This weekend’s UFC card in San Antonio, Texas showcases a host of stars looking to propel themselves towards world title contention.
Here’s our five-fight shortlist of the best value picks for the weekend:
1. LEON EDWARDS TO BEAT RAFAEL DOS ANJOS
This one’s a straight-up win bet, as we’re taking the criminally underrated Brit to score something of an upset and defeat the former UFC lightweight champion in the night’s main event.
Interestingly, the betting on this side of the pond has Edwards as the slight favourite, but over in the States, ‘RDA’ is generally considered to be the man to beat in this matchup.
Nonetheless, Edwards’ stellar form, coupled with his constant improvement from fight to fight, means we’re expecting a big performance from “Rocky” on fight night.
2. GREG HARDY TO KNOCK OUT JUAN ADAMS
The heavyweight grudge match on the main card pits two of the biggest heavyweights in the UFC head to head, and the pair both weighed in at the maximum weight allowed for a UFC fight – 266lbs.
Both men are heavy-handed strikers with plenty of knockout power. So the big question is, who will connect first and hit their opponent’s snooze button first?
Our money is on Hardy. He’s probably the better athlete, he’s more explosive and he’s more aggressive at the start of fights. And he’s the more likely of the two to come flying out of the blocks and land something early.
3. BEN ROTHWELL TO SUBMIT ANDREI ARLOVSKI @ 7/1
After losing his comeback fight via a highly questionable decision, “Big” Ben Rothwell looks to have his mojo back, and we’re expecting him to produce a big performance in San Antonio.
The heavyweight contender faces old foe Andrei Arlovski in a rematch of a bout they had in now-defunct organisation Affliction 11 years ago.
Arlovski claimed a third-round KO on that occasion, but we’re picking Rothwell to avenge that defeat and claim a stoppage win of his own, albeit by other means.
Rothwell is a big, strong guy who hits hard, but his biggest weapon is is underrated submission game, and his notorious gogo choke has seen him finish off a host of big-name UFC stars.
We like the 7/1 odds on him repeating the trick here and grabbing something against Arlovski.
BEN ROTHWELL BY SUBMISSION @ 7/1
4. DAN HOOKER TO SUBMIT JAMES VICK
Dan Hooker’s lightweight clash with James Vick has all the ingredients needed for a potential fight of the night. And we like the Kiwi to come through victorious.
Vick is massive for the weight class and has excellent boxing skills, but Hooker’s striking ain’t bad either. But it’s the New Zealander’s submission game that interests us the most heading into this one.
Hooker has eight KOs on his record, but also has seven wins by submission, and we’re taking him to even up that tally by registering another against Vick. The odds are decent, too.
DAN HOOKER TO WIN BY SUBMISSION: 13/2
5. ROXANNE MODAFFERI TO OUTPOINT JENNIFER MAIA
I’m done underestimating Roxanne Modafferi. Her disarming happy-go-lucky demeanour has led me to believe that she would lose her last couple of fights, and she’s proved me wrong on both occasions. I’m not making the same mistake again.
Modafferi faces Brazil’s Jennifer Maia, who failed to make weight for their flyweight contest this weekend. It means Modafferi has already won 30% of her opponent’s fight purse. Now she plans on going on and winning the fight itself.
Modafferi’s skills on the ground are improving with every performance, and she has the ability to dominate the dangerous Maia from top position and grind out a decision win.
*Prices correct at time of publishing
ROXANNE MODAFFERI TO WIN BY POINTS: 11/5