The UFC is back in action and we’ll be bringing you our betting predictions and picks as the promotion touches down in Saudi Arabia. This next Prelim takes place in the Bantamweight (135) Division as South Korea’s Kyung Ho Kang takes on Tajikistan’s Muin Gafurov. Check out our UFC odds series for our Kang-Gafurov prediction and pick.

Kyung Ho Kang (19-10) has gone 8-4-0-1 during his UFC tenure since 2013. He’s gone 5-2 over his last seven fights and notched two wins by finish during that stretch. His last fight was a unanimous decision loss to John Castaneda and he’ll be looking to bounce back and get himself back into the win column. Kang stands 5’9″ with a 73-inch reach.

Muin Gafurov (18-6) is still searching for his first UFC win after an 0-2 start with the promotion. He lost both of his appearance to John Castaneda and Said Nurmagomedov, but his skills are at a UFC level and he wants to showcase himself while finding that elusive first win. Muin Gafurov stands 5’7″ with a 68-inch reach.

Here are the UFC Saudi Arabia Odds, courtesy of BetOnline. 

UFC Saudi Arabia Odds: Kyung Ho Kang-Muin Gafurov Odds

Kyung Ho Kang: +140

Muin Gafurov: -160

Over 2.5 rounds: -180

Under 2.5 rounds: +150

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Why Kyung Ho Kang Will Win

Kyung Ho Kang has been a mainstay in the UFC’s Bantamweight Division and he certainly has a flare for finishing fights in exciting fashion. While he has just two wins by knockout, he’s a fearsome grappler and has seen 12 of his 19 wins come by way of submission. On the ground, he’s extremely quick with his transitions and can take his opponent’s back in the blink of an eye. On the feet, his striking could use some work, but he has the boxing skills necessary to survive in the fight until he can land his takedown.

To win this fight as the underdog, Kyung Ho Kang will have to make an impact with his boxing hands and gain the respect of Gafurov on the feet. Gafurov is also a grappler by nature and we could see these two respect each other’s ground games, likely keeping this fight standing and within boxing range. Kang is also the longer guy and can use his reach to keep separation on the feet. Look for Kang to hurt his opponent and immediately hit the ground in hopes of locking in one of his patented submissions.

Why Muin Gafurov Will Win

Muin Gafurov has seen a tough slate of fights since his arrival to the UFC and given the prospect he was while in LFA, the UFC has high expectations for his development. He had an unfortunate ending against Said Nurmagomedov when he was submitted in the first round of their fight, but his debut looked promising as he stood in the cage and ate the punishment from John Castaneda. This could be another tough back-and-forth contest given the grappling skills of Kang. Still, Gafurov will be extremely determined to find this win with his back against the wall.

Muin Gafurov comes in as the betting favorite on a count of his hands. He’ll certainly be the more powerful striker of the two fighters and has the better chance of ending this fight via knockout. He’ll have to be careful wrestling with a submission artist like Kang, but Gafurov should be able to neutralize his opponent from top position and land meaningful ground-and-pound shots.

Final Kyung Ho Kang-Muin Gafurov Prediction & Pick

This will be an interesting matchup given both fighters’ skillsets and it’s surprising to see Muin Gafurov as the betting favorite given the troubles early into his UFC stint. Kyung Ho Kang has certainly faced the better competition and he’s a veteran of the UFC compared to his opponent. Still, Muin Gafurov is the more dangerous striker and if the fight can remain taking place on the feet, he should have ample opportunity to land a shot that sits Kang down.

However, Kyung Ho Kang has a very tough chin and he won’t be easy to put away in this fight if he’s able to defend himself from bottom position. He also has the better tank in terms of his cardio and we could see him take control of this fight in the later rounds if Gafurov begins to grow tired.

For our prediction, let’s roll with Kyung Ho Kang as the underdog to get the win. His hands have improved each time out and while he doesn’t possess fight-ending power, he’s certainly technical enough to land a few clean strikes and sit his opponent down. From there, expect him to look like the fresher fighter when it comes to the wrestling scrambles and controlling the ground game.

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Final Kyung Ho Kang-Muin Gafurov Prediction & Pick: Kyung Ho Kang (+140)