Bet of the Card: (2u) Carla Esparza @ -143 (to Return 3.4 Units)
Carla Esparza vs. Michelle Waterson
Preliminary Card Women’s Strawweight (115lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 8:30 p.m. EST.
- Carla Esparza is the UFC women’s strawweight all-time leader for top position time (38 minutes and 13 seconds) and she also ranks 4th for the highest percentage of time in top position (17.3%) (per UFCStats.com).
My bet of the card is a two unit play on the former champion and perennial strawweight contender, Carla Esparza. She’s an effective wrestler with decent output and a good gas tank. She has a great track record of winning fights through landing takedowns and controlling rounds from the top position, something she’s been able to do against highly skilled grapplers (see below: Esparza vs. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace, Virna Jandiroba). Her desire to pressure fighters and shoot for takedowns is a time-tested strategy and it looks to be a very favorable one against Michelle Waterson.
Waterson likes to counter-strike at range and play on the outside of her opponents, which isn’t a bad approach for facing fighters who actively like to be the aggressor. However, the issues for her in this fight comes from her less than stellar takedown defense and her willingness to play in her guard. She may fair well on the feet but with Esparza’s relentless grappling style, it’s going to be highly likely that this fight hits the mat with regularity. Once there, Esparza’s will be able to ride out rounds in top control, whilst Waterson is content to hold bottom position and throw up the odd Hail Mary submission attempt. Take Esparza to get the win here, she’ll likely do so via decision.
Horse racing fan? Oddschecker provides picks every single day of the week on the ponies! Our expert 'cappers preview one race meeting per day with detailed insight and analysis.
(1.5u) Justin Gaethje @ +170 (to Return 4.05 Units)
(0.5u) Justin Gaethje Round 1 @ +600 (to Return 3.5 Units)
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje
Main Event Interim UFC Lightweight (155lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: 12:15 a.m. EST.
- Justin Gaethje is 3-0 as a plus-money underdog in the UFC and he’s won each of his last three fights via first round knockout (per Tapology.com).
My next bets are on the always dangerous, Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje. He’s amassed an impressive 17 knockouts from his 21 wins, and I’ve got him adding to both those tallies this weekend. He’s got immense power in his hands and he’s got timing that so few possess in the sport. In his last three fights he’s punctuated this to a tee, particularly when he knocked out elite striker Edison Barboza within half a round.
Tony Ferguson is more of an all-rounder compared to Gaethje. He utilizes his legendary cardio and unorthodox style to overwhelm fighters standing and often attempt unconventional takedowns (i.e. Imanari rolls) to put his opponents in precarious spots. It’s a style that only the enigmatic Ferguson has been able to produce with great success, yet I feel like it is also one that will not carry well against Justin Gaethje. Despite Justin Gaethje having a strong wrestling background, he has a complete lack of interest in engaging in any kind of grappling antics. Should Ferguson seek to pursue any grappling exchanges, I could see Gaethje being able to disengage well and return to striking.
In many of Ferguson’s last fights he’s posted good striking statistics, out landing his opposition handily. That being said, we’ve seen Tony get caught and dropped on multiple occasions in those fights too. The most recent of which was by Anthony Pettis in 2018 (see image below), and he doesn’t wield anywhere near the punching power of Justin Gaethje.
I respect Tony Ferguson’s styles and tools a lot, but I think his durability is a little too questionable given his history of getting hurt in fights. I’ve taken Gaethje to get the win and put a half unit on him to do so in the first round.
(1u) Under 1.5 Rounds @ +110
(0.5u) Alexey Oleinik via Round 1 KO @ +1900
Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexey Oleinik
Preliminary Card Heavyweight (265lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9 p.m. EST.
- Six of Alexey Oleinik’s last eight bouts have ended within the first round and a half, and none have made it to a third round.
To finish up my bets for the card, I’ve looked towards the first of three heavyweight bouts.
Werdum and Oleinik are approaching the end of their careers and both are now 42 years of age, likely making this one of the “oldest” matchups in UFC history. Both have predominantly been submission fighters over the history of their careers, but often when this happens, the fight typically turns into a striking affair.
Oleinik was once known for his legendary toughness, but now that’s in question following two first round KO/TKO losses in his last three fights. Werdum on the other hand is returning from a two-year layoff due to a USADA suspension, prior to which he himself lost via TKO (pictured below).
We can’t be sure where these guys will be at physically and mentally at this point. I think it’s highly likely we will see an early stoppage due to someone’s failed durability or a slick submission on a rocked opponent. I really like taking the under 1.5 rounds at plus-money and also taking a punt on Oleinik to get a first round KO at a mammoth +1900.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje
Location & Venue: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
Date: Saturday, May 9th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims 6 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on Pay-Per-View, Prelims on ESPN/ESPN+
UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje Main Event Prediction
Lightweight (155lbs): Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje – Gaethje via KO/TKO
UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje Main Card Predictions
Bantamweight (135lbs): Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz – Cruz via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Francis N’Gannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik – N’Gannou via KO/TKO
Featherweight (145lbs): Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar – Kattar via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro – Hardy via KO/TKO
UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje Prelim Card Predictions
Welterweight (170lbs): Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis – Cerrone via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Fabrício Werdum vs. Alexey Oleynik – Oleynik via KO/TKO
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Carla Esparza vs. Michelle Waterson – Esparza via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Jacare Souza vs. Uriah Hall – Hall via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price – Luque via Submission
Featherweight (145lbs): Charles Rosa vs. Bryce Mitchell – Mitchell via Decision
Light heavyweight (205lbs): Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey – Spann via KO/TKO
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.