After some recent relatively lackluster cards, the UFC returns in a huge way next weekend with UFC 251.
The event takes place on the so-called “Fight Island” located in Abu Dhabi.
The main card is stacked with four high-profile bouts, including a whopping three championship fights.
Though it’s still over a week away, NJ Online Gambling is giving you a sneak peak at what to look for, using odds from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Main Event: Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns
This welterweight title bout seems appropriately priced and so you should avoid it. It’s hard to justify a wager on Usman at -240 or Burns at +192.
Usman (16-1) hasn’t lost since 2013, but Burns (19-3) looked very impressive in a recent win against former champion Tyron Woodley. Burns used to fight at lightweight, a division below, with his last loss coming against Dan Hooker in 2018. If you’re going to bet the moneyline, definitely don’t bet on Burns.
FanDuel has Usman by points at +105. If you’re looking for a method-of-victory bet, Usman by KO/TKO at +380 could be OK. Usman at slightly better than even money by points is of course attractive, but the longer odds on a finish seem like slightly better value.
The bout is close to a pick ’em for ending in a finish or going to the scorecards.
Co-Main Event: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway
The moneyline on this featherweight title fight seems fairly priced. Volkanovski (21-1) probably has some value at around -200, but that’s not super attractive.
Holloway (21-5) at +160 is a bet to literally scowl at and not entertain. It’s rare for a champion to get his belt back after a run and loss like Holloway had. It seems like his era is over, but his moneyline price does speak to how dominant of a champion he once was.
What’s relatively unusual about this fight is that Voklanovski is +100 to win again by decision. You don’t see many instances of a fighter being exactly even money to win on points. Holloway is nearly impossible to finish, so it makes sense.
If you want to bet on the former champion, consider Holloway at +290 to win on the scorecards. It’s possible he comes back with a game plan to beat Voklanovski, which would set up a trilogy bout that the UFC would love to make. Given how the first fight went, it’s very hard to see Holloway finishing his opponent this time around. Holloway also has never been a power puncher.
Most pros are predicting Volkanovksi to win again, thanks in large part to how their respective styles match up.
Petr Yan vs. José Aldo
Yan (14-1) is the significant favorite at -230 in this bantamweight title bout and should be, but Aldo (28-6) is a legend and hard to rule out for a win in his second fight after moving down to bantamweight. He lost a very close decision to Marlon Moraes in December, so he appears to be a strong contender at 135 lbs.
You can get Aldo at +184.
Unless you feel like you have some borderline insider information on the situation here, avoid this moneyline. Put your money elsewhere.
UFC pros are echoing this sentiment. While most see Yan as the justifiable favorite, many aren’t sleeping on Aldo. Don’t let the books take your money on this fight.
Jéssica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas
This fight is probably the most worthy of consideration for wagering among the four high-profile bouts on the card. Andrade (20-7) won their first meeting in May 2019, after slamming Namajunas (9-4) on her head. Namajunas, a super slick striker, was controlling the first fight up until that point and looked to be cruising to a victory.
Body slam KOs are incredibly rare in the UFC. What’s remarkable is that Namajunas is about the same level of favorite in this rematch as she was heading into the first fight, despite losing. Namajunas has one of the best coaches in MMA in Trevor Whitman (also the coach of Justin Gaethje). Expect Namajunas to win this fight, especially considering Andrade’s last fight in late 2019 was a KO loss in the first round.
Namajunas at -178 is worth a bet. Bet Andrade at +144 if you like lighting money on fire.
How will the fight end? That’s hard to predict. In a three-round rematch like this, Namajunas might play it safer than normal and be more than content with a decision victory, which you can get at +195. Her odds of a TKO/KO are an attractive +400, though.
If you want a bet with a huge ROI, go with Namajunas by KO/TKO in round three at +2000. It’s very possible Namajunas loosens up and gets the finish in the third.
For what it’s worth, the vast majority of pro fighters are going with Namajunas here.