UFC 254 Odds, Pick & Prediction: Back Robert Whittaker In Co-Main Event Against Jared Cannonier
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Robert Whittaker of New Zealand.
- Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier will face off in the UFC 254 co-main event in hopes of securing a middleweight title shot with a win Saturday.
- Sean Zerillo previews the matchup, including why there's value on betting one side at plus money.
Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier Odds
|Whittaker odds||-110 [BET NOW]|
|Cannonier odds||-110 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||1.5 (-176/+145) [BET NOW]|
|Venue||Yas Island, Abu Dhabi|
|Time||Saturday, 4 p.m. ET|
Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker makes his return to Fight Island in Saturday’s co-main event against No. 2-ranked middleweight Jared Cannonier. Whittaker has won four of his past five fights (the one loss coming against current champ Israel Adesanya) while Cannonier has won his past three.
Nothing has been set in stone, but this fight has the feel of a title eliminator given the standing of both fighters in the division. So where’s the betting edge? Below I break down the Whittaker vs. Cannonier odds and matchup. You can also check out my analysis of the 11 other bouts here.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||12:56||8:10|
|Weight (pounds)||185 lbs.||185 lbs.|
|Date of birth||12/20/90||3/16/84|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||4.51||3.72|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||3.43||2.82|
|Take Down Avg||0.46||0.18|
Whittaker vs. Cannonier Pick
I had initially expected to be on the Cannonier side of this fight, but he appears to be a very popular pick this week and I ended up showing value on the former champion Whittaker, now that you can find him at plus money.
The 36-year-old Cannonier, who once competed at heavyweight, has been extremely impressive in his three wins since making his own middleweight debut, knocking out David Branch, Anderson Silva, and Jack Hermannson in succession.
Following a knockout loss, and losing his title to Adesanya, Whittaker returned with a five-round, unanimous 48-47 decision over Darren Till that was close throughout.
Historically, Whittaker should have the pace edge against Cannonier, landing an extra 0.79 strikes per minute, with a superior margin (1.08 to 0.9), but Cannonier is far more efficient (+11% accuracy, +5% defense) and will have the reach advantage (+4 inches) in addition to the power edge.
Whittaker should have an edge with his grappling, but he has mostly used it defensively in the octagon (0.46 takedowns per 15 minutes) as wrestling empties his gas tank, but perhaps he could go it once or twice in a three-round fight.
That being said, while Cannonier has 51% takedown defense for his career, getting back up is one of the more improved areas of his game. See the Hermannson fight, above.
Whittaker wasn’t particularly impressive against Till, but he does have the technical kickboxing skills to beat Cannonier.
That being said, Cannonier has maintained his heavyweight power while cutting off nearly 50 pounds, and perhaps he is just a force to be reckoned with in this division.
So long as you can get plus money, take a small shot on Bobby Knuckles to setup his rematch with Adesanya. Be sure to check out our live odds page to find the best value.
The Pick: Whittaker Moneyline (+100)