Sometimes, a UFC Fight Night on FS1 is every bit as good as the “bigger” FOX network cards. This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 128 in Atlantic City is a perfect example.
Both the main and co-main would be main card scraps on a major pay-per-view. A lightweight matchup between Edson Barboza and Kevin Lee features championship contenders that are coming off high profile losses to the two best fighters in a loaded division. It’s also a sweet style matchup between an explosive striker and a suffocating wrestler.
Then there’s Frankie Edgar hopping back into the cage less than two months after suffering The Uppercut From Hell Pt. 2 courtesy of Brian Ortega. Instead of sitting around and sulking about losing a guaranteed title shot, the future Hall of Famer is throwing down in a rematch with Cub Swanson.
We’ll never get tired of praising Frankie Edgar, who risked everything against a guy nobody wanted to face because he “was sick of not fighting.” Swanson’s also coming off a loss to Ortega, and is every bit as gutsy as the former lightweight champ. Between them, they’ve got Fight of the Year awards, heaps of Fight of the Night bonuses and some unforgettable wars.
Also on the main card is an important light heavyweight matchup between Brazilian headhunter Thiago Santos and former WSOF two-division champ David Branch. Plus, we get another glimpse of undefeated bantamweight uber-prospect Brett Johns, facing his toughest opponent yet in Aljamain Sterling.
There’s a lot to like here, including some of the prices you can get in the sportsbook. Let’s take a look at the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu and break down your best betting options.
Edson Barboza +116 vs. Kevin Lee -148
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +150 / -180
This is an easy scrap to break down: if Lee gets it to the mat, he wins. If Barboza keeps it standing, he takes it. Barboza’s 83% takedown defense didn’t do jack for him against Khabib Nurmagomedov, who treated him like a training dummy and hammered away at the helpless Brazilian.
Lee isn’t on Khabib’s grappling level (nobody is), but the 25-year old drives through with a powerful blast double, at times tackling his opponents. Once on the ground, he advances positions smoothly, even against good grapplers, and is an expert at backtakes and subsequent chokes.
But Barboza’s athleticism and sprawl is much more effective against the standard double-legs. Khabib has the rare ability to drag guys to the mat without relying on explosive setups, but Lee does not. It wouldn’t surprise us to see Lee chasing Edson around the ring for much of this fight.
UFC Odds Pick: Barboza to win at -148
We usually side with the powerhouse wrestler, and the current price on Lee is playable as a straight bet. Lee will not be able to completely disregard Barboza’s striking the way Khabib did, but he’s got five rounds to grind down the Brazilian. There’s always a risk that Barboza flashes something crazy and sticks another highlight reel KO, but the smart pick is Lee.
Frankie Edgar -222 vs. Cub Swanson +172
Over/under 2.5 rounds, over -318, under +253
The last time these two met, Edgar kept Swanson glued to the mat and pounded on him for five rounds. Cub finally broke in the final frame, tapping out to a neck crank with just seconds left in the fight. There’s no reason to think he can’t do it again, and the current prices reflect that these are pretty much the same fighters they were four years ago – just a little bit older.
But here’s the thing: Edgar was just knocked out for the first time in his career. And it wasn’t just any KO – he was literally launched off his feet. Now he’s coming back in just a few weeks against a crackerjack striker? That’s zero time off from training and there’s a lot of miles on Edgar’s body. If there was ever a time that Cub could beat Edgar, it’s right now.
UFC Odds Pick: Swanson to win at +172
At these odds, we’ll play the numbers. In a three round fight, Swanson could very well stay upright and implement his unorthodox striking to steal this win. Just make sure you keep your bet relatively low.
UFC Odds Pick: Parlay over 2.5 rounds at -285
If you’re looking for a safe pick, the rounds over is the way to go. Edgar and Swanson went nearly 25 minutes last time, they’re both ridiculously tough to finish. This should easily go all three, giving you a nice parlay booster.
Brett Johns -107 vs. Aljamain Sterling -122
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: -245 / +175
How good is Johns? A15-0 record is no joke, but he’s making a huge jump in competition. Though the Welshman averages nearly seven takedowns per fight (an insane number), he’s going to find it a lot tougher to execute judo throws against a very good defensive wrestler like Sterling.
But then again, Sterling just got his face melted by Marlon Moraes knee and has been somewhat disappointing inside the octagon. Considered a future title contender when he signed his last contract, “The Funk Master” has lost to every top-10 fighter he’s met. Johns isn’t there yet, but the potential is there.
UFC Odds Pick: Sterling to win at -122
In a scrap that’s pretty much a pick’em, we’ll take the experienced vet – still in his prime – against the hyped prospect. Sterling can be extremely frustrating to watch, but he’s an excellent defensive fighter that should be able to stymy an extremely aggressive guy.
Dan Hooker vs. Jim Miller Fight Goes to Decision at -205
Though Hooker has 14 finishes in 15 career wins, five of his seven losses have come by decision. Miller is a guy with eight decision defeats in 11 career losses. We lean towards Hooker winning this fight, but Miller is just too tough and experienced for him to put away.
David Branch to Beat Thiago Santos at +166
Santos is getting a lot of love because he’s been flatlining dudes left and right, but Branch is about as well-rounded as they come. While the former WSOF champ showed that he’s a step below the elite tier, his skillset should allow him to outmatch one-dimensional headhunters like Santos.
Check out the latest UFC Fight Night 128 betting odds.