UFC 295: Three Best Moneyline Bets
Joshua Van (8-1) vs Kevin Borjas (9-1)
Originally scheduled to compete on this past season’s Contender Series against his opponent this weekend, Van benefitted from a late drop out on a card in June, which allowed him to skip the DWCS interview process and make it right to the big show. He showed he was more than deserving of that slot after punishing Zhumagulov over the last 10 minutes of their fight, showcasing his talented striking game. High level distance management, great timing, and speed, and still a wealth of talent to uncover considering how young he still is.
Van seems to be a star in the making.
Coming into his Contender Series fight as a major underdog, Borjas fended off the grappling attempts of his opponents very well. During the process of stuffing takedowns, he was landing damage more than his opponent was doing, which eventually paved the way for the judges to score that fight in his favor. He is a slugger from the Latin American regional scene and is very tough to put away.
He throws with heat and urgency, but often leaves himself open to be countered against better fighters.
This could steal fight of the night honors, but I think it will be a fight largely controlled and dominated by Van. Van is far superior in the technical aspects and nuances of the striking game that I don’t think Borjas is prepared for. Borjas is a smidgen too wild at times, which is a style Van will thrive off, landing better counters, and getting to the target much more effectively than Borjas.
A little chalky here, but I feel safe about this chalk.
The Pick: Joshua Van -220
Nazim Sadykhov (9-1) vs Viacheslav Borshchev (7-3)
Overcoming a slow start last time around, Sadykhov went on to finish Terrance McKinney in the second round of his last fight. That got Sadykhov his second win with the promotion, but both came with some adversity. He was down two rounds on all scorecards in his UFC debut to Evan Elder, but he landed a perfectly placed knee to open a fight-ending cut, saving Sadykhov from his first loss since the first professional fight of his career.
He has some solid hands, a decent grappling game, and stellar training partners at Serra-Longo.
Training out of Team Alpha Male, Borshchev is one of the slickest kickboxers we have in the UFC. It wasn’t until his fourth fight with the promotion that they gave him another striker to throw down with. He primarily had to deal with grapplers through his first three fights, where he ended up going 1-2.
However, he did make it very difficult for those grapplers to get their game off, as he was very squirmy from bottom but also showed improved takedown defense. On the feet, he is pure trouble with his combination striking and ability to work the body. If he continues to improve his takedown defense and get ups, he will be a tough cookie to crack for his opposition.
I am really liking the underdog price here on Borshchev, as I expect him to give Sadykhov trouble with his striking game. It will be inevitable that Sadykhov tries to get his grappling going, but I expect Borshchev to defend well enough that he will start picking away at Sadykhov before he finishes him over the halfway mark of this fight.
At slight underdog money, Borshchev is a no-brainer play for me this weekend.
The Pick: Viacheslav Borshchev +110
Diego Lopes (22-6) vs Pat Sabatini (18-4)
After an impressive short notice UFC debut for Lopes against Movsar Evloev, he won over many fans even in defeat that night. He followed that up with a 94 second submission victory over veteran Gavin Tucker, but also has made a name for himself as Alexa Grasso’s main Brazilian jiu jitsu partner. In 2021 he had an opportunity to make it to the big show through the Contender Series, but he got out-worked by Joanderson Brito, who in turn got signed.
Lopes is dangerous with his BJJ but often relies on it too much, giving up valuable time off his back which favors the fighter on top in the judges’ eyes.
Sabatini had his hype train halted by Damon Jackson last year. In June, he made an emphatic return when he dominated Lucas Almeida for a 10-8 round one then securing a submission in round two. He is a strong wrestler with crushing top pressure who does a phenomenal job of controlling his opponents and keeping them in bad positions.
Often settling to secure position rather than chase submissions, it’s been tough for the opposition to deal with him when he gets on top, usually making fights look lop-sided. I believe people got too ahead of themselves with him during his initial UFC winning streak, but the Jackson fight put things into perspective for them.
I still feel Sabatini has top-10 potential, lets see if he can keep his momentum rolling this weekend.
This matchup is sure to be a grappler’s delight. Both guys are very dangerous when fights hit the mat, but I feel the wrestling advantage will be in Sabatini’s corner. That should allow him to dictate the pace of this fight when it hits the mat.
Sure, Lopes will be dangerous off his back, but I think Sabatini is a good enough black belt that he can fend off the submissions Sabatini will grind and chip away at Lopes en route to a decision victory.