Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Ion Cutelaba is scheduled for three rounds in the light heavyweight division as a featured undercard attraction of this weekend’s UFC Fight Night from the Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nzechukwu and Cutelaba are on different trajectories, with the former slowly making his way up the ladder while the latter slips further down.
It’s no surprise that Nzechukwu is the UFC odds favorite at -175 based on his recent form. Cutelaba has only won twice in seven tries since 2019, and his downward trend makes him the underdog at +150.
Here are our picks and predictions for Nzechukwu vs. Cutelaba at UFC Fight Night from Las Vegas.
Nzechukwu vs Cutelaba fight odds
Nzechukwu vs Cutelaba method of victory odds
|Method of Victory||Kennedy Nzechukwu||Ion Cutelaba|
|To win by KO/TKO/DQ||+110||+240|
|To win by Decision||+450||+750|
|To win by Submission||+1,100||+1,400|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on November 16, 2022.
Nzechukwu vs Cutelaba picks
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Nzechukwu vs Cutelaba betting preview
Few have had it tougher in recent years than Cutelaba. The Moldovan has gone 2-5 in his last seven bouts, though it has come against top-tier fighters like Glover Teixeira and Magomed Ankalaev, and is in dire need of a win. While Cutelaba is declining, he is the best fighter that Nzechukwu has faced thus far.
Nzechukwu recently snapped a two-fight skid by beating Karl Robinson three months ago and hopes his freakish length and size carry him to another victory here. There’s a lot to like about Nzechukwu, but he lacks consistency and depth on his resume. He was 6-0 before joining the UFC and 4-3 since.
The “African Savage” lands 4.68 significant strikes per minute at 44% accuracy and has an incredible 83-inch reach. He is a solid finisher with seven of his 10 wins coming by knockout with an average fight time of 10:34. The southpaw also possesses a four-inch height advantage and an eight-inch reach advantage.
Cutelaba can’t buy a win to push him into the next level, so he’ll have to settle for stepping back in hopes of avoiding another loss for now. His recent troubles saw him submitted in back-to-back first-round losses to Johnny Walker and Ryan Spann, and it wasn’t too long ago when he was stopped in a pair of bouts versus Ankalaev.
“Hulk” might not be an appropriate moniker, but Cutelaba does a lot of things well when he’s on his game. He lands 4.61 significant strikes per minute at 42% accuracy and averages 4.68 takedowns per 15 minutes at 63% accuracy. Like Nzechukwu, he is a solid finisher with 14 of his 16 wins coming inside the distance.
For Nzechukwu to win, he just needs to keep Cutelaba at the end of his long reach and sit down on his power shots to test his opponent’s eroding strike resistance. His takedown defense should be enough to keep the fight standing. Nzechukwu can't win if he gives up his physical advantages or spends too much time on the mat. Cutelaba has struggled against elite fighters, but he might have more success here than the odds suggest.
Nzechukwu vs Cutelaba tale of the tape
|Kennedy Nzechukwu||Ion Cutelaba|
|205 lbs||Weight||211 lbs|
|83 inches||Reach||75 inches|
|10-3-0 (7 KO)||Record||16-8-1 (12 KO)|
Nzechukwu vs Cutelaba 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.
Prediction: Nzechukwu ML (-175)
This isn’t an easy fight to predict because it depends wholly on Nzechukwu keeping Cutelaba on the outside. Once Cutelaba gets in, there’s no telling what will happen as his opponent is far from “Savage” when he gives up his distance. He’s been submitted and stopped by strikes due to the one-dimensional nature of his offense.
Cutelaba should be a sneaky upset, but his recent form is concerning. A strong gust of wind could be enough to get him stunned, and moral victories aside, he’s clearly missing what it takes to compete at the highest levels of the division. Nzechukwu isn’t that caliber of a fighter, either. If anything, they’re just as good as each other.
The only thing that’s pushing us to pick Nzechukwu, in the end, is that he is likely to land his big shots first as Cutelaba needs to circumvent physical obstacles to get his offense going. However, this is a shaky pick as the fight could turn in the veteran's favor the longer it goes on.
Prediction: Kennedy Nzechukwu moneyline (-175 at DraftKings)
Best bet: Nzechukwu by KO/TKO/DQ
Cutelaba seems to be the kind of fighter who excels in finding ways to lose. His chin is failing him and his vaunted ground game isn’t doing him any favors either. There isn’t anything complex about Nzechukwu, but that long reach and considerable power should make their mark.
Nzechukwu will get a chance to deliver a series of crushing blows as he slows him down for the kill. Go with Nzechukwu to score a stoppage for +110.
Pick: Kennedy Nzechukwu to win By KO/TKO/DQ (+110 at DraftKings)