UFC on ESPN+ 30: Preview And Picks

UFC on ESPN+ 30: Preview And Picks

Fight Island cards continue to roll on with the third event at Yas Island set for Saturday with the flyweight title on the line in the main event. Deiveson “Daico” Figueiredo, despite testing positive for COVID-19 then getting a negative test, will be taking on Joseph Benavidez for the championship in a rematch from their February bout. I have a preview and pick in addition to all the UFC on ESPN+ 30 betting odds below.

Online sportsbook [ol-sportsbook:bp:48:Bovada:26:Bodog] has released odds for the UFC on ESPN+ card and in the main event, Figueiredo is a -205 favorite with Benavidez coming back as a +165 underdog.

Figueiredo vs Benavidez | Hermansson vs Gastelum | Diakiese vs Fiziev | Lipski vs Carolina | Pantoja vs Askarov | Prelims

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UFC on ESPN+ 30: Broadcast Information
  • Date/Time: July 18, 5 p.m. ET
  • Location: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
  • Arena: UFC Fight Island Facility
  • Where to Watch: ESPN+, ESPN

Deiveson Figueiredo vs Joseph Benavidez 2

Deiveson Figueiredo vs Joseph Benavidez Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Deiveson Figueiredo -205
Joseph Benavidez +165

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

Figueiredo (-205) and Benavidez (+165) will playback their February 29 title bout that saw Figueiredo score a second-round knockout victory. Why have the rematch then? Well, Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5 pounds and therefore was unable to compete for the belt. Additionally, the fight-ending sequence that led to Benavidez being knocked out started with an accidental head clash and Joseph had won the first round on all three judges’ scorecards.

Figueiredo: Need to Knows
  • Daico tends to stalk his opponents, cutting off the cage and not giving them a lot of room to breathe. That said, he’s primarily a counter fighter, throwing his opponents engage with him or goes for a takedown.
  • He has been outstruck in four of his seven UFC bouts, including the in the first fight with Benavidez. However, nine of his 18 pro wins have been by knockout and he has good accuracy with 52 percent of his strikes landing.
  • Due to Figueiredo’s lack of offense, he is susceptible to losing in a decision if he’s unable to land his heavy hands, but that power remains for the duration of the bout and he does average 1.81 takedowns per 15 minutes if he needs to drag the fight down.
  • Figueiredo’s last three fights were Alexandre Pantoja (win – unanimous decision), Tim Elliott (win – submission) and Joseph Benavidez (win – knockout).
Benavidez: Need to Know
  • Benavidez is a veteran of the cage and has been a mainstay in the UFC since 2011, three times fighting for the title but coming up short each time.
  • He is extremely fast, constantly darting into the pocket to land his strikes and gets out to avoid major damage. He’s also great at changing speeds which allows him to storm forward and land a strike before his foe has a chance to react.
  • At times, and even against Figueiredo, Benavidez will duck his head and lead with an overhand strike which leaves him vulnerable to eating a hard shot or simply missing his punch because its telegraphed. He only lands 34 percent of his strike attempts.
  • Benavidez’s last three fights were Dustin Ortiz (win – unanimous decision), Jussier Formiga (win – knockout) and Deiveson Figueiredo (loss – knockout).

Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo (-205) via knockout

For more on this fight check out my odds analysis page

Jack Hermansson vs Kelvin Gastelum

Jack Hermansson vs Kelvin Gastelum Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Jack Hermansson -110
Kelvin Gastelum -120

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

A pair of middleweights looking to get back in the win column will be featured in the co-main event. Jack “The Joker” Hermansson (-110) saw his four-fight winning streak come to a close when he suffered a second-round knockout loss to Jared Cannonier last September. Meanwhile, Kelvin Gastelum (-120) lost to Israel Adesanya for the interim belt last April and followed that up with a loss to Darren Till in November.

Hermansson: Need to Knows
  • The Joker is a very aggressive fighter, closing the distance from the onset of the fight as he starts throwing leg kicks and searching for opportunities to shoot for a takedown.
  • He fights really long with kicks and good straight punches that have decent power behind them with 11 of his 20 pro wins coming by knockout. He also averages 5.13 significant strikes per minute and will have a six-inch reach advantage over Gastelum.
  • Hermansson isn’t solely a striker, though, averaging 2.23 takedowns per 15 minutes and has landed at least one takedown in eight of his 10 UFC bouts.
  • Hermansson’s last three fights were David Branch (win – submission), Jacare Souza (win – unanimous decision) and Jared Cannonier (loss – knockout).
Gastelum: Need to Knows
  • Gastelum is also an aggressive fighter, rarely taking a step backward as he likes to exchange hands with his opponents. He doesn’t mind taking a punch so he can land one, having never been knocked out but six of his 15 pro wins have come in that manner.
  • He does a good job at firing combinations when he’s in the pocket rather than one punch at a time. This is important because he has to work to overcome the reach disadvantage.
  • Occasionally, Gastelum will lunge in with a loopy hook which has some power but is often easy to avoid and his opponents can level change and try to take him to the canvas.
  • Gastelum’s last three fights were Jacare Souza (win – split decision), Israel Adesanya (loss – unanimous decision) and Darren Till (loss – split decision).

Prediction: Jack Hermansson (-110) via decision

Marc Diakiese vs Rafael Fiziev

Marc Diakiese vs Rafael Fiziev Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Marc Diakiese -170
Rafael Fiziev +140

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

After picking up his first UFC victory last time out, Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev (+140) looks to make it two in a row in the Octagon and pick up his 10th career pro win. To do so, he’ll have to end Marc “Bonecrusher” Diakiese’s (-170) two-fight winning streak he’s riding after dropping three fights in a row, the only three losses on his pro record.

