UFC Atlantic City: Vicente Luque vs. Joaquin Buckley Prediction, Pick and Odds

Look for power to prevail in the co-main event.

Jun 18, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA;  Joaquin Buckley (red gloves) reacts in his fight with Albert
Jun 18, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Joaquin Buckley (red gloves) reacts in his fight with Albert / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

As the co-main event of UFC Atlantic City, no. 11 ranked Vicente Luque welcomes unranked Joaquin Buckley in the welterweight division.

Now entering his 21st UFC fight, Luque (22-9-1, 15-5 in UFC) will look to begin another win streak after last beating former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. However, the win was Luque's first since suffering a violent TKO loss to Geoff Neal in a fight that caused a brain hemorrhage and nearly the end of his career.

The matchup will be Buckley's (17-6, 7-4 in UFC) third attempt to break into the UFC rankings after failing his previous two at middleweight. Since returning to welterweight in 2023, Buckley has gone 2-0 and is 10-2 overall at 170 pounds.

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Vicente Luque vs. Joaquin Buckley odds and round total

Vicente Luque vs. Joaquin Buckley best bet

For a majority of the line's availability, Luque hovered around -180 as a favorite before the odds unexplainably shifted toward Buckley during fight week. Buckley as an underdog is an intriguing offer but the better value of this fight is on the round total.

Luque was not the same fighter in his return fight last summer against Rafale dos Anjos but regardless, he has still won 19 of his 22 (86 percent) professional victories inside the distance. Buckley has a similar success rate, winning 12 fights by knockout out of his 17 wins (70 percent).

When Buckley loses, it has tended to also be by knockout with four of his six defeats (66 percent) of that method. Luque has been finished much less in his career but as we mentioned, he did not look the same against dos Anjos after being brutally beaten by Geoff Neal.

Luque may attempt another wrestling-heavy gameplan but the bigger, stronger and more athletic Buckley should have enough to hold his own in clinch and wrestling transitions. In his UFC career, Buckley has fended off 65 percent of takedowns attempted on him and has relented just one takedown in his last two welterweight bouts.

It is hard to gauge who Luque is at this point but he looked like a fighter past his prime against dos Anjos while admitting post-fight that he was initially scared to get hit after the potentially fatal injury in his previous outing.

That can potentially be a bad omen of things to come against a power puncher like Buckley but Luque has repeatedly shown a habit of getting hurt in fights before turning up his own pressure and finding a comeback finish.

This fight is potentially the last big opportunity for Buckley in his career and expect him to pressure Luque from the start, forcing him to match his intensity. In a fight with two violent finishers who combine for 31 wins inside the distance, the best play is the under.

Prediction: Buckley by knockout in round two

Best bet: Under 2.5 rounds (-160)

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.