UFC 274 Odds, Picks & Predictions: Oliveira vs. Gaethje
Bet of the Card: (4u) Under 2.5 Rounds @ -152 (to Return 6.632 Units)
Main Event – UFC Lightweight (155lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: 00:30 a.m. EST.
- Charles Oliveira has finished 29 of his 32 pro wins (per Tapology.com).
- 4 of Justin Gaethje’s last 6 fights have ended inside of 2.5 rounds.
We’ve seen the blueprint to beat Justin Gaethje handily, following Khabib Nurmagomedov’s demolition of him. Pressure him whilst standing, take him down to the mat, and advance position as soon as you’ve established any kind of top control. Now, this may sound much easier said than done, and I’m inclined to agree, at least for any fighters who aren’t named Khabib Nurmagomedov or Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira.
Oliveira fights with insane forward pressure whilst standing, his takedowns are so sneaky and precise, and his ground game is the strongest in the UFC. He is liable to get dropped on the feet early, which is an issue when facing someone with the knockout threat that Gaethje possesses, but even still, I do see him remaining conscious, taking Gaethje down to the mat, and securing the finish.
All this being said, I do feel like the moneyline is more-or-less accurate on this fight. Do Bronx should be the favorite, but at almost a 2-to-1 fav’, he’s boarding on being unplayable for me, even with the advantages I see for him. It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen him finished, but Michael Chandler had him really hurt, and Gaethje has the tools to do the same thing.
So, with everything in mind, I will likely have some Oliveira moneyline in a parlay or two, but as for my larger main event play, I’m taking the under 2.5 rounds prop. Both guys have insane finishing ability, and both guys’ biggest weakness plays into the other’s biggest strength (Oliveira’s offensive grappling vs. Gaethje’s defensive grappling & Gaethje’s power vs. Oliveira’s ability to take clean shots). So, for that reason, this fight should be unbelievably volatile, and could get stopped at any moment, wherever it is taking place, meaning that the under 2.5 rounds represents some solid value at its current price.
(2.5u) Blagoy Ivanov Moneyline @ -150 (to Return 4.166 Units)
Preliminary Card - Heavyweight (265lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 8:15 p.m. EST.
- Blagoy Ivanov has only been finished once across his 22 pro bouts (per Tapology.com).
- All 5 of Marcos Rogerio de Lima’s UFC losses have come inside the distance (all via Submission)
Blagoy Ivanov is perhaps one of the least sexy bets you can make in MMA. He’s not a perennial finisher at the top level of the sport, he doesn’t particularly excel in any one attribute of fighting, and nor does he have flair, or even an imposing physique. That said, he is well-rounded, has a ton of experience against high-level opposition (with his only losses coming against Volkov, JDS, Lewis, and Sakai – 3 of whom have been mainstays at the summit of the UFC heavyweight division), and he has legendary durability.
Marco Rogério de Lima is largely recognized for being a hard hitting striker, who is capable of mixing up his offense with punches and low-kicks. Against Maurice Greene, he did show some wrestling capability, but facing anyone who can put up at least some marginal grappling resistance, that will not prove to be any notable factor in his game. De Lima has largely been a kill or be killed fighter across the length of his career. His wins generally come early in the first round, or he fatigues and ends up getting finished himself, a short while after the tide turns.
De Lima will be live here for the quick finish, and at the right price, I can’t hate anyone for taking the shot on it occurring, even against someone as tough and gritty as Ivanov. That said, I favor Ivanov to get through the early onslaught, and slowly break de Lima down as the fight goes on. He isn’t a relentless wrestler who shoots a ton of takedowns, but he should be able to topple over de Lima quite easily, and from there, either get the finish, or wear on him and win minutes.
Ivanov has been away from the cage for almost 2 years at this point, which is a mild concern, but it’s not enough of one to deter me from betting him as the slight favorite, in a matchup where I see many advantages for him.
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(2u) Carla Esparza Moneyline @ +185 (to Return 5.7 Units)
Co-Main Event – UFC Strawweight (115lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11:45 p.m. EST.
- Rose Namajunas has just a 51% takedown defense, and in her last fight, she gave up 5 takedowns against Zhang Weili (per UFCStats.com).
- Carla Esparza is on a 5-fight win streak and already holds a win over Namajunas from 2014.
It would take a fool to blindly bet on Carla Esparza based on the fact that she beat Rose Namajunas in their full-UFC debuts, all the way back in December 2014. Since then, both women have improved greatly, and particularly Namajunas, who is the better part of 5-years Esparza’s junior.
In the near 7.5 years between their first encounter and now, Namajunas has improved her striking to the point where she is arguably the best at 115lbs, whilst still showing developments to her wrestling and grappling. Esparza has had more of a well-rounded advancement, as her striking still leaves a lot to be desired, but her game-planning and wrestling has tightened up, and kept her as a fringe contender, waiting for the more favorable matchups, that could potentially help propel her back to a shot at the title. And, lo and behold, here she is, in what is a winnable matchup for her.
Despite the more significant developments made by Namajunas, the plan of action still remains the same for Esparza, engage in the clinch, make the fight gritty, ideally take Namajunas down, and burn minutes of the clock. I still think she’s got the tools and the physical attributes to do that. Namajunas may be more elusive now, both on the mat and standing, but Esparza can be trusted to test her to the best of her ability. I’d be pretty blown away to see Namajunas put on a 5-round shutout, and perhaps even more so to see her knockout Esparza, and that tells me that we should be expecting a tight affair, with both fighters having their moments. And, in these instances, I want to be holding the underdog ticket on the more reliable fighter, who should also have the mental upper hand due to the result of their first fight, regardless of how long ago it took place.
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Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje / UFC 274 / #UFC274
Location & Venue: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Date: Saturday, May 7th, 2022
Start Time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST., Prelims: 8 p.m. EST., Early Prelims: 5:30 p.m. EST.
Where To Watch: Main Card on PPV, Prelim Card on ESPN/ESPN+, Early Prelim Card on ESPN/ESPN+
UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje Main Event Prediction
Lightweight (155lbs): Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje – Oliveira via Submission
UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje Main Card Predictions
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Rose Namajunas vs. Carla Esparza – Esparza via Decision
Lightweight (155lbs): Michael Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson – Chandler via KO/TKO
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Maurício Rua vs. Ovince St. Preux – St. Preux via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon – Cerrone via KO/TKO
UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje Prelim Card Predictions
Welterweight (170lbs): Andre Fialho vs. Cameron VanCamp – Fialho via KO/TKO
Welterweight (170lbs): Randy Brown vs. Khaos Williams – Williams via KO/TKO
(W) Featherweight (145lbs): Macy Chiasson vs. Norma Dumont – Dumont via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Brandon Royval vs. Matt Schnell – Royval via Submission
Heavyweight (265lbs): Blagoy Ivanov vs. Marcos Rogério de Lima – Ivanov via Submission
UFC 274: Oliveira vs. Gaethje Early Prelim Card Predictions
Welterweight (170lbs): Francisco Trinaldo vs. Danny Roberts – Trinaldo via Decision
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Tracy Cortez vs. Melissa Gatto – Cortez via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Kleydson Rodrigues vs. C.J. Vergara – Rodrigues via Decision
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Ariane Carnelossi vs. Lupita Godinez – Carnelossi via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Journey Newson vs. Fernie Garcia – Newson via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.