Predictions and Betting Picks for UFC Vegas 45 – Full Preview for the Final Card of 2021

| December 15, 2021 9:48 am PST

The aim is to close out the year with as many successful bets as possible, perhaps my UFC Vegas 45 picks, predictions, and sleepers will help.

The fights are scheduled for this Saturday, December 18 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Although the card is headlined by a potential heavyweight barnstormer between Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus, there is a real nice mix of fights across multiple divisions in the promotion.

I have attached the odds for all fights at UFC Vegas 45’s main card, below. You will also find breakdowns of the top fights to bet on, as well as my recommended betting tips for the final event of the year.

Feel free to get stuck in!

Derrick Lewis vs. Chris Daukaus

Lewis Odds to Win+140
Daukaus Odds to Win-160

If you’re betting on UFC Vegas 45 odds for Derrick Lewis to win, you’ll be happy to learn he’s the dog heading into this fight.

Lewis saw his four-fight win streak snapped by Ciryl Gane at UFC 265 in August. That loss deprived “The Black Beast” of a second UFC title shot. It was not to be the 36-year-old’s night, as he succumbed to a TKO in Round 3.

This is the first time that Lewis takes to the Octagon since that loss, with eyes on maintaining his place among the top dogs. Although it’s safe to say that, other than for radical changes, the #3 ranked knockout artist will now slip into the role of gatekeeper in the division.

Is this an opportunity for #7 ranked Chris Daukaus to overtake Lewis in the UFC rankings in 2021? Or, perhaps more aptly, it is a chance to win money betting on the UFC Vegas 45 odds for Daukaus?

I’m not sure, on both counts. In fact, I can’t really see much of a reason to bet on Lewis vs. Daukaus ending in anything other than a stoppage win for the former.

Lewis has been in the cage with the best of the best fighters in this division. More often than not, he has come away with the win.

Derrick Lewis – Best Wins in the UFC

  • Curtis Blaydes – KO
  • Alexander Volkov – KO
  • Francis Ngannou – Decision
  • Marcin Tybrua – TKO
  • Travis Browne – KO

In fact, Lewis is one of just two men in the UFC to have defeated the terrifying Francis Ngannou in the UFC. The other is Stipe Miocic.

Daukaus, on the other hand, has gained his reputation for wins over Aleksei Oleinik, Shamil Abdurakhimov, and Rodrigo Nascimento. Not to take anything away from the Philadelphian — who stopped all three men en route to Performance of the Night bonuses, of course.

The bottom line here is that this fight will more than likely be a battle in the trenches. One that the more durable, more powerful, and more rugged will likely endure.

  • Prediction: Derrick Lewis by KO (2)
  • Top Pick for Lewis vs. Daukaus: Lewis by KO (+175)

Stephen Thompson vs. Belal Muhammad

Thompson Odds to Win-220
Muhammad Odds to Win+180

Again, it’s hard to refer to a guy that turns 39 in a few months as “Wonderboy.”

But Stephen Thompson is kind of stuck with the name. Until he finally decides to hang up his gloves, of course. And it’s not exactly speaking out of turn to suggest that a loss to Belal Muhammad on Saturday night could see his moniker wiped from the roster.

Thompson is in no danger of being cut from the promotion, however. As the odds for UFC Vegas 45 show, he’s favored to pick up the win on the night. That is no guarantee that Thompson will beat Muhammad, of course, but it’s a fair indicator that he is considered the stronger fighter of the pair.

Muhammad comes into this fight vying for a shot at the welterweight title. Something that, erm, Wonderboy saw slip through his aging fingers following a sub-par performance against Gilbert Burns in July.

Ranked five spots below Thompson in the official UFC rankings at #10, “Remember the Name” is unbeaten in his last six. Five wins and a no-contest against Birmingham’s Leon Edwards have put the Palestinian-American within touching distance of the top-5.

I’ve settled on a few UFC Vegas 45 predictions for Thompson vs. Muhammad that I think makes absolute sense.

The first is that the stylistic matchup is unlikely to yield a stoppage. Thompson will likely look to point score from the outside, with Muhammad’s chin as solid as they come. Conversely, Muhammad has just four KO/TKOs and one submission from 19 wins as a professional.

Thompson has been knocked out once as a mixed martial artist. That came by way of an insane superman punch by Anthony Pettis in 2019. He hasn’t scored a stoppage since 2014 when he stopped Johny Hendricks in the first stanza.

This one could go either way. It looks nailed on to be decided by the judges, however.

  • Prediction: Thompson by Decision
  • Top Pick for Thompson vs. Muhammad: Fight Goes to Decision (-250)

Amanda Lemos vs. Angela Hill

Lemos Odds to Win-400
Hill Odds to Win+310

The top sites for betting on UFC fights have this one down as a straightforward win for Lemos.

