UFC 279 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kevin Holland: Any Value in Hefty Underdog? (Saturday, September 10)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC fighter Kevin Holland
- Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland will meet in the UFC 279 co-main event.
- The fighters were pulled from their original matchups on Friday and rebooked to fight each other.
- The bitter rivals have already tangled out of the cage. Manpreet Jhass now looks at who has the edge in the octagon.
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kevin Holland Odds
What a whirlwind the last 24 hours have been, but I think as fight fans we’ve now been blessed with much more entertaining matchups for UFC 279 tonight.
With the switch-up, Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kevin Holland now serves as the co-headliner to a dream matchup fans have been salivating for between Nate Diaz and Tony Ferguson.
Chimaev is coming off the first true test of his UFC run when he went to war with Gilbert Burns for 15 minutes back in April, and he came out on top.
On the flip side, Holland is riding a two-fight winning streak since dropping down to welterweight.
Will Chimaev continue to smesh? Or will the improved takedown defense of Holland guide him to a big upset?
Read on as we break down this super short notice matchup and look for betting angles.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||5:35||11:12|
|Weight (pounds)||170 lbs.||170 lbs.|
|Date of birth||5/1/1994||11/5/1992|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||7.89||3.90|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||4.30||2.41|
|Take Down Avg||3.23||0.84|
Chimaev seemed nearly untouchable during his first four UFC appearances. I mean that statistically too, as only one of those four opponents landed a single strike on Chimaev.
The grapple-heavy dominance of Chimaev is something we haven’t seen since Khabib Nurmagomedov ruled his division. It is arguable that it is even more impressive than Nurmagomedov as he is going in and making quick work of his opponents without making it look close.
After Chimaev’s first two UFC fights, people questioned his striking considering we never saw him for long on the feet and he would immediately take down his opponents. He shut up most of those critics by starching Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds with four significant strikes on the feet.
We got to see more of his game on display when he finally took on Burns this past April, and he responded very well to adversity. We saw him get hurt and challenged more than we had ever seen him against a high-level opponent. Stylistically, if he can dominate you with his grappling, he will go back to looking like the terror we first saw him portray in his initial four UFC fights, but this fight was great to show us that he can challenge the best of the division and still come out on top.
Holland fell on hard times and was the butt of the joke during the latter part of his UFC middleweight run. The joke was that he could not stuff a takedown and because of that he would never get to utilize his striking advantage against opponents.
Finally, after the Marvin Vettori fight, we saw Holland start to take his wrestling defense more seriously. He enlisted the help of former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks. Although he got taken down one time in his next fight against Kyle Daukaus, he managed to stuff four, which was a consolation given how that fight ended up going.
We know his bread and butter is his striking, especially coming into the cage with an 81-inch reach. He knows how to use his strikes down the pipe, utilizes his range management effectively, and throws a variety of different strikes to keep his opponent on edge.
Chimaev vs. Holland Pick
All week I was praising Holland’s takedown defense against his original opponent since I wasn’t really sold on Daniel Rodriguez’s wrestling. Unfortunately for him, he must now go up against the scariest takedown threat the UFC currently has.
Holland has had a tendency to be slimy on the mat, making it hard to finish him unless you can wrap up a submission. There is a small chance that he may be squirmy enough that the ground and pound of Chimaev may not be enough. He could survive, and should this fight go deeper, I think he could be a live underdog.
Mix in the narrative that Chimaev had bad cramps while cutting weight, there is a possibility it could haunt him if this fight goes deep. If you have access to live betting, maybe taking a stab on Holland should this fight reach Round 4 wouldn’t be a bad idea considering you’ll likely get an even better line than you would if you bet him pre-fight.
However, I still come out on the side that Chimaev will likely smesh his way to a submission opportunity and jump on it. His implied odds of 84% I think are accurate, maybe even a tad generous given the immense grappling advantage he will have in this fight.
Rather than pay the heavy chalk though, I’ll be looking to attack the Chimaev submission prop.
We saw in Chimaev’s fight with Li Jingliang that when ground and pound isn’t enough, he will seek the submission, and I think he’ll look to approach this fight the same way.
The Pick: Khamzat Chimaev Wins via Submission (+250 at FanDuel)