UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Thompson vs. Neal
Bet of the Card: (2.5u) Over 1.5 Rounds @ -118 (to Return 4.625 Units)
(1.2u) Michel Pereira Moneyline @ -120 (to Return 2.2 Units)
(0.5u) Fight Goes The Distance @ +225 (to Return 1.625)
Main Card Welterweight (170lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 8:45 p.m. EST.
- Khaos Williams has never been finished across his 27 combined pro and amateur MMA bouts.
- Michel Pereira has only been finished twice in his 37-fight MMA career, and each of his last three UFC bouts have gone over 1.5 rounds (per Tapology.com).
My bet of the card for this week is on the over 1.5 rounds prop for Williams vs. Pereira.
Betting a Michael Pereira fight is always a worrying prospect. His in-cage acrobatics (pictured above: landing a superman punch on Danny Roberts) and fan-friendly fighting style is a concern when you’ve got your hard-earned money on him. But if anything, his showmanship and questionable antics, actually further demonstrates how much of a stud he is. He’s got fast hands, amazing reflexes, he’s strong in the clinch, and he’s got a sneaky good ground game to boot. He does of course yield the power and ability to end the fight at any time, but his gamesmanship and patience typically allows his fights to go on for a lot longer than they need to.
Khaos Williams (pictured below) has fought in the UFC two times, and between those two bouts he has a combined 57 seconds of fight time. Now, this may be a little concerning when talking about betting an over, but it’s important to note that he hasn’t historically been a murderous power puncher. In fact, prior to joining the UFC, he had more decision victories than KO wins. That’s not to say that he hasn’t honed in his power and become a ruthless knockout artist, but in all likelihood, it suggests that his last two quick KO wins have been more outlier performances, rather than his new-norm.
I could be completely wrong on this, and Khao could come out and starch my boy, Pereira, inside a minute, or Pereira could pull off some crazy backflip KO. But at near-even money, the over 1.5 is simply a must play! Both these guys can take serious damage, both will be aware of the danger of rushing in on the other, and neither guy will want to see their hype-train come to a halt.
Take this fight to go over 1.5 rounds. I think the over 2.5 should be lined at around -130, so by my estimations, there’s a ton of value on the over 1.5 rounds at the current -118 line (best odds). Accompanying the over, I’m also making a play on Michel Pereira’s moneyline at -120, and the “goes the distance” prop at +225. Pereira is the larger, more well-rounded, and technically skilled fighter, and I could see him presenting a lot of problems for Williams, particularly at range. As for the “goes the distance” prop, this fight could get interesting as it goes later, but there’s still unmistakeable value on this fight going to a decision at over 2-to-1.
(1u) Cody Durden Moneyline @ +130 (to Return 2.3 Units)
(0.5u) FOXBet Bet Boost: Cody Durden to Win in Rounds 1-3 @ +280 (to Return 1.9 Units)
Preliminary Card Flyweight (125lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 4:30 p.m. EST.
- Jimmy Flick has 5 career losses, 4 of which have come via KO/TKO (per Tapology.com).
This fight was booked to go down a couple weeks ago, but due to a minor eye injury for Cody Durden, it was canceled last minute. The fight is now rescheduled for this weekend, and although we won’t be getting the +156 we initially had on him, I still like Cody Durden as the ‘dog in this matchup.
Jimmy “The Brick” Flick enters this fight off the back of a very impressive showing on Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS). In his DWCS fight, he showcased slick sweeps, clever ground transitions, and a relentless desire to pursuit submissions, all of which added up and culminated in him locking in a third-round arm triangle choke over the then undefeated, Nate Smith. There’s no mistaking that Flick gave a great account of himself and his skillset in that fight, but I think we didn’t see enough resistance put up against him, and it looks to me that’s he’s now being overvalued in this spot because of it.
Cody Durden has good wrestling under his belt, and he can do work on the feet too (pictured below: landing a jab on Chris Gutierrez). He’s been training over at American Top Team (ATT) Florida for this fight, and although it’s been a recent move from ATT Atlanta, it should still do wonders for his game, especially when considering some of the talented fighters they have over there within the smaller weight classes.
