On Saturday night, MMA fans are treated to a double header as both the UFC and Bellator are putting forth major fight events, with Amanda Nunes defending her UFC bantamweight title against Raquel Pennington and Ryan Bader taking on “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal in the last quarterfinal of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. All told, there are 18 fights coming at you this weekend and that means opportunities to bet. That’s a lot of tape to study but don’t worry because we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know for your gambling needs this weekend.
UFC 224, Jeunesse Arena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, PPV (10 P.M. ET)
Amanda Nunes (-900/90%) vs. Raquel Pennington (+600/14%)
Jacare Souza (-150/60%) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (+130/43%)
Mackenzie Dern (-270/73%) vs. Amanda Cooper (+230/30%)
John Lineker (-255/72%) vs. Brian Kelleher (+215/32%)
Vitor Belfort (+235/30%) vs. Lyoto Machida (-275/73%)
FX Prelims (8 P.M. ET)
Cezar Ferreira (-105/51%) vs. Karl Roberson (-115/53%)
Alexey Oleinik (+135/43%) vs. Junior Albini (-155/61%)
Davi Ramos (-145/59%) vs. Nick Hein (+125/44%)
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (-130/57%) vs. Sean Strickland (+110/48%)
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:15 P.M. ET)
Warlley Alves (-245/71%) vs. Sultan Aliev (+205/33%)
Thales Leites (+135/43%) vs. Jack Hermansson (-155/61%)
Alberto Mina (+180/36%) vs. Ramazan Emeev (-220/69%)
Markus Perez (-350/78%) vs. James Bochnovic (+290/26%)
Bellator 199, SAP Center, San Jose, CA, Paramount Network (9 P.M. ET)
Ryan Bader (-340/77%) vs. Muhammed Lawal (+280/26%)
Paul Daley (+135/43%) vs. Jon Fitch (-165/62%)
Aaron Pico (-550/85%) vs. Lee Morrison (+400/20%)
Cheick Kongo (-185/65%) vs. Javy Ayala (+155/39%)
Adam Piccolotti (+210/32%) vs. Carrington Banks (-270/73%)
Pennington Inside the Distance +1115
Obviously this is a prop bet so not everyone can get in on this action, but if you can find the line, I recommend throwing a few on this. Nunes is most likely going to win this fight, hence the huge line, but these odds are insane. Pennington is ruggedly tough and Nunes has a history of tiring out. I’m just saying, it’s totally within reason that Pennington could snatch something up in transition or surge late and get a stoppage, so have some fun on your Saturday night.
Jacare by submission at +180
If Jacare’s chin is completely spent, this bet gets hairy really quickly. However, Gastelum is still a welterweight masquerading as a middleweight and he’s not a particularly good defensive wrestler, whereas Jacare is enormous for middleweight, an excellent wrestler, and going to murder Gastelum if he can get his hands on him. Jacare is a better grappler than Weidman — than anyone, really — so it seems crazy that he’s a favorite in the fight but a dog to tap Gastelum. Take that plus money all day.
Belfort at +235
Let’s be honest here: Both men are shells of their former selves. I just think Belfort is a little bit less washed; plus he’s a lefty, which has given Machida plenty of struggles. More to the point, Belfort’s style is built to age better than Machida, whose game is predicated heavily on his ability to be faster than his opponent and maintain sharp timing. In their prime, I’m taking Machida all day, but this isn’t their prime and Vitor still has the power and speed to blitz Machida out early, so Belfort straight or Belfort by TKO at +420 sounds like a solid bet to me.
Oleinik at +135
Albini has yet to be taken down in his UFC career, but despite his pedigree, Tim Johnson has not proven an effective takedown artist in the UFC whereas Oleinik certainly has. Even on the feet, Oleinik isn’t totally outgunned, so I feel good about his chances at getting into a tie up and dragging this too the mat. Whether he can lock up another ezekiel choke submission is another thing entirely, but I like Oleinik at underdog odds.
Strickland at +110
This one is pretty simple: Zaleski dos Santos is not a very good defensive wrestler and Sean Strickland is huge and pretty decent at wrestling. ZDS has the homefield advantage but this should be a pick ’em fight at worst, so the free value on Strickland is nice.
Fitch at -165
The book is out on Daley and has been for a long time: If you can ground him, you can win the fight pretty easily. For all of Fitch’s foibles, the man is still an excellent grappler and a durable guy. Fitch’s game just pairs brilliantly against Daley, so I’ll take Bellator’s latest acquisition to stake his claim for a welterweight title shot.
That’s all for this week. If you have any questions or you’d like to talk more about MMA betting or the fights in general, reach out to me @JedKMeshew. Otherwise, good luck and enjoy the fights!
(Editor’s note: All of this advice is for entertainment purposes only.)