UFC Fight Night Betting Pick: Julian Marquez vs Saparbek Saparov

Julian The Cuban Missile Crisis Marquez is finally making his return to the Octagon after years away from competition. He has had a few injuries that have kept him outside of the cage and off the mats as well.

The UFC likes Julian. He goes after it every time he steps in there and we know that’s what Dana White loves the most.

If you missed the Contender Series this week, there was a great wrestler and overall MMA fighter on there and he completely dominated his opponent with takedown after takedown and constant ground and pound.

The judges almost all scored it 30-25 for the guy but Dana told him no contract, sir! You are going to have to do better than that. Dana likes finishers especially when you talk a lot of trash at the weigh ins saying you’re going to get the finish and then just sit inside your opponent’s guard.

Julian Marquez is not that guy. He is out there to take your head off whether it be with his fast and naturally powerful hands or the head kick that put away the highly touted Philip Hawes on the Contender Series.

His opponent this weekend, Saparbek Saparov, is a Master of Sambo but not a master of speed. This guy is one of the slowest fighters in the UFC and Julian is deceptively fast.

BetOnlinehas some really valuable odds on this fight. Let’s take a look at those and make our predictions on this matchup.

Julian Marquez (-280) va Saparbek Saparov (+240)

These betting odds should tell you something right off the bat. If the books thought Saparbek had a good chance here, they would have him down at (+220) most likely if Julian is (-280).

They don’t want you to bet on Julian. And you have to understand that if this wasn’t his comeback fight, then his betting odds would be 4 or 5 to 1. He is a very serious martial artist and I know he will be coming correct on Saturday night.

Luckily, I didn’t have to spar very much with Julian but we trained at the same gym in Las Vegas for years. He is a very funny guy but when it’s time to bite down and swing those bones, he does so with accuracy and bad intentions.

I like the over 1.5 rounds here. Julian is a great parlay piece and we will get to that in a moment but the fight lasting longer than 7:30 is even money. It’s not likely that Julian will look amazing in the first round.

That is normal for a fighter coming off of such a long layoff.

Let’s make that play.

Pick: Over 1.5 Rounds

Bonus Parlay

Julian Marquez + Kanako Murata: +111

There are several highly questionable fights on the card this weekend so value chasing could get you in a lot of trouble. The plus money on these two, though, is really sweet.

Kanako Murata is making her UFC debut or else her betting odds would be much higher. I know that her opponent, Randa Markos, is a much better fighter than her 10-9-1 record suggests.

She has defeated Carla Esparza and Angela Hill as well as another one of Saturday night’s participants, Ashley Yoder.

Kanako is 8 years younger to the day, actually, than Randa. These two share a birthday but the 8 year age gap is huge especially when Markos is 35.

28 to 20 may be an advantage for the elder stateswoman but not 35 to 27. The smaller the weight class, the quicker the fighter ages and it appears that it is more difficult for women to continue to fight at the same level they once did post 35.

Randa is a good wrestler with good takedowns and good takedown defense. She does make fights close but I believe that Kanako has the chops to take Randa down and control her on the mat.

Maybe she gets the sub and maybe not but Markos isn’t particularly dangerous so if the Japanese Invicta champion just keeps up the relentless pressure, that alone should be enough to sway the judges.

The UFC knows how big of a market they have in Japan and how few UFC fighters they have on the roster. I believe they are giving her a Murata a very winnable fight here against a decent name.

I really like this parlay, guys. 3 units!

Pick: Murata + Marquez

My Picks
Over 1.5 Rounds
Parlay: Murata + Marquez

In Conclusion

Julian Marquez is back! He was just getting started, guys. I promise you that we will see some exciting fights from this guy in the future.

I am banking, however, on the fact that he will take about 7 minutes and 30 seconds to find his rhythm. The Russian’s only chance other than a lucky punch is to grind Julian down up against the cage and maybe even on the mat.

This is usually good news for the over if you have two fighters who don’t want to play the same game. If you have two athletes like Ion Cutelaba and Magomed Ankalaev scrapping from the opening bell, maybe the over isn’t the best bet even at 1.5 rounds.

Sorry about that one, guys, but we have been on a good run otherwise over the past month of UFC picks.

Throwing Marquez onto a parlay is a great play. I feel pretty confident he gets it done.

Kanako Murata has some hype and as much as I like Markos as a party pooper, the Japanese fighter should probably be a significantly larger favorite. It is only the UFC debut that brings the line down.

Julian has a low betting line as well simply because of the time off. Both are serious athletes so outside of the first round, I don’t believe the rust or the jitters will hurt them or us.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.