It might not be a big pay-per-view show, but Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas is packed with fun matchups. Let’s take a look to see where the best value lies ahead of UFC Vegas 11.
This fight would have been dynamite about 18 months ago, when Covington and Woodley’s rivalry was at its peak.
While Covington remains a major factor at the top of the welterweight division, there are serious question marks over Woodley’s career after suffering back-to-back losses, and with the 38-year-old not looking too good in either performance.
We know Covington will show up in prime shape and push the pace hard against Woodley, but what is unsure is whether Woodley is still capable of reaching the elite levels of performance that saw him hold the UFC welterweight title.
If Woodley was fit and firing, the pick would probably have been Covington by decision but, given the former champion’s iffy form of late, the possibility of a finish for “Chaos” looks much higher. The odds of a Covington win via KO/TKO looks like excellent value.
Verdict: Colby Covington to win by KO/TKO
It seems everyone is on the Khamzat Chimaev hype train right now. The Chechen-born Swedish fighter has looked like an absolute monster in his first two UFC outings as he swiftly finished John Phillips and Rhys McKee in short order in back-to-back performances on UFC Fight Island.
Now he’s trying to repeat the trick by booking two fights in quick succession, with the first of the two matchups coming this weekend. But anyone thinking his fight with Gerald Meerschaert is a lay-up win for “The Wolf” needs to pump the brakes a little.
Chimaev is an undoubted talent and he’s looked great thus far as he’s used his smothering top game to finish a pair of fighters who are both much more known for their striking skills. But against Meerschaert this weekend, Chimaev is facing a VERY dangerous grappler.
Meerschaert has finished 23 of his 31 career wins by submission. That’s a pretty damn impressive stat. And he’s also a middleweight, which is a crucial factor. Chimaev is happy to fight at 185 pounds or 170 pounds, but his optimal weight is undoubtedly the latter.
With Meerschaert a natural middleweight with some serious pedigree on the mat – he’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt – it may well transpire that Chimaev doesn’t have things all his own way. Indeed, Meerschaert may well have the better of the exchanges on the ground.
If he does, and he can control position, he could cause something of a shock result with the bookies by defeating Chimaev, either via submission or on the scorecards.
A lot of people are talking as if this fight is a foregone conclusion. Meerschaert’s experience and pedigree suggests otherwise, and if the fight proves to be a competitive one, a win by points might prove to be huge value.
Verdict: Gerald Meerschaert to win by points
The very first fight of the night offers some solid value, as Canadian newcomer TJ Laramie makes his octagon debut.
Laramie is built like a tank and has a smothering top game as well as some nasty ground and pound. That doesn’t bode well for his opponent Darrick Minner, who struggled to make an impression in the UFC during his octagon debut earlier this year.
Minner carries a submission threat, but was far too happy to pull guard and put his back on the mat during fights in a bid to grab a submission off the bottom.
But Laramie’s top game means strength and power is likely to dominate the matchup, with the Canadian a solid pick to win the fight either by decision or via ground and pound TKO in middle-to-late rounds. Laramie to win by stoppage offers the best value as the 22-year-old looks to kick off his UFC career with a big win.
Verdict: TJ Laramie to win by KO/TKO
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UFC Fight Night betting summary
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