UFC Vegas 65 Co-Main Event Prediction: Cutelaba & Nzechukwu Are Expected to Throw Heavy Leather

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Ion Cutelaba of Moldova reacts after losing to Glover Teixeira of Brazil during their light heavyweight bout at UFC Fight Night. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

The UFC returns to the gambling capital of the world, Las Vegas, for a staked Fight Night event. Light heavyweight sluggers Ion Cutelaba and Kennedy Nzechukwu will share the octagon in the evening’s co-main event, and we’re supplementing all of your UFC betting needs.  

Weili Zhang dominated Carla Esparza during last weekend’s UFC 281 co-main event, but we should expect a similar level of entertainment when the 205lb brutes exchange heavy leather in Saturday’s co-main to deliver a memorable performance.  

Read on for our complete betting guide taking a first look at this weekend’s co-main event clash between Cutelaba and Nzechukwu, including the updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC Vegas 65: Lewis vs. Spivak betting picks, predictions, and analysis. 

Ion Cutelaba vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu 

UFC Vegas 65 Light Heavyweight Co-Main Event Bout  

Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 06:10 PM EST at the UFC Apex

Ion Cutelaba 

  • Pro MMA Record: 16-8-0 (12 KOs, 2 submissions, 2 decisions) 
  • UFC Record: 5-7-1 (3 KOs, 2 decisions)  
  • Age: 28 
  • Height: 6'1" 
  • Reach: 75.0" 
  • Training Out Of: Xtreme Couture  
  • Origin Fighting Style: Greco-Roman Wrestling 

The fighting pride of Moldova, Ion Cutelaba, joined the UFC rankings at the tender age of 22 years old. He owns a negative record of 5-7-1 for the company, but he’s become a household name for the memorable fights he’s been involved in

Cutelaba, now 28, has six years of experience competing at the highest level, and he’s notably faced some of the stiffest competition in the light heavyweight division, such as Ryan Spann, Johnny Walker, Magomed Ankalaev, and former champion Glover Teixeira.  

It hasn’t been a simple path for Cutelaba in his attempt to climb the rankings, but his prime fighting years are approaching, and a drop-down in competition could provide the Moldovan with a simpler route to victory.

Ion Cutelaba Best Available Odds: (+155) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Kennedy Nzechukwu

  • Pro MMA Record: 10-3-0 (7 KOs, 3 decisions) 
  • UFC Record: 4-3 (3 KOs, 1 decision)  
  • Age: 30 
  • Height: 6'5" 
  • Reach: 83.0" 
  • Training Out Of: Fortis MMA   
  • Origin Fighting Style: MMA

Size and athleticism can go a long way in professional mixed martial arts, and Nigeria’s 6-feet-5 Kennedy Nzechukwu is evidence of this. After making his first-ever appearance inside an MMA gym in 2015 (Fortis MMA), it took Nzechukwu just one amateur and two professional fights before receiving an invite to Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in 2017.  

Despite winning a split decision and failing to collect a UFC contract, Nzechukwu’s journey to the big leagues was underway. Although his MMA experience was questionable, his in-cage performances were not. The heavy-hitting Nigerian returned to DWCS in 2018, and with a head kick followed by punches TKO victory, he arrived on the UFC roster with just six pro bouts to his name.

Three years and two extended UFC contracts later, Nzechukwu now owns a 4-3 record for the promotion and is one significant victory away from reaching the light heavyweight division's top 20 rankings.

Kennedy Nzechukwu Odds: (-170) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

Cutelaba vs. Nzechukwu Breakdown & Analysis

Cutelaba Fight Style: How Can Cutelaba Beat Nzechukwu?

While we can’t be positive that it’s possible, I believe it would favor Cutelaba to cut weight and move down a weight class to the 185lb middleweight division. He often struggles when presented with the size disadvantage, and as one of the smaller-sized light heavyweights, it’s an issue that he’ll constantly come up against.   

Cutelaba stems from a background in Greco-Roman wrestling and combat sambo, but with a regularly occurring size discrepancy, it’s challenging to put faith in his takedown ability, particularly against opponents with a significant size advantage.  

The clear path to victory for Cutelaba against Nzechukwu is undoubtedly a wrestling-based approach. Still, as mentioned, it’s challenging to put complete faith in this game plan when he gives up so much size and loves to neglect his strengths by throwing wild hooks on the feet.

Nzechukwu Fight Style: How Can Nzechukwu Beat Cutelaba? 

Nzechukwu owns a great set of striking fundamentals and utilizes his size well behind jabs and power punches. Cutelaba will struggle to get on the inside. I envision the Moldovan taking punishment from the Nigerian for all three rounds or until the referee steps in and declares a standing TKO.

The Betting Pick

The available odds at the top-rated sportsbooks slightly favor Nzechukwu, and it isn’t easy to go against the available betting price when evaluating Cutelaba’s recent outings. The Moldovan’s fight intelligence hasn’t looked great, and it seems like he doesn’t know how to make the best of his wrestling skillset.    

A moneyline price of -170 on Nzechukwu is reasonable, and I can’t find many reasons to go against the betting favorite this weekend for this betting pick.

UFC Pick: Kennedy Nzechukwu to Win (-170) [1.70u to win 1u] at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Kennedy Nzechukwu to Win (-170)
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UFC Vegas 65 Main Card & Odds 

UFC Vegas 65 Preliminary Card & 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.