UFC 251 Odds, Picks & Predictions: Usman vs. Masvidal
Bet of the Card: (2u) Two-Leg Parlay: Kamaru Usman (-275) + Petr Yan (-225) @ -103 (to Return 3.939 Units)
I’m not typically one for a “chalk parlay” but combining Usman and Yan at their current prices is an excellent spot for one. Let’s get into the main event and why I like Usman as the closing leg of the parlay:
Parlay Leg: Kamaru Usman @ -275
Main Event UFC Welterweight (170lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: 00:45 a.m. EST.
- Kamaru Usman ranks 1st amongst active UFC welterweights (minimum 5 UFC fights) for control time percentage (52.6%) and striking differential (2.43) (per statleaders.ufc.com).
Kamaru Usman is one of the best minute winners I’ve seen in the sport, perhaps only second to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Much like Khabib, Usman’s style is wrestling-heavy and unrelenting. He’s overwhelmed just about everyone he’s faced in the UFC and he’s only getting better as his striking goes from strength-to-strength. His 100% takedown defense (per UFCStats.com) makes him a grappler’s nightmare, as seen in his fight with Damian Maia, and his offensive wrestling makes him a handful for anyone, just ask Tyron Woodley and Rafael Dos Anjos.
What makes Usman special is not that he’s technically excellent, but that he’s also outstandingly durable and phenomenally conditioned. We saw much of this in his five-round war with Colby Covington in December of last year (pictured below). Colby land on him with hard shots and used his insane pace in an attempt to outland Usman at range. But Usman wore the damage well, replying with harder shots and at surprisingly higher clip.
Usman will have a 1-inch height and sizable 4.5-inch reach advantage over Masvidal in this fight, which should help close the technical striking gap on the feet. When in close, he’ll be the bigger, stronger athlete, allowing him to out-muscle Masvidal and control where the fight takes place. Should Usman wish to take the fight to the mat, he should be met with minimal resistance, despite Masvidal yielding a 78% takedown defense (per UFCStats.com), and being a former training partner of elite MMA-wrestler, Colby Covington.
Masvidal has shown a heart and endurance against elite grapplers in the past, doing well to stay in fights and do enough to defend submissions and avoid damaging blows. From there, he can sometimes out-cardio his opponents, giving him a chance to win the later rounds or try to seek out a finish. Unfortunately for Masvidal though, he’s coming in on a week’s notice, and that’s simply not enough time to establish the gas tank required to go a hard five rounds with someone of Kamaru Usman’s calibre and cardio.
All in all, I struggle to see much of a path to victory for Masvidal outside of an insane KO, in the realm of what he did to Ben Askren and Darren Till. This makes Usman’s -275 moneyline look outstandingly cheap. Take Usman here as the second leg of the parlay, he likely gets this done on the scorecards, but a late finish could be live given that he’ll be the significantly better conditioned fighter.
Despite the odds, 76% of bettors are backing Masvidal with Oddschecker, for more betting analysis and data read more here.
Parlay Leg: Petr Yan @ -225
Main Card UFC Bantamweight (135lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11:15 p.m. EST.
- Jose Aldo is on a two-fight losing streak, and he’s 1-3 in his last four five round fights.
The opening leg of the parlay is on the young and surging, Petr “No Mercy” Yan.
Yan looks to be a horrific match-up for Jose Aldo at this stage of his career. He’s a pressure striker and is unbelievably comfortable when marching his opponents down. He has a 67.8% significant striking defense across his six UFC fights, ranking him 3rd amongst active bantamweights (per StatsLeaders.UFC.com), a very impressive stat considering this is a metric that typically favors counter-strikers. On top of his superb striking defense, he also yields terrific volume (5.65 strikes landed per minute – ranks 4th in the division) and great power (averages 1.52 knockdowns per 15 minutes – ranks 2nd)
I see Yan putting up a ferrous pace against the veteran, Jose Aldo. The fight will prove competitive in the first two or three rounds, with Yan likely edging the action. From there however, I expect it to be all one-way traffic in favor of Yan. His cardio is significantly better than Aldo’s, and we’ve seen Aldo succumb to pressure fighter, Max Holloway, in their two five round fights. On both occasions, Holloway was able to put him away via TKO late in the third. I see this fight playing out very similarly to the Holloway fights, and I expect a similar result. There’s definitely a good chance Aldo toughs it out to the scorecards, but I see a TKO stoppage coming for Yan somewhere in the latter half of the fight. Take Petr Yan as the opening leg of our two-fight championship parlay.
(1u) Max Holloway Moneyline @ +182 (to Return 2.82 Units)
Co-Main Event UFC Featherweight (145lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: Midnight EST.
- Max Holloway was the -175 favorite in their first fight, but after losing a fairly close decision, we’re now getting him as a sizable +170 underdog.
I’m going to make this one short and sweet as we’ve already seen these two square-off at the end of last year.
The fight was close, with Volkanovski doing the better work in the early rounds, and Holloway making great adjustments to do the better work in the later rounds. Ultimately, it came down to a unanimous decision with two judges scoring the fight 48-47 Volkanovski, and one judge putting out a heavily scrutinized, 50-45 Volkanovski.
