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UFC 248 Betting Free Pick: Rodolfo Vieira vs. Saparbek Safarov

UFC 248 FREE PICK: Rodolfo Vieira vs. Saparbek Safarov

#24437 Safarov +475 (Saturday, March 6 @ 8:30 pm EST)

This weekend’s UFC free betting pick offers the potential for a big payoff as Rodolfo Vieira (6-0) takes on Saparbek Safarov (9-2) in a middleweight bout. Vieira is a six-foot Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and a stud on the ground. He has won a number of world championship jiu-jitsu events and already has six stoppage wins in his first six MMA fights. He has three rear-naked choke victories, two arm-triangle tap outs, and one knockout — four of those coming in the first round and only one going into the third.

Safarov is a 6-1 Russian fighter who likes to stand and brawl in the octagon. Safarov is a former light heavyweight that is making the 20-pound drop to middleweight for the first time. Safarov started his career 8-0 with eight finishes (seven in the first round) before losing his next two fights. He hasn’t fought in a nearly a calendar year since a decision win over Nicolae Negumereanu. The time off should give Safarov plenty of opportunity to learn from his mistakes and fine-tune his game.

Both fighters are in their early 30’s and there is no secret how each wants to approach this fight. Vieira thrives on the ground and will be looking to take the fight there from the opening bell while Safarov wants to keep this one standing and end it with his fists. Safarov is the bigger fighter with a five-inch reach advantage that should be a big asset as he looks to pull off the huge upset.

Vieira is currently sitting around a -700 favorite while you can get Safarov for just shy of +500. Safarov hasn’t looked very technical in his fights but the extended time off should give him plenty of time to address some of his biggest issues. Vieira has had over 200 days off as well and had some shaky moments in his UFC debut. Neither fighter is as fine-tuned in their craft to as they need to be to climb the rankings but this fight will be a big building block for whoever gets the win.

Vieira may be the better fighter but he hasn’t earned this type of betting market respect, especially against a fighter who can end it with one punch. Safarov is all raw power he’ll no doubt need to have one of his best fights to earn the victory but as long as he can avoid the submission, he’s got an excellent chance to steal one here. The capable underdog offering a lot of value is the route to go.

Brandon Wittmeyer

Brandon Wittmeyer is a professional gambler in Las Vegas and has earned a living doing so for the last 15 years. He specializes in college football, college basketball, NFL and mixed martial arts. He also educates and advises others on many gambling topics including sports betting and poker. Brandon is featured occasionally on the Vegas Sports Information Network (VSIN) and you can hear him on podcasts regularly. He has written for Card Player magazine in the past about betting and poker strategies. His poker resume includes winning a World Series of Poker Bracelet and a WSOP Circuit Ring.