UFC action is back for the first time in the new year with a trip to the APEX centre for UFC Vegas 67.

Sadly, the event has already been hit with some pretty significant changes since the card was revealed before the break. The highly anticipated co-main event between top contenders Shavkat Rakhmonov and Geoff Neal was pushed back into March. It was then announced this week that one of the headliners, Kelvin Gastelum, pulled out due to an injury. Instead, the night will be headlined by his original opponent, Nassourdine Imavov and Sean Strickland, who headlined the final event of 2022.

Just before the main event, the new co-main is an exciting featherweight bout between Dan Ige and Damon Jackson. They are fighting for a spot on the edge of the top 15. We’ll also see a full slate of UFC debuts this weekend with no less than FIVE debuting fighters scheduled so far, three of whom are undefeated. Finally, standout ranked contenders, Ketlen Vieira and Umar Nurmagomedov will return, trying to work their way towards a title shot. All of these matchups (plus more) are covered below and feature BLÜ’s predictions along with the Bet99 Sportsbook Odds.

Main Card (4:00 PM PST)

Umar Nurmagomedov vs. Raoni Barcelos

BET99 Odds

Nurmagomedov:  -1000    Barcelos:  +600

Over 2.5:  -260    Under 2.5:  +190

Likely trying to end this year with a title shot, the undefeated (15-0) Umar is going to take on the difficult task of Raoni Barcelos. Being in the bantamweight division, especially with two unbelievable competitors, this is sure to be an exciting fight. That being said, this matchup is one that clearly favours Umar. Barcelos has had some impressive performances, but he always seems to lose momentum as the fight goes on. To me, that’s what’s going to be his downfall with this kind of opponent. Umar will likely be able to keep a high enough pace later in the fight, as well as shut down Raoni’s offence, to win the decision.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Nurmagomedov by Decision

Ketlen Vieira vs. Raquel Pennington

BET99 Odds

Vieira:  -123    Pennington:  +100

Over 2.5:  -367    Under 2.5:  +260

With the bantamweight division being all over the place, a win in this matchup could easily lead to a title shot at some point this year. Although I think Vieira’s wins over Tate and Holm (especially Holm) are questionable, you’d have to believe that she’s a huge favourite over Pennington. She’s a few years younger, Holly Holm was the clear number one contender; Vieira seems like the clear choice.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Vieira by Decision

Punahele Soriano vs. Roman Kopylov

BET99 Odds

Soriano:  -160    Kopylov:  +130

Over 2.5:  +116    Under 2.5:  -150

With neither man making any significant waves in the UFC quite yet, this is a close matchup on paper. Although they’re both sitting at 9-2, one man’s results look just the slightest bit more impressive. Soriano has grabbed three early KOs in the UFC and has only lost in decisions. Meanwhile, Kopylov has only one UFC win and was finished in another fight. It should be a close one, but I see Soriano getting his hand raised.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Soriano by Decision

Co-Main Event

Dan Ige vs. Damon Jackson

BET99 Odds

Ige:  -128    Jackson:  +105

Over 2.5:  -167  Under 2.5:  +130

Ige was once in the conversations for a future title shot. Sadly, he’s now on a 3-fight skid, fighting to keep his spot in the top 15 and keep his career alive. Jackson has been on the opposite trajectory with 4 wins in a row going into the weekend. Not only does Jackson have all the momentum in this matchup, but his grappling heavy style is the same as Ige’s last 3 opponents. Ige hasn’t been able to overcome that style yet, I think Jackson will keep that trend going and win a decision. Though, I should point out, this will be Ige’s best matchup in the past couple years considering how good his opponents were.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Jackson by Decision

Main Event

Sean Strickland vs. Nassourdine Imavov

BET99 Odds

Strickland:  +105    Imavov:  -125

Over 4.5:  +100    Under 4.5:  -129

In a rare sight, a second UFC card in a row will be headlined by the same man: Sean Strickland. It was close, but we predicted that his style would lose to Cannonier over 5 rounds. In this case, his style is the exact reason that he should win this fight. Strickland isn’t flashy, but he uses his technical ability to win close fights, especially when they’re long. Imavov is talented, but he’s never really had a statement win. He grabbed a decision win over Buckley in Paris last year, but he also lost to Hawes in a decision at one point. I have no doubt it will be close, but this is exactly where Strickland does his best. He lives and fights in Las Vegas, spars HARD on a regular basis, does well in longer fights and is very difficult to prepare for.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Strickland by Decision

BLU’s Prelim Picks (Prelims begin at 1:30 PM PST)

Mateus Mendonça vs. Javid Basharat

BET99 Odds

Mendonça:  +266    Basharat:  -350

Over 2.5:  -123    Under 2.5:  -106

Out of all the debuts this weekend, this one is the most exciting. Not only was Mendonça a great, entertaining fighter on the Contender Series, but Basharat brings a lot of hype as well. I think Mendonça has a great future ahead of him in the UFC. Sadly for him, Basharat seems to already be on that next level. He had a dominant rookie year last year with wins over Trevin Jones and Tony Gravely. Those wins tell me he’s ready for big things this year.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Basharat by Finish

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Here I highlight some betting lines that you might want to take advantage of for UFC Vegas 67. 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.

The Underdog Cachoeira at +200

I’m actually blown away by this betting line. Cachoeira seems like one of those women who’s always around the top 15, always close to getting a big win that propels them up the rankings. On the other side, Eubanks has been on a rough skid and hasn’t shown signs of turning it around. If you still aren’t convinced, look no further than their records. Cachoeira sits at 12-4 while Eubanks is at 7-7. At +200, I’m jumping on those odds all day.

The Underdog Strickland at +105

As I mentioned above, these conditions are perfect for Strickland. He prefers being active, doesn’t care who he’s fighting, lives in Vegas and doesn’t have to cut as much weight, now fighting at 205. Meanwhile, Imavov was expecting a completely different style of fighter and was expecting to fight down 20 pounds at middleweight. At +105, it’s well worth the gamble.

Strickland vs. Imavov Over 4.5 at +105

Whether you’re siding with the late replacement, Strickland, or Imavov, all signs point to a full 5 round fight. Neither man has grabbed all that many finishes thanks to their long, grinding style of fighting. We also have to remember that, because this is a VERY late matchup, they’re likely going to be more cautious and slower to start than normal. It’s also tough to forget the fact that Strickland just had a 5 round fight less than a month ago.

Parlay Opportunities

The Short Run

Rębecki + Nurmagomedov + Vieira

The Long Run

Argueta + Basharat + Rębecki + Nurmagomedov + Nascimento

20 thoughts on “Countdown to UFC Vegas 67”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *