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Heading down to Texas for some UFC action, plenty of amazing fights make up the card on Saturday. A super-exciting main event consists of two bantamweight title contenders going head to head as No. 3 Marlon “Chito” Vera takes on No. 5 Cory Sandhagen. Longtime fan favorite Holly Holm makes her return to the octagon in the co-main event as she fights Yana Santos.
Title implications, long awaited returns, and simply some entertaining scraps, let’s talk about some of the best bets for UFC San Antonio on ESPN+!
*odds accurate as of 3/24 on BetMGM
Alexander (+125) vs. Gordon (-150), 6:15 p.m. ET
I was lucky enough to interview both Steven Peterson & Lucas Alexander this week ahead of their fight. A seemingly even matchup in terms of skill set, I think both the mental game & strategic planning is what’s going to win this fight for either fighter. A Fortis MMA veteran and fighting in front of his home Texas crowd, it is no secret Steven Peterson loves to turn his fights into intense brawls. Interestingly, Lucas Alexander said that he is expecting this exact strategy from Peterson and has planned very accordingly.
We have seen Lucas thrive at being precise, patient, and waiting for his moment to capitalize in a fight. Hearing Lucas himself tell me this is his game plan and he expects the fight to go down exactly this way based on the tape he has watched on Peterson, I have to side with the younger, more precise, and seemingly more aware fighter in this matchup. Alexander being an underdog helps too, and this is the clearest “dog or pass” matchup I have ever written about. Lucas Alexander by decision @ +330 looks nice too!
BEST BET: Lucas Alexander @ +125
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Lutz (-275) vs. Pineda (+225), 6:30
A perfect way to start a parlay is by the 9-years younger Tucker Lutz to wrestle/smother Daniel Pineda to a victory. Tucker Lutz has fantastic wrestling and top pressure. Some fans even criticize him for being a “wet blanket” in the octagon, but this is the exact style that wins decisions. Before losing a very close decision against top UFC prospect Pat Sabatini, Luts was on a very dominant 12-fight win streak. Going up against a 37 year old Pineda who has only had two UFC fights since 2014 due to suspension, injury, and other antics, I confidently side with Lutz to be a very dominant leg in our parlay.
BEST BET: Tucker Lutz PARLAYED w/Nate Landwehr @ +104
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Kape (-175) vs. Perez (+145), 7:30
On a 3-fight win streak looking more impressive each time out, Manel Kape should be a much bigger favorite here over Alex Perez. As long as Kape stays under -200, I am going to smash this bet. Perez’z last UFC win was in 2020 and has since lost twice in under two minutes each time. The fight IQ, chin, and submission defense of Perez is all questionable. Kape on the other hand is a finisher, equipped with very crisp boxing and strong wrestling. He should dominate anywhere this fight goes, sadly putting Perez, who was once such a hot prospect, on the brink of being cut by the UFC. Kape to win inside the distance @ +120 is a tempting play too.
BEST BET: Manel Kape @ -175
Landwehr (-200) vs. Lingo (+165), 8:30
Nate "The Train" Landwehr is going to absolutely steamroll Austin Lingo, who is taking this fight on short notice and is just outmatched all around. Nate is a brickhouse, super durable and constantly applying forward pressure. Lingo himself likes to fight this type of brawl, but Nate is much bigger and stronger here. Nate has more fight time and experience against better opponents. I expect Austin to be smothered either on the feet or on the canvas. Expect blood, expect some entertaining antics, and most importantly expect Nate Landwehr to cash our parlay!
BEST BET: Nate Landwehr PARLAYED w/Tucker Lutz @ +104
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Sandhagen (-175) vs. Vera (+145), 9:30
This is an extremely high-level MMA fight. Chito Vera likes to pick his opponents apart until he can eventually find a finishing blow. Cory Sandhagen likes to tactically piece his opponents up, point striking to dominant decision wins. The question is, will Chito Vera be able to find a finish on Cory Sandhagen before Sandhagen wins a clear cut decision? My answer: No.
Cory uses his distance striking better than anyone. He uses knees, feet, elbows, and fists to damage opponents and dance around the octagon. He is very good at avoiding damage, and if it weren’t for a robbery loss against TJ Dillashow, he may very well be the champion today. Now one win away from title contention, there is simply no way Cory will slip up for even a second allowing Chito to capitalize. As talented as Chito is, Sandhagen is the youngest and most talented opponent Chito has faced in a long time. A bad matchup favoring Sandhagen, the hot streak of Marlon Vera is finally coming to an end.
BEST BET: Cory Sandhagen @ -175