I see Durden being able to stop Flick’s takedowns early, and in doing so, it’ll allow him to keep the fight standing and out-land Flick with strikes. Jimmy Flick has shown a susceptibility to getting hurt on the feet in past fights, and I could definitely see it happening again here against Durden. Should Durden not be able to finish Flick, that wouldn’t bother me too much, as I think he’s the more likely fighter to claim a decision, largely due to his edge in striking, and Flick’s typical submission-or-bust approach.
Take Cody Durden’s moneyline here, I think you could argue he should be the favorite in this fight, so see value on him here as a dog, albeit at slightly reduced odds this time round. As an additional play, take FOXBet’s Bet Boost on Durden to win inside the distance at +280, I favor him to get a stoppage win, and at nearly 3-to-1, it’s a worthy side bet to accompany his moneyline.
(1u) Stephen Thompson @ +105 (to Return 2.05 Units)
Main Event Welterweight (170lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:45 p.m. EST.
- This will be just the second time in Stephen Thompson’s career that he’s the betting underdog. The only other time he cashed as a +215 ‘dog when won via first round KO/TKO against former UFC Welterweight Champion, Johny Hendricks (per Tapology.com).
My final bet for the card, and the entire year for that matter, is on Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
Thompson is one of, if not the, most talented strikers in the UFC. Even at 37 years old, he still looks ridiculously quick and super sharp. His distance management is unbelievable, and it goes a long way to keeping fights upright and his opponents standing helplessly at range. If it weren’t for Anthony Pettis catching him with that crazy superman punch knockout 2-years ago, I honestly think we’d all be sitting here saying how justified, and arguably playable Thompson would be as a -300 favorite in this spot. But that’s not the case, we’ve seen him get knockout out for the first time in his career, and the market has gone ice cold on him since. You’d have thought that after his last win, a demolition over a fierce and surging up-and-comer, Vicente Luque (pictured above), that people would be back on him, but apparently not.
Much like Luque, Geoff Neal (pictured below – on the left) is a hot prospect with dangerous fight-ending knockout power. He carries a big frame for a welterweight, and his balanced skillset makes him very difficult for other fighters to gameplan against. He undoubtably has the capability to knockout Thompson given half a chance, but as the slight favorite in this fight, I don’t see that chance as being enough to warrant the betting line.
I see Thompson out-voluming Neal at range and avoiding the majority of Neal’s hardest strikes. The technicality and speed of Wonderboy’s striking should prove too much for Neal, and I expect to see Thompson racking up rounds on the judges’ scorecards. Neal will be no push over, and he is capable of hurting Thompson or winning a couple rounds, but I look towards Thompson’s manoeuvrability and timing as the key to him doing the better work over the duration of this fight. Take Stephen Thompson’s moneyline at +105, I favor see him winning a decision, but a finish is always a possibility due to his elite and unpredictable kicking game.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal / UFC on ESPN+ 41 / UFC Vegas 17 / #UFCVegas17
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, December 19th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 7 p.m. EST, Prelims 4 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN+
UFC Fight Night Thompson vs. Neal Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night Thompson vs. Neal Main Event Prediction
Welterweight (170lbs): Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal – Thompson via Decision
UFC Fight Night Thompson vs. Neal Main Card Predictions
Bantamweight (135lbs): José Aldo vs. Marlon Vera – Aldo via Decision
Welterweight (170lbs): Khaos Williams vs. Michel Pereira – Pereira via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Marlon Moraes vs. Rob Font – Moraes via Decision
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Gillian Robertson vs. Taila Santos – Robertson via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Marcin Tybura vs. Greg Hardy – Hardy via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night Thompson vs. Neal Prelim Card Predictions
Welterweight (170lbs): Anthony Pettis vs. Alex Morono – Morono via KO/TKO
Bantamweight (135lbs): Sijara Eubanks vs. Pannie Kianzad – Eubanks via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Karl Roberson vs. Dalcha Lungiambula – Roberson via Decision
Catchweight (195lbs): Deron Winn vs. Antônio Arroyo – Arroyo via Submission
Bantamweight (135lbs): Aiemann Zahabi vs. Drako Rodriguez – Darko via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Tafon Nchukwi vs. Jamie Pickett – Pickett via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Jimmy Flick vs. Cody Durden – Durden via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Rick Glenn vs. Carlton Minus – Glenn via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.