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Whittaker-Gastelum among best bets for UFC on ESPN 22

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is a -235 favorite over Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC on ESPN 22 on Saturday at the Apex in Las Vegas.

Rather than pick a side, handicapper Lou Finocchiaro is banking on the fight to not go the distance, which is -105 at Circa sportsbook. Under 4½ rounds is +120.

“They’re both fast and quick for the division and, coupled with the small cage, I see engagement in this fight,” said Finocchiaro (@GambLou). “I do think it’s in both of their natures to go in there and engage, which leads us to the under. But rather than go under, I bet the fight does not go to a decision.”

Circa offers odds on every fight to go the distance. Finocchiaro also recommends a play on the Andrei Arlovski-Chase Sherman match on the main card to not go the distance, which is even money.

“Arlovski has the propensity to get knocked out. If Sherman comes out and sells out and makes this a brawl and backs Arlovski up, he can finish him,” he said. “If he doesn’t, he’s going to run out of gas and Arlovski is going to finish him.”

Here are three more best bets from Finocchiaro:

Klose, +105

In the co-main event, Finocchiaro is backing Drakkar Klose over Jeremy Stephens, who is moving back up to lightweight (155 pounds) after spending most of his career at featherweight (145).

“The reason he chose to fight at 145 almost his whole career is because he can compete better down there. He’s a little undersized and an old 34,” he said. “But Stephens is fighting a legitimate lightweight in Drakkar Klose. This is a really good spot for Klose as an underdog. He’s a little bit younger, but he has much less wear and tear. He’s a faster fighter with a wrestling base.”

Munoz, +120

In another lightweight match on the main card, Finocchiaro is taking Alex Munoz over Luis Pena.

Pena’s nickname is “Violent Bob Ross” because of his resemblance to late painter Bob Ross.

“But it’s a totally misnamed nickname because this guy is not overly violent. He’s real long and lanky and very, very awkward,” Finocchiaro said. “Munoz is from the Team Alpha Male camp, which is heavy into wrestling. Not only does Munoz have a good, solid wrestling base, but Pena has had trouble against guys who can get inside him and take him down. Munoz is live.”

Meerschaert, +105

On the undercard, Finocchiaro recommends a play on Gerald Meerschaert over Bartosz Fabinski.

“Meerschaert has lost his last two and I think he’s desperate. In this case, desperation’s a good thing,” he said. “He’s got a wealth of experience advantage and he’s the larger man. Fabinski has shown a propensity to be submitted and Meerschaert is a submission specialist.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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