Just one week after the biggest pay-per-view of 2018, the UFC is serving up the year’s best FOX card yet. UFC on FOX 29 takes place this Saturday in Glendale, Arizona – and it’s got a few scraps that could blow the roof off the building.
Let’s start with the main event: Justin Gaethje vs. Dustin Poirier. The fact that these are both lightweight contenders is almost irrelevant, given the type of wars they get into. But don’t just take my word for it, their accolades say it all.
Poirier is a veteran of 19 UFC fights. In that timeframe, “The Diamond” has earned four Fight of the Nights, two Performance of the Night bonuses and a Submission of the Night for good measure. If that wasn’t enough, his all-out thriller with The Korean Zombie was ESPN’s 2012 Fight of the Year. Though it seems like he’s been around forever, he’s still just 29!
Both of Gaethje’s UFC matches ended in Fight of the Night bonuses. And Sherdog, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports and Bloody Elbow all selected his brutal slugfest with Michael Johnson as the 2017 Fight of the Year.
The main event alone makes this card worth watching, but the co-main between Carlos Condit and Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira could be just as explosive. Condit is a former interim champion known for his dynamic, high-octane offense, while the Brazilian cowboy is a powerful kickboxer with flashy KO power.
Condit is trying to stay relevant in a division that’s brimming with young monsters, and a loss to somebody like Oliveira could quickly relegate “old legend” status with guys like Deigo Sanchez and Jake Ellenberger.
Also on the card is welterweight kickboxing sensation Israel Adesanya, “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson and gritty comeback artist Tim Boetsch.
Honestly, this is an amazing night of fights on network television, and there’s plenty of great values in the sportsbook right now. Let’s take a look at the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu and break down your best betting options.
Dustin Poirier -140 vs. Justin Gaethje +120
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +280/-400
Eddie Alvarez did more than just hand Gaethje his first loss – “The Underground King” proved that fighting like a zombie is unsustainable at the highest levels of MMA. An iron chin, unbreakable will and powerful kickboxing can get you pretty far, but making a habit of eating punches ain’t gonna fly in the UFC, especially when there are so many lightweight killers – like Poirier – out there.
oirier is a guy with no real weaknesses, and he’s matured as a fighter since making his UFC debut as a 21-year old. An excellent athlete with a high fight IQ, Poirier is dangerous in all phases, with knockout power, good offensive wrestling and a savvy submission game. He’s shown a more well-rounded skillset than Gaethje, which is most likely the reason he’s a slight favorite.
Cherry Pick: Poirier to win at -140
Both prices are affordable enough to be in play here, and we lean towards Poirier – his wrestling should be the difference maker. Against Joe Duffy, the Louisiana native showed the ability to impose a grappling-oriented game against a skilled striker. If Poirier doesn’t get sucked into a brawl, he’s got the better tools in this matchup.
Lottery Ticket: Poirier wins by decision +550
This pick requires you to believe that Gaethje will fight smarter and keep the brawling to a minimum. We already think that Poirier will try to wrestle for long stretches, which is a strategy that eats up clock. Plus, they’re both so tough that it wouldn’t surprise us to see them make it to the cards – battered and bloodied of course.
Carlos Condit +162 vs. Alex Oliveira -212
Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: -195 / +155
Oddsmakers seem to agree with the sentiment that Condit is getting a much tougher fight. Against his original opponent, Matt Brown, the Natural Born Killer was a slight favorite. But he’s the ‘dog against the younger, more explosive Oliveira.
This one will play out on the feet, as both guys prefer to kickbox. In this scenario, it’ll be Condit’s dynamic volume against Oliveira’s powe shots. The American is the taller, rangier fighter with a far more creative approach, but it’s the Brazilian who does more damage when he connects.
Savvy Risk: Condit to win at +162
Oliveira is fighting on short notice, and he’s had cardio issues in the past. That’s why we love Carlos’ line as a ‘dog. For all of Condit’s arsenal, his gas tank might just be his best weapon. Expect him to pour on the volume and take enough rounds to win.
Cherry Pick: Parlay Adesanya to win at -263
Typically, we like to take chances on guys facing hyped-but-unproven prospects. But Marvin Vettori is not a good enough wrestler to stifle a kickboxing phenom like Adesanya. Once The Last Stylebender starts taking on better competition, we’ll start looking at his opponents as live ‘dogs. But for now, he’s still building up his resume – giving you a safe parlay booster.
Savvy Risk: Casey to win at -125
The problem with Waterson is that even when she’s clearly the more talented fighter, she’s a natural atomweight fighting bigger, stronger strawweights. Casey has recently discovered a newfound physicality, and at her current price we need no convincing she’s got a very real chance at bullying The Karate Hottie for the majority of the affair.
Lottery Ticket: Boetsch to win at +207
Ok, we’ll bite. Boetsch is old and creaky, but this is a dude whose made a career out of blood and guts wins. Remember at UFC Fight Night 85, how legendary dadbod Daniel Kelly gutted out a win over the Brazilian as a +400 underdog? Well Boetsch is even grittier than the Aussie. It’s a high-risk play, so make it a small one.
Check out the latest UFC on Fox 29 betting odds