Looking to keep the magic of last week’s PPV card going, the UFC is moving to Charlotte, North Carolina this week for UFC Charlotte.

The main card is looking stacked right now with elite talent all the way from welterweight to heavyweight. Of course, the night revolves around the big men, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Jailton Almeida. Just before that, two of the most exciting UFC men at 205, Anthony Smith and Johnny Walker, are looking to slip into the top 5 with a win in the co-main event.

We’ve also got the return of Ian Machado-Garry who’s looking to keep his undefeated record intact against D-Rod, Daniel Rodriguez. We’ll also see standouts Carlos Ulberg and Alex Morono on the main card. All of these matchups (plus more) are covered below and feature BLÜ’s predictions along with the Bet99 Sportsbook Odds. Bet 99 is the official betting sponsor of the Area 51 Sports Network.

Main Card (12:00 PM PST)

Tim Means vs. Alex Morono

BET99 Odds

Means: +183 Morono: -234

Over 2.5: -148 Under 2.5: +116

Given Morono’s last matchup, a late notice fight that was up at 185 against Ponzinibbio, this seems like the UFC’s way of making it up to him. He’s a real top 15 contender at 170 with 4 wins in a row before that fight. I should also mention that he almost grabbed a finish against Ponzinibbio as well. As for Means, he’s 39 and just hasn’t seemed like a top 15 guy in a while. Means is tough, so we could see a decision, but I’m leaning towards a finish for Morono.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Morono by Finish

Carlos Ulberg vs. Ihor Potieria

BET99 Odds

Ulberg: -434 Potieria: +320

Over 1.5: +105 Under 1.5: -137

If you’re looking for an easy pick and a great knockout, this is the matchup for you. Ulberg is from City Kickboxing: the gym that houses all of the great strikers of New Zealand like Adesanya and Hooker. He’s also grabbed two straight 1st Round knockouts. When you combine that with Potieria’s tendency to get hit and also get knocked out, the choice is easy. Not to mention, Ulberg knocked out Negumereanu, while he was able to knock out Potieria. This should be another incredible highlight reel KO for Ulberg.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Ulberg by Finish

Daniel Rodriguez vs. Ian Machado-Garry

BET99 Odds

Rodriguez: +240 Machado-Garry: -313

Over 2.5: -158 Under 2.5: +122

As usual, you have to favour the undefeated, rising prospect in Ian Machado-Garry. He’s definitely still got some things to work on, but D-Rod’s fairly slow, striking-heavy style plays right into his game. I wouldn’t be shocked if he can find a finish with his overwhelming striking pace and pressure, but he’s very calculated. When you combine that early caution along with Rodriguez’s durability, a decision win seems more likely. The only thing Machado-Garry needs to worry about is making a simple mistake, getting clipped and getting finished. If he can avoid that, he’ll get the dominant decision win.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Machado-Garry by Finish

Co-Main Event

Anthony Smith vs. Johnny Walker

BET99 Odds

Smith: -110 Walker: -112

Over 1.5: +108 Under 1.5: -138

Out of all the matchups on the card, this one’s the most unpredictable, but also potentially the most fun. Neither man has found continued success, both love to get wild in the cage and both have a well-rounded skillset. Anything is on the table for results from a sub on either side, a KO on either side or even a decision on either side. What pushes me in a specific direction is Smith’s recent loss and Walker’s size, power and pressure.

If this fight would’ve taken place a year ago, I’d be putting a lot of money on Smith. Since then, Walker looked better than ever and Smith injured his ankle in the 1st Round against Ankalaev. I’m just not sure if that kind of injury will be able to heal properly, especially with the heavy kicks of Walker. Walker should be able to use his size to win this fight and possibly grab a finish.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Walker by Finish

Main Event

Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Jailton Almeida

BET99 Odds

Rozenstruik: +375 Almeida: -550

Over 1.5: +157 Under 1.5: -209

While this is a HUGE step up in the rankings for Almeida, there’s nobody who deserves it more in the UFC right now, plus… this is still a wildly favourable matchup for him. Almeida has been able to dominate every fighter at both 205 and 265 pounds in the UFC, only getting hit a handful of times total. He’s been able to do so with some of the most aggressive, dominant grappling I’ve ever seen. He even was managing to lift a 260 pound Shamil Abdurakhimov into the air. We’ve seen how Rozenstruik fares with grapplers, evidenced by his fight with Blaydes. If that was any indication of what’s to come… this is going to be a bad night for him. Looks like we’ll be seeing another almost flawless finish for Jailton.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Almeida by Finish

BLU’s Prelim Picks (Prelims begin at 9:00 AM PST)

Cody Stamann vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade

BET99 Odds

Stamann: -160 de Andrade: +130

Over 2.5: -213 Under 2.5: +162

It’s actually a shock this matchup isn’t scheduled to be on the main card with all the skill and experience between these two. A couple years ago it seemed as though Stamann was going to start climbing the top 15 ladder. Sadly, he then dropped 3 in a row, including losses to Merab and Said Nurmagomedov. Since then he’s bounced back with a couple of dominant wins over Eddie Wineland and Luan Lacerda.

Silva de Andrade is a bit older at 37, but what he’s been doing lately has been incredible. Like Stamann, he also just lost to Said. However, he made it a decision, plus, he grabbed two incredible finishes before that. This is going to be hard-fought from both sides, but I’m going to side with the guy who’s more consistent, more experienced and possibly more dangerous: Douglas Silva de Andrade.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Silva de Andrade by Decision

Matt Brown vs. Court McGee

BET99 Odds

Brown: +180 McGee: -225

Over 2.5: -158 Under 2.5: +125

In this battle of the UFC veterans, either man has a fair chance at taking home the win. While neither man has found continued success lately, McGee stands out a bit as having fought the tougher competition. He managed to beat Ramiz Brahimaj last year which tells us he’s still got some real skill. On the other side, Brown certainly carries more power into the matchup. Sadly for Brown, being 42 likely limits that power and McGee more than likely holds the edge in grappling. That pushes me towards choosing the decision win for Court McGee.

BLÜ’s Prediction

McGee by Decision

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Here I highlight some betting lines that you might want to take advantage of for UFC Charlotte. These are odds that favour the bettor. Although some of them may conflict with my picks, they offer a fair reward for a slight bit of risk.

Williams vs. Sherman Over 2.5 at +114

Although they’re heavyweights, neither of these guys get a lot of finishes. Also, with the way their styles matchup, we’re likely going to see a lot of clinching, holding and grappling. With all that burning the clock, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see a decision.

Smith vs. Walker Over 1.5 at +108

Unlike the two in the previous bet, Walker tends to be involved in a lot of finishes. While Smith is also involved in some finishes, he’s a pretty tough customer and tends to take his fights slow. I’m not saying it’ll make it to the end, but plus money for over 1.5 rounds looks pretty good.

The Underdog De Andrade at +130

Stamann is definitely the younger man here and has been slightly more successful lately, but hasn’t done well against truly elite opponents. While de Andrade also hasn’t won most of those elite matchups recently, he’s managed to take them to decisions. On the other side, Stamann has been getting finished. I’m not convinced Stamann can grab a finish on someone so tough and I’m also not totally convinced he can win 2 out of 3 rounds. At +130, I’ll put a few dollars down.

Parlay Opportunities

The Short Run

Williams + Ulberg + Almeida

The Long Run

Williams + Morono + Ulberg + Machado-Garry + Almeida