Brad Tavares vs. Antonio Carlos Junior UFC 257 Odds & Picks: Back the Brazilian Underdog (Saturday, Jan. 23)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: Antonio Carlos Junior.
- Middleweights Brad Tavares and Antonio Carlos Junior will meet at UFC 257 on Fight Island and both are looking to get back in the win column.
- Tavares is a slight moneyline favorite, but Erich Richter sees value in the Brazlian underdog.
- He breaks down Saturday's matchup, including his favorite betting pick.
Brad Tavares vs. Antonio Carlos Junior Odds
|Carlos Junior odds||+110|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-185 / +150)|
|Venue||Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi|
|Time||Approx. 9 p.m. ET|
In one of the more exciting matchups on the undercard, Brad Tavares (17-6) faces off against Antonio Carlos Junior (10-4) in the UFC middleweight division.
Tavares has lost his last two fights but famously went to a decision against current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Antonio Carlos Junior is no stranger to championship pedigree to himself — he pulled a decision victory over contender Marvin Vettori. Vettori also has a split-decision loss to Adesanya, so there is plenty of common ground between these two. The pedigree is very strong despite the fact that both are on two-fight losing streaks.
So which fighter has the edge in this battle? Both have gone against the best that this division has to offer. Let’s break down the odds for the fight below.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||12:57||11:10|
|Weight (pounds)||185 lbs.||185 lbs.|
|Date of birth||12/21/87||5/16/90|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.00||1.91|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.76||1.98|
|Take Down Avg||1.03||3.70|
Tavares vs. Carlos Junior Betting Pick
Carlos Junior used to fight at heavyweight back in 2014 before moving to light heavyweight, which means he is a massive middleweight at 6-foot-2.
This fight will come down to Carlos Junior being able to land takedowns in bunches against Tavares. Carlos Junior averages 3.7 takedowns per 15 minutes in the Octagon, and he also does not absorb very much damage — just 1.98 significant strikes absorbed per minute.
Carlos Junior’s strategy remains consistent in all of his fights: He is always looking for the takedown. He is +375 to win this fight via submission, and he has eight submission wins in 15 career fights.
However, Tavares has never been submitted in his UFC career. He has very strong takedown defense, defending takedowns at a 77% rate, which is good for ninth in the middleweight division, per UFC stats.
Tavares was knocked out by Edmen Shahbazyan in his most recent fight but does not typically take that type of damage, nor is Carlos Junior known for that level of striking. I would expect this to be a grueling battle of will that ends on the judge’s scorecards.
The value of Antonio Carlos Junior is phenomenal — I would bet his decision prop down to +240 (29.41% implied), but am getting more than enough value to bet it here at +350 (22.2% implied).
I am confident that neither of these fighters will land a finish in this contest. When betting a fighter to win via decision, it is wise to also take the fight to go to decision. This leaves the option of the other fighter to win on a close judge’s decision. Carlos Junior might be the best value on the card and I’m backing this fight to make it to cards with good odds at BetMGM.
The Pick: Fight to go to Decision -150 | Antonio Carlos Junior via Decision +350