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UFC 276 Odds, Picks & Model Predictions: Betting Analysis & Previews for Each of Saturday’s 12 Fights

UFC 276 Odds, Picks & Model Predictions: Betting Analysis & Previews for Each of Saturday’s 12 Fights article feature image
Credit:

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Israel Adesanya at a press conference with the UFC Championship belt.

  • Betting UFC 276 on Saturday night? Here's your one-stop shop for everything you need to know.
  • Sean Zerillo has you covered with model projections and analysis on all 12 fights on the card, including Adesanya vs. Cannonier and Volkanovski vs Holloway.
  • Find his full fight card breakdown and picks below.

The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday with a 12-fight card for UFC 276, highlighted by a pair of title fights in the men’s Featherweight and Middleweight divisions.

The early prelims begin at 6 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ before moving to ABC at 8 p.m. ET. The five-fight PPV main card will commence at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

After examining all betting options, a typical UFC card can offer a substantial amount of actionable value.

So, in addition to moneylines and over/unders, I’ll break down how I plan to bet every fight card, including exact winning methods, winning round props, and whether or not the match will go to a decision or finish inside the distance.

Fight times are approximate and subject to change. All times ET.

Click on a fight to skip ahead
12. Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Julija Stoliarenko
6 p.m. ET
11. Maycee Barber vs. Jessica Eye
6:30 p.m. ET
10. Andre Muniz vs. Uriah Hall
7 p.m. ET
9. Dricus Du Plessis vs. Brad Tavares
8 p.m. ET
8. Ian Garry vs. Gabriel Green
8:30 p.m. ET
7. Jim Miller vs. Donald Cerrone
9 p.m. ET
6. Jalin Turner vs. Brad Riddell
9:30 p.m. ET
5. Sean O’Malley vs. Pedro Munhoz
10 p.m. ET
4. Robbie Lawler vs. Bryan Barberena
10:30 p.m. ET
3. Alex Pereira vs. Sean Strickland
11 p.m. ET
2. Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway
11:30 p.m. ET
1. Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier
12:15 a.m. ET

UFC 276 Projected Odds

Below, you can find my fair odds moneyline projection for each of Saturday’s 12 bouts. In the next section, you’ll discover forecasts for those fights to finish inside the distance or for each fighter to win by decision, knockout, or submission.

Odds as of Saturday morning and via BetMGM.

UFC 276 Prop Projections

In addition to creating a crowdsourced projection for moneyline plays, I also collect data on each fighter to win by decision, knockout, or submission, enabling us to determine fair odds for each fight to go the distance or for each fighter to win inside of the distance.

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UFC 276 Odds

Early Preliminary Card

  • 6 p.m. ET
  • ESPN

Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Julija Stoliarenko

Women’s Bantamweight Bout Odds
Jessica-Rose Clark Odds -165
Julija Stoliarenko Odds +135
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-250 / +175)

Crowdsourced Projections: Jessica-Rose Clark (57.3%)

I like the matchmaking in Saturday’s opener between the popular Jessica-Rose Clark (“JRC”) and armbar specialist Julija Stoliarenko.

Stoliarenko is the taller and longer fighter (2″ of both height and reach), and while JRC may be the cleaner technician, I expect the striking to be relatively even.

JRC has shown a preference for wrestling and clinch-fighting in her more recent bouts (1.77 per 15 minutes, 62% accuracy), while Stoliarenko has poor takedown defense (62%) and little desire to work off of her back.

However, Stoliarenko has a dangerous guard, where she has secured eight first-round finishes via armbar. Opponents can control Stoliarenko for long stretches of their fights (9:09 for Alexis Davis, 13:16 for Yana Kunitskaya). Still, Stoliarenko has quick hips and can pull off an armbar against any careless opponent – despite her 0-4 record in the promotion.

Stoliarenko had Davis in some bad spots, and I got a bit nervous holding a Davis by decision ticket in that matchup.

If JRC minds her P’s and Q’s and mixes in her striking with her wrestling – while avoiding that armbar, she should be able to secure a decision with top time.

