This Saturday’s UFC 237 doesn’t have much buzz, and the promotion probably isn’t expecting too many pay-per-view buys. What it does have is an awesome title fight in a main event, and two living legends repping their home country on native soil. Throw in some excellent betting values, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to get hyped.
In the main event, women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas heads into hostile territory to make her second title defense against Jessica Andrade. Personally, I’m stoked to see Andrade in a main event – she’s easily the funnest fighter in the division. And if she can get the #andnew, Brazilians would own a monopoly on UFC women’s titles.
The co-main features Anderson Silva, a legend who is squarely in the “fun fights” stage of his career. And whattaya know, he gets a fun fight against an explosive striker in Jared Cannonier. Silva is coming off a surprisingly competitive contest against Israel Adesanya, and Cannonier most recently upset David Branch to kick off his middleweight career.
Despite a lengthy WEC/UFC career, Jose Aldo is still just 32 years old. The past few years has seen his invincible aura broken by a 3-3 record, but look at the guys he lost to – Conor McGregor and Max Holloway – and compare them to who he’s beaten – Frankie Edgar, Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano. Now, he looks to snap Alex Volkanovski’s 16-fight winning streak.
There’s a lot to go over here, so let’s jump right into the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu and break down your best betting picks. Live UFC betting is also available at BookMaker.eu, just in case you need to hedge your bets between rounds.
Main Event, Women’s Strawweight Championship
Fight odds: Rose Namajunas -102 vs Jessica Andrade -128
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +105 / -145
Always the Underdog
This will be the third straight title fight where Rose enters as an underdog – including two fights as a champion. What gives? The thinking here is that this is a bad style matchup for the champ: “Bate Estaca” is just too powerful, too physical and too relentless. Claudia Gadelha hit her with some massive shots and she just shook them off. Andrade then proceeded to ragdoll Gadelha, who is generally regarded as one of the strongest strawweights around.
Rose’s only loss in her past six fights is the big reason that many feel like she’s got an uphill battle. Karolina Kowalkiewicz was able to bully her around in the clinch, and KK isn’t known for her strength. Rose is a long, lanky fighter while Andrade is built like a tank. But let’s give Rose some credit here: she’s just entering her physical prime and dethroned a seemingly unbeatable champ in Joanna Jedrzejczyk…twice.
Speaking of those Joanna, Rose needs to be watching how the Polish kickboxer flummoxed Andrade for five rounds. The champ has a similar build, and if she was able to outstrike the division’s premier Muay Thai stylist than she’s got a great shot at doing so against Andrade.
Our pick: Andrade to win at -128
The Brazilian opened around -175, but early action has driven her price up. That’s good news. Though Rose has the blueprint to beat Andrade, we’re not sure she’s got the physical tools. Joanna has wiry strength and excellent takedown defense, something that Rose does not. This is a very good price on Andrade.
Fight odds: Anderson Silva +127 vs Jared Cannonier -180
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: -170 / +130
The Incredible Shrinking Man
Did you know Cannonier started his UFC career as a heavyweight? He was actually still known as a heavy hitter in the big man division. A drop down to 205 helped improve his cardio, but he hit a wall against the division’s upper echelon. That led to another drop in weight, and Cannonier kicked off his middleweight run with an upset over David Branch. Of course, that win looks worse after Branch has been on a terrible slide, but Cannonier still can’t be taken lightly.
I’m a bit perplexed as to why Silva is such a big underdog. I know that he’s 44 facing a quick young striker nearly 10 years his junior. But Cannonier is not an offensive wrestler, meaning that he’ll have to win this fight where Silva is most comfortable. As we saw against Adesanya, Silva is still a dude that commands respect when it comes to throwing leather. Cannonier’s explosive bursts might give Silva some problems, but his striking arsenal pales in comparison to Silva’s.
Our pick: Silva to win at +127
We tipped our hand in the last paragraph. At this price, we have to go with Silva. Strikers tend to give Silva a lot of respect on the feet, and if this becomes a feinting contest this is much closer to a tossup. We’ll take the guy with the nice payout and a home crowd to sway the judges.
Fight odds: Alex Volkanovski +115 vs Jose Aldo -145
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: -110 / -130
Time for Alex to Prove It
Volkanovski enters the fight on a 16-fight winning streak, and most recently he knocked out Chad Mendes for the biggest win of his career. If he beats Aldo, the current No. 1 contender, there will be no one more qualified for the next shot at Max Holloway. That’s a big if.
Aldo’s past six fights show both his strengths and weaknesses. He might have lost a step or two, but it still takes elite skills to beat him. McGregor beat him with nuclear power and precision timing. Holloway crumbled the former champ with a relentless pace bolstered by an iron chin.
Volkanovski doesn’t have Conor’s power, but he does have the chin and pressure of Holloway. What he doesn’t have is the Hawaiian’s height and range. An excellent wrestler and a high-output boxer, the Australian will have to get close to pressure – but that leaves him open to Aldo’s lightning quick counters.
Our pick: Aldo to win at -145
At this point in his career, Aldo is much, much better in three-round fights. Volkanovski might have the chin and pace, but he doesn’t have the size to bully Aldo. Jeremy Stephens and Moicano both tried to take it to the Brazilian, but they were both outstruck in the exchanges. We fully expect that to happen to Volkanvoski.
Check out the latest UFC betting odds for today.