UFC Fight Night Buckley vs Duraev Picks and Predictions: Duraev Will Control the Pace

Former training partners will go to war in the octagon as Joaquin Buckley faces Albert Duraev in middleweight action. We're taking Duraev to get the best of the younger Buckley on Saturday night. Read more in our Buckley vs. Duraev betting picks.

Last Updated: Jun 18, 2022 8:41 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
UFC Octagon Fight Night
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Joaquin Buckley vs. Albert Duraev is scheduled for three rounds in the middleweight division at UFC Fight Night tonight at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas. The explosive Buckley hopes to turn in another highlight-reel performance but is sure to be given a tough fight by the resourceful Duraev.

Duraev is the UFC odds favorite at -260 and has won 11 straight fights since 2014. Buckley, also riding a two-fight win streak, comes in as the underdog at +196.

Here are our free UFC picks and predictions for Buckley vs. Duraev on June 18.

Buckley vs Duraev fight odds

Live odds courtesy of the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Buckley vs Duraev method of victory odds

Method of Victory Joaquin Buckley Albert Duraev
To win by KO/TKO +300 +440
To win by Points +550 +260
To win by Submission +3,400 +290
Draw +5,000 +5,000

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook on June 16, 2022.

Buckley vs Duraev picks

Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Buckley vs Duraev betting preview

After spending the majority of his career fighting on the European circuit, Duraev is 2-0 in the UFC and utilizes an effective takedown-oriented offense, and boasts solid defensive skills. In his last fight against Roman Kopylov, he fought like a man possessed, throwing big strikes and mangling an exhausted Kopylov to win a decision.

Duraev has nine wins by way of submission, scores 1.62 takedowns per fight, and only absorbs 2.33 strikes per minute. Though his chin is suspect considering all three of his losses have come by stoppage, he’s an aggressive fighter that utilizes a varied skill set.

His biggest test comes in the form of former sparring partner Buckley, who seems to be more interested in goading Kevin Holland into a future fight than Duraev. Buckley is best known for his jaw-dropping knockout of Impa Kasangany and is a typical striker. He did show some improvement in his ground game by scoring five takedowns against Adul Alhassan in his last fight, winning by split decision.

Though Buckley is an athletic, explosive striker with 10 of his 14 wins coming by KO, he’s undersized for the middleweight division and has managed to get by due to his power. As strong as he is, he has subpar 36% striking accuracy and only defends 40% of takedown attempts.

Buckley may have a chance to test Duraev’s chin, but at the risk of being taken down by a bigger man. The longer the fight goes, the more it will favor the pressure-minded Russian. Buckley could make things interesting early on, but if he can’t dictate the pace of the fight or discourage Duraev from shooting in, it'll be a long night for the Missouri native. 

Buckley vs Duraev tale of the tape

 Joaquin Buckley   Albert Duraev
28 Age 33
5-foot-8 Height 5-foot-11
185 lbs Weight 186 lbs
76 inches Reach 75 inches
14-4 Record 15-3

Buckley vs Duraev UFC prediction and best bet

Our prediction is compiled from the analysis of the fighters and is an indication of who we are leaning with to win this bout.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this fight or where the most value lies, and is where we would put some of our bankroll behind.

Shot for shot, Buckley is the bigger striker and could expose Duraev’s questionable chin. From an overall standpoint, Duraev is the better package and is a busy grappler who’ll tie Buckley up long enough to avoid feeling the full force of his shots. While Buckley showed some growth in his ground game, he’s in no way going to take this fight to the ground.

Duraev is built to grind his opponents down and wear them out, and he’s defensively sound enough to frustrate Buckley. He also seems physically stronger than Buckley, and that aggressiveness on the ground along with his more academic striking can make all the difference.

If this fight were to be a conventional striking match, Buckley would take it. However, Duraev is going to control the pace of the fight and get enough opportunities on the ground to secure a victory.

Prediction: Duraev to win (-260 at FanDuel)

We’re already expecting Duraev’s versatility to outshine Buckley’s athleticism, and there is a sense of inevitability that we'll see this fight on the ground. The earlier the takedowns happen, Buckley might be able to fight his way back to standing, but at the cost of his gas tank.

Each time he goes down though, Duraev is going to fit in a submission attempt as he is known to do. Duraev’s mauling on the ground and against the octagon will leave Buckley open to a rear-naked choke or a neck crank.

Buckley might even contribute to his own doom with a false sense of security by trying to outsmart the submission specialist on the ground. If nothing else, taking +290 on Duraev by submission is too good to pass up. With more than half his wins coming by submission and an opponent who’ll prove vulnerable to his tactics, it’s the pick we’re rolling with Saturday night.

Pick: Duraev by submission (+290 at FanDuel)

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