UFC Vegas 61 Hot Prospect Features John Castaneda

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Announcer Bruce Buffer introduces fighters during UFC 272 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by David Becker/Getty Images via AFP

Join us as we preview a hot UFC prospect from this week’s UFC in Vegas 61: Dern vs. Yan MMA event.

Read on for our complete UFC Vegas 61 betting guide, taking a first look at our hottest prospect of the week, John Castaneda, and his opponent, Daniel Santos. Including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC betting picks.

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John Castaneda vs. Daniel Santos

UFC Vegas 61 Bantamweight Bout

Saturday, October 1, 2022 – 04:00 PM EDT at UFC Apex

John Castaneda

  • Pro MMA Record: (19-5-0) (7 KO, 7 submissions, 5 decisions)

Low in the rankings but high on confidence, John Castaneda became one of the rare fighters that made his way onto the UFC roster despite failing to earn a contract on Dana White's Contender Series.

Following a unanimous decision victory on the show, Dana didn't offer him a position on the roster. Still, an impressive arm-triangle victory over Marcelo Rojo caught the UFC's attention when needing a late replacement to fight Nathaniel Wood in 2020.

Castaneda stems from a background in wrestling, and this becomes evident in most of his contests, where this ability is something he often relies on. Unfortunately, his wrestling chops weren't enough to overcome Nathaniel Wood during his promotional debut, but it was unfair matchmaking, and losing against a top-ranked bantamweight holds zero shame.

As a former Combate Americas competitor, Castaneda has competed and defeated a notable level of competition. Since the Wood defeat, he's won consecutive UFC bouts via TKO and submission against Eddie Wineland and Mike Johns. This weekend's bout is handing Castaneda a much lower level of competition than he's faced in the previous two years, giving him a significant advantage at the Apex.

John Castaneda: Fighting Analysis

There's no denying that Castaneda embodies his wrestling skillset, however, he isn't afraid to use his hands, and we have seen him neglect a grappling offense to engage in an all-out striking battle in the past. He owns some decent fundamentals on the feet, like his straight jab, leg kicks, and a sly head kick.

With that said, the American thrives when wrestling, and he's incredibly fast in scramble situations. His scramble speed allows him to slide into submission positions where he's aggressive and always looks for a finish.

Castaneda has shown weaknesses in his striking defense, but he possesses exceptional durability and cardiovascular that can assist him in escaping some dangerous moments.

Castaneda vs. Santos: Betting Pick and Odds

Daniel Santos (9-2-0) is a dangerous submission artist, but his UFC debut loss to Julio Arce presented multiple red flags. He's shown the ability to defend a wrestling game and counterattack with submissions, but his cardio level isn't going to match Castaneda this weekend.

The UFC Vegas 61 betting odds at top-rated sportsbooks have placed Castaneda as the betting favorite, and rightfully so. Due to the low rankings of both men and a lack of high-level competition on both ends, we're receiving a reasonable price on Castaneda that is worth backing.

I believe the American can win this bout on the feet or on the ground, and the later the fight goes, the more it favors Castaneda, who owns a great gas tank.

UFC Pick: Castaneda to Win (-185) [1.85u returns 1u] at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Castaneda to Win (-185)
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UFC Vegas 61 Main Card and Odds

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.