 2.47 strikes per minute and has been knocked out twice. Clark also has the ability to grapple, averaging 2.76 takedowns per every 15 minutes. He does only land these takedowns with an accuracy of 36%, but defends them 83% of the time.
Clark looks to be the more balanced fighter right now, while Smith just cannot get anything going. Because he has looked so poor in his fights this year, I am going to instead back Clark to score the small upset.
Miguel Baeza (-166) vs. Takashi Sato
Miguel Baeza will look to protect his perfect record in this fight as he comes in 9-0 in the MMA. He is 3-0 in the UFC, winning his last fight in May of this year. Baeza is averaging 4.78 significant strikes per minute, landing these strikes with an accuracy of 56%. He is absorbing 4.67 strikes per minute, but his chin has yet to be an issue. Baeza is not going to be looking to grapple, averaging just 0.54 takedowns per every 15 minutes. He does defend takedown 100% of the time, which will be a huge bonus.
Takashi Sato enters this fight 16-3 in the MMA and 2-1 in the UFC. He is coming off a win over Jason Witt from back in June of this year and ended in the first round by TKO. Sato is now averaging 3.94 significant strikes per minute, but his striking accuracy is only 41%. He is absorbing 5.10 strikes per minute and has been knocked out once. Much like his opponent, Sato’s grappling is probably not going to win him this fight. He averages 0.79 takedowns per every 15 minutes. He lands them 50% of the time and defends them 80% of the time.
Both fighters have been solid, but I am going to ride the undefeated fighter here. Baeza does not absorb as much damage either, so I think he finds a way to get the job done.
Josh Parisian (-225) vs. Parker Porter
Josh Parisian will make his official UFC debut in this fight after previously winning two fights in Dana White’s Contender Series. His first Contender Series fight was back in June of 2018. The second Contender Series fight was in August of this year. Parisian is averaging 7.07 significant strikes per minute and lands them with an accuracy of 55%. He does absorb 4.97 strikes per minute and has a lacking striking defense, but has only ever been knocked out once. He defends takedowns 100% of the time and is averaging 2.9 submission attempts per every 15 minutes.
Parker Porter will still be looking for his first UFC debut win after losing to Chris Daukaus in his UFC debut. Porter did not look good in this fight and that was the reason why he got knocked out in the first round. He is averaging 6.82 significant strikes per minute, but is absorbing 7.06 strikes. He also averages 1.22 takedowns per every 15 minutes, landing them 100% of the time.
Parisian has look much more impressive in his career and as a result, has finished 12 of his 13 wins. I see this fight being a domination by Parisian and will back him to win this fight.