Predictions for UFC Vegas 44 – Picks and Sleepers for All Fights on the Night

| December 1, 2021 9:23 am PST

Following a two-week break, the UFC is back at the Apex for the first event of December.

Jose Aldo takes on Rob Font in the main event, but there are some other potential crackers on the card to look out for.

I’ll be providing odds and picks for UFC Vegas 44, with predictions for every fight on the card. If you’re looking for a bit of insight into the best bouts of the weekend, I’ll be picking them apart for you as well.

Let’s get down to business with the main event and work our way through the rest of the card.

Rob Font vs. Jose Aldo

  • Odds for Font: -150
  • Odds for Aldo: +120
  • Division: Bantamweight

There was a time when Jose Aldo sat on top of the UFC’s official pound-for-pound rankings list.

The former featherweight champion’s days at the top of the pile might be over. But despite his downfall, he’s still among the top charges in a stacked bantamweight division.

As the betting odds for Aldo vs. Font show, “Scarface” is no walkover. A win against #4 contender Rob Font would ensure that he remains in the reckoning for a title shot at some point down the line.

The most obvious of my predictions for UFC Vegas 44 is that this fight will be a pure battle on the feet.

Font, who has gone 9-3 in the UFC, is currently looking to make it five wins on the bounce. If he gets past the slower but still game Aldo, he will find himself elevated to the upper echelons of 135-pounds alongside the best of the best in that weight class.

I recently put together my alternative list ranking the best fighters in the UFC, and here’s how I see the top five (including the champion, Sterling, at the top).

  • Aljamain Sterling
  • Petr Yan
  • T.J. Dillashaw
  • Cory Sandhagen
  • Rob Font

Although not as much of a glamourous prospect as some of the men above, there’s no doubt that Font is a major threat to every single man at bantamweight.

Having put away both Cody Garbrandt and Marlon Moraes in his last two, a win over the legendary Aldo guarantees a rise in stock for the Bostonian.

If you’re thinking it’s going to be easy money and getting your bets on Font to beat Aldo will guarantee a payday, think again. This is no walk in the park for Font, with Aldo looking pretty good in his back-to-back victories over Moraes and Pedro Munhoz.

The reality of this situation is that making a betting pick for Font vs. Aldo is tough. I can see viable pathways to victory for both men, with either more than capable of dusting up the other.

With all things considered, I give the slightest of advantages to Font. But that’s not enough for me to bet on him to win.

  • Prediction: Font by Decision
  • Best Bet: Fight to End Over 3.5 Rounds (-175)

Brad Riddell vs. Rafael Fiziev

  • Odds for Riddell: +105
  • Odds for Fiziev: -125
  • Division: Lightweight

Of my top predictions for UFC Vegas 44, I’d wager hard on this being the fight of the night.

Of course, you’ll struggle to find a market for such a scenario. Even with the best UFC betting sites.

On the other hand, there are multiple odds for Riddell vs. Fiziev to get your teeth stuck into. And I’ll get the best of them once I have provided you with a breakdown of this potential lightweight classic.

Let’s start with Riddell, who has really caught the eye of fans since joining the promotion back in 2019.

Part of the world-famous City Kickboxing team, the Kiwi is a crisp striker that brings a smart game plan into the cage. I guess some of the guys he trains with will have had such an effect on his game.

  • Israel Adesanya 
  • Alexander Volkanovski 
  • Dan Hooker 
  • Kai Kara-France 
  • Shane Young 
  • Carlos Ulberg 

Although Riddell is some way off the success of world champion stablemates Adesanya and Volkanovski, he’s a solid fighter.

Taking it to him on the night is Kyrgyzstan’s Rafael Fiziev.

A dangerous Muay Thai fighter, Magomed Mustafaev has been the only man to beat him in the paid ranks. That loss came back in his Octagon debut in 2019, but it’s been smooth sailing since then.

