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Las Vegas Expert Picks: UFC 249

Las Vegas Expert Picks: UFC 249

Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.

Las Vegas - Dana White is bringing the Octagon back this Saturday in Jacksonville, and of course, there are a TON of bets and props available. Might as well start at the top of the UFC card with the main event, the interim lightweight championship match between Tony (El Cucuy) Ferguson and Justin (The Highlight) Gaethje. Ferguson is a medium sized favorite at -$180 (bet $180 to win back $100), with Gaethje the underdog at +$160 (bet $100 to win back $160).

Mrs. Ecks & Bacon loves it, so here's a little Tale of the Tape. Actually, after the Tale of the Tape, she leaves the room for the rest of the fight.

UFC 249 Preview

Ferguson is 36 years old from Oxnard, California, tips the scale at a buck 55, is 5'11" and has a 76.5" reach. His MMA record is 25-3, with 12 wins coming by KO, 5 by decision and 8 by submission. And if you're interested in his nickname, El Cucuy, it translates to...Mexican boogieman. We asked Alexa how you destroy El Cucuy, and she told me that the only way to destroy a Cucuy is to take an iron blade and pierce its brain. Pretty confident that both fighters will be checked for weapons before entering the Octagon, so it'll have to be decided with just hands and feet.

Gaethje is 31 years old from Stafford, Arizona, tips the scale at a buck 55 as well, is also 5'11" and has a 70" reach. His MMA record is 21-2, with 18 wins coming by KO, 2 by decision and 1 by submission.

Which way do you turn? El Cucuy comes in with a gorgeous 12 fight winning streak but has not had a fight in almost a year (June 8, 2019). He is the master of the choke, winning seven matches with the D'Arce choke, the rear-naked choke and the triangle choke. Understand the rear-naked and the triangle, but have no idea what the D'Arce choke is? Alexa, plz. Sure Benj, here you go.

The D'Arce choke, or Brabo choke, is similar to the Anaconda choke. The difference is that the choking arm is threaded under the near arm, in front of the opponent's neck, and on top of the far arm. The choke gets its name from Joe D'Arce, a third-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Think I used that on my kids back in the day!

The Highlight comes in with a tiny three match winning streak, and has not stepped into the Octagon since September, 14, 2019. Still digesting and studying and will probably make all the selections in our Saturday column.

Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and over 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him online at www.americasline.com. He is beloved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his email...ben@americasline.com.