However, I expect Stoliarenko to have multiple chances to lock in that submission. If the fight does stay standing, she has an opportunity to win a low-volume striking affair at distance (out-struck Davis 51-41 at distance).

I projected Stoliarenko as a slight underdog (42.7%, or +134 implied) in this matchup, and I’d take a small poke on her moneyline down to +135. The alternative is to bet JRC by decision (projected +118, listed +125 at BetRivers).

However, JRC will need to avoid a mistake for 15 minutes to cash that ticket, while Stoliarenko merely needs to capitalize on one mistake or engage in a 50-50 striking battle.

You should also consider betting Stoliarenko by submission (projected +421, listed +500 at FanDuel) at +450 or better.

Bets

  • Julija Stoliarenko (+135, 0.25u) at BetMGM
  • Julija Stoliarenko wins by Submission (+500, 0.1u) at FanDuel

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Maycee Barber vs. Jessica Eye

Women’s Flyweight Bout Odds
Maycee Barber Odds -300
Jessica Eye Odds +240
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-350 / +240)

Crowdsourced Projections: Maycee Barber (73.2%)

Barber is taking a significant step up in competition, in a big cage, against a former Flyweight title challenger who likely has the edge in distance striking.

Moreover, Barber is typically a slow starter who builds as her fights go along, so it’s difficult to envision her as a significant favorite unless she grapples from the outset. Additionally, Eye tends to make all her fights competitive, no matter the level of competition.

Barber is the superior athlete and significantly younger fighter who uses her physicality to bully opponents. There is a substantial 11-year age difference between these two women. As I often point out, when there’s an age gap of at least a decade between two UFC fighters, the younger fighter wins 66% of the time at average odds closer to -136 (57.8% implied) – about eight percent above expectation.

As a result, I’m not running to the window to bet Eye here, even though I might perceive her as the value side of the equation based upon a potential striking advantage and having faced a superior strength of schedule.

Eye doesn’t have excellent takedown defense (57%), and I could see her getting held up against the cage for long stretches of this bout too. Additionally, she doesn’t carry much power, so Barber may feel confident to walk through her punches and get into clinch positions.

I see Barber losing the fight only if she is overly tentative or gets stuck at range for extended stretches, where Eye can box her up. However, Barber finally got off to a hot start in her last bout with Montana De La Rosa, so perhaps she has put her tendency to start slowly in the rear-view mirror.

While I don’t project value on either side of the moneyline or the totals for this fight, Eye’s decision prop (projected +366, listed +400 at DraftKings) may be worth sprinkling since it likely represents a more significant percentage of her win condition (80% projected) than the market is indicating (75%).

While it’s not a confident bet – or a play that I want to make – value is value.

Bets

  • Jessica Eye wins by Decision (+400, 0.1u) at DraftKings

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Andre Muniz vs. Uriah Hall

Middleweight Bout Odds
Andre Muniz Odds -350
Uriah Hall Odds +275
Over/under rounds 2.5 (+240 / -350)

Crowdsourced Projections: Andre Muniz (72.4%)

As I mentioned in this piece, Middleweight bouts at the UFC level end inside the distance 60% of the time, yet this bout is lined at 80% or higher to end via finish.

Given the respective finish rates for the two fighters (88% of Muniz’s bouts and 67% for Hall), it makes sense that the line would be above the divisional average. And given the relative binary nature of the matchup (submission grappler vs. knockout artist), I certainly would set the finish expectation higher than 60%. However, I couldn’t project this line past 74%, and I show value on the fight to go to a decision at current prices (+350 at FanDuel).

This bout reminds me of the matchup last week between Rodolfo Vieira and Chris Curtis — except the submission grappler (Muniz) is a significant favorite, whereas Vieira was the underdog.

In both circumstances, the most likely outcome is the grappler via early submission. However, if Muniz cannot secure the first-round submission – as was the case with Vieira, who went 0/20 on takedown attempts, the dynamic of the fight changes completely.

