The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to San Diego for the first time since 2015. UFC 41 will take place at Pechanga Arena on Aug. 13 with a 13-fight card featuring Marlon Vega vs. Dominick Cruz. I expect the action to be hot and heavy in several of the bouts; the following are my best bets.
Top Bet: Bruno Silva over Gerald Meerschaert to end with a finish, middleweights
This is an intriguing fight that will likely end in a finish. Just six of Meershaert’s 51 career bouts have gone the distance, and 32 of his 34 wins have come via submission (26) or TKO (6). Meanwhile, all but three of Silva’s victories have come as a result of a finish, and 24 of 29 of his fights ended before the final bell.
Meershaert (34-15) is coming off a unanimous loss to Krzysztof Jotko in his latest fight on April 30, snapping a three-match win streak. The 34-year-old southpaw is rangy and extremely accurate with strikes on his feet, although he thrives once he gets his opponents on the floor.
Silva (22-7) is an experienced fighter though this is just his fifth UFC bout, going 3-1, with his lone loss coming in his last match to Alex Pereira on March 12. The 33-year-old is a highly aggressive fighter who packs a lot of power with his hands on the ground and standing up. He has to shore up his defense to secure a victory.
I like Silva in the fight due to his striking ability, and unless Meershaert can control him on the ground, I don’t believe the American can pull off the upset. Plus, Silva’s odds have dropped from the opening line of -320. However, the best bet is for the fight to end with a finish with Silva totaling 19 knockouts and Meerschaert earning 26 wins via submission.
Best Bet: Fight not to go the distance (-360)
Other Bet: Silva (-285) to win
Strawweight: Lupita Godinez Over Angela Hill
Hill (13-12) has a significant edge in experience, but the 37-year-old has lost three straight and five of six. Meanwhile, Godinez (8-2) has reeled off two consecutive victories after getting off to a slow start in her UFC career. Both of the 28-year-old’s recent wins are via unanimous decisions.
Godinez is a pretty heavy favorite as she comes into the cage in good form, while Hill has not had much success lately. I just don’t see Hill being able to prevent Godinez from working her magic. The Mexican-Canadian has a considerable strength advantage and packs much more power than Hil does with her punches.
Best Bet: Godinez (-325)
Featherweihmght: David Onama Over Nate Landwehr
This co-main event should be very entertaining with lots of violent punches. Onama (10-1) fights for the third time since February and rides a two-match winning streak. Conversely, Landwehr (15-4) is fighting for the first time in nearly 10 months and has split his four split matches.
Onama has a height and reach advantage though both fighters are aggressive when they are on the offensive. While both combatants have defensive deficiencies, Landwehr leaves himself more open to counterattacks which Onama should be able to take advantage of with quick shots or after taking Landwehr to the ground.
Best Bet: Fight does not go the distance (-225)
Other Option: Onama (-275)
Light heavyweight: Azamat Murzankov (-145) Over Devin Clark
Lightweight: Gabriel Benitez (-350) Over Charlie Ontiveros
Parlay Bet: Two-legged. Murzankov and Benitez to win (+117)