UFC betting: Jailton Almeida will introduce himself to the world in main event vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Jailton Almeida hasn't faced nearly the competition that Jairzinho Rozenstruik, his opponent Saturday in the main event of UFC Charlotte, has met. Yet, Almeida is a -490 favorite to win and the over-under total is just 1.5 rounds, with the under a -205 favorite.
That says a lot about what each brings to the table. Rozenstruik, who has faced former UFC heavyweight champions Andrei Arlovski, Francis Ngannou, Ciryl Gane and Junior dos Santos, as well as Alistair Overeem and Chris Daukus in his 13 UFC bouts, is one of the game's hardest punchers, but he isn't much in the submission area.
That's a problem for him against Almeida, a rising star who, since returning to heavyweight last year, has submitted Parker Porter and Anton Turkalj in the first and knocked out Shamil Abdurakhimov in the second.
Almeida has world-class submission skills but also hits very hard. He'll give up 20 to 25 pounds roughly to Rozenstruik, who has above-average knockout power in either hand. But Almeida can bang too and is extremely dangerous with submissions.
I doubt he'll look to stand long with Rozenstruik, whose only chance to win is really by landing a big shot and finishing Almeida quickly. Rozenstruik began his UFC career with four consecutive wins, raising his overall record to 10-0. Since then, he's gone 3-4 as the competition level has increased. He ended a two-fight losing streak in December when he KO'd Daukus in just 23 seconds.
He's going to have a much tougher time of it with Almeida, who figures to be looking for the takedown not long after the gloves touch.
I'll lay the -490 on Almeida to win and I'll also lay the -205 on the under 1.5 rounds.
Smith looks good in co-main event
Anthony Smith faces Johnny Walker in the co-main event in a fascinating battle of experience versus athleticism. Smith is coming off an injury-plagued 2022 in which he broke his ankle in a loss to Magomed Ankalaev and suffered a number of other mishaps.
Smith, though, is back to full health and eager to turn things around. The fight with Walker is a pick'em, with each at -110. The over-under is 1.5 rounds, with the under a -145 favorite. Over is +115.
Smith is more precise than Walker, who is wildly athletic and hits hard. Look for Smith to control the pace, wear down Walker and win a decision. I'll lay the -110 on Smith to win and I'll take the +115 on the fight going over 1.5 rounds.
This is a fight that, if Walker wins, figures to be quick. Smith is one of the smartest and toughest fighters in the UFC and the longer it goes, the more it favors him.
Other bets for UFC Charlotte
I will lay two units on Bryan Battle at +120 to win over Gabe Green, who is a -140 favorite. Battle has solid movement, which should cause Green troubles, and I expect Battle to pick him apart from the outside. Battle is coming off of a one-sided loss to highly regarded Rinat Fakhretdinov, but it was basically Fakhretdinov's wrestling that won the fight. Battle should be able to keep the fight upright most of the way and if he does, I believe he'll win a decision.
I like the fight between Carlos Ulberg and Ihor Potieria to go over 1.5 rounds. Over is +105 while under is -135. Ulberg is a big favorite at -390, but I don't believe he'll get to Potieria that quickly so I'm going to bet the over and take the small plus money being offered. I think Ulberg wins it impressively, but I'm not interested in laying basically 4-1.
I will lay the -225 and take Alex Morono to defeat Tim Means, who is +190. Morono seems like he's perpetually underrated and he comes through more often than not. Means is closing in on 40 and isn't the fighter he was at his peak, though he's still dangerous. I expect Morono to outlast him in a fast-paced fight and to win a decision.