What could have been an amazing Fight Night card is now just a good one. We lost a sick main event between welterweight contender Leon Edwards and uber prospect Khamzat Chimaev, but the co-main is a worthy fill-in: two-time title challenger Stephen Thompson against the surging Geoff Neal.
Thompson is fighting to keep his top 5 status in a stacked contender field featuring champion Kamaru Usman, No. 1 contender Colby Covington, the overlooked Edwards and superstar Jorge Masvidal. Neal was signed from DWCS in 2017 and has been beasting ever since: five wins, five finishes. That’s a list that includes Mike Perry, Niko Price and Belal Muhammad. This dude obviously belongs in the top 10 – now it’s time to see if he’s a contender.
Also on the card is a heavyweight title between Greg Hardy and Marcin Tybura. We’ll never not be somewhat intrigued by Hardy. There’s always the chance that one day he’ll “figure it out” and morph into a MMA killer inside an NFL All-Pro’s body. Marcin Tybura is a good acid test – the Polish native is nobody’s idea of a scrub.
The bantamweight division gets some shine with separate matchups featuring Marlon Moraes and featherweight GOAT Jose Aldo. Both are Muay Thai freaks, but Moraes is a knockout artist and Aldo is a technician. Both are legit title contenders in a loaded weight class. Rounding out the night is former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis, trying to stay relevant against Alex Morono.
Solid, right? Big names all over the card, and intriguing best in the online sportsbook. Let’s peep the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu and get to your best betting picks.
Main Event, Welterweight
Stephen Thompson -1113 vs. Geoff Neal -117
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +105 / -135
Bet It: Neal to win at -117
We completely understand if you want to take Thompson – he tends to nullify strikers. Neal is most definitely a striker. But Neal has surprising depth and technique to his standup, so it’s not like he’ll be outclassed on the feet. On top of that, he’s big, quick and powerful – Wonderboy is going to have his hands full. This isn’t just some one-dimensional knockout artist: we’ve seen Neal make midfight adjustments against a variety of strikers and walk away with the W. Lastly, Neal lands 6 significant strikes per minute to Thompson’s 3 – that kind of volume should put him ahead on the scorecards.
We’re hoping that there will be some late action on Thompson, but Neal anywhere near even money is a reasonable price.
Co-Main Event, Heavyweight
Greg Hardy -130 vs. Marcin Tybura +100
Bet It: Hardy to win at -130
Hardy’s first few fights showed us that he was raw, powerful and a complete newbie that didn’t know how to fight effectively. But his last few fights have displayed marked improvements that offer a glimmer of hope that he can actually be a solid heavyweight. Not getting creamed by Alexander Volkov and surviving to the scorecards was a win. Showing a willingness to use his speed and power to win decisions shows maturity. Say what you want about Hardy, but he is undeniably a scary physical specimen.
Tybura is a wrestler who grinds, and that could be a huge problem. Then again, Tybura struggles against bigger, stronger guys he can’t take to the ground. It’s extremely plausible that Hardy is just too big and quick to corral.
Bet It: Rob Font +124 to beat Marlon Moraes -155
Forget It: Jose Aldo -141 to beat Marlon Vera +111
Forget It: Michel Pereira -125 vs. Khaos Williams -105
The secret on Marlon Moraes is out: he’s a first-round fighter. But man, that first round is scary AF. There’s a good chance that he turns out Font’s lights, but Font has never been TKO’d despite facing some powerful dudes like John Lineker. On top of that, Font never stops pressuring, so if he survives the early onslaught we see him tipping the balance in rounds two and three.
We love Jose Aldo, but this version of Scarface is far too unreliable to bet on. Even against an opponent likely picked to get him back in the win column. The problem is that Vera is good enough and Aldo might have declined to the point where an upset is not unthinkable. Aldo is the more skilled guy, but he doesn’t dominate anyone the way he used to.
Just enjoy the Khaos-Pereira fight and stay far away from it in the online sportsbook. Pereira is one of the biggest, athletic welterweights out there but you just don’t know if he’s gonna blow his wad with his crazy antics. Khaos is only two fights into his UFC career, so you really have no idea what to expect from him.