Unlike Vieira, Muniz is a capable wrestler (3.6 per 15 minutes, 40% accuracy), and unlike Curtis, Hall has relatively porous takedown defense (65% career) and can be controlled on the mat.

However, Hall has never been submitted in his career and has shown an ability to survive against a high-level grappler (Antonio Carlos Junior) in a dominant position. Moreover, Hall rallied to win that fight (via split decision) against shoe face.

I expect Muniz to get early takedowns and control time, but I’m not confident that he’ll be the first man to submit Hall. And Muniz hasn’t shown great cardio when he’s extended. So if Hall can survive the first round, I expect him to mount a comeback.

However, Hall isn’t a particularly high-volume striker, and Muniz could still win a decision with two takedowns and relatively dominant rounds before surviving for the final frame.

If I’m betting the fight to go to a decision, I also have to bet Hall to win by decision (projected +805, listed +1100 at PointsBet). And I would look to bet Hall live after Round 1 if he can survive submission attempts from Muniz early.

Bets

  • Hall/Muniz, Fight goes to Decision (+350, 0.25u) at FanDuel
  • Uriah Hall wins by Decision (+1100, 0.1u) at PointsBet
  • Uriah Hall Live after Round 1


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Preliminary Card

  • 8 p.m. ET
  • ABC

Dricus Du Plessis vs. Brad Tavares

Middleweight Bout Odds
Dricus Du Plessis Odds -165
Brad Tavares Odds +135
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-120 / -120)

Crowdsourced Projections: Dricus Du Plessis (59.9%)

Du Plessis made a statement through his first two UFC bouts, handing Markus Perez and Trevin Giles their first-career knockout losses.

The former KSW champion also holds a win over the current two-division KSW champion Roberto Soldic one of the top prospects outside of the UFC.

Who had Dricus Du Plessis by KO/TKO? 😮#UFC264
(via @ufc)

pic.twitter.com/XLAnVSFIAF

— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) July 11, 2021

All 18 of Du Plessis’ pro-MMA fights have ended inside the distance, including his losses. And the average Middleweight bout at the UFC level ends inside the distance 60% of the time (-150 implied).

Brad Tavares is an established UFC veteran (14-6 with the promotion) and the current No. 12 ranked Middleweight. While the Hawaiian doesn’t have much finishing ability (12 of 14 UFC wins by decision), he has been knocked out three times – so he isn’t exceptionally durable either.

Du Plessis is a fast starter who tends to gas out the longer his fights go. He’s a bit of an unorthodox mover but is very accurate with his hands and capable of changing levels and submitting opponents on the ground.

While Tavares should be able to deny any takedown attempts (79% career) from Du Plessis, the South African is an all-action fighter who will find ways to land on Tavares off the counter.

Tavares is the more technical striker – and likely the better minute winner. However, Du Plessis has substantially more finishing upside, justifying his favoritism.

As I mentioned, Middleweight fights end inside the distance around 60% of the time, and I put this one at 62% (-163 implied). I’m surprised that the number is around 4.5% below the divisional average.

As a result, I bet the fight ends inside the distance art -110; and although that price has increased, you can still play that up to -150 at a two percent edge.

Additionally, you can bet Du Plessis to win inside the distance down to +117 at a similar edge (projected +108, listed +138 at BetRivers).

Bets

  • Dricus Du Plessis wins Inside the Distance (+138, 0.25u) at BetRivers
  • Du Plessis / Tavares, Fight Ends Inside the Distance (-124, 0.5u) at FanDuel

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Ian Garry vs. Gabriel Green

Welterweight Bout Odds
Ian Garry Odds -190
Gabriel Green Odds +155
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-140 / +100)

Crowdsourced Projections: Ian Garry (59.3%)

Garry might be one of the more overhyped prospects in the history of the UFC — and I suspect that bettors who continue to fade him at underdog prices will eventually cash tickets.

However, I’m uncertain that Green is the man to take the zero from the undefeated Irish prospect.

Green’s best MMA skills are intangibles — cardio and durability. Garry is likely the more skilled fighter in all facets of MMA and doesn’t seem like the type of fighter who will slow down or finish with relative ease.

