UFC Vegas 69 has definitely had its fair share of troubles with not one, but two main event cancellations.
Thankfully, the event is still going on with an exciting flyweight matchup between MMA legend Jessica Andrade and the hot prospect, Erin Blanchfield. The big names are sparse on the rest of the card, but we’ll still see some UFC veterans like Jim Miller, Alexander Hernandez and Ovince St. Preux (OSP). The big stories are coming from debuting fighters this week with 6 UFC debuts being made. The biggest is Zac Pauga making his first true UFC appearance after last season of TUF, but the additions of undefeated prospects Clayton Carpenter and Khusein Askhabov are ones to watch.
Main Card (4:00 PM PST)
William Knight vs. Marcin Prachnio
Knight: -120 Prachnio: +100
Over 2.5: +125 Under 2.5: -160
Like many of the matchups tonight, these two men haven’t had the best records in the UFC. Prachnio is 2-4 going into this one with THREE 1st Round losses in a row at the start of his UFC journey. He won a couple from there, but lost in his last one to Phillipe Lins. Knight came into the UFC at 9-1 and has since gone to 11-4. The main difference between the two is that Knight has fought the tougher opponents and lasted longer in those fights.
Knight also has a significant size advantage going into this. He recently fought at heavyweight, weighing in over 250 pounds. Meanwhile, Prachnio isn’t all that large at light heavyweight. Given that size and matchup difference, we could be looking at a good Knight finish.
Knight by Finish
Josh Parisian vs. Jamal Pogues
Parisian: +200 Pogues: -250
Over 2.5: -145 Under 2.5: +114
Here we’ve got another matchup that could go in either direction. Parisian has not been all that successful at heavyweight in the UFC, going 2-2 against the weaker side of the division. On the other side, Pogues is making his debut this weekend after a win on the Contender Series. What makes it so close is that Pogues was called out by everyone on the broadcast, which included UFC president Dana White and the analysts, for not being a heavyweight. He’s fought at light heavyweight and he’s not big enough or strong enough to compete there.
That means either Parisian is going to get the win by imposing his size OR Pogues is going to out-strike him with his extra speed and striking skill. Both are equally plausible and we’ll likely see a decision here. Normally, size would win at heavyweight, but Pogues is a much better striker than Parisian. I’m sure it’ll be close, but I’m giving Pogues the edge.
Pogues by Decision
Zac Pauga vs. Jordan Wright
Pauga: -286 Wright: +225
Over 1.5: +145 Under 1.5: -189
I’d say this is one of the more clear-cut choices to make. Up until the TUF finale, Pauga was undefeated at both heavyweight AND light heavyweight. Not only that, he was clearly winning the fight before the surprise KO loss to heavyweight Mo Usman. As for Wright, he’s gone 2-4 in the UFC, losing at middleweight to some of the weaker prospects.
As long as Pauga shows up correct, he should be able to dominate Wright and grab a finish. I should also mention that EVERY FIGHT Wright has ever been in, win or lose, has ended in a finish.
Pauga by Finish
Jéssica Andrade vs. Erin Blanchfield
Andrade: -134 Blanchfield: +110
Over 2.5: -117 Under 2.5: -109
As much as I love and respect Blanchfield, we just saw an almost identical matchup for Andrade. Blanchfield is much younger and slightly more skilled than Lauren Murphy… but Murphy was just off of a title shot and Blanchfield hasn’t fought anyone even close to the same level as Andrade, Shevchenko or even Lauren Murphy. When you watch her last couple fights, of course her grappling stands out, but her striking just isn’t up to that same level.
Andrade will out-strike Blanchfield easily and will compete closely in the grappling exchanges. Blanchfield is tough, skilled and young, so a finish would be tough for Andrade. With that, Andrade should be able to cruise to another decision.
Andrade by Decision
BLU’s Prelim Picks (Prelims begin at 1:30 PM PST)
Jim Miller vs. Alexander Hernandez
Miller: +190 Hernandez: -240
Over 1.5: -137 Under 1.5: +105
This is my second favourite matchup on the card (behind the main event). We’ve got a couple of great names on both sides here. It’s also a great chance to get some money. There’s a VERY clear favourite here and it’s Hernandez. He’s almost 10 years younger and he’s always been one of the most promising prospects at 145 and 155. Sadly, he’s just been on the wrong side of some tough matchups like Drew Dober, Thiago Moises and Renato Moicano.
In this case though, he’ll be quite easily capable of outworking Miller for 3 straight rounds. Hernandez is pretty explosive, but Miller’s a tough guy; this should reach the final bell.
Hernandez by Decision
Ovince St. Preux vs. Philipe Lins
St. Preux: +175 Lins: -220
Over 2.5: -125 Under 2.5: -105
Two veterans are making their way back into the cage for this matchup. Once again, neither man has really been finding much success lately. Lins won his fight against Prachnio in his last one, but before that had never won in the UFC and hadn’t won since 2018. OSP has been more active and has also been fighting at heavyweight recently. With both of them approaching 40, there’s no way of knowing how either guy is going to come into this fight week.
I’ll have to side with the man who’s been in the UFC since 2013: OSP. He’s been more active, he’s more experienced, he’s done better against tougher and heavier opponents; with all that, he should be able to grab a decision here. Plus, being that he’s the underdog, there’s a great return considering these two are so evenly matched.
St. Preux by Decision
BLÜ’s Best Bets
Here I highlight some betting lines that you might want to take advantage of for UFC Vegas 69. 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 Ovince St. Preux at +175
As mentioned just above this section, there’s no reason why these odds aren’t dead even and really… OSP could have been the favourite. He’s been in way more UFC fights against tougher opponents and he’s done it at both 205 pounds and heavyweight. This is at 205; I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t use his size and experience to beat a smaller, struggling fighter. Might as well give it a shot at +175.
Jessica Andrade at -134
If you didn’t know how good Andrade was before a few weeks ago, her shutout over Lauren Murphy should have showed you. She’s long overdue for a title shot and Blanchfield is simply not at that level yet. -134 is one of the best betting lines you’re ever going to get for someone like Jessica Andrade: put some money on it!
Andrade vs. Blanchfield Over 2.5 at -117
Even though I think it’s clear that Andrade is capable of getting a finish, let’s not forget that this is still a women’s flyweight fight, it’s 5 rounds and Blanchfield is a young, durable fighter. Statistically, this is VERY likely to make it to a 5th Round, let alone Over 2.5; another juicy betting line for this fight.
The Short Run
Carpenter + Fletcher + Pauga
The Long Run
Carpenter + Fletcher + Askhabov + Pauga + Andrade