Stacked. Loaded. Embarrassment of riches. Whatever MMA cliche you want to use for “a bunch of awesome fights on one night”, you can use it to describe this Saturday’s UFC 245 in Vegas.
It’s not often that MMA fans get three title bouts in one night, and even rarer that all of them feature the two best fighters in the division. It starts with WMMA GOAT Amanda Nunes defending the bantamweight belt against No.1 contender Germaine de Randamie. The Brazilian has been absolutely beasting, but she facing the biggest threat to her title reign so far.
In the co-main event, you’ve got Max Holloway – arguably the featherweight GOAT. We might be sounding like a broken record here, but a lot of people feel like he’s facing the biggest threat to his championship run in Max Volkanovski. Think Holloway’s 14-fight winning streak at 145 is badass? Volkanovski has won 17 straight – with seven coming inside the octagon.
But the headlining match is something else entirely. It’s not just a welterweight title fight between the two best 170-pounders in the world. It’s more than a legitimate grudge match with two dudes that freaking hate each other. Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington has evolved into something bigger. For some, it’s the immigrant against the MAGA fanboy. For a lot of people, it’s the chance to see if somebody can finally shut Colby up.
On top of everything, both the champion and challenger have embraced their roles. Throw in endless Insta trash talk and multiple backstage confrontations and you’ve got one of the most genuinely compelling matchups of the year.
There’s a lot to cover in the online sportsbook, so let’s take a look at the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu and break down your best betting values. BookMaker also offers live UFC betting to hedge any of your bets as needed.
Main Event, Welterweight Championship
Colby Covington +147 vs. Kamaru Usman -186
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: -250 / +190
Prediction: Get ready for a striking battle
When two elite wrestlers meet, their best skills often cancel each other out. We fully expect that to happen here, at least for the first few rounds. Despite Covington landing nearly 6 takedowns per 15 minutes, Usman has yet to be put on his back inside the octagon. On the other hand, Covington’s 78% takedown defense should hold up against Usman.
Colby’s biggest strength is his cardio and pace. While his striking rate isn’t anything crazy, we’ve really seen him ratchet up his volume in his most recent fights. The man never stops coming forward, and he’s leveled up his gas tank to the point where it’s a legitimate weapon. Much like the Diaz bros, Max Holloway and Tony Ferguson, Covington overwhelms opponents by forcing them to run a marathon with him. It’s exhausting just watching him fight.
Usman took a page out of Covington’s book to win the title, relentlessly beating Tyron Woodley into submission. It was a new wrinkle in Usman’s game, as he had risen to the contender ranks behind suffocating wrestling and power striking. The truth is, we simply don’t know how good Usman can be – if his cardio is as good as it was in the Woodley fight, his power and athleticism give him the tools to be an all-timer.
Our pick: Usman to win at -186
Usman is the more powerful fighter – you can see how much more heavily muscled he is when they stand next to each other. That power, and his improved cardio, is going to make a difference when they’re striking. Both guys are a bit awkward when it comes to throwing fluid combinations, but Usman has shown far more stopping power. Because he doesn’t have to worry about Covington’s takedowns, that should allow for him to do more damage throughout the fight.
Moderate risk: Fight doesn’t go to decision at +190
This isn’t the safest bet, but the value here is solid. Both guys turn the dial up to 10, and pit them against each other and there’s an excellent chance that somebody burns out.
Co-Main Event, Featherweight Championship
Alexander Volkanovski +135 vs Max Holloway -170
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: -205 / +165
Prediction: Holloway’s reach decides it
Holloway is a big 5’11”, Volkanovski is a stout 5’6”. There aren’t many fighters as skilled as the Hawaiian at utilizing his height and reach, and he excels at keeping guys at the end of his punches. Volkanovski is a banger, but he’s going to have a hell of a time trying to get this scrap into a phone booth where he can be successful.
While Volkanovski is an excellent wrestler, we’ve never actually anybody control Holloway with takedowns and top control. We’ve seen him put onto the ground, but as one of the sport’s most active and best-conditioned fighters, it’s been impossible to keep him there. An 84% takedown defense is no joke.
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) December 9, 2019
Bet big: Holloway to win at -170
Honestly, we like Holloway at any price up to -200. Remember how easily he schooled Brian Ortega? Volkanovski will put up more of a fight, but in the end Holloway controls the range, turns up the heat in Round 3, and separates himself from the challenger in a big way.
Alternate pick: Fight doesn’t go to decision at +165
Volkanovski seems about as tough as they come, and he had the skills to come out on top of a striking match with the great Jose Aldo. But Holloway is a different beast entirely, and the Aussie has never had a tireless machine throwing punches at him for five rounds. At this price, we’re willing to risk a small sum that it’s simply too much for Volkanovski.
Amanda Nunes -300 vs Germaine de Randamie +228
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +230 / -290
Prediction: GDR hangs tough
Nunes’ 10-fight winning streak has been so gangster that it’s led to a consensus that the Brazilian is the greatest women’s fighter of all time. Nobody’s even come close to beating her, save for flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko, who took Lioness to the brink on two separate occasions.
The scraps with Schevchenko are precisely the reason we think GDR will perform much better than the odds suggest. Like Bullet, GDR has a high level kickboxing background, and possesses many of the similar traits that worked against Nunes. Not only does she have excellent technique, but The Iron Lady also has unyielding patience. When the two collide, we can see GDR winning a good number of exchanges.
Small risk: De Randamie to win at +228
We’re not saying that GDR wins, only that this is an excellent value. She’s got the right skillset to pull of a major upset here, and a small bet can pay off big here.
Moderate bet: Fight goes to decision at +220
If you don’t want to a pick a winner (or Nunes is too expensive), this is also a great price. We expect both women to fight conservative, and GDR’s quick counters are going to give the usually aggressive champion some pause. We can easily see how this would turn into a drawn-out battle with more probing than actual punching.
Check out the latest UFC 245 betting lines.