UFC Vegas 85 Dolidze Vs. Imavov Preliminary Card Best Bets


The UFC returns to Sin City this weekend, and we’re covering all your betting needs for a fight card stacked with up-and-coming MMA talent.

Let’s waste no more time and dive right into the most noteworthy betting picks for the UFC Vegas 85 preliminary card.

Picks Summary

  • Azat Maksum ML (-190)
  • Themba Gorimbo ML (-240)

*All odds from Caesars Sportsbook (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review)

Charles Johnson vs. Azat Maksum

UFC Vegas 85 Flyweight Preliminary Bout

Saturday, February 03, 2024 – 06:15 PM ET at UFC Apex

Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson has had an unfortunate tenure since joining the UFC in 2022. Initially, his first three contests showed a small amount of promise, but 2023 provided a three-fight losing streak as he’ll enter his first fight of 2024 with the likelihood that another defeat will cost him his position on the roster.

  • Johnson Pro Record: 13-6-0
  • Johnson KO/TKO Wins: 5
  • Johnson Submission Wins: 4

Azat Maksum

Azat Maksum isn’t an opponent you want to fight on short notice, so we must tip our hats to the American as he’ll look to rebound versus an elite-level wrestler who built his resume on the Russian regional scenes.

Yes, Maksum fits the cliché Russian mold of incredible wrestling and top control, but this wasn’t displayed in his UFC debut against Tyson Nam. That said, and surprising to many, Maksum still became the first person to test Nam’s 100% takedown defense that he’d accumulated over a 35-fight career.

  • Maksum Pro Record: 17-0-0
  • Maksum KO/TKO Wins: 5
  • Maksum Submission Wins: 6

Johnson vs. Maksum: Fight Tape Analysis

There are no secrets in this flyweight bout, as it will be imperative for Johnson to keep this fight standing to avoid a 3-round domination. Unfortunately for him, he’s facing one of the most prosperous offensive wrestlers at 125lbs, and he isn’t known for holding much power, which nullifies the chance of a surprise KO/TKO.

UFC 85 Preliminary Event Odds & Prediction

The UFC pricing with OddsTrader’s top sportsbooks has placed Maksum at a respectable price of -190, and I have a feeling that his underwhelming debut has a lot to do with the pricing.

However, don’t fall for the underestimation of the oddsmakers because Maksum is levels above Johnson in the grappling realm, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 30-27 somewhere between rounds one and three, unless, of course, the Russian ends this one early.

UFC Pick: Azat Maksum ML (-190) [1.9u returns 1u profit] at Caesars Sportsbook

Themba Gorimbo vs. Pete Rodriguez

UFC Vegas 85 Welterweight Preliminary Card Bout

Saturday, February 03, 2024 – 05:50 PM ET at UFC Apex

Themba Gorimbo

Themba Gorimbo is 1-1 in the UFC, and his debut for the promotion versus AJ Fletcher was underwhelming, to say the least. However, he’s incredibly athletic, and you can see the raw skills he possesses; they need a little shining,

He came from nothing; he was notably struggling to eat before arriving on the big stage, and now, with MMA Masters, I expect the hunger for success, determination, and natural physique of Gorimbo to eventually shine again as he did against Takashi Sato last time out.

  • Gorimbo Pro Record: 11-4-0
  • Gorimbo KO/TKO Wins: 1
  • Gorimbo Submission Wins: 6

Pete Rodriguez

If there’s a winnable fight for Gorimbo in the welterweight division, Pete Rodriguez is that guy. Let’s be honest: he was previously matched with Mike Jackson last time out, a fighter who’s arguably the worst hire in the company’s history – aside from CM Punk, of course.

Now, we’ll see Rodriguez and his limited experience, questionable cardio, and struggles to cut weight go toe-to-toe with a young and hungry Zimbabwean native who has the coaching and backing of an excellent gym.

  • Rodriguez Pro Record: 5-1-0
  • Rodriguez KO/TKO Wins: 5
  • Rodriguez Submission Wins: 0

Gorimbo vs. Rodriguez: Fight Tape Analysis

Knockout or bust, it’s that simple for Rodriguez, albeit versus an opponent that’s never been rocked or knocked out during his professional career.

I don’t believe there’s any area of mixed martial arts where Rodriguez triumphs over Gorimbo. Without an overhand right landing flush, the former will struggle until a probable stoppage by Gorimbo arises.

UFC 85 Preliminary Event Odds & Prediction

The UFC odds have placed such a hefty moneyline price on an untested prospect in Gorimbo because his opposition level this weekend is incredibly low. And for this reason, I actually don’t mind the -240.

Gorimbo is a physical specimen and will own a 6-inch reach, grappling, and technical striking advantage. Not forgetting that Rodriguez has displayed some questionable cardio and is extremely limited in his skill set, which consists of an overhand right and… an overhand right.

UFC Pick: Themba Gorimbo ML (-240) [2.4u returns 1u profit] at Caesars Sportsbook

*21+ Seek help with a gambling addiction at 1-800-Gambler

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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