UFC Vegas 50 Main Event Betting Pick: Santos vs Ankalaev

We’re covering the UFC Vegas 50 main event: Thiago Santos vs Magmed Ankalaev. This light heavyweight match up gives us seven betting markets, and we’ve compiled the latest odds to give you our top betting pick. Place your bets March 12th, 2022 before 4:00PM ET to get in on the action, as well as the full 14 fight card. 

UFC Vegas 50 Betting Pick

Ankalaev is likely to finish or dominate Santos. I see him not as a fighter on the way out, but certainly as a fighter who’s soon to be out of the top four. Ankalaev is a great candidate for future champion in 2023. Santos has struggled in the past with boxers that have range and straight punching, coupled with quality takedowns. 

Story of the Fight

The close decision with Jon Jones sent Santos on a three fight losing streak, one that he broke by defeating Johnny Walker last October. During the title fight with Jon Santos tore three ligaments and broke his leg, still fighting a competitive bout. 
He’s up against the new blood, Ankalaev who’s just now breaching contender status after his 2018 UFC debut. Ankalev was upset by Paul Craig in his first appearance, but has since won seven straight. 

Tale of the Tape for Santos vs Ankalaev 

Fighter Thiago ‘Marreta’ Santos Magomed Ankalaev 
Age 38 29
Height 6’2’’ 6’3’’
Reach/Stance 76’’ Orhtodox  75’’ Orthodox 
Record 22-9 16-1
Submissions/TKO in UFC 0/11 0/4
Fighter Training Camp American Top Team  Gorets FT 

Magomed is the younger, larger fighter. He gives up an inch of reach to Santos, but the stats are virtually similar. Thiago has spent over half his MMA career in the UFC, while Magomed has spent the last seven fights inside the octagon, going 6-1. 
Gorets isn’t the best team in Dagestan, but it’s close and now boasts dozens of fighters in top promotions and many more to come. American Top Team is still one of the top gyms, but has been bleeding fighters and hit a wall that has brought a serious losing streak 2021-2022. Letz, Lima, Masvidal, Horiguchi, Ponzinibbio, Poirier, Robeiro, Daniel Straus, Leandro Silva, Amanda Nunes, and others are just a short list of ATT fighters that are coming off losses in the 2021-2022 season. 

His head kicks push the opponent across his center line, moving them toward his right hand.

Betting Odds for Santos vs Ankalaev

Bet Available at Betonline.ag Odds  
Santos Money Line +410
Ankalaev Money Line -560
Over 3 ½ Rounds -115
Under 3 ½ Rounds  -115
Goes the Distance ‘yes’ +130
Goes the Distance ‘no’ -160
Ankalaev by Points +135
Ankalaev by TKO +115
Santos by Points +1000
Santos by TKO  +750
Ankalaev in Round 2 By TKO +600
Santos in Round 1 By TKO  +2200
Magomed Ankalaev -5.5 Points  -325
Santos +5.5 Points +250

Ankalaev is a major favorite, and his points spread bet covers finishes and decisions that give Santos one round per judges scorecard. 

Odds History for UFC Vegas 50 Main Event

Thiago was the favorite in his loss to Teixeira at -240. He was the underdog in losses against Rakic and Jones at +170 and +485, and the favorite in his three wins prior, -125 to -185 against Jan, Manuawa and Anders. 

Ankalaev has been the favorite in every UFC bout to date, -800 in his loss to Paul Craig, and -210 to -485 in his seven fight winning streak since that debut. Ironic that he’s still not back up to the hype the oddsmakers brought him in during UFC FIght Night 172. 

Prop Betting Breakdown for UFC Vegas 50

As skill level rises, both Ankalaev and Thiago see more decisions. Ankalaev has seen decisions in his last two fights with top fifteen fighters inside the UFC light heavyweight division. The two most comparable fights for Santos include Rakic and Jones, knockout strikers with quality takedowns. All signs point to the Over 3 ½ Rounds, but I’m not banking on it. 

Ankalaev by TKO is a +115, and to me it feels like the right bet. Thiago has been knocked out by David Branch and Gregar Mousasi. Mousasi especially moves and hits like Ankalaev. 

Santos fans should look at the points spread bet over the money line. If Santos can lose a decision but take a single round, or finish the fight by TKO or Submission and the bet still pays out. 

Fight Prediction and Breakdown for Santos vs Ankalaev 

Santos beat Johnny Walker in a narrow decision. It was clear Santos was the winner, but it certainly wasn’t the comeback we were all looking for. Ankalaev’s last two wins had him winning a clear decision over Volkan Oezdemir, scoring a knockdown and 18 significant strikes.     

Magomed’s Only Career Loss

The Paul Craig fight had Ankalaev beating poor Craig to a pulp, up 58 strikes to 18 and seven minutes of control to two. 
Magomed didn’t know the time and Craig won the tap at 4:59 of the third round. An amazing fight, but also a bit of a fluke. We shouldn’t use this as any inclination of Ankalaev’s submission defense, and if anything, the octagon shock has worn off after eight fights in the big show. 

Thiago Santos’s Last Six Fights

Santos is 3-3 over his last six, losing once via submission to now Champion Teixeira. His wins were via knockout of ex-champ Jan Blachowicz and Jimi Manuawa. These knockouts were in the second and third round, and clean finishes. 
His losses were narrow decisions, keeping the pace with Jones and even out striking Rakic 49 to 36 in significant shots. 

The Close Rakic Fight

Thiago won round three of the Rakic fight and lost round two. The first round, Santos landed more significant strikes, 15 to 14, but Rakic was a bit more active. It could have gone either way. I firmly believe that Ankalaev is a much more physical opponent than Rakic, and this fight will press Santos’ conditioning further than the Rakic or Jones bouts. 

Ankalaev vs Santos’s Knockout Power 

Santos has knockouts over so many UFC names including Hermannson, Marquart, Jack Marshman, Blachowicz. His spinning heel kick is still in highlight reels of greatest knockouts, and that kind of flashy power is attractive. 
Ankalaev is mostly knocking people out with his straight right. His front kick knockout of Dalcha Lungiambula was fantastic, and his left head kick helps to corral people into his right hand. I would say that Ankalaev has a more technical kickboxing game, and as Santos ages his knockouts will come less often. You can say that for any fighter, but the Santos style is one that hinges on athletic power.

UFC Vegas 50: Santos vs Ankalaev Wrap Up

Look for our full betting preview of UFC Vegas 50 in the blog along with other promotions through a weekend packed with MMA, boxing and bare knuckle fighting. If you’re still lost on prop betting for MMA, start with the guide. Ankalaev point spread is one of my most confident bets this weekend, enough that I’d feel comfortable putting it on a parlay ticket if another bet that looked just as good came along. Look for high confidence bets to couple this fight with for a two fight parlay. 

Jacob Clark / Author

Jacob Clark had a 15 year career as a professional MMA fighter, coach, and Greg Jackson’s alum. Now, TikTok’s 12th most important BJJ influencer is bringing his sports and betting knowledge to you here at TheSportsGeek. He spends his time cooking vietnamese food and playing D&D with his family. You can meet him at jiu-jitsu open mats all over Indiana.

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