UFC Heavyweight Fighters - Jon Jones, Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic

As we make our way through another week without any UFC betting action, I must say I feel pretty lost. Even immersing myself in the material hasn’t brought me any closer to feeling normal. I wrote some MMA Award articles and they were fun including Knockout of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Fight of the Year, and Fighter of the Year. We will be back with Female Fighter of the Year, Coach of the Year as well as Submission of the Year.

I did my best to highlight any learning points from a betting perspective in retrospect for some of these fighters as well as a look ahead at their next bout and betting odds in 2021.

When I came across these betting odds I want to talk about today, I was thrilled because these are really fun and can potentially last you all year. At the very least, you’re going to get a few months out of each play

They aren’t too stressful either because these shouldn’t be max bets or even 1+ unit plays, in my opinion. 2020 was obviously a year that taught us to expect the unexpected and 2021 could be even more strange.

Hey, I’m on the positive side of hope as much as the next guy but you have to be honest with yourself. Do you really think all the madness is just going to disappear because the calendar switched over?

I don’t think it is outside the realm of possibility that the sporting world could get shut down again and Dana White won’t have his good buddy Donald J Trump in office to have his back any longer.

I’m not saying he pulled any strings for the UFC. I was just happy to see mixed martial arts fights and betting return to my life. The point here is that no matter how much research we do and how clearly we can see into our crystal ball today, we still have to expect the unexpected.

You guys remember Derrick Lewis vs Francis Ngannou? That is a heavyweight “scrap” the entire MMA world couldn’t wait for and wow did we ever get the most disappointing “fight” of all time.

Fighting isn’t easy to predict and the heavyweights have the most parody because anyone can knock anyone out at any given moment. There is also a giant range of weights these guys are fighting at.

You have your small heavyweights that could make 205 and they utilize their speed very well. UFC newcomer and Philadelphia police officer Chris Daukaus is a good example of one of those guys.

He has fairly clean hands, some extra fat, and weighs in at 220 pounds. The guy can crack, though, and has already turned a few heads. We may have missed out on some of his best betting value but I think another chance to capitalize on Daukaus will come in 2021.

He isn’t going to be the champ at the end of the year, though, so who is?

The online sportsbook BetOnline has betting odds on who will be the world champion at the end of 2021 for every UFC division. Let’s break down the heavyweight fighters today on by one and make our prediction.

Israel Adesanya: +2000

Hey, his name was in there. I don’t know about 2021 but 2022 or 2023, I think Izzy could go up to heavyweight and get the strap. He is 6’4” tall with an 80 inch reach and one of the best strikers mixed martial arts has ever seen. Adesanya would no doubt be at a speed advantage against any of the current heavyweights on the UFC’s roster.

Now, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion at the end of 2021 is a spot I could definitely see Israel Adesanya sitting at. Jon Jones has recently came out and stated that he has no intentions of ever returning to 205 so you would have to assume that Izzy would be the favorite.

There are a lot of killers lurking with a combination of speed and power that is more dangerous to some than a 280 gorilla swinging on them.

Sorry, Izzy. We can’t waste any money on you at heavyweight but I have a feeling we might do so for 205.

Alistair Overeem: +2000

Hey, minus the last 10 seconds in his 24:52 loss to Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Alistair has won 5 fights in a row. He could be the dark horse to win the UFC Heavyweight World Title in 2021…

Well, he has four fighters ahead of him on the betting board who have beaten him lately and that’s just too much. The Reem continues to impress us with his ability to string together win after win at the age of 40.

To do this with all the miles on his body and chin is what is so extraordinary to me. The man has been knocked out cold in competition more times than you can count on both hands and who knows how many gym wars he has had.

The Dutch go HAM in sparring from what I have seen. I haven’t been up there to train with them unfortunately but I think if I do, I may just stick close to the coach and do a private lesson. You never know what to expect walking into an unknown gym.

These guys have a reputation of being really good and going pretty hard but I went to a Muay Thai gym in Tacoma, Washington once when I was just doing some hiking and photography at Mt Rainier.

It was nice:

They were nice…until they weren’t. They just had me spar every student they had and some guys were going 100%. Washingtonians, not DC, lol, but the state of Washington, those are some of the nicest people in the world and they tried to kill me.

The Thais are almost always cool and their sparring is almost always very light. Clinch days are torture, though, but I digress. Overeem is a beast and as smart as he is skillful. I love his new calculated style but he doesn’t have what it takes to compete with the Curtis Blaydes and Franky Ngannou’s of the world.

Derrick Lewis: +1600

Om…maybe…nahhhh….

I love the Black Beast as much as the next guy and his recent evolution in defense, fight IQ, and conditioning-somewhat, has been highly impressive.

But, can he win the belt? I just don’t think he is going to get the opportunity. If he would have had the chance to fight Curtis Blaydes about a month ago at the end of November and come away with a victory, it’s a possibility.

Ngannou could knock off Stipe and Derrick Lewis come in and “beat” Frank again in ANOTHER staring contest. That would be hilarious but in a dark and tragic sort of way.

Until this fight hopefully never gets made again, Derrick Lewis fans are going to have to settle for other interesting matchups at heavyweight with Lewis. His Instagram page, though, guys, is absolutely legendary.

When you follow these pro fighters, you quickly learn how much they have love their sponsors, and I get it 100%, but this is a lot of what you see. Derrick might shout out his sponsors from time to time but he seems to get the viral video of the week on his story before anyone.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik: +1200

Okay, now we might be talking dark horse and a potential huge underdog to cash this bet. I just don’t know if there will be time to get this one in and I’m also not confident that Rozey is going to be able to get by the gatekeeper, Curtis Blaydes.

