UFC Tips: Our best bets for this weekend’s UFC 276 from Vegas – with 50/1 shout

Paddy Power trader Sean Taylor thinks Volkanovski & Holloway won't be separated after 5 rounds.

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*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

UFC 276 rolls back into Sin City this International Fight Week with a stacked card headlined by ‘The Last Stylebender’ Israel Adesanya defending his middleweight belt against Jared Cannonier. In the co-main event, we have the highly anticipated trilogy bout between Alex ‘The Great’ Volkanovski and Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway.

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Here’s a collection of best bets for the action…

UFC 276 – Las Vegas
TV: BT Sport 1HD (from 1am BST Sunday 3rd July – main card at 3am)
*All start times are approximate

The latest UFC odds are on PaddyPower.com now

Israel Adesanya v Jared Cannonier – Adesanya by KO/TKO & Under 4.5 rounds

5:35am

Israel Adesanya comes into this fight undefeated at middleweight and with a win here, he won’t be far of having cleared out the division. What’s interesting about this particular match-up is that the New Zealander’s last two fights have been rematches and Jared Cannonier has long been a name that ‘Stylebender’ has mentioned as a potential dark horse of the division. So he will be well aware of the threat he poses here.

I like the match-up here for Adesanya and think it’s one that will allow him to express himself and to showcase his striking prowess. The game plan to beating Izzy was set out by Jan Blachowicz at light heavyweight, but there are several reasons why it’s hard to see that playing out here.

Marvin Vettori is arguably one of the better equipped at middleweight to do what Jan did and over eight rounds he has been unable to do so. In my opinion, the size differential, coupled with the ability to carry out the gameplan, was key to what Jan did. Cannonier isn’t known as a wrestler, averaging 0.23 takedowns per 15 minutes in his UFC career and I’d be surprised to see him change his ways here. Even if here were to change it up, I don’t think it would be enough.

I expect this fight to play out largely on the feet and that’s just Israel Adesanya’s world. I’ve said it in this space before, but I think the 22-1 fighter is on a different operating software to everyone else when it comes to striking. His range management and use of feints to set up his strikes are so good I can’t really do it justice with words here. In a fight I expect to largely take place on the feet, it’s hard to see a clear path to victory for his American opponent that isn’t just landing a haymaker – and we’ve seen Adesanya’s chin hold up against Gastelum and Blachowicz.

I think Izzy’s last two fights are playing a big part in the decision being the favoured method of victory and the total rounds line being set at 4.5. Given that, it creates a nice opportunity for some value bets on those markets. Personally, I would have the KO/TKO as the favoured method here, for all the reasons outlined above. Given the style match-up and how I see the fight playing out, I think we see Adesanya catching Cannonier on the counter at will and getting the finish.

Alex Volkanovski v Max Holloway – Draw

5am

The anticipation around this trilogy is interesting given that Max Holloway is 0-2 so far. Both fighters have had two wins since their rematch, with ‘Blessed’ putting in one of the greatest individual performances I have ever seen against Calvin Kattar. The intrigue comes with how both have looked since the rematch and the contentious decision in said rematch, with many feeling Holloway should have got the nod on the night.

In truth these two are 1A and 1B in the division and there are no other outstanding contenders for Alex Volkanovski. We have ten rounds of information and tape on these fighters to pull from. Holloway has been talking about a knockout during fight week, but I don’t buy that. Take everything a fighter says with a pinch of salt. Given what we’ve seen across the ten rounds these guys have shared so far, it’s hard to pitch there being a finish this time around when we know how durable both guys are.

The key question for me here is how much better is Volkanovski since that second fight? While I don’t think Max is getting any worse and we haven’t yet seen any decline in his performances, I’m not sure how much better he can get at this stage of his career. Having felt that he won the second fight, he will feel he can make the relevant adjustments this time around. The match-up of styles here is just so interesting, Volkanovski is from that Oceanic school of striking similar to Israel Adesanya for his use of feints and fantastic distance management.

With all that being said, I’m very happy to take a small poke at the draw here. Both fights have been super close and barring a drastically poor performance from either fighter, it’s hard to imagine this one not being close as well. There’s been a fair amount of talk around judging and scoring of fights and the styles here are such that it makes their fights difficult to score. With that in mind, I think you’ll find worse long odds bets on this card than the sizeable returns on offer for the draw here.

UFC 276 Tips

Israel Adesanya v Jared Cannonier

Alex Volkanovski v Max Holloway

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The latest UFC odds are on PaddyPower.com now

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What do you think?