However, Garry is still extremely raw and doesn’t necessarily win minutes convincingly, so I suspect that Green can keep this fight close and competitive for the duration.

Garry’s best chance of success here may come with his wrestling. Green was taken down twice by Yoan Lainesse and Phillip Rowe – neither of whom I would consider good wrestlers. However, Green is adept at getting back to his feet.

Both men have below-average striking defense (51% for Garry, 49% for Green). Still, I expect Garry to get the better of the striking exchanges with his long straight punches.

However, I view this fight as more of a coin flip than the odds suggest. I projected Green as a 40.7% underdog in this fight, and I’m happy to take a poke on his moneyline at +150 or better (40% implied).

I suspect we’ll find better spots to fade Garry in the future, however, so I’m keeping my bet relatively small.

Bets

  • Gabe Green (+155, 0.25u) at BetMGM


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Jim Miller vs. Donald Cerrone

Welterweight Bout Odds
Jim Miller Odds -190
Donald Cerrone Odds +160
Over/under rounds 2.5 (+120 / -165)

Crowdsourced Projections: Jim Miller (59.7%)

I’m curious about the drastic shift in odds from Cerrone’s previously scheduled matchup against Joe Lauzon and his fight on Saturday with Jim Miller.

Cerrone was listed at -210 for the first Lauzon bout, -172 the second time it was scheduled, and now has flipped to a +180 underdog against Miller.

While cutting weight twice within a short time isn’t great for his health, Saturday’s fight will take place at 170, which suits the larger Cerrone (5 inches taller, 2-inch reach advantage) better than Miller.

Miller has been much more active than Lauzon and is coming off of a pair of knockout wins against Erick Gonzalez and Nikolas Motta, where his boxing looked excellent.

And Cerrone is reaching the end of his career – having lost five of his past six fights, and four by way of knockout.

That said, like Lauzon, Miller has never shown particularly great cardio and tends to be a fast starter, while Cerrone is a slow starter who gets better the longer his fights go.

I bet Lauzon to win in Round 1 against Cerrone and considered doing the same here with Miller; however, the price on Miller’s props is less than half of what Lauzon’s odds were.

As a result, I had to flip my opinion to a degree and look to bet on the Cerrone side after the significant odds adjustment. If Miller doesn’t finish “Cowboy” early, I would likely favor the underdog in the final two rounds of the fight.

Cerrone is the bigger man and the superior kickboxer (historically). If he’s entirely shot at this point of his career, so be it. However, he didn’t look terrible in an extended fight with Niko Price; I suspect he still has some competitive skill left if Miller can’t put him away early.

While I would lean towards the Cerrone side of the moneyline currently, I suspect that you’ll find a much better live price on “Cowboy” after Round 1.

While I don’t see value on either side of the total, Cerrone to win by decision (projected +396, listed +550 at DraftKings) caught my attention since I would likely favor him to win the second and third rounds of the fight.

However, considering the potential that he’s shot, I kept my allocation small.

Bets

  • Donald Cerrone wins by Decision (+550, 0.1u) at DraftKings
  • Donald Cerrone Live after Round 1

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Jalin Turner vs. Brad Riddell

Lightweight Bout Odds
Jalin Turner Odds -155
Brad Riddell Odds +125
Over/under rounds 2.5 (+120 / -165)

Crowdsourced Projections: Jalin Turner (54.8%)

Saturday’s featured prelim may be my most anticipated bout to watch at UFC 276. And if I set odds for Fight of the Night, this would likely be the co-favorite with Holloway-Volkanovski and Pereira-Strickland.

Turner is a huge and dynamic Lightweight. He’s eight inches taller and will hold a six-inch reach advantage over Ridell, the striking coach for Adesanya’s City Kickboxing team.

Riddell is hoping to avenge Turner’s recent win over his CKB teammate, Jamie Mullarkey, and to put an end to Turner’s four-fight finish streak.

Turner is an extremely fast starter, and his size advantage could pose problems for Riddell in the early stages of the fight. Still, cutting all of that weight to make 155 drains Turner’s gas tank rather quickly, and he should begin to tire if Ridell can drag him into deeper waters.

