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UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs. Royval 2 Betting Preview & Picks | Johnny Covers

Jesus Aguilar (+130) vs. Mateus Mendonca (-155)

Joining the UFC in the summer of 2022 with a third-round submission win in DWCS, Aguilar ran into a killer in his debut; losing to Tatsuro Taira via first-round armbar. He got back on track vs. veteran Shannon Ross last summer, however, finishing him via KO in the first round. The win was his seventh professional inside the distance, as he steps into this matchup looking to make it eight. 

Mendonca also joined the UFC via DWCS in 2022 via an inside-the-distance win and also ran into a killer in his first UFC fight. Losing to Javid Basharat to start 2023, his second fight with the promotion was also a loss, losing to Nate Maness in the first round back in October. 

My biggest red flag with Mendonca is the damage he takes, absorbing 6.25 shots per minute in his three tracked UFC fights. Aguilar is also significantly better on the ground, with 2x the takedowns, 3x the takedown accuracy, and 1.81 submissions per 15 minutes in the octagon. 

Pick: Jesus Aguilar (+130 at DraftKings Sportsbook)

Moneyline Parlay:

Edgar Chairez (-360) vs. Daniel Lacerda (+285)

In what will be the second time these two see each other, Chairez was initially ruled a winner in their September fight, putting Lacerda in a guillotine in the very first round. After believing he saw a tap, the referee stopped the fight, while it was later ruled a “No Contest” due to an early stoppage. An October rematch was scrapped due to an injury, but Chairez will get his revenge in this one, I think once again early. 

The No Contest would have been Lacerda’s fifth straight loss, as he comes into Saturday 0-4 in the UFC with all four results coming inside two rounds. Chairez makes a statement here getting this one done early. 

Raul Rosas Jr. (-230) vs. Ricky Turcios (+190)

The youngest UFC fighter to ever debut in the UFC, Rosas Jr., will make his fourth official Octagon walk on Saturday night. With a record of 2-1 in his UFC stint thus far, Rosas Jr. bouncers back from his first professional loss in April with a first-round finish over Terrence Mitchell in September. 

As for Turcios, his sole UFC loss is sandwiched in between two tight split decision wins, last beating Kevin Natividad in November of 2022. With more than a year of ring rust to overcome, Turcios also has age working against him, as he comes into this fight 11 years older than his opponent. 

Pick: Chairez/Rosas Jr. (-120 at DraftKings Sportsbook)

Yair Rodriguez (-160) vs. Brian Ortega (+135)

Like the main event on Saturday, the co-main event will feature a rematch as Brian Ortega takes on Yair Rodriguez for the second time in 18 months. The last time we saw Ortega in the octagon was that Yair fight in July of 2022, a first loss due to a brutal shoulder injury Ortega is just now recovering from. That came nearly a year after a 2021 title fight against Alexander Volkanovski, a fight he came within seconds of submitting Volk for the belt. 

Unfortunately for Ortega, Yair has only gotten better in the time since, choking out Josh Emmett before battling Volk for the belt in July (third-round loss). In addition to having overcome more than 580 days of ring rust, Yair has edges significant striking, and takedown defense, and absorbs 64% fewer shots. 

If “El Pantera” can avoid the takedowns, look for him to cruise to victory in this one. 

Pick: Yair Rodriguez (-160 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

Johnny Covers

Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping UFC for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as Oddschecker, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, Yardbarker, and many more. Johnny runs giving out free UFC analysis and picks on every card, going 56% in 2021, 65% in 2022, and trending at 60% for 2023. He has also made multiple appearances on UFC's official betting show "On the Line" along side head MMA oddsmaker at Circa Sportsbooks Nick Kalikas and professional sports bettor Gianni the Greek .