The culmination of the 18th season goes down this Saturday from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card begins at 10pm ET on Fox Sports 1 and Sportsnet 360. The event features the TUF 18 women’s and men’s finals with David Grant vs Chris Holdsworth and Julianna Pena vs Jessica Rakozcy. Unfortunately, our model can only predict the main event, but there are a couple decent lines where we have decided to lay down money anyway.
In the main event, lightweights Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz will collide. Our model has Nate Diaz to take the victory, but the edge is slight. The fight will mark the third fight between the two with Diaz defeating Maynard in fight 1 and Maynard getting the best of fight 2. Both are former title contenders, but haven’t been as impressive lately. Diaz has lost 2 in a row with the first loss to former champ Henderson via unanimous decision and the second loss to Thomson via head kick TKO (his first career TKO loss). Maynard enters the fight riding a 1-2 streak over his last 3 with a split decision victory over Clay Guida sandwiched by TKO losses to TJ Grant and Frankie Edgar. The current line on Diaz sits at 2.2 to 1 and while we see some value there, we are not entirely sure of Diaz’s mindset heading into this fight after looking unimpressive vs Thomson in his last outing. For now we will hold off on placing a bet unless the line climbs significantly higher on Diaz or the over 2.5 rounds.
One place we see value on this card is in the Walt Harris vs Jared Rosholt heavyweight battle. We have seen in the past that when heavyweights enter the UFC they tend to be pretty unpredictable. We also feel that Rosholt is overhyped because of his brother, former UFC fighter Jake Rosholt. Rosholt enters the fight with an impressive 8-1 record, while Harris is similarly impressive at 6-1. As is typical of heavyweights, both guys have a lot of quick finishes. We see the current line as having significant EV and therefore we placed a 1.5 unit bet on Harris at 2.95 to 1.
In the two tournament final bouts, we don’t see a whole lot of value in betting against the oddsmakers. Chris Holdsworth has lived up to his hype coming into the house with two first round submissions leading to his finals appearance. Grant only had to defeat Louis Fisette who actually lost to Holdsworth on the first episode on the show, but was brought back when Tim Gorman’s hamstring injury forced him off the show. At the current line of Holdsworth (-189) and Grant (+180) we see little value in placing a bet. The women’s final will be contested between Julianna Pena and Jessica Rakozcy. While we like Rakozcy’s feistiness, she is undersized and overmatched in this match up. At 3.1 to 1, it’s tempting to bet Rakozcy, but doesn’t pay off quite enough to place the bet. The line we do like here though, is the under 2.5 rounds. 2.5 rounds is a lot of time for one of these girls to find a finish so we placed a 3 unit bet at 2.6 to 1.
Unfortunately, that’s it for our bets at this event. We’ll be back with more picks early next week with UFC Fight Night 33: Bigfoot vs Hunt which goes down at a special time on Friday from Australia.
Harris over Rosholt. 1.5 units at 2.95 to 1
Under 2.5 Rakozcy vs Pena. 3 units at 2.6 to 1
Here are the best odds for The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale: