UFC Picks: Our Favorite Bets for Whittaker vs. Till & Trinaldo vs. Herbert
Elliott Howard/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: The octagon Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island.
- Our crew reveals their favorite UFC picks for Saturday's Fight Night at Fight Island.
- Find out which sides of Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Till and Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jai Herbert they're betting.
It’s safe to say that Dana White’s Fight Island has been a success since fighters began throwing down two weeks ago. But all good things must come to an end. The final UFC Fight Night card on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is absolutely loaded with 15 fights on the slate.
The eight preliminary bouts will start at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN followed by seven main card fights at 8 p.m. ET — headlined by middleweights Robert Whittaker and Darren Till.
Our UFC staff have pinpointed the fights on Saturday’s card that present the best betting value. You can find their analysis and picks on those matches below.
Don’t forget, you can now track your UFC bets in the Action Network App!
Dann Stupp: Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jai Herbert
UFC Contributor at The Action Network
Heading into their featured preliminary-card bout, Brazil’s Francisco Trinaldo (25-7) is a small favorite over promotional newcomer and Englishman Jai Herbert (10-1). The question is, why isn’t Trinaldo a bigger one?
“Massaranduba” opened as a -180 favorite, but with the money pouring in on Herbert since then, Trinaldo has tumbled as low as -125. There are just too many good reasons not to go contrarian and pounce on that number.
Herbert is a former lightweight champion in the U.K.’s well-respected Cage Warriors promotion, where he was on a path of destruction that included four straight knockout wins.
However, it’s a big step up from fighting serviceable U.K. vets to fighting a UFC stalwart such as Trinaldo, who’s a tough-as-nails vet who’s never been knocked out in 14-plus years as a pro fighter. In fact, during his eight-plus years in the UFC’s stacked lightweight division, “Massaranduba” has racked up a stellar 15-6 record with wins over notables such as Paul Felder, Jim Miller, Evan Dunham and Bobby Green.
Also working in Trinaldo’s favor? He’s a southpaw — and an aggressive one at that — and for Herbert, this is going to be his first real fight-night experience trying to figure out a lefty. Additionally, with what will likely be Trinaldo’s nonstop pressure and continual counter-striking from the opening bell, Herbert might not get the time he needs to figure out his range. That could be problematic against a crafty striker such as Trinaldo.
Don’t blink, Francisco Trinaldo with the TKO out of nowhere! pic.twitter.com/6WkF2bs8pu
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 23, 2018
Trinaldo, who came in four pounds heavy despite never previously missing weight for a UFC fight, reportedly said his body simply quit sweating/shedding water weight. It’s a bit concerning, for sure, but it doesn’t seem to suggest a lack of motivation/being out of shape.
Despite that issue, Trinaldo remains the play, especially with such attractive odds.
The Pick: Trinaldo (-134)
Reed Wallach: Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Till
Contributor at The Action Network
Whittaker cited mental burnout after dropping his middleweight title fight to Israel Adesanya in October. He has since spoken about how refreshed he is, and I expect him to get back in the win column against Darren Till Saturday night.
Till has been a streaky fighter, bouncing from welterweight to middleweight and it seems that any time he has positive momentum in his direction, he has come up short.
After being knocked out by Jorge Masvidal last March, Till made the move to Middleweight and grabbed an uninspiring split-decision win over Kelvin Gastelum. Till sat back and chopped at Gastelum’s leg or battled with him in the clinch. It was a sound strategy at the time — Till had a considerable size advantage — but that won’t be this case here.
Against the high tempo attack of Whittaker, who lands 4.77 strikes per minute compared to Till’s 2.41, the Gorilla could be uncomfortable throughout. Both fighters stand 6-feet tall with Till possessing a 1-inch reach advantage, so size shouldn’t play a role in this one.
While this fight likely will not be done on the floor, if Till tries to make this into a slow grind in the clinch like the Gastelum fight, Whittaker, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, could take advantage. The former champ has five victories via submission compared to Till’s two.
There are simply more avenues to victory for Whittaker, who is fine meeting in close against the cage, or in the middle of the octagon and landing at a higher clip. Take a refreshed Whittaker to bring the action to Till and get himself back into the middleweight title conversation.
Pick: Robert Whittaker -130