On Saturday night in the the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje do battle in a lightweight tilt with title implications. Outside of that potential Fight of the Year contender, UFC on FOX 29 has 13 other fights that are going down on Saturday which means a ton of potential betting opportunities for all the gamblers out there. It’s not too late to get in on the action and MMA Fighting has you covered with everything you need to know for making bets this weekend.
UFC on FOX 29, FOX Main Card (8 P.M. ET)
Dustin Poirier (-125/56%) vs. Justin Gaethje (+115/47%)
Carlos Condit (+185/35%) vs. Alex Oliveira (-200/67%)
Israel Adesanya (-240/71%) vs. Marvin Vettori (+220/31%)
Michelle Waterson (+140/42%) vs. Cortney Casey (-150/60%)
FOX Prelims (6 P.M. ET)
Tim Boetsch (+215/32%) vs. Antonio Carlos Junior (-235/70%)
Muslim Salikhov (-180/64%) vs. Ricky Rainey (+150/40%)
Wilson Reis (-120/55%) vs. John Moraga (+110/48%)
Krzysztof Jotko (+100/50%) vs. Brad Tavares (-110/52%)
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (3:30 P.M. ET)
Gilbert Burns (-600/86%) vs. Dan Moret (+490/17%)
Shana Dobson (+140/42%) vs. Lauren Mueller (-150/60%)
Dhiego Lima (+105/49%) vs. Yushin Okami (-115/53%)
Arjan Bhullar (-325/76%) vs. Adam Wieczorek (+295/25%)
Matthew Lopez (-120/55%) vs. Alejandro Perez (+110/48%)
Luke Sanders (-410/80%) vs. Patrick Williams (+365/22%)
Gaethje at +115
The main event of the evening also happens to be one of my most confident bets. Before the Eddie Alvarez fight, some were calling Justin Gaethje the best lightweight in the world. One knockout later and everyone is quickly reevaluating where he stands as a fighter and that’s all the better for gamblers because the reality is, Alvarez fought the best fight of his life and it still almost wasn’t enough. More to the point, “The Underground King” is absurdly tough and while Dustin Poirier likely has a more diverse and threatening game than Alvarez, he cannot wade through the same hellfire Alvarez can.
By virtue of his all out, risk-inviting style, people will underestimate just how good Gaethje is for as long as he fights. But Gaethje is one of the absolute best fighters on the planet and he excels at getting fighters to fight his style of rugged, technical brawling. Alvarez was tough enough to handle it, Poirier won’t be. The call is Gaethje by third-round TKO and I love a bet on him.
Carlos Junior at -235
This is a pretty straightforward fight: Antonio Carlos Junior is a top talent just hitting is prime and Tim Boetsch is on the back end of his career. The odds here are giving Boetsch due respect for his penchant for authoring upsets, but they are misguided. “The Barbarian” has lost to almost every good grappler he has faced and “Shoeface” should be no different. I expect Carlos Junior to tie Boetsch in knots on the floor so I like a bet on him straight and/or a prop bet on Carlos Junior by submission at +150.
Reis at -120
Wilson Reis vs. John Moraga is a fight between two former title challengers to Demetrious Johnson, the only difference is Moraga fought for the belt in 2013 and Reis fought for it last year; that really should tell you most of what you need to know about this fight. Reis is riding a two-fight losing streak but that came against the two best fighters in the division and Moraga does not have the defensive wrestling to keep Reis off of him. This seems like a pretty straightforward Reis win for me so I like a bet on him at these odds.
Jotko at +100
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Brad Tavares is basically a mirror match. Both men are competent, kickboxers with solid wrestling who will occasionally mix things up but are mostly content to work opponents over on the feet with a high volume attack. That being said, I feel confident in this bet because though the broad-strokes differences between them are pretty small, they all favor Jotko. Jotko is a southpaw, has a three-inch reach advantage, and slightly better defense. All of that adds up to enough of a reason to think he should be a slight favorite instead of even money so I like the value on him here.
Vettori at +220
Israel Adesanya is the new, hot thing in the UFC and with good reason. He is truly a world-class striker and completely captivating to watch. But Marvin Vettori is no pushover and this fight is certainly not a showcase for Adesanya. Vettori is young, tough, and constantly improving under the tutelage of Rafael Cordeiro. He is going to come forward and pressure Adesanya from the outset, tossing heat and likely looking for takedowns. If he can get them, or at least keep Adesanya on the back foot all fight, he has a good chance to pull the upset. Don’t get me wrong, I still favor Adesanya to win but Vettori shouldn’t be this big of a dog so I like a small value bet on him.
Williams at +365
Similar to the Vettori bet, Patrick Williams is just too big of an underdog to Luke Sanders. Sanders is the hotshot prospect so he’s got the bookies backing him but there should be real concern he is more bust than boom. While Sanders is an offensive dynamo, he has also proven to be vulnerable in all phases of the game. Williams has the pace and wrestling to ground Sanders and win quickly or win ugly. In then end, you should still favor Sanders’ youth and offense over Williams but the odds are too long and I like a small value bet on Williams.
- Condit-Oliveira: Short-notice replacements are always tough to predict and Condit especially is a wild card these days. Oliveira should win but pass on the risk.
- Waterson-Casey: Waterson is still the more skilled fighter but Casey has a huge size advantage here. I don’t feel good about either at these odds.
- Salikhov-Rainey: This could be a cracker on the feet and Salikhov should win but neither guy has done enough to warrant any confidence with your money.
- Burns-Moret: Burns by submission at +150 is intriguing since Moret might play into his grappling game.
- Dobson-Mueller: Both women have been fighting for less than three years. HARD pass.
- Lima-Okami: The only reason I don’t suggest a bet on Lima is due to a possible personal conflict. I do think he has a better than 50% chance to win though.
- Bhullar-Wieczorek: Don’t bet on low-level heavyweight fights.
- Lopez-Perez: Honestly, no idea what will happen here. Odds feel right.
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: This advice is for entertainment purposes only.)