Francisco Trinaldo vs. Muslim Salikhov Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-192 / +150)|
|Time||Approx. 5:40 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via FanDuel|
UFC Vegas 28 is filled with interesting underdog plays, so many that I am going to bet every underdog prior to this card to see where I end up at the end of the night.
Betting underdogs in the UFC is something that I practice successfully on a regular basis. This is also something that I have written about at length if you’re someone like me who needs data to go along with betting.
This weekend’s undercard best bet features a pair of elder statesmen, as underdog Francisco Trinaldo goes up in weight to face off against Muslim Salikhov. Both fighters hold at least a three-fight win streak coming into Saturday’s contest.
Tale of the Tape
Neither fighter is a particularly high-volume striker — Trinaldo averages 3.11 significant strikes per minute and Salikhov just 2.85.
Moreover, Trinaldo and Salikhov are nearly dead even in striking differential (+0.55 vs. +0.56 significant strike margin). Trinaldo is a kick-boxing counter striker who occasionally shoots for a takedown. He averages 1.09 takedowns per 15 minutes and features excellent top pressure with solid submission grappling resulting in five submission victories.
Muslim Salikhov hails from Dagestan but doesn’t feature the relentless grappling skills that many of his countrymates share. Salikhov only averages 0.87 takedowns per 15 minutes and has not landed one in three of his last four fights.
More likely than not, Salikhov is going to look to keep this fight standing and outstrike Trinaldo, who has had difficulty making 155 pounds in the past. That likely caused him to move up in weight to face Salikhov at 170 pounds.
Trinaldo won three straight and lost a bizarre decision to Alexander Hernandez in 2019. Eleven out of 13 media members scored that fight for Trinaldo, including 86.4% of fan votes per MMADecisions.com. He could easily be on a five-fight win streak heading into this weekend.
Trinaldo vs. Salikhov Pick
Trinaldo is far from a world beater, and I do question his gas tank in nearly every fight he’s in. He badly missed weight in a win against Jai Herbert last time out, so I welcome him moving up to 170 pounds.
Trinaldo has had a questionable chin at times so going up in weight appears to be one of the main reasons that he is a +200 underdog on Saturday. Salikhov is a -260 favorite and just +195 to win KO/TKO so oddsmakers are keen on Trinaldo going up in weight and the potential effects that could have.
However, we have seen tons of fighters up in weight with success. Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and many more have reaped the benefits of not draining their body to make weight.
If Salikhov was proven against the competition that Trinaldo has faced I would be more hesitant to fade him. Unfortunately for Salikhov, he had a split decision last time out against Zaleski Dos Santos — a fight most people had him losing — which gives me serious issues with him as a -260 favorite in their very next fight.
Trinaldo’s best routes to victory are on the ground — submission and/or ground and pound — or with his excellent body kick and straight left-hand attacks. If he follows these key attacks, His +205 rate on FanDuel will look much closer to a pick ’em fight.
Five of Trinaldo’s last eight victories have been won via decision. His decision prop is +450 (18.18% implied), but I don’t love that option here. I would prefer his moneyline at +205 (32.79% implied) as I think both knockout and submission victories are in play here.
Salikhov’s last two losses have come via submission, yet Trinaldo’s submission prop is +1800 on Fanduel. This number could come down after weigh-ins but +1800 should be reserved for the longest of long shots, which this matchup is not given Trinaldo’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu background. He nearly submitted Herbert via brabo choke his last time out.
The Pick: Francisco Trinaldo +205 (play down to +180)