UFC 53: Heavy Hitters
Full Card with Selections

BET365      SportInteraction     Pinnacle

Posted at 3:15 PM EST.

This is Saturday’s full UFC Card. We’re going to attempt to use this format over the next few months until football starts back up next September. It’s a complete breakdown of the card with some wagers outlined in bold.

At the end of each writeup, we’ll post whether it’s an official wager or not. 


UFC Vegas 53

UFC Apex - Las Vegas, NV

Tatsuro Taira Inside the Distance +110 over Carlos Candelario

4:30 PM EST. Tatsuro Taira is an MMA wunderkind who has been fighting in one form or another since he was 16. As an amateur, Tatsuro went 9-0 before cashing checks and turning pro in 2018. Since then, Tatsuro is 10-0 with seven first round stoppages to his credit. Tonight, he makes his UFC debut in the first fight of the night.

The enthusiasm for Carlos Candelario in the market comes from his well-fought split decision loss to Victor Altamirano on the Contender Series. One could argue that Candelario got the short end of the stick that night and probably deserved the win, but that’s what happens when you leave your fight in the hands of the judges. Uncle Dana obviously thought “The Cannon” did enough because he gave him a UFC contract. While Candelario fought hard, he was a 2-1 dog on the Contender Series, which is another reason he may be getting traction as the pooch.

Candelario is a tough fella and a good first fight for an up-and-comer, but let's not get too excited about his cage prowess, as he, too, is making his UFC debut. Perhaps there's a reason he’s being served up here on a platter in the first bout of the night. Could “The Cannon” cause some trouble for Tatsuro? Maybe, but at 30, we have to wonder what his future is in the UFC. No offense to the aged, but he’s a little late to the party. Tatsuro is eight years his junior and has been training for this moment since he was a teenager. If Candelario is supposed to be a speed bump, Tatsuro is a tank and will steamroll right over it. Play: Tatsuro Taira Inside the Distance +110 (Risking 2 units).


Gina Mazany Inside the Distance +200 over Shanna Young

4:45 PM EST. We're not sure whose Corn Flakes Shanna Young pissed in, but this is a third straight UFC bout where she has another incredibly tough draw. Losses to Macy Chiasson (Young was 6-1) and Stephanie Egger are not defeats one should be ashamed of, but they are also fights that have not allowed Young to get her footing inside the Octagon. That is especially true of the Egger fight last October where Young (who closed as a +144 pooch) was finished in the second round with some brutal ground and pound elbows from Egger. At 0-2 in the UFC, Young’s back is up against it, but the matchmakers did her no favors here.

Gina Mazany’s second run in the UFC has gone much better than her first, which saw her flame out with a 1-3 record from 2017-19. In July of 2020, “Danger” was back in the world’s top MMA promotion, but she again fell, this time in just 22 seconds to Julia Avila (Gina was a 5-1 dog). Mazany would finally get her second UFC win, nearly three years to the day she got her first, in November of 2020 against Rachel Ostovich (Mazany was -190). “Danger” has fought once since then, a loss to Priscila Cachoeira, where “Danger” was -225 as the chalk last May.

Based on records alone, this fight might look like a coin flip, but we are going to trust the oddsmakers on this one. They’re leaning to the fight not going the distance (-150), which is uncommon for women’s MMA. That is a fact we cannot ignore. So with that in mind, we must ask, “Who is going to finish this fight?” Our answer is easy. “Danger.” She’s got a motor that does not quit and the power to stop any woman in her tracks. This one is unlikely to go to the scorecards. Extreme underlay. Recommendation: Gina Mazany Inside the Distance +200 (No bets).


Natan Levy Inside the Distance +210 over Mike Breeden

7:20 PM EST. Mike Breeden’s path to the UFC was not an easy one, as he lost his bout on the Contender Series against Anthony Romero in August of 2020 and left that experience without a UFC deal (Breeden was +180). Unfettered, “Money” went back out onto the regional circuit to make his mark, winning his next two fights under the Fighting Alliance Championship banner. In the fall of 2021, Breeden took the call from Uncle Dana and agreed to step in on short notice against Alexander Hernandez at UFC on ESPN+ 70 last October. That result did not go the way that Breeden would have liked, as he was knocked out in just 1:20 of the very first round as a near 6-1 pooch. With some goodwill in the bank, Breeden is back for a second shot at glory.

Meanwhile, Natan Levy made the most of his Contender Series appearance in November of 2020, where he submitted Shaheen Santana with a triangle choke. Levy would leave that night with that coveted UFC contract. His first fight and last appearance in the Octagon came last November in a fight with Rafa Garcia, which resulted in a loss for Levy. In that fight, he was a -150 favorite, but failed to cash. In this fight, Levy opened as a -240 favorite, pretty considerable, especially on the surface, but that number has come down considerably since open.