The odds for Fiziev to beat Riddell make him the slightest of favorites. And to be completely fair, it’s not difficult to understand the oddsmakers’ logic behind this one.

Fiziev has six KO/TKOs from 10 wins while Riddell has five from 10. Neither guy has really been that explosive on the feet, with most of their combined fights in the UFC ending on the scorecards.

But that brutal KO of Renato Moicano elevates “Ataman” just that bit further to the left of the UFC Vegas 44 line for this one.

Riddell has a chin of granite, but Fiziev has an arsenal of weapons that could see him up against the fence more than he would like on the night.

It’ll be close. It could go either way, although is unlikely to end in a stoppage.

  • Prediction: Fiziev by Decision
  • Best Bet: Fight Goes to Decision (-175)

Clay Guida vs. Leonardo Santos

  • Odds for Guida: +160
  • Odds for Santos: -190
  • Division: Lightweight

With a combined aged of 80, these two veterans are unlikely to have much left in the tank.

So, if you’re gambling on UFC Vegas 44 producing the next men’s lightweight champion of the world, it’s safe to say that this is not the fight that will produce him.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing what these men can do.

A longtime fan of both, I think Guida is up against it here on the night. At 39, he’s the younger of the pair by two years, but that’s not going to be much of an advantage.

Incredibly, Santos was unbeaten in 13 straight fights before being stopped by then 16-1 Grant Dawson in October. That snapped a six-fight win streak in the UFC.

Granted, Santos did have almost three years out of the cage between his wins over Adriano Martins and Stevie Ray in October 2016 and June 2019, respectively, so don’t pay too much attention to that record.

Guida has traditionally struggled with better grapplers. Santos is a better grappler than “The Carpenter” is, and I think he could be looking at his tenth career submission on the night.

  • Prediction: Santos by Submission
  • Best Bet: Santos by Submission (+500)

Jimmy Crute vs. Jamahal Hill

  • Odds for Crute: -190
  • Odds for Hill: +150
  • Division: Light Heavyweight

Again, this should be another top-class piece of entertainment.

Here we have two promising upstarts in the light heavyweight division looking to make their case for a spot in the top-10 at 205-pounds.

Crute is ranked just once place above Hill at #13 in the official UFC rankings, making this a great bit of matchmaking. The winner could elevate themselves a spot or two higher on the list, depending on their performance.

The betting odds for UFC Vegas 44 favor a win for the 12-2 Aussie, who was last seen inside the cage in April. That night, a doctor’s stoppage ended what could have been a massive win over former title challenger Anthony Smith.

Hill’s last fight was just as disappointing. The American was stopped in the first round by Scotland’s Paul Craig in June, which was deflating given his career-best win over Ovince Saint Preux the previous December.

The more experienced players know that MMA math is a dangerous formula to play around with learning how to bet on UFC fights. Still, it’s worth pointing out that Crute has a win over Paul.

Furthermore, he has proven himself against a better clutch of opponents when compared with his rival.

I like the odds for Crute by submission (+280). But the KO/TKO is also on the cards here, so perhaps Crute to win inside the distance makes more sense.

  • Prediction: Crute by Submission
  • Best Bet: Crute to Win Inside the Distance (+105)

Brendan Allen vs. Chris Curtis

  • Odds for Allen: -350
  • Odds for Curtis: +275
  • Division: Middleweight

If you’re gambling on the main card, the longest odds for UFC Vegas 44 come in this bout.

Naturally, there are two questions to answer. The first is why is Allen a favorite? The second, of course, is there a chance that Curtis could pull off an upset?

First, Allen is the superior fighter. A former LFA middleweight champion, “All In” is 5-1 since joining the UFC with his only loss coming to the #7 ranked middleweight, Sean Strickland.

Secondly, Curtis can pull off an upset. He smashed -350 favorite Phil Hawes in early November and will feel confident of doing the same to Allen.

Unfortunately for Curtis, Allen is not going to walk into his shots with his hands down. Likely, he will be far more measured and smarter on the uptake.

