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Updated UFC 271 Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets for Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson, More (Saturday, February 12)

Updated UFC 271 Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets for Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson, More (Saturday, February 12) article feature image
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Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC. Pictured (L-R): UFC fighters Jared Cannonier and Derek Brunson.

  • Looking for a few UFC bets ahead of Saturday night's massive card? We've got you covered.
  • Our MMA analysts are betting two bouts at UFC 271: William Knight vs. Maxim Grishin and Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson.
  • Check out where they are finding betting value in those matchups.

Houston will host a huge Pay-Per-View card for the third time in eight months with UFC 271 set to take place Saturday.

The 14-fight card begins at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and features a stacked early prelim portion with five fights, then moves to ESPN for four more bouts at 8 p.m. ET. The five-fight main card is headlined by the much anticipated rematch between Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker for the 185-pound title.

So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed three fights and picks on Saturday’s massive card that present betting value.

You can find their analysis and picks on those matches below.

Billy Ward: William Knight vs. Maxim Grishin

Contributor at The Action Network

William “Knightmare” Knight  is facing Max Grishin in prelim action, in what is now a heavyweight bout. The fight was originally scheduled in the 205 pounds division, but Knight evidently had some trouble making weight. He weighed in at 218 pounds, a very significant 12 pound miss.

Historical betting data on fighters missing weight is fairly mixed, with no clear edges. However, this is a different situation. Knight was one of the first fighters to weigh in Friday morning. That means this was somewhat planned, and he wasn’t draining himself to get as close as possible. It’s likely that he could’ve gotten closer, but knew he wouldn’t make the limit.

In my career as a fighter, I negotiated a handful of weight related mishaps (both mine and my opponents). Generally, given the financial incentives involved, fighters who miss genuinely can’t cut any more weight, and are fairly depleted by the weight cut. I doubt that’s the case with Knight, who has made weight in each of his prior UFC bouts.

Grishin on the other hand, weighed in at the limit shortly before Knight. He’s likely to be more depleted from a weight cut, but still fighting a larger opponent. That’s a disadvantageous situation to be in. Do yourself a favor and do an image search for Knight — dude is a monster.

Even without the weight factor, these odds represented a value on Knight. Knight is 3-1 in the UFC coming into this bout, with an impressive win over Alonzo Menifield his last time out. He has plus-power, and is a capable grappler.

Grishin is 1-2 in the UFC, with his only win capping off a four-fight losing streak for his opponent (Gadzhimurad Antigulov) who was promptly released from the UFC. We haven’t seen him pick up a win against a high-level opponent yet, and at 37 years old, it’s hard to see much improvement coming for him at this point in his career.

This fight should be a pick‘em at worst, but Knight has odds as long as +150 on DraftKings. I’d bet it down to +120.

The Pick: Knight ML (+150)

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Erich Richter: Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson

Contributor at The Action Network

Rarely do I enjoy betting moneylines with hefty juice like this one. However, I believe that Cannonier should be a -200 favorite here. When we look back at Derek Brunson’s past five wins they were an unlikely, albeit fun to watch and profitable.

However, just like poker, in MMA you must ride your guys as long as possible and then bail on them without a moment’s hesitation. Profitability in MMA betting is a cut throat business.

Furthermore, this matchup is a completely different level of competition for Brunson than what he has faced in the past.

In his last three fights, we have seen Brunson take down and control his opponents with ease. Good luck doing that against Cannonier who has the best takedown defense among active UFC middleweights per UFC Stats. Moreover, Cannonier has TKO wins over Anderson Silva and Jack Hermansson.

Asking Brunson to strike with Cannonier, who will be stronger and more powerful than Brunson, is a tough ask. Brunson does not have the chin that I can expect him to win with. In fact, I think Cannonier gets this done via KO/TKO. However there is little value in this method of victory prop (+120).

Instead, I have a small stab at Cannonier KO/TKO in the second round +650 (DraftKings). This is worth a bet down to +575 before I pass on his alternate method/round combo props. His moneyline is a very enticing play at the current price.

The Pick: Jared Cannonier -160 ML | KO/TKO R2 +650

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Sean Zerillo: Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson

Betting Analyst, The Action Network

I went into much greater detail on the matchup between these two in this fight, which I view as a potential Middleweight title eliminator, but in short, I’m in line with Erich on this one.

I projected Jared Cannonier as a 63.6% favorite (-175 implied), and I’m happy to bet his moneyline up to that price. Given Brunson’s tendency to gas from wrestling, I would also look to bet Cannonier live after Round 1.

Cannonier to win inside the distance (projected +110, listed +110) is a fair price, and it’s difficult to imagine him winning clear minutes on the feet and not finishing the fight. His prop to win in Round 1 (boosted to +300 at Caesars) could also be worth a poke, but his moneyline is my favorite bet on this card.

The Pick: Cannonier (-160)

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