UFC on ESPN 34: Luque vs. Muhammad 2 Odds, Schedule, Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2022

UFC on ESPN 34: Luque vs. Muhammad 2 Odds, Schedule, Predictions

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    The UFC brings an important welterweight rematch between Vicente Luque and Belal Muhammad to the APEX Facility in Las Vegas as the headliner to the latest Fight Night card. 

    Luque scored a first-round knockout in the first meeting between the two. But that first fight took place in November 2016. Plenty has changed since, and neither fighter is the same guy they were then. 

    Now, they both find themselves as emerging contenders in a division that needs new challengers. Their paths will cross once again, and the winner will have a strong case for a title shot down the line. 

    Caio Borralho and Gadzhi Omargadzhiev both get the rare opportunity to start their UFC careers in the co-main event slot. The pair of Dana White's Contender Series alums will showcase their skills in front of a UFC audience for the first time right before the main event. 

    Here's a rundown of the entire card with odds and a closer look at the biggest fights of the night. 

Fight Card, Schedule and Odds

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    Main Card (8:30 PM ET, ESPN/ESPN+)

    • Vicente Luque -170 (wager $170 to win $100) vs. Belal Muhammad +150 (wager $100 to win $150)
    • Caio Borralho +105 vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev -125
    • Miguel Baeza  -170 vs. Andre Fialho +150
    • Mayra Bueno Silva -490 vs. Wu Yanan +360
    • Pat Sabatini -510 vs. TJ Laramie +375
    • Mounir Lazzez -195 vs. Ange Loosa +165

    Prelims (5:30 PM ET, ESPN+)

    • Devin Clark -170 vs. William Knight +150
    • Lina Lansberg +340 vs. Pannie Kianzad -450
    • Drakkar Klose -600 vs. Brandon Jenkins +435
    • Rafa Garcia +100 vs. Jesse Ronson -120
    • Chris Barnett +195 vs. Martin Buday -240
    • Trey Ogden -145 vs. Jordan Leavitt +125
    • Sam Hughes +190 vs. Istela Nunes -235
    • Alatengheili -190 vs. Kevin Croom +160

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Luque vs. Muhammad

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    Although both Vicente Luque and Belal Muhammad are ascending in the division, they could not have more different fighting styles. 

    Luque is the definition of a finisher. Whether by submission or knockout, he has taken out nine of his last 11 opponents, with a decision win over Mike Perry and a loss to Stephen Thompson as the only non-finishes in that time span. 

    Whether it's looking for the submission or engaging in a firefight on the feet, Luque fights with reckless abandon and often comes out on top by doing so. 

    Muhammad depends much more on control. He's not afraid to utilize his wrestling and averages 2.2 takedowns per 15 minutes despite 33 percent takedown accuracy, per UFC Stats

    It's a frustrating style, and it has mostly led to decision wins, but it is effective. Outside of a No Contest with Leon Edwards, he has won six in a row with five decisions. 

    Muhammad's willingness to insist on takedowns without care for how exciting the fight is will make it tough for Luque to open things up. 

    Prediction: Muhammad via decision

Borralho vs. Omargadzhiev

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    The co-main event is a bit like the off-brand version of the main event. Both Caio Borralho and Gadzhi Omargadzhiev are in similar spots in their career but bring different approaches to the fight. 

    Both have punched their ticket to the UFC with finishes in Dana White's Contender Series. But there's a clear dichotomy, with Borralho playing the part of classic striker and Omargadzhiev relying much more heavily on his wrestling. 

    Borralho has a few submission wins to his name, but he's going to look to establish the lead with his kickboxing. 

    Finding space will be difficult against Omargadzhiev. The Russian brings relentless wrestling to the table and will look to suffocate the Brazilian with his forward pressure. 

    In a battle of young prospects, it's hard not to go with the wrestler here. Omargadzhiev may test his striking early, but once he gets it in his head to take down his opponent, he probably will. 

    Prediction: Omargadzhiev via second-round TKO

Baeza vs. Fialho

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    The final two fights might feature fighters with momentum, but the lead-in to those bouts features two competitors desperate for a win. 

    Miguel Baeza showed a lot of promise by winning his first three fights in the UFC. But back-to-back losses to Khaos Williams and Santiago Ponzinibbio have cast doubt over his ceiling. 

    In fairness, those two losses are forgivable in the long term. Baeza is still relatively young in terms of mileage, Williams hits like a truck and Ponzinibbio is no slouch. 

    Andre Fialho doesn't have nearly the same experience. He had four straight knockout wins in the United Arab Emirates before scoring his UFC contract and losing his debut to Michel Pereira on short notice. 

    Picking this fight is tough because of Fialho's lack of experience. However, Baeza's striking has looked good outside of his fights with Williams and Ponzinibbio. That should give him the edge here. 

    Prediction: Baeza via decision


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