Diakiese: Need to Knows
  • Bonecrusher is quite fast and has a lot of movement that makes him difficult to time and track down. He only absorbs 2.41 significant strikes per minute, however, he relies on his speed to counter his opponents only landing 2.86 significant strikes per minute.
  • He’s been more aggressive in his last two wins, firing off a lot more kicks early which set up his hands. Of his eight UFC bouts, he has had his most and fourth-most strikes landed in his two fights.
  • Diakiese has also relied on his grappling over his last two wins, securing seven combined takedowns and now averages 2.50 takedowns per 15 minutes.
  • Diakiese’s last three fights were Nasrat Haqparast (loss – unanimous decision), Joseph Duff (win – unanimous decision) and Lando Vannata (win – unanimous decision).
Fiziev: Need to Knows
  • Of Ataman’s eight pro fights, only his last with Alex White went to the judges’ scorecards, the first decision win of his career. All of his finishes occurred outside of the UFC.
  • He is a forward-pressure fighter and throws all his strikes with bad intentions. He does especially well at kicking range, picking his opponents apart and then they approach him he throws vicious hooks.
  • Fiziev did slow in his decision win over White, throwing fewer strikes as the fight progressed, though his defense remained and his power did as well.
  • Fiziev’s last three fights were Nurzhan Tutkaev (win – knockout), Magomed Mustafaev (loss – knockout) and Alex White (win – unanimous decision).

Prediction: Rafael Fiziev (+140) via knockout

Ariane Lipski vs Luana Carolina

Ariane Lipski vs Luana Carolina Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Ariane Lipski -130
Luana Carolina EVEN

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

Following a victory in her UFC debut in May of 2019, Luana “Dread” Carolina (EVEN) is set to make a second walk to the Octagon looking to extend her six-fight winning streak. It wasn’t as a successful beginning to the UFC for her opponent, Ariane “Violence Queen” Lipski (-130), dropping her first two bouts in the Octagon, but picked a win her last time out in November of last year.

Lipski: Need to Knows
  • The Violence Queen does a great job throwing stiff, straight punches that she uses well to keep her opponents at bay.
  • She is a little stiff in her footwork which causes issues when her opponents rush her for a takedown, having been taken down five times throughout her three UFC bouts, and only stuffing 37 percent of attempts.
  • Additionally, she doesn’t have a lot of head movement which has led to her absorbing 4.62 significant strikes per minute while only landing 3.38 of her own.
  • Lipski’s last three fights were Joanne Calderwood (loss – unanimous decision), Molly McCann (loss – unanimous decision) and Isabela de Padua (win – unanimous decision).
Carolina: Need to Knows
  • Dread is long and lanky for the flyweight division, with a long 69-inch reach, two inches longer than Lipski.
  • She has a tendency to throw her knee out or reach for a Thai clinch when her opponents engage with her. However, she does her best work when her counterpart stands at kicking range where she can use her length.
  • Like Lipski, Carolina doesn’t have a ton of head movement, though, in her UFC debut she averaged 6.53 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 3.83.
  • Carolina’s last three fights were Mary Ellen Cato (win – unanimous decision), Mabelly Lima (win – unanimous decision) and Priscila Cacoeira (win – unanimous decision).

Prediction: Luana Carolina (EVEN) via decision

Alexandre Pantoja vs Askar Askarov

Alexandre Pantoja vs Askar Askarov Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Alexandre Pantoja -205
Askar Askarov +165

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

Askar “Bullet” Askarov (+165) lays his perfect 11-0-1 record on the line as he makes his third walk to the Octagon. Looking to slap a one in the loss column, though, is Alexandre “The Cannibal” Pantoja (-205) who would have been the main event replacement had Figueiredo not tested negative for COVID-19.

Pantoja: Need to Knows
  • The Cannibal is a well-rounded fighter that is well represented in his record with equal knockout and submission wins with eight each.
  • He’s primarily a striker, averaging 4.58 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 3.53. He has little fears about standing in the pocket and firing hands as he did in his loss with Figueiredo, having never been knocked out.
  • At times, he will rush into the pocket without setting up a strike which has led to him eating a stiff punch.
  • Pantoja’s last three fights were Wilson Reis (win – knockout), Deiveson Figueiredo (loss – unanimous decision) and Matt Schnell (win – knockout).
Askarov: Need to Knows
  • Bullet is a very patient fighter early in fights, typically taking his time to read his opponents’ movements before attacking.
  • When he decides to throw, he does so with ferocity, landing 3.43 significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 2.70.
  • Askarov landed four takedowns in his UFC debut but none in his second bout, though he did drop Tim Elliott which allowed him to have top control.
  • Askarov’s last three fights were Rasu Albaskhanov (win – submission), Brandon Moreno (split draw) and Tim Elliott (win – unanimous decision).

Prediction: Alexandre Pantoja (-205) via decision

UFC on ESPN+ 30: Figueiredo vs Benavidez Prelim Odds

Roman Dolidze vs Khadis Ibragimov Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Roman Dolidz -190
Khadis Ibragimov +155

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

Grant Dawson vs Nad Narimani Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Grant Dawson -240
Nad Narimani +190

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

Joe Duffy vs Joel Alvarez Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Joe Duffy -365
Joel Alvarez +275

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

Brett Johns vs Montel Jackson Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Brett Johns +160
Montel Jackson -200

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

Malcolm Gordon vs Amir Albazi Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Malcolm Gordon +155
Amir Albazi -180

Odds as of July 16 at BetOnline

Arman Tsarukyan vs Davi Ramos Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Arman Tsarukyan -210
Davi Ramos +170

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

Carlos Felipe vs Sergey Spivak Betting Odds
Fighter Odds
Carlos Felipe +120
Sergey Spivak -150

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

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