Predictions and Best Bets for UFC on ESPN: Rodriguez vs. Waterson

| May 7, 2021 10:47 am PDT

As UFC betting fans, we’re used to cards falling apart. But with T.J. Dillashaw vs. Corey Sandhagen and Donald Cerrone vs. Diego Sanchez both falling through the cracks, some fans are less than happy. 

Look, it’s not all doom and gloom. Sure, the main event for this weekend’s UFC is a women’s flyweight scrap between Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson. It’s not exactly the best main event we have ever seen, but that doesn’t mean your chances of winning money on the UFC this weekend are hindered.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that there is more to scope for making a profit on the fights this Saturday than there was with the original headliner. So, if you’re keen to find out why that is, keep reading for my predictions, sleepers, and best bets for UFC on ESPN: Rodriguez vs. Waterson.

Let’s get started with the main event.

Rodriguez to Beat Waterson by Decision

If you’re looking to win money on this fight, there are a couple of things you should take into consideration.

The first thing is don’t take any Rodriguez vs. Waterson betting tips seriously unless they highlight the size difference between these two ladies. First, Rodriguez already beasts her opponent with a height of 5’7″ and a 67″ reach. Waterson comes in at 5’3″ and with a 62″ reach, which makes it very difficult for her on the night.

Waterson’s style is based on very cautious and judicious striking. She has a solid karate point-fighting style that relies heavily on controlling the bout from range. Now, how will she do that against an opponent that is smart enough to prevent her finding range? She isn’t, right?

Not only are Rodriguez’s height and reach major obstacles for Waterson. As this fight will compete at flyweight, which is a full ten pounds above both ladies’ usual strawweight domain, the bigger fighter has an even greater advantage. 

Rodriguez has only ever been bested by fighters with considerable grappling nous. When it comes to facing off with strikers, she usually has the answers.

Ergo, my prediction for Rodriguez vs. Waterson is a decision win for the Brazilian.

Cerrone to Beat Morono by Decision

This is an interesting fight. 

With that said, I can’t help but recommend betting on Cerrone to beat Morono by decision. Yes, he might 38, but Cowboy is far from a spent force. We saw how he hung in there with Niko Price in September. That’s not an easy feat, especially against an electric, energetic striker that can end a fight with one punch. 

Before drawing with Price, Cerrone lost four fights. That sounds pretty awful until you point out who his opponents were.

In order, he lost to Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor, and Anthony Pettis. From those four, you have one two-division champion, one lightweight champ, and two interim-lightweight kings. Not as bad as it looks, huh?

Throw in the fact that Morono is stepping up on less than one week’s notice, and it’s easy to get confident about Cerrone’s chances, especially when Morono is not the type of knockout prince that usually makes for a bad matchup with the Coloradan. 

The top bets for the UFC this weekend is a win on the cards for the fan-favorite. Therefore, my Cerrone-Morono pick is a decision win for the Cowboy.

Neal to Beat Magny by KO/TKO

Geoff Neal is a beast, while Neal Magny is an underrated decision fighter with a sound all-round game.

Still, if I’m betting money on Neal vs. Magny, I cannot look past Neal for the stoppage. He has the style to take the fight to Magny and score a big win in the welterweight division. If he gets it, it will be the first victory he has bagged since stopping Mike Perry in December 2019.

Neal’s last appearance inside the cage ended in defeat against the excellent Stephen Thompson. There’s no shame in that, especially since it was his first fight in a year. That loss snapped a seven-fight win streak for Neal and was his first loss under the UFC banner.

I can see Magny having early success only for Neal to find his groove and land some brutal punishment en route to a KO/TKO win. 

My prediction for Magny vs. Neal is a brutal second-round stoppage for Geoff.

Rogerio de Lima to Beat Greene by KO/TKO

Marcos Rogerio de Lima has been on a win-loss run that goes all the way back to 2014.

And guess what? His last fight ended in a loss. 

Of course, it would be very foolish to recommend betting on de Lima to beat Maurice Greene on that basis. Wagering on the Brazilian just because he is “due” a win is not the way to go. But when I introduce the concept of de Lima being the better fighter, then things clearly change.

