ICYMI, a bunch of opening odds for some great upcoming fights have been added to the sportsbooks. Since we’ve got two weeks without a major MMA event – unless you count Fedor vs. Mir this Saturday – now’s a good a time as any to get in early on some favorable odds.
We’ll preview the Fedor fight first since it goes down this week, then get into some major UFC fights coming up. You might have missed a few of these announcements since Conor McGregor stole all the headlines when he decided his first fight since Floyd Mayweather would come against a UFC bus.
As usual, we’re using the MMA odds at BookMaker.eu, one of the leading online sportsbooks. Remember to check in during fight week for detailed betting guides for the UFC cards. Let’s get to it.
Bellator 198, April 28
Fedor Emelianenko +136 vs. Frank Mir -174
Over/under 1.5 rounds: over +125, under -145
We lean towards Mir in this fight, but we also admit that betting on a guy that hasn’t fought in years is a tough call. By the looks of it, the former UFC champ hasn’t been keeping it 100 with his fitness after signing with Bellator, putting on enough pounds to prompt an abundance of fat jokes in MMA forums.
Then again, Fedor’s recent 5-1 run has been propped up by poor competition and favorable judging. The Russian legend barely got by blown up light heavyweight – and UFC castoff – Fabio Maldonado with a garbage decision. And Matt Mitrione knocked out Emelianenko in his last outing. Unfortunately, his current price isn’t good enough to really tempt a bet.
Our Pick: Under 1.5 rounds at -145
We doubt Mir has the gas tank to last very long, and both guys have chins that are seriously cracked. In their last 10 combined fights, they’ve only made it past the first round three times. The price on the rounds under is affordable as a straight play.
UFC 224, May 12
Kelvin Gastelum +110 vs. Ronaldo Souza -140
Souza opens as a slight favorite over Gastelum, which is a bit surprising considering how accomplished “Jacare” is as a middleweight contender. But there are a couple factors to consider here. First, Gastelum is 26 while Souza is 38. We haven’t seen any physical decline from the Brazilian yet, but it can happen suddenly around his age – especially against speedy young dude like Gastelum.
Second, Souza looked helpless against Robert Whittaker when it became he was outgunned on the feet and unable to take down the Aussie. Gastelum has a similar style to Whittaker, as he’s an excellent boxer with knockout power and a good sprawl. The Brazilian should absolutely be the favorite here, but Gastelum is a live ‘dog.
UFC Fight Night 130, May 27
Darren Till +155 vs. Stephen Thompson -185
For casual MMA fans who expect scraps to fit right into the next Tony Jaa movie, we’ve got Till vs. Thompson. Let’s just go ahead and award the winner the unofficial title of “Raddest Kickboxer on the Planet””: Wonderboy is American Kickboxing phenom and Till is a certified Muay Thai master.
Wonderboy has got to silence Till in his hometown of Liverpool, but his success against a higher level of competition makes him the favorite. The Brit still has yet to lose in 17 pro fights, and his knack for submissions could make things interesting. But it’s doubtful that this ever gets to the ground, as we’re likely to see a clinic of flashy kicks.
We’d hold off on betting until we see more movement in the odds. But if you’ve got a feeling that Till takes out Wonderboy, the current price is excellent.
UFC Fight Night 134, July 22
Mauricio Rua +284 vs. Volkan Oezdemir -345
DC was right: there are levels to this. Oezdemir might not be on the championship level, but the Swiss kickboxer could plant himself firmly in the top five for years to come. There’s no shame in making your bones as a high-level contender – most dudes never even sniff a title shot.
The legendary Shogun Rua has managed to carve out three-fight winning streak, but oddsmakers seem to overwhelmingly believe that “No Time” will put a brutal end to his resurgence. It’s not hard to see why: Rua looks like a shell of the PRIDE monster who regularly took years off his opponents’ lives. He’s slow, his gas tank is shot, and now he’s got to face a knockout artist eight years his junior.
We’re going to need to see Rua’s line come down even further before we start seriously thinking about taking him. For now, Oezdemir’s price is a parlay booster.
UFC 227, August 4
Cody Garbrandt +105 vs. T.J. Dillashaw -135
Time to run it back. After failing to secure a fight with flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson, Dillashaw will once again meet knockout artist Cody Garbrandt. The leadup to the scrap isn’t gonna be nearly as dramatic, as T.J. has earned “No Love’s” respect after handing him his first career loss. Gone are the trash talk and shoving matches, replaced by handshakes and hugs.
This is a tough fight to call, and oddsmakers have set extremely competitive opening lines. Our gut says to go with Dillashaw, as his line is extremely affordable right now. His athleticism, speed and technique is the perfect foil for Garbrandt, and this could very well be a case where a fighter has another’s number.
Check out the latest UFC betting odds.