UFC 256 Odds, Pick & Prediction: Wait for the Right Price in Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira Co-Main Event
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Tony Ferguson.
- Tony Ferguson returns to the octagon for a UFC 256 with the equally dangerous Charles Oliveira in a co-main event that could end up as the Fight of the Night.
- Sean Zerillo gives his analysis of the odds in this fight and details his favorite bet below.
Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira Odds
Tony Ferguson’s loss this past May was just his second in the UFC and snapped a 12-fight win streak for him. The No. 3-ranked lightweight contender will look to get back in the win column against another veteran, Charles Oliveira, who is building a nice winning streak of his own. Oliveira hasn’t been in a fight that made it to the cards since December 2014 and this fight isn’t expected to go the full 15 either.
Below I break preview the matchup and odds for the UFC 256 co-main event. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.
Tale of the Tape
|Record||26-4||29-8 (1 NC)|
|Avg. Fight Time||10:52||6:38|
|Date of birth||2/12/84||10/17/89|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||5.80||3.27|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||4.04||3.08|
|Take Down Avg||0.49||2.61|
Ferguson vs. Oliveira Pick
There’s a reason that I force myself to create fight projections – rather than purely relying on matchup analysis – since I typically would have smashed Tony Ferguson’s moneyline at what looks like a potentially reduced price.
Based upon implied probabilities from closing odds, Ferguson has only been less likely to win a UFC fight on just two occasions (+110 vs. Rafael Dos Anjos in 2016, and -180 against Edson Barboza in 2015) since making his promotional debut in 2011.
Historically, Ferguson breaks his opponents down with pressure – and Oliveira, who has been finished seven times – has struggled against pressure fighters.
But Ferguson – now 36 years old – is taking on his second fight in a calendar year for the first time since 2016, after sustaining a life-changing beatdown from Justin Gaethje in May.
Given his reputation for getting into wars, Ferguson’s career striking defense (59%) is surprisingly high, but his range defense (38%) was no match for Gaethje’s accuracy that night.
Though he is a typically slow starter, “El Cucuy” always rallies, overcoming early deficits against Anthony Pettis, Kevin Lee, Lando Vannata, and Edson Barboza.
But the fact that he has found himself in those early holes – and knocked down at the hands of both Pettis and Vannata – speaks as much to a potentially declining skillset as it does his ability to overcome adversity.
That being said, Oliveira’s strengths lie in the grappling department and Tony’s chances of surviving against another BJJ blackbelt seem higher than Charles’ chances of surviving Tony’s striking.
Oliveira’s striking has improved, but he doesn’t have the same wrestling advantage (2.61 takedowns per 15 minutes, 42% accuracy) that a fighter like Kevin Lee had over Tony (75% takedown defense).
Unless Charles is able to control Ferguson on the ground for a significant period of time – something only Lee (4:49 of control, more than two minutes in two separate rounds, prior to being choked) has been able to do – it’s difficult to imagine “Do Bronx” winning on the scorecards.
If not, the only true path to victory for Oliveira here appears to be a submission, but his chances of surviving and winning a three-round fight are significantly higher than they would be over five rounds against Ferguson.
While Oliveira will look to continue his eight-fight finish streak on Saturday, it seems unlikely against such a durable and slick competitor; unless Ferguson’s level has dropped off.
I don’t see any pre-fight wagering value on this bout, but I’ll look to live bet Ferguson’s resilience if he finds himself in another early hole.
The Pick: Live Bet Tony Ferguson After Round 1