UFC on ESPN 36: Nick Maximov vs. Andre Petroski prediction, odds, preview 1

Nick Maximov, who trains at the Nick Diaz Academy, is a 24-year-old middleweight with an undefeated, 8-0, record. He is 2-0 in the UFC with back-to-back decision wins. Andre Petroski, alum of The Ultimate Fighter 29, is 2-0 in the UFC with back-to-back third-round finishes. Maximov vs. Petroski takes place at this weekend’s UFC on ESPN 36 fight card.

Betting Odds

Maximov opened as the largest favorite on the card and is only growing larger at odds of -400 now on BetUS.

  • Maximov: -400
  • Petroski: +300

A successful $100 wager on Maximov would return just $125 on the night. However, Petroski, being a large underdog, would return a total of $400 for every $100 wagered if he is victorious.


Maximov impressed a lot of people, including me, in his Dana White’s Contender Series fight back in 2020. In that fight, Maximov a 185’er, accepted a fight against a 260-pound heavyweight. Not only did Maximov win, he out-wrestled a professional fighter who had over a 60-pound advantage. That fight exemplifies who the Junior College All-American is as a mixed martial artist, a dedicated, strong, and fundamentally sound wrestler. Since graduating to the UFC, Maximov has continued to wrestle, and wrestle, and wrestle. He averages only 1.7 significant strikes per fight but 5.6 takedown attempts. His typical fight approach is to stand with a technically sound guard, throw a fundamental but basic jab, create and opening, and explode forward for a single or double leg takedown. Once he clasps his hands together, whoever he’s fighting has hit the mat. Once down, Maximov is position over submission and looks to smother his opponent with heavy top pressure. He does not attempt many submissions or even ground and pound; instead, he wants to wrestle and hold his opponents down for 15 minutes.

Petroski, too, was a college wrestler who has successfully transitioned those skills into the octagon. Petroski averages 4.2 takedowns per fight and lands them near 50% of the time. He will explode into a single or double leg attempt after striking at range. His striking, although criticized by some is better than he gets credit for. He typically throws with speed and aggression on the feet, looking to either hurt his opponent early or cause them to fight of their back foot. Once he gets them moving backward, Petroski has the situation he wants to pounce into a takedown attempt. Unlike Maximov, though, once Petroski gets the fight down, he immediately looks for the finish. He has heavy ground and pound, along with a respectable submission game. Because much of Petroski’s movement, both on the feet and on the mat, require a lot of energy, he has slowed down in moments during his fights. However, his cardio is reliable enough, as evident by back to back 3rd round finishes. If he can continue growing on the feet and pace himself better, Petroski’s athletic wrestle style could prove problems for some in the division.


Maximov is a talented wrestler who has only shown improvements each time we’ve seen him in the octagon. But, he has yet to find a finish in the UFC despite being a large favorite in his debut and facing a fighter who struggles on the ground. In short, Maximov is a talented prospect but he hasn’t impressed enough to earn such a significant price in this fight. Petroski will be the toughest wrestler Maximov has faced and poses a unique submission threat as well. I’m calling for Petroski to land the first takedown, force Maximov to fight off his back, and possibly find the finish for the massive upset.

Prediction: Petroski to win

Petroski is currently listed at odds of +300 on BetUS. If he’s victorious at UFC on ESPN 36, bettors would return $400 for every $100 wagered on him to win.

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