After a great run of shows on “Fight Island,” the UFC returns to Las Vegas and their “UFC Apex” facility for UFC Fight Night this weekend with a legend in the main event and a host of prospects on the undercard looking to make a statement. We’ve taken a look at the betting markets to pick out the best value from the three biggest fights on the card, and have highlighted some solid value picks ahead of bumper boys.
Hot on the heels of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement announcement at UFC 254 last week, we’re onto another notable UFC finale this weekend with former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva confirming that Saturday night’s main event bout with Uriah Hall will be his last fight in the UFC.
Whether that means he’s merely leaving the UFC or retiring outright will likely only become clear in the weeks following Saturday’s fight, but he’ll be keen to bring down the curtain on his Hall of Fame-worthy career with a win against a man who can be every bit as spectacular as “The Spider” himself.
Uriah Hall’s nickname of “Prime Time” is well earned but, like Silva’s post-championship run, he has been plagued with inconsistency. On his day, Hall has the sort of spectacular striking ability to produce highlight-reel finishes of the very best in the world. The problem is, “his day” hasn’t often fallen on a Saturday.
This fight sees a battle of counter-strikers, which means that we could either be in for a classic striking chess match, or it could be an absolute stinker. Whichever way it goes, there’s a strong chance we’re going to see this fight go all the way to the scorecards.
If it does, the odds on a Hall victory by decision looks like a smart pick. The American will likely edge Silva for work rate and should do enough to pick up the win. Silva may throw caution to the wind, but he’s won just one of his last eight trips to the octagon, so I just can’t see it.
Besides owning one of the best nicknames in all of MMA, Andre “Touchy” Fili is one of the most seasoned scrappers in the UFC’s featherweight division. He’s expected to provide the toughest test of Bryce Mitchell’s career this weekend, but the fighter known as “Thug Nasty” should get the job done.
Mitchell’s grappling game is simply outstanding, and the American’s mastery on the ground should be enough to keep Fili on the back foot through most of the matchup. Fili’s grappling defense is solid, but Mitchell has the skills to finish it inside the distance.
Heavyweights prospects collide in a very interesting clash of styles, as “The Crochet Boss” Maurice Greene takes on former NFL star Greg Hardy, with both men looking to elevate themselves toward the division’s big names.
On paper, Greene is in better form. He’s 4-2 in the UFC and is coming into the fight off the back of a third-round submission finish of Gian Villante in June. But, Hardy (UFC record: 3 wins, 2 losses, 1 no contest) has the higher ceiling as a fighter, and outstruck knockout artist Yorgan De Castro at UFC 249 in May to extend his career record to 6-2 (1 no contest).
Greene will hold a height advantage over Hardy, but when it comes to strength and punch power “The Prince of War” holds the edge. I suspect he’ll make that power pay as he keeps Greene on the back foot throughout their three-round matchup.
We’ve seen Greene finished quickly before in the UFC – Sergey Pavlovich finished him in just over two minutes last October – and Hardy will fancy his chances of doing something similar. Hardy is an odds-on shot to win by KO/TKO – which doesn’t offer too much in the way of value, but if we zero in on the rounds, a KO/TKO finish from Hardy in Round 2 looks like outstanding value.
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