* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
The UFC is back on the road for its latest pay-per-view extravaganza as the octagon heads to Houston, Texas on Saturday night. We’ve taken a look at the top three fights on the card and picked out a trio of value bets ahead of fight night at the Toyota Center.
The main event sees a battle for the vacant UFC interim heavyweight title as Houston’s own fan favourite Derrick Lewis takes on undefeated French contender Ciryl Gane in a real clash of fighting styles.
Gane is technically superb and fights smart, keeping his distance and scoring from range, but also stepping inside and dominating the close-quarters exchanges. His ability to keep fights where he wants them has contributed to his unbeaten record.
But, against Lewis, he faces a man who has the ability to take a fighter’s gameplan and smash it to smithereens. Lewis has seen himself on the wrong end of fights on more than one occasion, only to turn the result – and his opponents – on their heads with one swing of his thunderous right hand.
His punch power is the ultimate gamechanger, and while he may be the betting underdog, with most analysts seeing more routes to victory for Gane, the hometown hero undoubtedly offers the best value heading into Saturday night’s main event.
While Gane will likely need to wear down Lewis in order to score a finish in the later rounds, or earn a decision win on the scorecards, Lewis needs only one punch to end matters in his favour and claim the title.
And that’s why the price available for a Lewis win by KO/TKO is by far the best value selection on the list. Sure, Gane could grind him down, but with Lewis owning more knockouts (12) than any fighter in heavyweight history, and looking in the best shape of his career heading into Saturday’s title fight, the odds available will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entirety of the fight, however long it lasts.
The night’s co-main event will see two seasoned Brazilian strikers will do battle in a bantamweight bout that looks set to deliver fireworks aplenty.
Former featherweight world champion Jose Aldo has started to find his feet at 135 pounds, and will take on Pedro Munhoz, who loves nothing better than to stand and trade with his opponents. Munhoz hits hard, but Aldo has every strike in the book and his class should prove the difference in what should be a very competitive match-up.
However, it’s worth noting that, despite his penchant for stand-up battles, Munhoz has never been finished (either by KO or submission) in his 25-fight career, which suggests that the pair could well battle all the way to the scorecards. The price on Aldo to take the win by decision looks like the best option here.
When the UFC first began, it was created to determine which fighting style was best as fighters from different backgrounds were pitched head-to-head. Just like those bouts of old, the main card bout between Michael Chiesa and Vicente Luque will offer a stark contrast in fighting styles.
Chiesa is an unashamed grappler. He’ll throw hands to work his way into grappling range, but one he’s got his hands on you, you’re heading to the mat, where he’ll waste no time in looking to lock up a fight-ending submission. By contrast, Luque is a natural striker. He’ll back his striking skills against anyone in the world at 170 pounds, but his last appearance saw him showcase his submission skills as he finished former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley inside four minutes at UFC 260.
Both men will see a skill discrepancy in their favour in their respective specialities – Chiesa will be the better grappler, but Luque is the better striker – so it’s a case of picking your poison and deciding whose style you feel will do best when they clash on Saturday night. Paddy’s oddsmakers can’t split the pair in the overall fights odds, but a look at how each man can win using their strongest asset highlights a big discrepancy between the pair.
A KO/TKO win for striker Luque is a modest shot, but a submission victory for grappling specialist Chiesa is a huge price. Sure, “Maverick” has gone to the scorecards in each of his last three fights, but he has submitted fighters with much better grappling than Luque during his career – and those odds look too big to ignore.
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