UFC 251 boasts three world title fights as “UFC Fight Island” opens for business on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi.
But while the championship matchups will grab the lion’s share of the attention ahead of fight night, there are some superb matches further down the card, with some nice opportunities for value bets among them.
We’ve picked out three value bets for three must-see non-title fights on Saturday night/Sunday morning.
The last time Namajunas and Andrade met inside the octagon, Andrade slammed “Thug Rose” on her head and knocked her out to win the UFC women’s strawweight title.
Now both women are looking to work their way back to the top after Andrade lost her belt to China’s powerful Zhang Weili, and the winner of this eagerly-anticipated rematch will almost certainly earn themselves a shot at the title later this year.
A solid rule of thumb with rematches is to pick the fighter who won the first fight to win it more decisively in the second meeting. The theory goes that both athletes have had the chance to improve and evolve, so whatever gap was there before is likely to be there again.
However, the manner of Andrade’s win last time out was more down to a technical mistake from Namajunas than from the Brazilian’s superior fighting ability. Indeed, Namajunas looked to be doing the better of the pair before the fight went to the mat and Namajunas got slam-KO’d.
On the feet, Namajunas is significantly better than Andrade. The Brazilian can pack a punch, but the American has the better boxing, has the longer reach and better footwork.
I think she’ll look to keep things standing until she hurts Andrade. Then, with her opponent in trouble, the opportunity will open up for Namajunas to lock up a submission. It’s just as likely as a KO/TKO finish, but at far more attractive odds.
How do you extract value from a fight where the favourite is an unbackable 1/10 shot? That’s the problem we encounter when looking at the Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant fight.
VanZant may be the name here, but she certainly isn’t the favourite, with Brazilian strawweight Ribas hugely favoured to get the job done on Saturday night.
Obviously, we’re not going to tip a 1/10 selection, but the price available on Ribas to get the job done on the scorecards offers excellent value, considering her massive odds-on win price.
VanZant is gritty and full of heart, and has the sort of determination required to take the fight to the scorecards. Also, it’s worth noting that in women’s strawweight and flyweight fights, contests tend to go the distance more frequently than in other weight classes.
So, the opportunity to back Ribas to win at better than even money screams value, and it’s a pick that is well worth dabbling with this weekend.
One of the UFC light heavyweight division’s hardest hitters welcomes to the UFC a man who may be even more destructive than himself, as Volkan Oezdemir faces former RIZIN 205-pound champ Jiri Prochazka.
Oezdemir made his “No Time” nickname thanks to a string of fast finishes in the UFC, but Prochazka’s penchant for rapid-fire finishes has been even more impressive.
Prochazka has won his last eight fights by knockout, with SEVEN of them coming inside the very first round.
With punch power like that, an early finish may well be on the cards again.
Tips for UFC 251 in Summary
03:30 Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade: Namajunas to win by submission
03:00 Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant: Ribas to win on points
02:30 Jiri Prochazka V Volkan Oezdemir: Prochazka To Win In Round 1
Tips for UFC 251’s mega title fights
- Only 6 More Conor McGregor Retirements Until Christmas
- Eddie Hearn Rejects Conor McGregor Offer To Fight Ivan Drago On Joshua V Fury Undercard
- Tyson fury vs Anthony Joshua: let’s get it on! Maybe? Possibly… we’re not sure when, or where, though