Ridell has substantially more fighting experience — in professional Muay Thai and Kickboxing — and has faced a better slate of opponents in the UFC. Moreover, he’s faced taller fighters in the past, so Turner’s size and length may not pose as much of a challenge for him as they might for other fighters.

Moreover, Riddell has proven himself a solid offensive wrestler at the UFC level — securing five takedowns against Drew Dober, in particular — so he can change levels and keep Turner honest, in addition to draining his gas tank, throughout the fight.

Still, while Turner is a very fast starter, Riddell consistently loses the first round of his fights before rallying to victory. Perhaps that plays to his advantage here, and he can tire out Turner after the opening frame.

However, I’m never particularly enthusiastic about betting a fighter’s moneyline pre-fight when I’m almost sure I’ll find a superior live price after Round 1.

Turner has never won a fight past the second round, and I expect Ridell to take over late. While I would play Riddell’s moneyline small pre-fight (to +125) and would look to back him live at a better price after Round 1, I also bet Riddell to win by decision (projected +302, listed +380 at DraftKings).

I expect Riddell to win the second and third rounds at drastically increasing percentages; if he doesn’t find a late finish first. Jalin Turner is significantly live to finish any opponent in the first round, particularly with his physical gifts in the 155-pound division. However, Riddell has more fight experience and seems likely to pull away late if Turner doesn’t stop him first.

Bets

  • Brad Riddell (+130, 0.25u) at DraftKings
  • Brad Riddell wins by Decision (+380, 0.25u) at DraftKings
  • Brad Riddell Live after Round 1


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Main Card

  • 10 p.m. ET
  • ESPN PPV

Sean O’Malley vs. Pedro Munhoz

Bantamweight Bout Odds
Sean O’Malley Odds -300
Pedro Munhoz Odds +250
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-125 / -110)

Crowdsourced Projections: Sean O’Malley (72.4%)

The polarizing “Sugar” Sean faces his toughest test on Saturday in the form of Pedro Munhoz, who is taking a step down in competition relative to his recent run of opponents.

Munhoz has faced five current or former champions (Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Frankie Edgar, Cody Garbrandt, Aljamain Sterling) in his past six fights, though he is just 2-4 over that stretch. In contrast, O’Malley’s recent wins haven’t aged particularly well.

That said, O’Malley is highly dynamic and a taller and longer fighter (5″ of height, 7″ of reach). And while Munhoz is typically at a reach discrepancy in his matchups, these fighters will appear to be from different weight classes once they enter the Octagon on Saturday.

Still, Munhoz’s primary skill (leg kicks) has been O’Malley’s kryptonite. O’Malley got drop foot from a leg kick and subsequently finished in his first career loss against “Chito” Vera after breaking his foot in a win over Andre Soukhamthath.

O’Malley fires straight punches in bunches, and he should be able to keep the range with his reach advantage and teep kicks. However, Munhoz will look to land hard low kicks and try to shut down O’Malley’s lead leg and force him to switch stances continually.

Munhoz is a highly durable fighter (never finished in 27-career bouts), and he may be able to walk through O’Malley’s punches since “Sugar” generally records stoppages through attritional-based damage than sitting down on any individual punch.

In addition to the reach advantage, O’Malley should have a relatively significant speed advantage. His movement and footwork around the Octagon will prove advantageous if Munhoz tries to walk him down.

Additionally, while Munhoz has faced high-level competition, he appears to be showing signs of regression in his late thirties, now that he has surpassed the average age for the 135-pound division. And while he does have several submission wins on his record, Munhoz has averaged just 0.57 takedowns per 15 minutes in UFC – and hasn’t completed a takedown since 2018.

As a result, unless Munhoz can hammer O’Malley with leg kicks – and similarly stop him to Vera – I expect O’Malley to get the better of the striking exchanges with his substantial reach advantage and to win the vast majority of minutes.