Greene was blasted out of the cage by former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy in October 2020. And I expect a similar result for the American this Saturday. I don’t think he will find the pressure exerted on him by the Brazilian easy to deal with, and he’s almost certain to be dropped spectacularly on the night.

If you’re putting together a list of the best predictions for UFC on ESPN: Rodriguez vs. Waterson, add a KO/TKO win for Rogerio de Lima. 

Gillespie to Beat Ferreira by Decision

I like Gregor Gillespie in this fight.

The man was on an absolute tear until Kevin Lee flattened him back in November 2019. I mean, he was 13-0 before that fight, which I called the result of. Lee, a very underestimated fighter, hit the jackpot and left the cage with a much-needed win.

Can Ferreira do the same? Absolutely. He can. But, I’m not sure that he will. In fact, I’m predicting a massive performance from a rejuvenated Gillespie. This is going to be Gregor 2.0, with adjustments made to his defense to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

With that said, Ferreira has 3 KO/TKO’s from 17 victories. If he manages to knock Gillespie out, I’ll be shocked. It just won’t happen. So, how else is he going to beat one of the nastiest wrestlers in the UFC? I mean, this guy was a legit NCAA Division 1 standout that has no major holes in his striking or grappling game.

Gregor Gillespie is my betting pick. I would go as far as to say he is one of the best bets to place on UFC on ESPN 24.

Ribas to Beat Hill by Submission

As much as I love Angela Lee, I think this stylistic matchup is a dead end for her.

Ribas is a monster. A bona fide BJJ blackbelt, she is 4-1 in the UFC with wins over Mackenzie Dern, Randa Markos, and Paige VanZant. Her grappling and judo will likely be far too much for the Muay Thai-centric Hill, who doesn’t possess the type of power that will keep the Brazilian at bay.

I made my betting pick and predictions for Ribas vs. Hill earlier this week, and nothing has changed since then. A bet on Ribas to beat Hill by submission could be a decent moneymaker.

UFC on ESPN 24 Prelims Picks

  • Rothwell to Beat Lins by Decision
  • Hawes to Beat Daukaus by KO/TKO
  • Klein to Beat Trizano by KO/TKO
  • Benoit to Beat Adashev by Decision
  • Nchukwi to Beat by Decision
  • Aguilera to Beat Harris by KO/TKO

If you’re betting on the UFC prelims this weekend, check out the picks above.

There are some solid bouts above to wager on, with Phil Hawes vs. Kyle Daukaus the best of the bunch. With that said, there are some other top UFC prelims fights to bet on, so make sure to look at them all before you lock your wagers in.

Speaking of which, here are my best bets for the Rodriguez vs. Waterson Card.

Best Bets for UFC on ESPN: Rodriguez vs. Waterson

Neal to Beat Magny -250
Rodriguez to Beat Waterson -225
Gillespie to Beat Ferreira -188

The first of my top bets for UFC on ESPN 24 is Neal to beat Magny.

The odds here are solid and reflect the bookies’ assertion that Neal’s power will too much for Magny. I see this one ending in a knockout for the betting favorite, so check out the UFC props on the top sportsbooks online to see if the higher odds do it for you.

In line with my prediction for Rodriguez vs. Waterson, the Brazilian should be all kinds of wrong for the “Karate Hottie.” Although a stoppage is possible, I am set on a decision win for Rodriguez.

Finally, Gregor Gillespie should take home the win against Ferreira. Odds of -188 are sweet.

Top Sleepers for UFC on ESPN: Rodriguez vs. Waterson

Hawes to Beat Daukaus by KO/TKO +200
Aguilera to Beat Harris by KO/TKO +300

If you’re looking for sleeper picks for the UFC this weekend, I have you covered.

The explosive Phil Hawes is excellent value for a stoppage over Kyle Daukaus. I’d take this price all day. Hawes can flip a contest on its head with just one shot, and I think he will pull off a spectacular finish on the night.

Another huge hitter is great value on the prelims, too. Get behind Aguilera to pick up his 12th KO in 15 wins at +300.

Where to Bet on UFC on ESPN: Rodriguez vs. Waterson

Well, that’s it. Now you have my predictions, picks, and betting tips for Rodriguez vs. Waterson and the rest of the fights on the card.

If you want to try your hand at betting on the fights, you can get your money down on the best sportsbooks for UFC betting.

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.

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