When a fighter opens his UFC debut as the favorite, then is subsequently bet by the market and then loses, the appetite for that fighter next time out is limited. That has been proven here once again. From our perch, that suggests there is some value here on the chalk, but how do we play it? Well, the oddsmakers do think this fight will go the distance, but it’s not overwhelming (+110). With that in mind, a finish is not out of the question here. So rather than lay the lumber with Levy, we’d rather take a chance that he comes out guns-a-blazing and does what he was expected to do against Garcia and that’s fight until there is a finish. Play: Natan Levy Inside the Distance +210 (Risking 2 units).


Yohan Lainesse +115 over Gabriel Green

7:45 PM EST. Gabe Green was successful in his second trip to the Octagon, a decision win over Philip Rowe (+115) back in February of 2021, bringing his UFC record to 1-1. A six fight win streak around the horn in 2017-18 got Green noticed, but since his last fight on the circuit in August of ‘18, “Gifted” has only fought twice. Because of injuries to both his MCL and ribs, it’s been 14 months since we last saw Green in the UFC. One cannot predict how he’ll respond to the recovery and time off from the cage. As the betting favorite, the price of admission to find out is steep.

Yohan Lainesse is undefeated, but he does not have the hype nor the respect in the market that usually comes with that and we’re not sure why. Maybe it’s because he spent his early career on Quebec’s regional circuit before moving to the CFFC in 2020 or maybe it’s because he only has eight professional fights to his name, either way, “White Lion” looks pretty appealing as a pooch.

If you are like us and are looking for answers as to why Lainesse is not getting the respect here, a deep dive into these odds may help it all make sense. “White Lion” actually opened as a significant favorite (-185) before the efficient market got a hold of this line and drove Green up to the price you see here. If that action is based on “Gifted’s” one win, 14 months ago, so be it. Yohan Lainesse is an extreme value play that cannot be passed up. Play: Yohan Lainesse +115 (Risking 2 units).


Daniel Da Silva Inside the Distance +200 Francisco Figueiredo

8:15 PM EST. You may recognize the surname and if you did you’d be correct. Francisco Figueiredo is the brother and training partner of UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo.That’s about all he has in common with his brother, as he does not appear to have his brother's championship blood running through him. Training with the champ every day can be a bad thing, as you are never going to be the focus. The last time we saw “Sniper” was in his loss to Malcolm Gordon last July in a fight where Figueiredo was a significant -310 favorite. He’s now 32 and looking down the barrel of an absolute flame thrower.

Daniel Da Silva is 0-1 in the UFC, but we’re not going to judge him by that on trip to the Octagon. In that fight, Da Silva faced Jeff Molina, who is an absolute beast himself at 125 lbs. Molina was a -160 favorite and “Miojo” was making his promotional debut. That’s a lot of respect the oddsmakers were giving him that day and we noted it.

Now Da Silva has that first fight under his belt and he’s being served up a name fighter on a silver platter. Da Silva should make quick work of Figueiredo if he chooses to. He’s the more accurate (80%-to-58%), high volume (3.47 Strikes Landed per Minute to 1.90) striker and “Miojo” is 25, He’s in his prime, while the elder Figueiredo is ready to be put out to pasture. Play: Daniel da Silva Inside the Distance +200 (Risking 2 units)


Alexander Romanov -2411 over Chase Sherman

8:45 PM EST. Good luck to Chase Sherman in his future endeavors.


Krzysztof Jotko Inside the Distance +220 over Gerald Meerschaert

9:15 PM EST. This is a tough matchup for Gerald Meerschaert (what matchup hasn’t been?). Many of Meerschaert’s wins are of the come from behind variety, which is always a tough position to fight from. It’s even worse when you’re holding a ticket on him. You’re down one or two rounds every time he fights. If you are going to bet a fighter like “GM3,” you’ve got to do it in the LIVE or In-Game betting Section because he’s always behind and the price is always better after the bell goes off.

Call this the glass ceiling championship, as both of these fighters have struggled to make it to the next level in the UFC, which is why they are fighting each other tonight. Both fighters are in their 30s and are seriously going nowhere. Force us to make a pick and we’ll take Krzysztof Jotko. He’s been in better form as of late and he’ll probably be up 20-18 or even 20-16 if this fight even makes it to round three. Recommendation: Krzysztof Jotko Inside the Distance +220 (no bets).


Darren Elkins +300 Inside the Distance over Triston Connelly

9:45 PM EST. Darren Elkins has been a tough fighter to trust over the years, but there is a reason he is still here. He’s a tough son of a bitch. Yeah, he’s 37, but that is not going to matter tonight, as he’s matchup up with another member of the retirement home.

Triston Connelly has some hype coming into this bout, but forgive us if we’re not buying in. Connelly has made his hay by outlasting his opposition, however, it is the quality of that opposition that we’d like to focus on here. Unlike Elkins, Connelly has yet to be tested by the middle and upper class of UFC fighters. His last fight was against Pat Sabatini way back in April of 2021 where he lost as a 2-1 pooch. Now he’s 36 and carrying a ton of baggage.