Despite Munhoz’s durability, however, O’Malley’s decision line is higher than his KO/TKO prop or inside the prop. I feel that’s a product of his finish rate in the UFC (stoppages in five of six wins) and a lack of respect for his upcoming opponent.

I projected O’Malley’s decision line at +177, and I would bet that down to +193, at a two percent edge.

Elsewhere, the pricing in this fight looks about right, and I wouldn’t necessarily include O’Malley in parlays.

Bets

  • Sean O’Malley wins by Decision (+200, 0.5u) at Caesars

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Robbie Lawler vs. Bryan Barberena

Welterweight Bout Odds
Robbie Lawler Odds -110
Bryan Barberena Odds -110
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-200 / +150)

Crowdsourced Projections: Robbie Lawler (53.8%)

Lawler-Barberena may be the fight I’m least interested in from a betting perspective of all the fights on Saturday’s card.

Lawler is 40 years old, and his lone win since July 2017 is against Nick Diaz – who probably had no business returning to the Octagon last year.

Conversely, Barberena is 33 years old but has looked equally shopworn in his recent bouts, despite recording consecutive wins against Matt Brown and Darian Weeks. Before that, Barberena went life and death on the feet with Jason Witt – a wrestler – and generally got the worst of the striking exchanges.

While Barberena has a significant wrestling deficiency (55% takedown defense),  Lawler rarely attempts to grapple (0.66 takedowns per 15 minutes in the UFC) and seems unlikely to exploit that area of Barberena’s game.

Despite being older, Lawler seems like the more durable fighter at this stage of their respective careers – and if these two decide to swing it out, I would expect Lawler to be the last man standing. The difference in their striking defense (59% for Lawler, 45% for Barberena) is notable.

However, Barberena typically lands strikes at a higher volume (+1.88 per minute) and has a superior strike differential (+0.78 to -0.69 per minute) which could translate to better minute-winning ability.

Barberena may be underrated in a pure striking battle – simply because Lawler doesn’t necessarily carry the power to exploit Barberena’s diminishing durability. However, if Lawler decides to take the path of least resistance – and grapple for a change – he may look like a significant favorite.

I don’t see value on either side of the moneyline or the total, and amongst the winning method props, only Barberena by decision (projected +233, listed +250 at FanDuel) offers value. And it’s slight.

This is an easy spot to pass on betting.

Bets

  • Pass

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Alex Pereira vs. Sean Strickland

Middleweight Bout Odds
Alex Pereira Odds +105
Sean Strickland Odds -125
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-110 / -125)

Crowdsourced Projections: Sean Strickland (54.8%)

Saturday’s featured bout sets up as a potential No. 1 contenders matchup in the Middleweight division.

Pereira has noted success against Israel 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″ 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 4 oz 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 Hall 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.

I projected Strickland as close to a 55% favorite (-121 implied) in this fight and would bet his moneyline up to about -115. Moreover, I show similar value on his decision prop (projected +200, listed +250) and his submission prop (projected +630, listed +1000). 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.

Bets

  • Sean Strickland (-110, 0.5u) at BetMGM
  • Sean Strickland wins by Submission (+1000, 0.1u) at BetMGM


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Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway

Featherweight Bout Odds
Alexander Volkanovski Odds -190
Max Holloway Odds +155
Over/under rounds 4.5 (-250 / +185)

Crowdsourced Projections: Alexander Volkanovski (62.1%)

For additional information on Holloway-Volkanovski III, including a full statistical breakdown of Saturday’s Featherweight title bout, make sure to check out the full fight preview from my colleague, Billy Ward.

Billy made a case for the favorite, but I’m taking the other side of this matchup in what should amount to another close and competitive decision between two of the best pound-for-pound MMA fighters on the planet.

The moneyline closed in a similar price range for the second iteration of this matchup, which ended by a split decision and played out as a far more competitive affair than the first fight.

After losing by unanimous decision to Volk late in 2019 — where he lost all five rounds on one scorecard — Holloway won the first two rounds in the rematch and secured one of the three judges’ scorecards in the rematch.