This time round, I believe Holloway can come in and make the relevant adjustments early following the prior experience of their first fight. He’s never been great at checking leg kicks, but no-doubt this would have been a focal point of his preparation given the impact it had on his performance at UFC 245. His cardio is elite, and should he be able to steer clear of Volkanovski’s damaging leg kicks, he will be able to maintain better manoeuvrability, thus turning this into a razor close fight.
Holloway’s recently come out and stated that he’s been doing his training camp over Zoom due to lockdown restrictions in Hawaii. I don’t hold too much stock in this, and If anything, it’s just bought us an even juicier line.
It’s entirely likely that this fight plays out extremely close again, but with a moneyline of +182 on the more experienced and younger fighter, I find it hard to turn down betting Max “Blessed” Holloway to regain his featherweight title.
(1u) FOXBet Bet Boost: Jessica Andrade to Win in Rounds 1-3 @ +400 (to Return 5 Units)
Main Card Women’s Strawweight (115lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:45 p.m. EST.
- This will be Rose Namajunas’ first fight in 14 months since she was brutally piledriver KO’ed by Jessica Andrade at UFC 237.
The last time these two fought, Rose Namajunas looked like a million bucks. She stuck and moved incredibly well, leaving Andrade in the dust multiple times swinging hard and missing. It was a beautiful performance for as long as it lasted, but around the midway point of the second round, Andrade closed the distance and went to slam Rose down to the mat. Rose intelligently went for a “kimura trap”, which is used to dissuade slams from opponents, as if the takedown is carried out, the person administering the kimura can end up in the advantageous position. This being typically the case, Andrade made a calculated adjustment mid-slam (pictured below), and this meant Rose had no way to defend herself as her head was then made the primary point of contact with the mat.
Now, although it would be obscene to think that this fight plays out exactly the same way again, I do still see a lot of value in favoring Andrade to win inside the distance. She’s got power that no other fighter at 115lbs has, and despite her speed disadvantage, there’ll be plenty of time for her to close distance and get off one of her bombs.
It’s understandable to me why Rose is the -175 favorite (best price), but there’s so many questions with her following a serious KO loss and a 14-month layoff. There’s no telling how that may have affected her, and if she’ll be able to replicate the striking masterclass she was putting on in their first fight.
At the end of the day, I’m not going to be shocked if Rose comes back and wins this unanimously 30-27 across the board, but that’s not to say that there isn’t great value and upside to Andrade winning inside the distance at +400. There’s a lot of variables with this fight, and I’m more than happy to take a one-unit flyer on the known commodity that is Jessica Andrade.
(1u) FOXBet Bet Boost: Amanda Ribas to Win in Rounds 1-3 @ +195 (to Return 2.95 Units)
Main Card Women’s Flyweight (125lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:15 p.m. EST.
- Paige VanZant is 2-3 in her last 5 fights, with two of her losses coming via submission.
Let me get this right… We’ve got a -900 moneyline favorite, fighting against a tough but mistake-prone fighter coming back from an 18-month layoff, and the -900 favorite’s inside the distance line is almost 2-to-1?... Yeah, this just doesn’t make sense to me.
Ribas’ -900 moneyline is steep for just about any fight that can be made in the UFC, let alone the high-variants that exists in-and-around the women’s flyweight division. Afterall, we’re just 6 months removed from Maycee Barbers’ collapse as a -850 fav against Roxanne Modafferi. This being said, Ribas does have all the qualities and advantages to be labelled as a big favorite over ‘PVZ’, the line has simply gotten out of control at this point. However, that’s not to say that her inside the distance prop has too.
At +195, Ribas to win inside the distance offers great value, especially when comparing it to her decimated moneyline price. I see her overwhelming VanZant on the feet and on the mat, likely resulting in Paige wilting under the pressure and either getting TKO’ed, or more likely, giving up a submission. Take her boost over a FOXBet for one unit, the odds are much better than what is currently available elsewhere on the market.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal
Location & Venue: UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Date: Saturday, July 11th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims: 8 p.m. EST., Early Prelims: 6 p.m. EST
Where to watch: Main Card on Pay-Per-View, Prelims on ESPN/ESPN+
UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal Full Fight Card Predictions:
UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal Main Event Prediction:
Welterweight (170lbs): Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal – Usman via Decision
UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal Main Card Predictions:
Featherweight (145lbs): Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway – Holloway via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Petr Yan vs. José Aldo – Yan via KO/TKO
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Jéssica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas – Andrade via KO/TKO
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Paige VanZant vs. Amanda Ribas – Ribas via Submission
UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal Prelim Card Predictions:
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Volkan Oezdemir vs. Jiří Procházka – Oezdemir via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Muslim Salikhov – Zaleski via Submission
Featherweight (145lbs): Makwan Amirkhani vs. Danny Henry – Amirkhani via Submission
Lightweight (155lbs): Leonardo Santos vs. Roman Bogatov – Santos via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Marcin Tybura vs. Maxim Grishin – Tybura via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Raulian Paiva vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov – Paiva via Decision
(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Karol Rosa vs. Vanessa Melo – Rosa via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Davey Grant vs. Martin Day – Day via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.