Fight Night has arrived!
Say what you want about UFC President Dana White but, if you’re being fair, you have to tip your hat to the dude who is about to pull off a seventh show tonight (in six weeks) during a global pandemic.
White and his staff have faced hurdles galore from politicians, Negative Nancy’s, other suits and a plethora of spineless media members.
As gamblers, we’re certainly appreciative of the betting opportunities being afforded us by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Before getting into my wagers for tonight, let’s set the table with some story lines to watch.
Will Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes improve to 9-0 with one no-contest in 10 Octagon appearances against fighters not named Francis Ngannou, or will seventh-ranked heavyweight Alexander Volkov cash generous underdog tickets (+330 or better at most spots around 2:45 p.m. Eastern) and jump into the top five?
Can eighth-ranked featherweight Josh Emmett post a third consecutive win by knockout, or will 10th-ranked Shane Burgos improve to 14-1 overall and 7-1 in the UFC as a -160 ‘chalk?’
In a welterweight contest, can Lyman Good honor his late father, who recently passed away, by getting his hand raised two months after he getting past a COVID-19 diagnosis, or is Belal Muhammad poised to win his seventh fight in his last eight Octagon appearances?
Will 36-year-old Jim Miller earn UFC career win No. 21 when he ties Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone for most UFC fights by making his 35th career walk tonight, or is Roosevelt Roberts ready to roll right through the veteran as a heavy favorite in a 160-pound catchweight contest?
In the Prelims headliner, can 38-year-old Clay ‘The Carpenter’ Guida turn back the clock and garner his 36th career victory, or will Bobby ‘King’ Green avoid a three-fight losing streak and pick up just his second win since the summer of 2014?
Finally, which women’s flyweight fighter will emerge victorious and jump into title contention when sixth-ranked Roxanne Modafferi collides with seventh-ranked Lauren Murphy?
Those are some of the burning questions going into tonight’s scraps. Now let’s see if I can provide some answers and, most importantly, a bunch of winners.
Pick #1: Two Units on Josh Emmett as a +145 underdog (5Dimes):
Bettors are apparently hammering the books with bets on Burgos, and that works great for us! As of early Friday afternoon, +120 was the best price I saw for Emmett as an underdog in the co-main event. Emmett (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is off back-to-back KO wins over Michael ‘The Menace’ Johns and Mirsad Bektic. I think Emmett scores a KO win.
Pick #2: 1.5 Units on Belal Muhammad as a -115 favorite (5Dimes):
Muhammad (16-3 MMA 7-3 UFC) is looking for his third straight win. He’s 6-1 in his last seven scraps with the lone defeat coming by decision against Geoff Neal, who is 6-0 with five finishes during his UFC tenure.
Pick #3: 1.5 Units on ‘Under’ 2.5 rounds (+102) Miller-Roberts:
I found the plus-money offering from 5Dimes. Five of Miller’s last six fights have ended in Round 1. The New Jersey native is third in UFC history with nine career wins by submission. Only three of Roberts’s 11 career fights have gone the distance. He owns five career wins by submission and three via knockout.
Pick #4: One Unit on ‘Under’ 2.5 rounds (-125) Blaydes-Volkov:
Found the -125 price at Intertops and Pinnacle. I was originally going to take the prop for Blaydes to win by KO/TKO when it was priced in the -140 neighborhood earlier in the week. However, that price jumped up into the -200 range, which is entirely too expensive for my taste. I think Blaydes wins, but he shouldn’t be North of -400. The hope is that Blaydes, much like he did in his dominant win over Alistair Overeem, will implement his wrestling early and often and take out Volkov with ground-and-pound punishment at some point in Round 2 or early in the third frame.
Pick #5: One Unit on ‘Under’ 2.5 rounds (-135) Barriault-Piechota:
In Piechota’s 14 career fights, only two have made it into Round 3. This middleweight scrap ends in Round 1 or 2.