Most media (18 of 27) and fan scorecards (63.5%) gave Holloway the nod, 48-47; however, two judges gave Volkanovski the final three rounds of the fight.

And regardless of how you scored the fight, Holloway outperformed his price tag.

Moreover, in hindsight, I’m more optimistic — if the same fight played out on Saturday — that Holloway would get the nod with the way fights are scored in the current climate.

Volkanovski landed three takedowns in the final two rounds and held 1:26 of control time in the final three frames combined. However, he didn’t land a single ground strike. And while we can’t know whether any of that grappling success swung any of those rounds in his favor, it certainly wouldn’t do him any favors, with control time and empty takedowns getting de-emphasized.

Additionally,  Volkanovski tends to rely on leg kicks (landed 75-of-93 in the first fight and 67-of-101 in the rematch). In contrast, Holloway focuses on his boxing and putting his hands on both the head and body of his opponents.

Holloway landed more combined head and body strikes in both fights, while Volkanovski repeatedly damaged the legs.

Depending on which judges are sitting cage-side, some tend to favor strikes to the head and body as opposed to the leg strikes; and in a matchup where the margins are already thin, that could play to Holloway’s favor.

Moreover, after winning the first two rounds in the rematch, Holloway took his foot off the gas and let Volkanovski pull away on volume. In his subsequent matchups against Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez, Holloway responded by attempting 1,180 significant strikes combined (23.6 per minute), compared to 571 attempts (11.4 per minute) in the two title bouts.

As a result, if Holloway makes a point to chuck volume for all 25-minutes of this fight, he might be able to outpace Volkanovski with head and body strikes to a more significant degree and provide superior optics for the judges sitting cage-side.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that Volkanovski seemingly gets stung, wobbled, or knocked down in all of his bouts. He’s not the most durable fighter, although he quickly recovers. Conversely, Holloway has never been knocked down in the UFC, and appearing last impacted by his opponent’s strikes — even if Volkanovski carries more significant power — could prove the difference in the fight.

While I agree that Volkanovski should be favored – since he has the grappling upside, more considerable power, and makes better in-fight adjustments — I don’t think he should be favored as much as the odds indicate.

I projected Holloway as a 37.9% underdog in this fight (+164 implied) and would assume his true odds are likely closer to 40% (+150 implied). As a result, I do show value on his moneyline at +175 or better.

However, I see a similar edge on Holloway by decision (projected +277, listed +310 at FanDuel), and I prefer that prop down to +300, as opposed to the moneyline side.

Lastly, I project slight value on the fight to go to a decision (projected 70%, or -233 implied) depending on the book. Still, given the anticipated pace of this affair, I’d be hard pressed to lay significant juice, knowing the sweat that I’ll have ahead of me.

If or when this fight reaches a decision, I want a juicy plus-money Holloway ticket – knowing how thin the margins will look, especially after accounting for the variance within judges’ scorecards.

Bets

  • Max Holloway wins by Decision (+310, 0.25u) at FanDuel

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Israel Adesanya vs. Jared Cannonier

Middleweight Bout Odds
Israel Adesanya Odds -400
Jared Cannonier Odds +300
Over/under rounds 4.5 (-120 / -120)

Crowdsourced Projections: Israel Adesanya (83.6%)

For additional information, including a full statistical breakdown of Saturday’s Main Event, check out my full fight preview.

Although Adesanya is both the taller and longer fighter (5″ of height, 3″ of reach), Cannonier is the thicker man and carries far more significant power.

Still, Cannonier tends to fight in straight lines with below-average footwork, and he’ll have to close the distance against the champion, who excels at fighting off the back foot and countering his opponents.

Adesanya is both the more technical and faster striker. Still, when opponents refuse to engage him, his striking volume can be reasonably low, leading to relatively close rounds with thin scoring margins for the judges.

Both men have proven five-round cardio. And I doubt that we will see much, if any, grappling in this contest. As a result, it’s hard to make Adesanya a significant favorite when Cannonier carries just as much — or potentially more — finishing upside, and the minute-winning won’t be particularly overwhelming in the champion’s favor.

