Mixed martial arts handicapper Lou Finocchiaro went 3-0 on last week’s UFC card, cashing all three of his underdog plays.
He prefers to play underdogs, but none caught his eye on Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 12 card at the UFC Apex.
“It’s a little bit of an unusual card because it’s pretty favorite heavy,” said Finocchiaro (@GambLou). “I don’t see underdog positions jump out at me as much as they did on previous cards.”
What does stand out to Finocchiaro is the co-main event lightweight fight between Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker.
Poirier-Boser parlay, +188
To produce a plus price, Finocchiaro is playing a two-team parlay of Poirier (-210) over Hooker and Tanner Boser (-105) over Philipe Lins in a heavyweight match. The parlay pays +188, or $188 for a $100 wager.
“In the lightweight division, there’s three fighters and then there’s a chasm before a large group of other highly competitive fighters,” Finoccchiaro said. “There’s the champion, (Khabib) Nurmagomedov, and behind him is Justin Gaethje and Poirier, who beat Gaethje (in 2018).
“After those three, there is a chasm before other fighters, of which Hooker is one. But I don’t regard Hooker on the same level as Poirier. Poirier is the more well-rounded fighter who can draw upon wrestling and grappling.”
Hooker, a kickboxing-based fighter, has had to travel from his native New Zealand to Las Vegas for the bout and will need distance to be effective against Poirier.
“Hooker’s 7-1 in the lightweight division, so he’s on a good tear. But the one loss was to a fighter that crowded him and attacked his body,” Finocchiaro said. “Poirier is going to absolutely use that same plan to take the space away from Hooker, crowd him and go to work on his body. And when you kill the body, the head comes after.”
Boser and Lins are both coming off losses. But Boser held his own in a loss to rising star Ciryl Gane, while Lins looked very lethargic in a loss to 41-year-old Andrei Arlovski.
“Boser showed very, very well against Gane,” Finocchiaro said. “He’s six years younger than Lins, has three inches of reach advantage and being the younger man, he’s the quicker man.”
Poirier-Hooker Over 2½
Finocchiaro also likes the Poirier-Hooker fight to go over 2½ rounds, which is up to -142 after opening at -110.
“Hooker is a talented, confident fighter and Poirier is in the top three in the division. This is going to be a highly competitive fight and it’s going to take Poirier well into the third or fourth round to chop down Hooker. For that reason, I like the over in the fight,” he said. “If Boser stubs his toe and misses, we still have over 2½ working.
“I want to stress that on most fight cards I have three or four positions. The only reason I’m sticking to two is I try to read the card as it appears and it’s just a very tough card.”