At -400, the 10-1-1 Brazilian is considered one of the top locks for UFC Vegas 45. All that separates the 34-year-old from a clean record are a draw against Mayra Cantuaria in 2016 as well as a loss to Leslie Smith in her promotional debut the following year.

Since then, it’s been smooth sailing for the #11 ranked strawweight, who sits one place above Hill in the promotion’s official rankings. Here’s how she’s fared in her last four.

With four wins, two by stoppage, Lemos has proven herself to have some pop to her shots. Just one of her last five wins has gone to the scorecards, which is a great return for women’s MMA. As per our UFC betting guide, stoppages are much more common in the men’s game.

Although looking to have turned a corner in 2019, Hill is 2-3 from her last five. Two of those losses were very contentious split decisions, with Claudia Gadelha and Michelle Waterson ultimately coming out on top.

The UFC Vegas 45 odds are probably a little flattering for Lemos, but I’m not sure I’d back against her. Instead, look for value in the props for the fights, and perhaps consider Hill’s toughness to help her survive the fight.

  • Prediction: Lemos by Decision
  • Top Pick for Lemos vs. Hill: Fight Goes to Decision (-182)

Raphael Assuncao vs. Ricky Simon

Assuncao Odds to Win+220
Simon Odds to Win-275

Raphael Assuncao’s time in this most unforgiving of games is surely drawing to a close.

At 39, the Brazilian is showing signs that he is well past his best. On a three-fight skid, with his last bout ending in a brutal KO at the hands of Cody Garbrandt, it’s tough to see how he gets the job done this weekend.

There is an argument to be made that Assuncao still has something left to give. Garbrandt, Cory Sandhagen, and Marlon Moraes are still top-level guys. Sandhagen being the best of the lot. So, there’s not a great deal of shame in losing to any, or all, of these guys.

Ricky Simon comes into this bout holding the shinier side of the coin. Three wins on the bounce against Ray Borg, Gaetano Pirrello, and Brian Kelleher have put the bantamweight hopeful in with a shot of moving up the ladder.

You have to favor Simon on account of his momentum and, well, his style. Simon will look to take advantage of his opponent’s diminishing speed and lack of power. Although Assuncao has 80% takedown defense, Simon’s 54% TD offense has worked well for him in recent fights.

This could very well be the most boring fight of the evening. But I’ll take Ricky Simon to grind out a decision win. 

  • Prediction: Simon by Decision
  • Top Pick for Assuncao vs. Simon: Simon by Decision (+120)

Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Mateusz Gamrot

Ferreira Odds to Win+165
Gamrot Odds to Win-200

Next up in my UFC Vegas 45 predictions is an interesting lightweight scrap.

Diego Ferreira enters the bout as the dog, with odds of +165 for the win. The 36-year-old is not too far removed from the position that Assuncao finds himself in. In fact, there are quite a few parallels between the pair.

First, Ferreira was doing well until he came up against top-tier fighters in Beneil Dariush and Gregor Gillespie, which sent him on something of a spin. Showing signs of age, the fellow Brazilian is not regarded for his power and would rely more on his technical striking and speed. Both of which have, like Assuncao, seemingly diminished.

You can’t stop shots as the one Garbrandt landed from having an effect. But reflexes and reaction speed? They are things that can typically slip away with age.

Gamrot, like Simon to Assuncao, has the same number of wins as Ferreira has losses. Two from his last two, the Pole bounced back from his first career loss in his UFC debut (against Guram Kutateladze) to earn stoppages over Scott Holtzman and Jeremy Stephens.

The odds for UFC Vegas 45 favor Gamrot and I have to agree. But how will he get over the line?

This guy can pretty much do it all, as evidenced by his 6 KOs and 5 submissions from 19 wins. But still, I have doubts about his submission game.

Given Ferreira is dangerous on the mat, I am tempted to go against the grain here place a unit on the value for the Brazilian to pull off the upset. The most likely result is Gamrot by decision, but the odds here are just excellent for a guy that managed to tap Anthony Pettis out just last year.

All considered, my prediction for Ferreira vs. Gamrot is a win for Gamrot. But a submission win for the dog is one of the top sleepers for UFC Vegas 45, if not, for the entire year.

  • Prediction: Gamrot by Decision
  • Top Pick for Ferreira vs. Gamrot: Ferreira by Submission (+800)

Cub Swanson vs. Darren Elkins

Swanson Odds to Win-200
Elkins Odds to Win+170

Wrapping up my picks for UFC Vegas 45’s main card with Swanson vs. Elkins is not a bad way to end the main portion.

Swanson’s best days are also behind him, but he is 2-1 from his last three. Giga Chikadze snapped his streak with a brutal body kick and follow-up punches back in May. It was a disappointing end to a fight that Cub will have marked as a winnable fight.

