UFC 289 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Nunes vs. Aldana on ESPN+ PPV (Saturday, June 10)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC lightweight Beneil Dariush of Iran
- Our UFC 289 best bets for Saturday night feature picks for four of the 11 bouts.
- The ESPN+ PPV event in Vancouver features a championship headliner, but we targeted other bouts on the card.
- Check out our MMA experts' top UFC 289 picks and predictions, including bouts from the main card and prelims, below.
Check out our UFC 289 best bets ahead of Saturday's event at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, which streams on ESPN+ PPV.
UFC 289 includes prelims on ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET) and ESPN (8 p.m. ET) before the five-fight main card kicks off at 10 p.m. ET on PPV.
UFC women's champion Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana is the UFC 289 main event. However, it's just one of 11 bouts we could pick from for our UFC 289 best bets today.
So where should be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed four fights and picks on Saturday’s UFC 289 card that present betting value.
You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo's projections below using odds from DraftKings.
Dann Stupp: Kyle Nelson vs. Blake Bilder
Senior Editor at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 7:55 p.m. ET
I see a path to victory for both Kyle Nelson and Blake Bilder, and each avenue features a fairly quick night of work. So, for the first UFC 289 prelim on ESPN, I'm going with one of the most entertaining bets in MMA: the under.
Fresh off a dominating win over Shane Young in enemy territory, Bilder will again play the bad-guy role when he fights Canada's own Nelson in Vancouver in Saturday's ESPN-televised bout.
Nelson's best shot at victory is striking early and putting away his opponents. And he's more than capable of doing that with his unorthodox and sometimes-herky-jerky fighting style; after all, he has eight first-round finishes in 13 career victories.
The problem is that Nelson hasn't done it much lately as he's faced increasingly tougher competition. As his fights wear on against durable opponents, Nelson's effectiveness and persistence seem to wane.
That boom-early/bust-late dynamic should play well for an "under 2.5 rounds" bet, especially considering Bilder's style. He's not exactly at a prime age (32) for prospects, but Bilder has shown remarkable output, pace and resiliency. But he's also been dropped multiple times in those performances because he can be so hittable.
If Bilder isn't careful, Nelson could absolutely crack him early. And we can't keep counting on Bilder's chin to survive some of those big blows from UFC-caliber strikers. But if Bilder does survive Nelson's first-round advances, he should be able to take over in the second round through sheer volume and pace. And I'm not confident Nelson has the durability or will to endure it.
Billy Ward: Nassourdine Imavov vs. Chris Curtis
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:25 p.m. ET
Here at The Action Network, we always get a little excited for “The Action Man” Chris Curtis. Besides the awesome nickname, Curtis always puts on a show, with a high-volume striking approach and three knockouts in four UFC victories.
He’s an underdog in the UFC 289 featured prelim against Nassourdine Imavov, but I’m not so sure he should be. As I pointed out in my UFC 289 Luck Ratings earlier this week, Curtis is officially coming off of a loss, but he doesn’t deserve to be.
He was hurt by an accidental headbutt that the officials missed, which turned the tide in a pivotal round that he was probably winning up until that point. With Curtis losing the fight 29-28, that was enough to swing the decision against him.
Curtis' only other loss came against Jack Hermansson, who used his reach advantage to dance around on the outside and stop Curtis from being able to get any offense going.
That won’t be an option for Imavov, who despite being five inches taller has the shorter reach in this fight. That’s one of my favorite situations to target, as the shorter man is able to carry more muscle in a given weight class, while not facing the drawbacks of a reach disadvantage.
It’s a particularly salient point in this fight, which should play out exclusively on the feet. Imavov is mostly a striker (fewer than one takedown per 15 minutes in the UFC), and Curtis is exclusively one – he’s never attempted a takedown in the UFC octagon and has defended 100% of his opponents' attempts.
Curtis has the edge in both power and speed, with a knockdown rate of 0.79/15 minutes, compared to 0 for Imavov, while out-landing Imavov 5.59 to 4.32 (per minute). The volume should play well to the judges should they be needed, while the power could mean that they aren’t.
Sean Zerillo: Dan Ige vs. Nate Landwehr
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 10:25 p.m. ET
I'm betting the fight to end inside the distance (listed -138, projected -169) given the expected pace.
Both fighters have excellent cardio, but I would give a slight edge to Nate Landwehr – a former track athlete – in the stamina department. However, Dan Ige, who has never been finished, is significantly more durable. Landwehr gets dropped or wobbled in nearly all of his fights. Still, the Clarkstown, Tennessee native is as tough as they come, showing unbelievable recoverability to rally back into fights.
Ige has the power advantage, knocking opponents like Gavin Tucker stiff, while Landwehr overwhelms his opponents with pace and volume for attritional-based stoppages. And both fighters have an underrated submission game.
Given the expected pace of this fight, I thought the "under" and finish props would be much more juiced than they are, though I somewhat understand the skepticism, considering Ige's ability to absorb damage.
I expect Ige to win early minutes and find clean opportunities to land on and hurt Landwehr, who doesn't offer much head movement and is far too willing to take a shot to give one back. If Landwehr tries to pressure Ige recklessly from the outset, he might eat a punch that he won't wake up from. But that's the only way "Nate the Train" can fight: moving forward.
If Ige hurts Landwehr and empties his gas tank trying to finish – without doing so – Landwehr might make for a tremendous live bet after Round 1. I expect that you can find a better price on the underdog after round 1 than you'll get pre-fight.
I projected Ige's chances of winning inside the distance around 50%; you can bet his finish prop down to +110, in addition to betting the under or fight ends ITD prop.
Tony Sartori: Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush
Staff Writer at The Action Network
Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:25 p.m. ET
At long last, Beneil Dariush finally gets his shot. Criminally under-ranked and not set up for important fights by the UFC, Dariush has been one of the best lightweights in the world for a few years now.
However, it is a promotion along with a sports league, and Dariush's more introverted personality has led to many "casual" UFC fans not really knowing who he is or how talented the 155-pound contender is. But the time has finally come for his shot, and Dariush will (supposedly) get a title opportunity with a win, something I think he will accomplish.
Backing Dariush is not an indictment on Charles Oliveira, who is a future UFC Hall of Famer and still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. With that said, this is Dariush's chance, and he will seize it.
Riding an eight-fight winning streak, Dariush has not lost since the beginning of 2018. Over that span, he boasts two knockout wins, two submission victories and four wins via decision.
He has cleared some big names during that stretch, including Tony Ferguson and the current No. 7 contender, Mateusz Gamrot. Meanwhile, Oliveira is coming off his title loss to Islam Makhachev, a fight in which he got utterly dominated.
While I am not going to mark down Oliveira for losing to one of the top-three pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, Dariush could be almost as big of a test. Like Oliveira, Dariush is incredible in every aspect of the sport, whether it's striking, wrestling or grappling.
With that said, Oliveira takes a ton of risks and often opens himself up, which is why eight of his nine losses in the UFC have come inside the distance. Dariush is more than capable of taking advantage of that, with both excellent power and a strong ground game.
The Pick: Beneil Dariush inside the distance (+155 at BetRivers)