It’s rare to see so many potential submissions on a card. But if you’re betting on UFC Vegas 44, I’d consider Allen to wrap Curtis up in this fight.

I’ll be looking at some odds ad top sleepers for the UFC this weekend a little later. Stick with me for those as I might be touching on this one again.

  • Prediction: Allen by Submission
  • Best Bet: Allen by Submission (+180)

UFC Vegas 44 Predictions – The Prelims

You can find my prelims predictions for UFC Vegas 44, below.

  • Dusko Todorovic to beat Maki Pitolo by KO/TKO
  • Manel Kape to Beat Zhalgas Zhumagulov by KO/TKO
  • Jake Matthews to Beat Jeremiah Wells by Decision
  • Cheyanne Vlismas to Beat Mallory Martin by Decision
  • William Knight to Beat Alonzo Menifield by KO/TKO
  • Claudio Puelles to Beat Chris Gruetzemacher by Decision
  • Azamat Murzakanov to Beat Jared Vanderaa by Submission
  • Alex Morono to Beat Mickey Gall by KO/TKO
  • Louis Smolka to Beat Vince Morales by Submission

There are some good fights to bet on this Saturday on the undercard.

Todorovic vs. Pitolo should be fire, with both men looking to match each other on the feet. I think Dusco gets this one done, however.

Both Kape vs. Zhumagulov and Menifield vs. Knight will be in a similar vein, with pure violence set to go down in these scraps. There’s money to be made if you can nail your picks for UFC Vegas 44, especially on these fights.

Let’s take a look over the top bets and sleepers for the Aldo vs. Font card.

Recommended Picks for UFC Vegas 44

Let’s take a look at the top bets for UFC Vegas 44.

Vlismas vs. Martin to go to Decision-250
Azamat Murzakanov to Win-225
Crute to Win-190

Although nowhere near the top of my rankings of the best female UFC fighters in 2021, that doesn’t matter for Vlismas or Martin.

What does, however, is the UFC Vegas 44 bets you place ahead of Saturday’s fight. And backing these two ladies to go the distance is a smart move.

Knockouts are much rarer in women’s MMA than with men. Both of these fighters have two each, which makes for a combined four from 13 fights.

The next of my recommended bets for UFC Vegas 44 is to get on Azamat Murzakanov for the win.

Aptly known as “The Professional,” Murzakanov is 10-0 with eight stoppages. Fellow Contender Series alumnus, Jared Vanderaa, will struggle with his power.

Finally, I like the look of Jimmy Crute to win. Although, at -190, he won’t be for everyone. He’s near to evens to win inside the distance if that’s better for you?

Top UFC Vegas 44 Sleepers and Value Picks

Santos to Win by Submission+500
Curtis to Win by KO/TKO+450
Knight to Win by KO/TKO+300

Santos to submit Guida is +500.

I can’t wrap my head around that one but will gladly fill my boots up. It’s the best sleeper for the UFC Vegas 44 card this weekend, by some distance.

Funnily enough, you can more value on something that is likelier to happen than you can on Curtis knocking out Allen.

Yes, I know Allen should beat Curtis. I said as much above.

But offering +450 on a guy that has knocked out Phil Hawes — and a total of six from seven of his last opponents beaten — is worth some pocket change.

The same could be said for Knight to catch Menifield cold.

I mean, this is excellent value for anyone looking for the best sleepers, value bets, or longshots for UFC Vegas 44 this weekend.

That Brings Us to a Close

That’s a wrap for my predictions and picks for UFC Vegas 44.

I hope the content above has helped you to get your bets together for the big fights this weekend.

For more recommended bets, head over to our MMA picks section. For the latest insight, views, and betting material, our UFC blog is where it’s at.

With 2022 on the horizon, there are some huge fights on the cards that everyone wants to see.

I’ll leave you with a fight that isn’t as quite in demand as others but could be one of the strangest bouts we’ll ever witness inside the Octagon.

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Until next time!

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.

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