Elkins turned a four-fight skid on its head with two magnificent throwback stoppages over Luiz Eduardo Garagorri and Darrick Minner to keep his head above water. A win over Swanson would mark the first time he has strung three together since his six-fight burner between 2015 and 2018, and I think he’s in with a great shot here.

But of all the fights to bet on at UFC Vegas 45 this weekend, this is probably the one I’m the least keen to put money on. Let alone call.

It’s a tough one. Gun to head, I’d have to go with Swanson to just about edge it. But with less pressure on, I’ll take that sweet value on Elkins to win. Make of that what you will.

  • Prediction: Swanson by Decision
  • Top Pick for Swanson vs. Elkins: Elkins to Win (+170)

Prelims Predictions for UFC Vegas 45

If you are looking for more wagers to place on UFC Vegas 45 this weekend, the following predictions might come in handy.

  • Gerald Meerschaert to Beat Dustin Stoltzfus by Submission
  • Raoni Barcelos to Beat Victor Henry by Decision
  • Justin Tafa to Beat Harry Hunsucker by KO/TKO
  • Melissa Gatto to Beat Sijara Eubanks by Submission
  • Charles Jourdain to Beat Andre Ewell by KO/TKO
  • Raquel Pennington to Beat Macy Chiasson by Decision
  • Josh Parisian to Beat Don’Tale Mayes by KO/TKO
  • Jordan Leavitt to Beat Matt Sayles by Submission

If you’re looking for UFC Vegas 45 sleeper picks for the prelims, Josh Parisian to stop Don’Tale Mayes is one to consider.

For a more solid bet, Gerald Meerschaert to submit Dustin Stoltzfus looks pretty good.

I’ll be covering both bets in the next section. So, let’s move on from here.

Best Tips for Betting on UFC Vegas 45

As you are probably aware, it pays to look for value when betting on UFC fights.

With that said, looking to establish a few locks doesn’t help either. By distinguishing the top bets for UFC Vegas 45 from the best sleepers for the night, you’ll have a choice of six solid wagers to look at.

Here are my top picks.

Best Picks for UFC Vegas 45

You’ve probably gathered who I consider looks solid in the lead-up to Saturday’s bouts.

But why play a guessing game when I can just lay them down for you, right here?

  • Lemos to Beat Hill – I’m a fan of Angela Hill. She’s a solid fighter and seems like a cool person. But I can’t see how she can deal with Lemos’ superior skillset. The fight could end by stoppage or decision, so it might be safe to play for the -400. Especially as an addition to a UFC Vegas 45 parlay.
  • Thompson vs. Muhammad to go the Distance – Neither man is regarded for their stopping power. Both have super-reliable chins. Thus, I think -250 for the fight to be decided by the judges is the way forward.
  • Justin Tafa to Beat Harry Hunsucker by KO/TKO – I believe Tafa wins this fight. And there’s no way that I can see these two making it the full three rounds. Odds of -175 for Tafa by KO/TKO looks like it could be a nice stocking filler.

Top Sleepers and Value Picks for UFC Vegas 45

Now to the bets for UFC Vegas 45 that come with the juicier odds.

Of course, big odds aren’t being given away by the bookies for fun. Instead, these bets do come with some additional risk. But if you know the game, identifying value in some of the markets on offer is a great way to increase your chances of making a consistent, long-term profit.

  • Ferreira to Beat Gamrot by Submission – Although Gamrot pulled off a sweet kimura over Jeremy Stephens in his last bout, he is still untested against top-class grapplers. Ferreira is a third-degree BJJ blackbelt with 7 career submissions including a win over Anthony Pettis on the mat. Odds of +800 are simply too good to pass up.
  • Josh Parisian to Beat Don’Tale Mayes Inside the Distance – At odds of +400 to win by stoppage or submission, Parisian’s price is surely worth a look. With 11 stoppages from 14 career wins, Parisian is one of the best sleeper picks and value bets for UFC Vegas 45.
  • Gerald Meerschaert to Submit Dustin Stoltzfus – Stoltzfus is coming off a submission loss to Rodolfo Vieira and faces a tough test against the notorious tap-out artist, Meerschaert. The betting favorite has 25 submissions from 34 wins yet is priced at +175 to make it 26.

Closing Words

And just like that, another year is almost in the books.

It’s been a super twelve months for UFC fans and bettors alike. I hope your wagers for UFC Vegas 45 come through for you to end the year on a high.

You can look back at some of the top highlights of the year by visiting our UFC blog. I’ll leave you with a look at my fighter of the year, as well as the top KOs we have seen thus far.

Good luck with your bets!

Adam Haynes
Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

More Posts by Adam Contact Adam



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