Not discussed enough is that Connelly is still recovering from a bad auto accident in 2019. He had surgery on his back, which you never really come back from and after the Sabatini fight, his injured discs started acting up. Now we’re supposed to believe he’s 100% and ready to go. In this battle of old men, Elkins to get the finish of what is left of Connelly is the only play. Recommendation: Darren Elkins +300 Inside the Distance (No bets) but tempting.


Jared Gordon +165 over Grant Dawson

10:15 PM EST. A style clash is on the table here, as Jared Gordon brings his well-rounded fight game to this bout. Gordon is going to make you work for everything you get in the Octagon. He’s a fighter that is very hard to showcase your skills against. He won’t make you look good unless you put him on his back or tap him out. Gordon has great cardio while his opponent has been known to gas out before the final horn.

Grant Dawson is a bulldog and that’s a compliment in that he does not quit. It’s a trait that has served him well because his technique, especially when it comes to his takedown game is not pretty. Like a dog with a bone, he does not give up and will try to drag his man down. Think of a petulant toddler in the middle of a tantrum being carried around the mall while hanging on to one pant leg. Dawson is not a power threat with his striking. If this one goes to decision, you do not want to be holding a ticket on Dawson laying a big price. This fight is far closer to a coin flip and should be played as such. Recommendation: Jared Gordon +165 (Risking 2 units).


Andre Fili Inside the Distance +153 over Joanderson Brito

10:45 PM EST. On the surface, Joanderson Brito is a fighter that one could get excited about. He’s explosive, athletic and brings a power punch to the Octagon. However, his gas tank is a major concern. Unless Brito gets the finish early, he’s in big, big trouble. Even in his wins, Brito has had trouble managing his energy. In his losses, it’s been his biggest weakness.

Andre Fili has been around longer than you might think. “Touchy” was actually neck and neck with Max Halloway in the race for the future at 145 lbs. In fact, their fight way back in 2014 was actually a pick ‘em and we all know how much success Holloway has had since then. For Fili, success has not come easy, as he’s never strung together more than two wins in a row. This fight is tailor made for him and it is not expected to go the distance (-150). A finish for Fili is the most likely outcome and that is the way this fight must be played if you decide to play it. Play: Andre Fili Inside the Distance +153 (Risking 2 units).


Jake Collier +115 over Andrei Arlovski

11:15 PM EST. This is a weird fight for many reasons. The most notable is the rise of Jake Collier from a middle-weight (185 lbs) contender all the way to the heavyweight (265 lbs) division.

What can be said about Andrei Arlovski that has not been said already? The Pit Bull has been written off more than once (by us included). If one were to try and figure out how Arlovski has come back from the dead time and time again, it would be because his fighting IQ has improved since his younger days. The Pit Bull was a reckless, violent man in his first UFC run and it took him all the way to the top. Now Arlovski is not a risk-taker and that’s being pretty nice about it. To be honest, the Pit Bull has been in “survival mode” for years. He’s not knocked out an opponent in almost seven years.

If power is the last thing to go for an aging heavyweight, Arlovski is on borrowed time. Yes, the Pitbull has won three straight, but they were all by decision. We’ve faded the Pitbull last time out and we’re not going to lay off that stance. We’d love to take Collier to finish, but with Arlovski’s tendency to play it safe, so will we. The oddsmakers are leaning to the fight going the distance (-188) and that should be respected Play: Jake Collier +115 (Risking 2 units).


Marlon Vera +107 over Rob Font

11:45 PM EST. Rob Font is a solid all-around fighter. He has few weaknesses but is also not outstanding at anything. At 34, we’ve seen the same defensive move from Font each and every time he fights. He backs himself against the cage, uses some shoddy head movement, and if that doesn’t work, it's straight to the high guard. If Font faces a fighter that strikes first with pressure, he’s very likely going to get torn up. For the aged Font, that’s when the panic sets in and then he’s running for the hills. Unless Font starts on fire and is able to keep his momentum, he is going to wilt. There is no doubt about it. His opponent is 100% the opposite.

Marlon Vera is a slow starter, and he’ll give up a round or two before turning it up. In a five round fight that figures to serve him well. Vera is a brutal striker, especially with his kicks, which he’ll throw high, middle and low. Vera would leg kick your grandma to death if he had to. How many calf kicks can Font take from Vera before he mentally gives up? Vera brings a power advantage and his gas tank is bigger too. If Vera fights his typically slow starting fight, Rob Font is in trouble. If he starts fast and keeps up the pressure, Rob Font is in trouble. Vera may be the weaker wrestler of the two, but his submission skills are enough to keep opponents honest. In a five round striking battle, the advantage goes to Vera, hands down. Play: Marlon Vera Marlon Vera +107 (Risking 2 units).

Total units wagered = 12. We will update the results after the event. Enjoy the fights!


Our Pick

Full Card with Selections (Risking 12 units - To Win: 0.00)