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UFC on FOX 22 Odds: VanZant vs. Waterson Picks

Michelle Waterson(13-4-0) @ Paige VanZant(7-2-0)

  • Where: Golden 1 Center. Sacramento, California
  • When: December 17, 2016 8:00 pm EST
  • Moneyline: VanZant (-120) vs. Waterson (-110)
  • Over / Under: Over 4.5 rounds (-150) vs. Under 4.5 rounds (+130)

Paige VanZant looks to resume her climb up the strawweight division when she faces off against Michelle Waterson as the headline bout of UFC on Fox 22 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.

VanZant (7-2-0), ranked eighth in her weight class, has only fought once in the calendar year but it was a victorious one as she recorded a second-round knockout of Bec Rawlings on Aug. 27 in Vancouver. The runner-up in this season’s “Dancing with the Stars,” this fight is a homecoming of sorts for VanZant, who fights for Team Alpha Male out of Sacramento.

VanZant vs Waterson Best BetsThe 22-year-old combines a quick pace with some lethal accuracy — she lands 3.54 significant strikes per minute and 53.27 percent of her attempts land successfully. Her KO of Rawlings was the second of her career and first since 2014, but more importantly, it was a strong bounce back after losing via submission to Rose Namajunas in a very one-sided fight back in December of 2015.

Waterson (13-4-0) is fighting for the first time since defeating Angela Magana by submission 17 months ago. That was her only fight in the UFC thus far since a knee injury has kept her on the sidelines until now. The former Invicta FC Atomweight champion has recorded eight of her 13 wins by submission, highlighted by a victory over Jessica Penne to win the Invicta belt, a stat which belies a smart ground game.

VanZant vs. Waterson fight preview and betting tips

After her success on “Dancing with the Stars” and the commercial savvy of Team Alpha Male, this is a big bout for VanZant, especially given the quality at the top of her division. Joanna Jedrezjczyk is a dominant strap holder, and No. 1 contender Claudia Gadelha’s only two losses have come to the champ.

Additionally, Namajunas is fifth in the division, and an impressive victory over Waterson could land VanZant a potential rematch that could serve as a springboard to a title shot in 2017. That, coupled with the ring rust Waterson will have in facing a pressing opponent such as VanZant, makes a wager on “12 Gauge” at -120 odds a strong play here.

Northcutt vs. Gall fight preview and betting tips

The other headliner on the card features Sage Northcutt versus Mickey Gall. Northcutt (8-1-0) is trying his luck as a welterweight for the second time after being forced to tap out by Bryan Barbarena in the second round in January. The 20-year-old licked his wounds in the lightweight division, winning a unanimous decision over Enrique Marin before jumping up a division once more.

Gall, meanwhile, is a true welterweight and has some name recognition despite only three fights. The 24-year-old gave WWE superstar CM Punk a rude welcome to mixed martial arts with a savage beating capped by a submission via chokehold in the first round in September.

This will be the first real test for Gall given the lack of true quality MMA skills his two UFC opponents had. And with Northcutt trying to muscle his way into a very competitive welterweight division, the youngster from Katy, Texas, also has plenty at stake. While Northcutt probably learned some lessons from his loss to Barbarena, the pick here is to take Gall at the -125 odds established by the Bovada Sportsbook.

Chris AltrudaThis article was written by Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has spent more than two decades as a sportswriter, first for ESPN SportsTicker in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he rose to the level of college sports coordinator and was NCAA Men's Basketball Columnist. From there, he moved onto The Associated Press, where Chris started as an editorial assistant in their MegaSports division in the AP's headquarters in New York City before taking on the role of Scores Manager. He most recently served as an editor for nearly 11 years for STATS' editorial department based in Northbrook, Illinois, writing game previews for all US professional and major college sports as well as the English Premier League and international soccer. Currently a freelancer, Chris is still working the international soccer beat and other assorted projects. A native New Yorker and graduate of Marquette University who still refers to them as the Warriors, Chris is now holding out hope the Jets will reach a Super Bowl in his lifetime since the Cubs proved miracles are possible by winning the 2016 World Series. Chris can be found on Twitter at @AlTruda73

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