Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira UFC 276 Odds, Pick & Prediction: 2 Ways to Bet the Favorite (Saturday, July 2)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC middleweight Sean Strickland
- Sean Strickland meets Brazilian kickboxer Alex Pereira in a can't-miss bout on Saturday night.
- Strickland is a bonafide threat in the middleweight division and has posted six consecutive UFC victories.
- Sean Zerillo provides his best bet below.
Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira Odds
In a can’t-miss bout on Saturday’s UFC 276 main card, Sean Strickland meets Brazilian kickboxer Alex Pereira.
Despite his antics out of the cage, Strickland is a bonafide threat in the middleweight division. Following a recent decision win over Jack Hermansson, the No. 4-ranked contender now has six consecutive UFC victories.
Pereira, who owns a 2016 kickboxing win over current UFC 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya, could get on the face track to a title shot if he can beat Strickland at UFC 276.
How likely is that to happen? Let’s see how they match up. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my betting projections for the entire slate here.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||13:49||10:09|
|Weight (pounds)||185 lbs.||185 lbs.|
|Date of birth||2/27/91||7/7/87|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||5.5||5.9|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||3.9||3.0|
|Take Down Avg.||1.16||0.0|
Saturday’s featured bout sets up as a potential No. 1 contenders matchup in the middleweight division.
Pereira has noted success against UFC champ Adesanya from their kickboxing days. In contrast, Strickland’s appearance at Thursday’s press conference – and his banter with the current champion – makes him an equally appealing option to sell a big fight.
In addition to being the taller and longer fighter (3-inch edge in height and reach), Pereira is the bigger man. Strickland is a former welterweight whereas Pereira could likely have size parity with the majority of light heavyweights.
And while Pereira is the more decorated striker, I’m not so confident that his abilities translate as well to MMA as some may suspect. Defensively, Pereira prefers more oversized gloves — rather than the four-ounce gloves used in MMA — and is rather hittable on the feet.
Moreover, Strickland is a far more well-rounded martial artist (22 additional MMA fights), and he’s faced a much higher level of competition. The UFC has rushed Pereira along in an attempt to set up a fight with Adesanya.
However, he was taken down and controlled for the entirety of the first round in his debut against the since-cut Andreas Michailidis (1-3 in the UFC). He was taken down twice in his most recent matchup with Bruno Silva, an inferior wrestler to Strickland.
That said, I was relatively impressed by Pereira’s cardio in that three-round fight with Silva — the former M-1 middleweight champion, and he seemed competent at working his way back to his feet; he’s not some fish off of his back.
Strickland may have difficulty working off of his jab against a longer and more powerful fighter, who will look to counter Strickland with massive hooks.
As a result, while Strickland can be more competitive on the feet than many may suspect, his best path to victory would be to make this fight dirty – grind Pereira up against the cage, or look to take him down.
Strickland showed impressive offensive wrestling in his dominant main event win against Uriah Hall, taking him down four times on six attempts and spending seven minutes in control positions. He also took Hall’s back at one point, put both hooks in, and looked like he would find a rear-naked choke.
Strickland possesses all of the grappling upside in this fight. However, I’m uncertain that he’ll use those abilities unless Pereira hurts him first; by that point, it could be too late.
While Strickland does well to defend against head strikes, all it takes is one big punch from Pereira — in small gloves — to put anyone’s lights out.
If you told me that Strickland would put on his wrestling singlet here and shoot multiple takedowns per round, I would make him a much more significant favorite. However, there’s no guarantee that he will pursue an optimal game plan; otherwise, I would have bet more on him in this spot.
Strickland vs. Pereira Pick
I projected Strickland as close to a 55% favorite (-121 implied) in this fight and would bet his moneyline up to about -115 (as of this writing, the line is -125 or higher across most markets).
Moreover, I show similar value on his decision prop (projected +200, listed +250) and his submission prop (projected +630, listed +900). Ultimately, I took a dart throw at the latter.
Pereira’s lone MMA loss came by rear-naked choke (back in 2015). His MMA experience is minimal, and I suspect that if Strickland — who came into MMA as a grappler — can take Pereira down, he might be able to find a tap.
While I show little value on the fight to go to a decision (projected +140) depending upon the book, the probability of a Pereira knockout may be higher than I’m anticipating should Strickland decide to stand and trade.
The Pick: Sean Strickland (-115 or better, 0.5u) | Sean Strickland wins by Submission (+900, 0.1u) at BetMGM