UFC

UFC Denver Betting Picks: Namajunas vs. Cortez (7/13/24)

Austin Swaim
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UFC Denver Betting Picks: Namajunas vs. Cortez (7/13/24)

If you crave violence, artistry, and competition in its purest form, the Ultimate Fighting Championship might be for you.

Colloquially known as "UFC," the world's largest mixed martial arts promotion holds around a dozen MMA fights a vast majority of weekends throughout the year. The promotion has fathered some of the largest combat-sport stars of the 21st century, including Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Jon Jones.

There are plenty of ways to get in on the action every Saturday. FanDuel Sportsbook provides MMA odds including moneylines, round totals, and prop bets for each fight.

Without further delay, here are a few best bets from UFC Denver: Namajunas vs. Cortez, taking place at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado on Saturday.

UFC Denver Betting Picks

Josh Fremd vs. Andre Petroski

Petroski to Win (-115)

This is my model's strongest take of the weekend.

Josh Fremd trains with Factory X Muay Thai in the suburbs of Denver, but Philly's Andre Petroski is a tough match for him to get a win. Fremd's pair of UFC wins have come over competitors that are 4-9 in UFC overall, so Petroski's 5-2 record would be his best triumph by a mile.

Petroski has suffered recent setbacks to Michel Pereira and Jacob Malkoun, but neither have losing records, and Pereira has his sights set on middleweight's top 10. The grappler still has posted an excellent 4.32 takedowns and 2.3 submission attempts per 15, converting 54% of his wrestling advances.

Thus far with the promotion, Fremd has shown poor takedown defense (31%) with lanky physiology suggesting that's probably legitimate. His "advantage" here is likely his striking, but poor accuracy (43%) and defense (47%) in those areas don't suggest he's overly comfortable using that path to victory. He's also never scored an official knockdown, which would be a sign of power to end the fight in one shot.

My algorithm has Petroski at 61.3% likely to win, implying roughly -160 odds. He should be a larger favorite in this bout given Fremd's historical inability to keep his feet and inferior level of competition entering the bout.

Drew Dober vs. Jean Silva

Silva to Win (-113)

You're not imagining things. We just saw Jean Silva at UFC 303 to end June, and he's stepped in on two weeks' notice to face Drew Dober this weekend.

That agreement keeps Dober on his hometown card, so any opponent probably got an "okay" to face, but Silva has quickly established himself as one of UFC's top prospects. A win up in weight against Dober (13-9 UFC) will put him on the radar of ranked contenders at 145 pounds.

The Brazilian can truly do it all. He just blitzed through Charles Jourdain's 56% striking defense with a pair of knockdowns and a violent KO, and he's added 1.17 takedowns per 15 minutes. Silva also has two pro wins via submission, yet we haven't had to see an attempt to this point given so much success on the feet.

I've always been a doubter of the now-36-year-old Dober, and I'm not expecting improvement as he ages. Dober's striking accuracy (40%) and defense (51%) are poor for someone who exclusively makes their living in that realm, and his takedown D (56%) is entirely gettable. While Dober has nine UFC knockouts, his knockdown rate (1.09%) is more good than great. He's overperformed in a different era of the sport.

There's a reason Silva moved to a pick 'em despite the obvious disadvantages. He's the better fighter that has never lost or been finished, and if his durability holds, he should have no issues winning minutes against the veteran.

Rose Namajunas vs. Tracy Cortez

Cortez by Decision (+270)

This Denver card has endured crazy attrition, including in this main event. With Maycee Barber pulling out of this fight due to injury last month, Tracy Cortez steps in to potentially notch the biggest win of her career.

Cortez doesn't have the name value of former 115-pound champion Rose Namajunas, but the two have the same number of ranked wins (1) at 125 pounds. They're fairly even contenders at this highest weight class, and the pair's respective peripherals indicate the underdog should be competitive.

She has a +1.32 striking success rate (SSR) to Rose's +0.18 mark. Namajunas' best striking differential in her last nine fights is +10, so it's almost always close in that realm. Cortez's wrestling could absolutely be a difference-maker into Namajunas' 59% takedown defense, though.

She's posted an outstanding 2.33 takedowns per 15 minutes at a 46% clip on attempts. Her own personal takedown defense (75%) should extinguish "Thug" Rose's limited wrestling attack; the favorite has just 5 takedowns secured in her last 10 fights.

My model has Namajunas just 56.6% likely to win this fight, so Cortez's +180 moneyline odds are incredibly appealing. It's also forecasting this fight to go its full distance 83.9% of the time (-520 implied), which invites this prop as a nice combination of both.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.