Two of the UFC’s top heavyweight stars go head-to-head in Las Vegas as the octagon reopens for business at its first Sin City event of 2021. Ahead of fight night, here are three value picks for the big fights set to go down at the UFC Apex on Saturday night.
Sun 4am: Alistair Overeem v Alexander Volkov
Overeem to win by KO/TKO
Alistair Overeem is a former K-1 World Grand Prix kickboxing champion, a former Strikeforce heavyweight champion and a former DREAM heavyweight champion. In short, he’s a bonafide belt collector. But, the one belt to so far to elude him is the UFC heavyweight title and he’s hoping to move one step closer with victory over Volkov on Saturday night.
Overeem has won 11 times inside the UFC octagon, with eight of them coming by way of knockout. The heavy-handed Dutchman is more than capable of separating anyone in the division from their senses, and if he’s on form on Saturday night, I expect him to do the same with Volkov.
- Check out all the latest UFC tips and previews now
Interestingly, Volkov is the betting favourite for this match-up, but I certainly don’t see it that way. For me, Overeem is the more seasoned fighter and, crucially, has more ways to win. Volkov could potentially catch “The Reem,” but his most likely path to victory is on the scorecards.
However, with five rounds to negotiate, I just don’t see him getting that far. Overeem’s ability to counter effectively, plus his dominant clinch game, will likely break down Volkov for a TKO finish inside three rounds.
A side bet with a huge upside
Two bets on the same guy? Yes. Sometimes betting odds just leap off the page, because they offer such ridiculous value. And we have that right here with the “Method of victory” market for the Overeem-Volkov fight.
If you fancy a cheeky side bet for that main event clash, take a look at the odds for an Overeem win by submission. Yes, he has won all of his fights in the UFC by knockout or decision, but “The Reem” has almost as many submissions (19) on his record as he does KOs (23), and way more wins by sub than he has registered on the scorecards (5). And, with Volkov far from comfortable operating off his back, a submission finish for Overeem could offer a very profitable route to victory for the Dutchman.
Overeem has outstanding top control and a ludicrously-overlooked submission game. To think that he has submitted the likes of Vitor Belfort, Igor Vovchavchin, Mark Hunt, and Gary Goodridge during his career has proved that. When faced with a powerful striker, he’s been more than happy to use his submission skills to get the win.
And with Overeem seeing this chapter of his career as win-or-bust, as he looks to make one final run at the UFC title, a pragmatic approach is far more likely than earlier in his UFC career, when he was targeting eye-catching knockouts. Now it’s all about the win, regardless of how he gets it. The price reflect how long it’s been since he won by submission, but in a fight against a pure striker, these odds look way too big to completely ignore.
The bantamweight bout between UFC contender Alexandre Pantoja and former Rizin champion Manel Kape looks set to deliver fireworks, and there’s money to be made on what could turn out to be the fight of the night. Both men pack a ton of power into their 135-pound frames, and both have shown that they’re more than capable of finishing the fight with one swing of their fists.
It’s a fight that’s almost too close to call, with Paddy’s traders making Pantoja the slight favourite in a fight that’s a virtual pick-em matchup. So, with the winner looking harder to pick than a broken nose, we need to look into some of the other markets for our value bet.
The “How fight will end” market offers up the most solid value on the sheet, with a KO/TKO finish (for either man) coming in at a healthy-looking price. In a fight where both men are going to be throwing bombs, that’s as good a bet as you’ll find.
- Weekend accumulator tips: PPTV’s 17/1 bet for two huge days of sport
- NFL tips: Super Bowl Sunday’s best side market bets from our traders
- Football tips: Paddy’s special 11/4 Man Utd & Tampa Bay weekend double
- Six Nations tips: Paddy’s complete betting preview and predictions for 2021 tournament