FIGHT NIGHT has arrived!
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is back at its Apex Facility for tonight’s 12-fight card, UFC 250: Nunes vs. Spencer.
There are many questions and storylines for this show.
Can Felicia Spencer shock the world and take out The GOAT of women’s mixed martial arts, Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes? Has Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt put three knockout losses in a row in the rearview mirror, and can he return to championship form in tonight’s co-main event against the bantamweight division’s top-five gatekeeper, Raphael Assuncao?
Who will emerge as the bantamweight loop’s No. 1 contender and get a title shot (against the Petr Yan-Jose Aldo winner) when second-ranked Aljamain Sterling and fourth-ranked Cory Sandhagen collide in the Octagon tonight? Can former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champ Eddie Wineland turn back the clock and hand ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley his first career loss?
In the Prelims headliner on ESPN, will 20-year-old Chase ‘The Teenage Dream’ Hooper stay undefeated against featherweight veteran Alex ‘Bruce Leeroy’ Caceres? In a middleweight showdown, can Ian ‘Hurricane’ Heinisch avoid a three-fight losing streak when he takes on Gerald Meerschaert? And finally, will Devin Clark slow the hype train of undefeated light heavyweight Alonzo Menifield or will he become his 10th KO victim in as many career fights?
1-THREE UNITS on ‘UNDER’ 2.5 rounds (+103 odds at BetDSI) for Garbrandt vs. Assuncao:
There are questions about Garbrandt’s chin after three consecutive KO losses. Two of those defeats came in Round 1 and the other in Round 2, and let’s remember that Garbrandt nearly finished T.J. Dillashaw late in the opening frame of their meeting, and he also had Pedro Munhoz badly hurt early before Munhoz finished him with nine seconds left in Round 1. Furthermore, ‘under’ 2.5 rounds is 11-3 in Garbrandt’s 14 career fights. He owns eight first-round KOs and has been KO’d twice in the opening stanza.
2-THREE UNITS on ‘UNDER’ 1.5 rounds (-116 at BetDSI) for Alonzo Menifield vs. Devin Clark:
If your book isn’t offering this play, some shops are offering a proposition wager for the fight to end in Round 1 for a +130 return. I’d rather get the cushion of an extra 2.5 minutes in Round 2, but I’m okay with going with that prop at plus money if it’s your only option in terms of the total. If your book has odds of -130 or more on ‘under’ 1.5 rounds, I’d reduce the size of the play from three units down to two (and do the same if you’re going with the prop to end in Round 1). Menifield is 9-0 with nine career KOs, including seven in the first round. He’s won all three of his UFC bouts by first-round KO.
3-TWO UNITS on Aljamain Sterling (-110) vs. Cory Sandhagen:
Sterling is in top form right now with four consecutive wins and a 6-1 record in his last seven scraps. He earns his long-awaited title shot with a big win tonight. The prop for Sterling to win by decision is offering a return in the +185 neighborhood, and I’m not against a small nibble (no more than a half-unit, though) on that wager.
4-ONE UNIT on prop for Menifield to win by KO/TKO at a -125 price (Intertops):
See above stats from #2 on Menifield’s power.
5-ONE-HALF UNIT on prop for Menifield to win in Round 1 for +160 payout (William Hill).
6-ONE UNIT on ‘under’ 1.5 rounds for a +118 return (BetDSI) for O’Malley vs. Wineland:
–Wineland has great power for a 135-pounder, evidenced by his 15 career KO wins and his five KO wins in the UFC that are the second-most in the promotion’s bantamweight division’s history. The 38-year-old Wineland also has three career losses by KO and four by submission. O’Malley owns seven first-round finishes in 11 career bouts.
7-ONE UNIT on ‘UNDER’ 1.5 rounds (+134 at BetDSI) for Charles Byrd vs. Maki Pitolo:
Unless you have a BetDSI account, you’re probably only going to be getting odds around +110 or +115 (at least as of 2:15 p.m. Eastern). ‘Under’ 1.5 rounds is 13-3 in Byrd’s 16-fight career. He has seven first-round finishes, and the middleweight has also been finished four times in the opening stanza.
**B.E.’s Octagon Nuggets**
–If your book takes MMA parlays, I feel real good about Menifield and Hooper in them. Obviously, I feel good about Sterling, too, but I don’t like putting one of my biggest plays also in a parlay. Until we see Garbrandt’s chin hold up, there’s certainly concern about his recovery from three brutal KOs. He’s had 15 months, though, and sought out help from renowned boxing coach Mark Henry. I think it’s a good sign for him to get out of his comfort zone in Sacramento, although he still remains a Team Alpha Male member and did about half of his training for this camp there. Therefore, I sense he gets back into the win column tonight and I’m okay with him in a parlay. So…take a shot with a three-fight Menifield-Hooper-Garbrandt parlay that should get back a return in the +280 neighborhood.
If When you hit the Menifield and Hooper legs, you’ll have the option of hedging a little (if you want) with a small play on Assuncao.
–Alexander Gustafsson, the Swedish three-time challenger for the light-heavyweight title, is coming out of retirement and moving up to heavyweight to take on former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum on ‘Fight Island’ July 25. Werdum returned from a two-year USADA suspension and lost a split decision to Alexey Oleynik at UFC 249.
–Former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who we successfully faded with a big play on Gilbert Burns as a nice underdog last Saturday, said this week that the UFC has already offered him a fight with Colby Covington and he’s accepted. On that note, BetOnline opened ‘Chaos’ Covington as a -250 favorite. The odds have already moved up to -275, leaving Woodley as a +235 underdog. Like I’ve been saying for months, the 38-year-old Woodley is washed up and it appears the oddsmakers have figured that out by making him a decided underdog in this potential spot.
–The July 18 card on ‘Fight Island’ will feature a middleweight scrap between sixth-ranked Jack Hermansson and seventh-ranked Kelvin Gastelum. 5Dimes has Gastelum as a -125 favorite vs. Hermansson (-105). My early lean is to Gastelum, who is off back-to-back heartbreaking defeats against 185-pound champ Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya and Darren Till. Both both were super-close decision setbacks.