The UFC makes its “Fight Island” debut on Saturday with a stellar card headlined by three title fights. That should make UFC 251 an attractive option for fans and bettors alike.
Gamblers can choose from plenty of options as the UFC is staging 13 fights in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Here’s a quick look at four bets that stand out to me on the main card, with FanDuel Sportsbook providing the odds for each wager.
Kamaru Usman (-245)
For a while, Jorge Masvidal was fetching long enough odds in the UFC 251 main event that I considered making a bet on the late replacement, who is certainly dangerous. But Usman has all the tools he needs to take care of the “BMF” champion and retain his welterweight title.
Usman should be able to hold his own in striking exchanges, and it’s hard to see Masvidal troubling him in the grappling game. Barring a flash knockout, Usman should be able to fall back on his wrestling anytime he needs to. The most likely outcome here would see Usman landing takedowns and grinding out rounds to secure a convincing decision win. Take the champion and enjoy a reasonable return on your investment for a pretty safe favorite.
Usman vs. Masvidal: Over 3.5 Rounds (-108)
As mentioned above, Usman’s likely path to victory will see him land takedowns and use his wrestling to control Masvidal. That’s not the kind of game plan that leads to many finishes, meaning this bout could easily go the distance.
By taking the over, you not only get that likelihood, but you can also win in case of a late stoppage for any number of reasons; a possibility if either man fatigues badly in the final 10 minutes. If you’re wagering with a sportsbook that offers over 1.5 or over 2.5 rounds at shorter odds, those could be great options to include in parlays as well.
Max Holloway (+166)
This may seem strange, given that Alexander Volkanovski just beat Holloway and there’s no reason to think either of them will come into UFC 251 as a significantly different fighter than last time they met. But I see this as a value play. Holloway remained competitive the last time around, and getting significantly more than even money on a young fighter with a championship pedigree is a little too hard to turn down.
Amanda Ribas by Points (+120)
Amanda Ribas comes in as the biggest favorite at UFC 251, and should have little trouble with Paige VanZant, who appears to be on her way out of the UFC. But -900 is just a little too much to stomach, even on a deservingly strong favorite, especially since VanZant has shown herself to be capable in the Octagon – just not quite good enough to trouble Ribas.
That dynamic makes me think there’s a good chance that Ribas wins the fight, but finds herself unable to finish VanZant. I’m inclined to back Ribas, but with the much better odds on a win by decision.