UFC Vegas 288: Three Best Moneyline Bets
UFC VEGAS 288: THREE BEST MONEYLINE BETS – Get ready for a huge weekend with UFC 288. Be sure to read my main event predictions of Sterling vs. Cejudo. Once you’re done with that, head on over to Trent’s best prop bets for the main event.
Let’s get to the undercard moneyline bets below.
Ikram Aliskerov (13-1) vs Phil Hawes (12-4)
Making his UFC debut this weekend, Aliskerov has high expectations and a goal of once again challenging the fighter that gave him his lone loss, Khamzat Chimaev.
Aliskerov quickly disposed of his Contender Series opponent by kimura and secured his contract to the UFC. As you would expect from a fighter hailing out of Dagestan, Aliskerov has a smothering wrestling game where he can either finish you from a dominant top position or has the cardio to take you the full 15 minutes to beat you by decision.
He is a multiple time Sambo champion and has recently set up shop at American Top Team where he is getting elite training to help his development. With two wins over current or former UFC fighters, Aliskerov is a prospect to keep an eye on.
Looking to keep with the trend of his last four fights, Hawes is hoping to bounce back from a loss with a win this weekend. Last time out, he got put to sleep by Roman Dolidze in October. Every time it looks like Hawes has made the improvements required to take his game to the next level, he ends up slipping and drops down a couple pegs.
His wrestling was always his calling card, but he’s also learned how to harness his big knockout power by adding solid technique and discipline behind it. The first 2-3 minutes of his fight against Chris Curtis is a perfect example of how dangerous and effective Hawes could be with his striking. It’s just a slippery slope if he’s unable to get his opponent out of there because it seems that cardio issues are still an issue.
The first couple of minutes will be a nail biter for sure as I expect Hawes to have the early striking advantage. However, I think Aliskerov will find spots to stay safe, have success with wearing on Hawes against the cage, then eventually land takedowns.
That will allow him to grind on Hawes and eventually find a finish around the midway point of this fight. I think this is a bad matchup for Hawes after the two-minute mark as he won’t have his wrestling advantage to lean on to keep him safe when he starts slowing down.
We saw him effectively do that against Kyle Daukaus, but I’d be stunned if Aliskerov gets stifled here. Look for a round two or three finish for the Dagestani fighter.
The Pick: Ikram Aliskerov -190
Parker Porter (13-8) vs Braxton Smith (5-1)
Porter hopes to avoid a third straight loss this weekend, which also will determine whether he keeps his job or not. With him just turning 38 and being in a slump, I don’t see a reason the UFC would prefer to keep him around. Maybe as a favor because of him taking the Jailton Almeida fight that started this losing streak, but it would be a tad surprising.
After getting starched in his UFC debut, Porter put together three workman like performances to go on a winning streak. He utilized his full MMA repertoire to get the win. Using combinations, grappling, and knowing when to push to get the judges to favor him, Porter is a true veteran.
However, I question his ability to eat damage at this point of his career. As we saw in his last two outings, but more specifically against Tafa last time in February, Porter will struggle at this stage of his career against power punchers that can reach the target faster than Porter can react to it.
Anyone remember Rousimar Palhares and how much of a fire hydrant that guy used to be? Well, Smith makes Palhares look like a pencil. Smith stands at 5’11” and teeters the heavyweight limit of 265 lbs.
He is absolutely STACKED and you see him fight exactly how you’d expect someone of his stature. He has big, explosive, knockout power early in fights, but he will be prone to gassing out considering the way he fights.
Luckily for him, the UFC still has fighters on its roster that he can get away with his style for a couple of highlight reel wins. He is very limited in the rest of his game so it’s a knockout in 2-3 minutes or a bust situation for him every time out
Most know I’m a big Parker Porter guy, but even I can tell when it may be time to let it go. I was a fight too late last time around against Tafa, but I won’t make that mistake twice.
Now, if Smith was the favorite in this fight, I’d probably end up passing. However, knowing that Smith will likely land early, often, and cleanly here, I think he finds the quick knockout over Porter.
The other angle you can take in this fight is taking the chalk on the under 1.5. If Smith can’t get Porter out of there quickly, I fully suspect Smith to be kneeling over, hands on his knees, sucking for wind around the 3- or 4-minute mark. However, I don’t think we’ll see that from him this time around, I think Smith lands the early knockout within two minutes.
The Pick: Braxton Smith +155
Belal Muhammad (22-3) vs Gilbert Burns (22-5)
This is it for Muhammad. This is the fight that will finally earn him that long-deserving title shot if he can get his hand raised.
Muhammad has grown leaps and bounds since his last defeat back in January 2019. He is on an 8-fight winning streak, sandwiched in there is a no contest to now-champion, Leon Edwards, due to an unintentional eye poke.
Muhammad has more than proved he can be a pest to the guys at the top of this division. His ability to utilize pace, pressure, and weaponize his cardio has made him successful.
He’s not exceptional at striking or grappling, but his elite gas tank and pressure style helps him exaggerate those skills. That’s why I think we saw him finish Brady, as Brady could not keep up with the pace.
If Muhammad’s durability stays up to par, he will be a very difficult opponent to deal with at the top of this division.
Making a quick turnaround, Burns is fresh off a dominant decision victory over Jorge Masvidal back in April. Burns utilized a strong wrestling game, good power punching, and pressure to nullify the knockout power of Masvidal.
Masvidal looked unlike himself and the signs of him pointing to retirement should have been more than enough for people to realize he wasn’t going to win that fight.
At his best, Burns can put together strong striking combinations and mix in his takedowns behind it to control his opponents until a submission opportunity shows itself. He is not a submission over position guy at all, so he doesn’t often take risks on the mat.
To me, his cardio seems to be a small issue that he’s managed to keep under wraps because of the grappling advantage he normally has over his opponents. When he doesn’t have that advantage, as we saw in the Usman fight, he could falter and get finished. He is a top five fighter, for sure, but I question his ability against other strong grapplers at this point in his career
I believe Muhammad’s durability is an issue of the past which makes me quite confident in him in this spot.
I think his pace, pressure, defensive wrestling, and volume will overwhelm Burns. Given that this fight is scheduled for five rounds, I think that Favors Muhammad who has the far superior gas tank.
This will look close through the first two rounds and Muhammad may even lose those rounds, but I expect him to pick up steam as this fight heads down the stretch and I think we see Muhammad get a late stoppage, stamping himself as the undeniable number one contender.