Cannonier’s power should force Adesanya to take a tentative approach early, while the champion will look to keep distance and touch up the lead leg or fire kicks to the body if Cannonier switches to southpaw.

Still, Cannonier can fight out of both stances and mix up his approach. And he can check the leg kicks that Adesanya typically uses to slow his opponents — and control range — in the early stages of his fights.

Unless Cannonier decides to bite the mouthpiece and blitz forward, this bout could play out similarly to the Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero fight, where the two combatants ended up in a staring contest for a long stretch.

Cannonier’s approach might determine how exciting this main event will look.

If he decides to engage, we could see a back-and-forth affair in which both men get hurt. However, if Cannonier lays back, he may have some success but will likely get picked apart by the cleaner and more technical striker.

If Cannonier wants to win, he has to attempt to turn this fight into a brawl or look to grind Adesanya up against the cage; playing the range game will not work to his benefit.

 

Additionally, this is Adesanya’s first fight since the Paulo Costa matchup in which he hasn’t had to worry about a severe threat of being taken down — and he picked Costa apart with relative ease. Perhaps Adesanya will look more comfortable in a striker vs. striker matchup despite the potential power discrepancy.

Ultimately, I suspect that Adesanya’s speed and footwork advantages, particularly in the big cage, will allow him to play matador every time Cannonier moves forward — and he’ll eventually pull away down the stretch.

I projected Adesanya as an 83.6% favorite (-510 implied) in this fight, and I would consider using him as a parlay piece at around -475 or better at a 1% edge.

I projected the fight to end inside the distance 55% of the time (-122 implied), and I don’t see actionable value on the “doesn’t go to decision” or “inside the distance” prop (listed -115 at Caesars) for the fight.

Moreover, I don’t show actionable value on any winning method props for this fight. However, Adesanya by KO/TKO (projected +166, listed +170 at FanDuel) or Adesanya inside the distance (projected +139, listed +145 at BetRivers) come close to fitting the bill.

That said, the Adesanya and Over 2.5 Rounds prop (-140) at PointsBet caught my attention, giving us all of Adesanya’s decision equity and his late finish equity.

I expect Adesanya to be cautious of Cannonier’s power in the early stages of the fight as he attempts to kick from range. And if he can slow Cannonier down further by damaging the legs, he should eventually find consistent success with his hands in the pocket later in the fight.

Bets

  • Israel Adesanya / Over 2.5 Rounds (-140, 0.5u at PointsBet)


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Zerillo’s UFC 276 Bets

Distance or Decision Props and Overs

  • Jessica Eye wins by Decision (+400, 0.1u) at DraftKings
  • Hall/Muniz, Fight goes to Decision (+350, 0.25u) at FanDuel
  • Uriah Hall wins by Decision (+1100, 0.1u) at PointsBet
  • Donald Cerrone wins by Decision (+550, 0.1u) at DraftKings
  • Brad Riddell wins by Decision (+380, 0.25u) at DraftKings
  • Sean O’Malley wins by Decision (+200, 0.5u) at Caesars
  • Max Holloway wins by Decision (+310, 0.25u) at FanDuel
  • Israel Adesanya / Over 2.5 Rounds (-140, 0.5u at PointsBet)

Inside the Distance Props and Unders

  • Julija Stoliarenko wins by Submission (+500, 0.1u) at FanDuel
  • Dricus Du Plessis wins Inside the Distance (+138, 0.25u) at BetRivers
  • Du Plessis / Tavares, Fight Ends Inside the Distance (-124, 0.5u) at FanDuel
  • Sean Strickland wins by Submission (+1000, 0.1u) at BetMGM

Moneylines

  • Julija Stoliarenko (+135, 0.25u) at BetMGM
  • Gabe Green (+155, 0.25u) at MGM
  • Sean Strickland (-110, 0.5u) at BetMGM
  • Brad Riddell (+130, 0.25u) at DraftKings

Live Betting Notes

  • Uriah Hall Live after Round 1
  • Donald Cerrone Live after Round 1
  • Brad Riddell Live after Round 1

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