UFC Vegas 19 Predictions: Back Underdog Pat Sabatini at Great Odds in Debut vs. Rafael Alves
Odds: Rafael Alves (-200) vs. Pat Sabatini (+170)
Pat Sabatini and Rafael Alves will each be making their UFC debuts when they face one another on the main card this Saturday, and it’s incredibly tough to call a victor between the two.
Alves vs. Sabatini Prediction: Sabatini to win (+170)
Sabatini (13-3) makes the step up to the big leagues after just claiming the Cage Fury featherweight title with a win over Jesse Stirn in December and is now seeking a third straight win. Alves (19-9) submitted Alejandro Flores via guillotine on Dana White’s Contender Series last August to earn his ticket into the UFC, booking his fifth consecutive win having displayed far patchier form prior to that.
The margins are so close between the two, but the temptation is to side with William Hill USA’s +170 moneyline underdog, Sabatini, mostly because he appears to have fewer holes in his game. The most recent of his three career defeats came due to a freak arm injury against James Gonzalez, while a split-decision loss to Jose Mariscal in April 2018 might have gone either way.
Alves—the -200 favorite—has shown some issues concerning his gas tank in past fights, and his last six defeats have all come in the second or third rounds. He’s also displayed a particular frailty in regards to his submission defense, having been tapped on six occasions.
An early stoppage seems very realistic considering these two have gone to the judges’ scorecards just nine times in their combined 44 fights, but value bet Sabatini gets the nod.