UFC 274 Predictions: Straight Bets to Take on this Loaded Card

UFC 274 is later tonight. Ben Rajavuori is here with his best straight bets on the UFC 274 fight card. He's eying the Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson and Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparaza fights.
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UFC 274 Predictions: Straight Bets to Take on this Loaded Card

UFC 274 is just hours away at this point, and what better a time than to give the reasoning behind my favorite straight bets on the card tonight. My favorite parlay was sent out this morning, and you can check that out here if you're interested. Without further ado, let's get right into it.

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UFC 274 Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson Prediction

Michael Chandler comes into this fight off a hard-fought decision loss to Justin Gaethje. Before that, he lost the title fight to Charles Oliveira after hurting him badly in the first round. That's two close losses for Chandler to the two men who are fighting for the lightweight strap (well, not Oliveira anymore). Before joining the UFC last year, Chandler had a successful run in Bellator, winning the 155-pound title multiple times. Chandler is a dangerous fighter who was a division one wrestler and was one of the top wrestlers in the nation his senior year. He is a crafty striker as well who has notched ten knockouts in his professional career. Chandler is a strike-for-strike fighter who will risk eating a shot to land one of his own.

As sad as it makes me to say it, Tony Ferguson is past his prime. He will most likely be in the hall of fame and has paved the way in the lightweight division since joining the UFC back in 2011. However, after starting his UFC tenure with a 15-1 record, he is now 0-3 since then. There's something remarkable about his record as well. Ferguson has never been finished in a three-round fight in the UFC. He's only been finished once in nineteen UFC fights, and it was in the fifth round to Justin Gaethje. Ferguson is too tough for his own good, even if he is past his prime.

Chandler is more powerful at each fighter's respective places in their careers, and Chandler will land the bigger shots in this fight. Chandler has only landed two takedowns across his first three UFC fights, but I think we could see some of his all-American wrestling emerge tonight. I don't think Chandler can finish a man as tough as Ferguson. That's not a knock on Chandler's power but more a compliment to the toughness of Ferguson. I also don't think Chandler is a submission threat to Ferguson, given Ferguson's Jiu-Jitsu knowledge.

In this fight, Chandler is a -400 favorite, so there's no value in taking him on the moneyline. However, there's tons of value backing him to win on the scorecards. I predict Chandler will win 29-28 but unanimous decision, winning rounds one and two.

UFC 274 Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson Pick

Michael Chandler by Decision @ +200 (Bet $100 to win $200)

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UFC 274 Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparaza Prediction

Tonight marks a historical rematch for the ages and the biggest rematch in women's strawweight UFC history. Two pioneers in the women's strawweight division will run it back for UFC gold when Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza meet in the octagon once again. Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza fought for the first-ever women's strawweight championship back in 2014, a fight Esparza won in the third round by submission.

Simply put, Esparza must land takedowns to win this fight. Namajunas has a major edge on the feet, and everyone in the world, including Esparza, knows it. Esparza knew it in the first meeting too, when she landed five takedowns on seven attempts. Namajunas' striking has improved significantly since the first fight, but Esparza has also improved. One thing Esparza has improved dramatically on has been using her striking to set up her takedowns. Doing this has led her to average 3.53 takedowns per fight.

If the fight stays standing, Esparza is going to lose. Every round starts standing, which is why Esparza is a +180 dog. Esparza relentlessly searches for takedowns, and in the first fight against Rose, she got them. Rose has improved since then, so I don't think Esparza will go 5/7 in that category again, but I believe she can get Rose down again. From there, Esparza has nasty ground and pound strikes, and she stays active. She could work to a sub from this position as well, but it's much more of a longshot play. Taking a +180 dog in a title fight is never easy, but I like this spot for Esparza today, and she looked good on the scales. I'll be on both dogs in the title fights tonight. Good luck if you tail!

UFC 274 Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparaza Picks

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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