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UFC Vegas 58 best bets: Can Rafael dos Anjos hold up against Rafael Fiziev?

·Betting analyst
·3 min read
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Twelve fights are lined up for UFC Vegas 58 this Saturday night, but we have all been anxiously awaiting the main event since February.

Finally, after two previously scheduled bouts were scrapped, Top 10 lightweights Rafael Fiziev and Rafael dos Anjos are set to square off in the Octagon for the main event. Let's hope the third time's a charm because the former lightweight champion should pose a stiff test for the rising contender despite coming in as a sizable +180 underdog.

How much will dos Anjos' durability and cardio advantages factor into the fight? Let's dive right into the action and analyze the best way to approach the fight from a betting perspective. Plus, I will break down my best bet for UFC Vegas 58.

Rafael Fiziev (-225) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (+180)

In mixed martial arts, age is certainly more than a number. The nine-year age difference will factor into this fight in numerous ways. Dos Anjos brings vast experience from his 14 years with the UFC. His 31-fight resume with the promotion includes elite competition from Hall of Fame caliber fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington and Donald Cerrone.

Fiziev is a very high-level cerebral striker who uniquely sets up his opponents using lateral movement before unleashing his devastating combinations. It's a new puzzle for dos Anjos to solve, and Fiziev's 95% takedown defense ensures it will have to happen on the young contender's terms.

Dos Anjos would love to be able to stay close to Fiziev and utilize his grappling to wear him down over five rounds, but I don't see that as a likely outcome for the cagey veteran. If the majority of this fight takes place on the feet, that's where the age gap becomes a disadvantage for dos Anjos. Fiziev averages 5.35 significant strikes per minute compared to dos Anjos' 3.62, and his significant speed advantage will be amplified in the early rounds.

Dos Anjos is one of the division's most durable fighters, but Fiziev possesses the power and explosiveness to put any fighter away early. If there is one thing that holds throughout the sport's history, iron chins come with an expiration date. Per Richard Mann, RDA has absorbed 1,467 significant strikes throughout his career, the second-most among UFC ranked fighters. It will be incredibly tough to survive five rounds with a dynamic striker if he cannot secure takedowns and slow down Fiziev. That's what makes me cautious about playing the method-of-victory prop. You don't get advanced notice when fighters start to break down. I will be betting Fiziev straight on the money line at -225 and pairing him with Said Nurmagomedov for the second leg of a parlay at -108 odds.

The Bet: Rafael Fiziev (-225)

The Parlay: Rafael Fiziev and Said Nurmagomedov (-108)

Ricky Turcios (-190) vs. Aiemann Zahabi (+155)

I love getting money down on a fun bantamweight scrap. This matchup is a classic example of the UFC looking to build up TUF 29 winner "Pretty" Ricky Turcios against a 34-year-old opponent who has only fought twice in the last four years.

Turcios brings a high motor and has landed at least 100 significant strikes while absorbing less than 70 in both TUF Finale and Contender Series bouts. I don't see any way Zahabi can match Turcios' output, which makes finishing his opponent his only path to victory. It's going to be hard to win rounds averaging only 2.82 significant strikes per minute at only 40% accuracy against a fighter who is constantly moving forward initiating the action. Turcios will be dictating the tempo and taking Zahabi out of his ideal fight condition for all three rounds.

"Pretty Ricky" has demonstrated the ability to take big shots, work through adversity and keep attacking relentlessly. I am betting Zahabi is overwhelmed early, coming off a long layoff, and folds in the later rounds to the pressure and pace put on by the young prospect.

The Bet: Ricky Turcios (-190)

*Stats provided by Richard Mann and ufcstats.com.