Curt has lost to Francis Ngannou twice now so his role as gatekeeper seems like it could be permanent but the dude is a winner. His takedowns are incredibly explosive and forceful and I don’t think a guy with a kickboxing base not named Francis Ngannou is going to be able to keep Razor Blaydes off of them.

That’s the story here. I like Rozenstruik. I think he can beat Cyril Gane but would have a lot of trouble with the wrestling of Blaydes, Jones, and even world champion Stipe Miocic.

Curtis Blaydes: +600

I guess we already got started with Curt. He has what it takes to be a world champion in the UFC and could potentially already have strapped the belt around his waist if it weren’t for a man they call Francis.

Heck, Curtis would be 14-0 if it weren’t for Franky. I just don’t see how Blaydes gets another title shot this year especially with the potential hold up we might get from COVID or aliens or the chupacabra.

Jon Jones vs both Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou are two fights that are likely to happen and I believe Stipe and Franky are set to rematch. I love Blaydes as a fighter to bet on and I think he wins 90% of his fights at heavyweight. Unfortunately, though, not even enough to get that strap.

Cyril Gane: +600

Here is a fighter I don’t rate as high as Curtis because he hasn’t shown the ability nor does he have nearly the wrestling background of Blaydes. Does he have a better chance at being the UFC’s Heavyweight World Champion at the end of 2021, though?

Absolutely. Why? Well, he hasn’t lost to Ngannou twice. Interestingly enough, though, he has trained with Francis extensively at the MMA Factory in Paris.

Cyril Gane being the champ is certainly a possibility. I think he may be more on track for a 2022 takeover if he does but let’s see if he might be worth a few fun bucks to strap up this year.

He says anyone, anywhere. I know the UFC would love to have their first French world champion. Mixed martial arts just became legal in France 1 year ago on January 1st, 2020.

It says one year ago but here is another one of my “It feels more like 5 years jokes.”

Okay, I’ll spare you from any more of those.

What would Cyril Gane’s path to the UFC Heavyweight World Title belt be in 2021? Well, he is just 7-0! The man got his first fight in the UFC at just 3-0. They knew the kind of talent they had and how important it was to bring him along slowly.

Please Note:

He looked good in his last fight against Junior Dos Santos and it seemed like he was cruising toward a decision victory when click clack went the severely weathered chin of the Brazilain for UFC champ and that was a wrap.

If the UFC is smart, they will avoid giving Cyril Gane to Curtis Blaydes. Gane is a much more valuable world champion than the “boring American wrestler” and I’m confident the UFC will strategize their matchmaking in accordance with this.

Gane vs Rozenstruik is a pretty gnarly fight but a dangerous one for Cyril. He will probably fight either him or Overeem in his next fight and if all goes well, get his shot at the belt in 2022.

Jon Jones: +350

Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight is one of the most interesting and highly anticipated storylines to play out in 2021. The only thing that excites me more than this is a potential fight between Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya.

Dana White has come out and said that is the one fight he wants to make more than any other. It’s gonna be a while, though, it looks like because Jon has made the move to heavyweight and stated that he doesn’t want to come back down.

The division did get kinda boring even with Jon being challenged and taken to two consecutive controversial decisions. I think for Jon’s legacy, this is the right thing to do. He has had so many foul ups in his career outside of the Octagon that people are counting a lot against him when you talk about who is the best ever.

The man is still undefeated by all accounts of actual reality and I think he can stay that way even in the UFC’s Heavyweight Division. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be pulling for the guy because it would be cool to see him lose.

See, I’m turning into the fans I despise. When Anderson Silva had completely spoiled every fight fan on the planet with his 16-0 run with 14 finishes, I was disgusted by the increasing amount of MMA fans/friends I talked with who just wanted to see another person in there.

I thought what a stupid reason to want a guy to lose but here I am, albeit with the vast majority of the MMA community, wanting to see Jon Jones lose. You know what will clear this up in a heartbeat, though?

I’ll give you a hint. It works every time. Bet. Put some money on your most disliked fighter and try not to trip out over how quickly you change your opinion.

I think he is a solid bet here:

Stipe defends against Francis Ngannou and Jon just waits on the winner. Why put him in there against anyone else? He is more or less the reigning UFC Light Heavyweight World Champion since early 2012 and Dana White has shown in the past that he considers champs at other weight classes to be #1 contenders.

He did it with Conor McGregor and I think they will do the same with Jon Jones. He still has to beat the champ, whoever that may be. Stipe and Frank will likely fight in March. That means Jon will probably get his shot in the Summer.

He wins that fight and then has to defend it maximum one time. He will probably be the favorite in both of those fights too.

We still have a couple of guys left to talk about but I think the best value is on Jon Bones Jones.

Stipe Miocic: +275

Wow, Stipe has the belt right now and a dominant win over Ngannou but remains the underdog to hold the belt at the end of 2021.

Miocic’s fight with Francis Ngannou that will like go down in a couple of months will tell us A LOT, well it likely will but you never know with Ngannou, but a lot about how the winner’s fight will go with Jon Jones.

If Stipe wins, then Jon will have a reach advantage with much better kicks against an older man in Miocic. If Francis takes it, then Jon will have a wrestling and experience advantage against Ngannou.

The value on Miocic isn’t terrible here but I’m going with Jones.

Francis Ngannou: +150

(+150)? Are you serious? That is simply not enough especially for a guy who laid an egg against Derrick Lewis just over two years ago and was dominated by the current world champion.

Watch the slow motion of Ngannou vs Rozenstruik too. The Cameroonian looked atrocious!

He still got the KO against a high level striker but I just don’t see him doing this to more than one fighter inside the top 5. Jones and Miocic are just too skilled and experienced to go out like that.

Sure, Francis could be the champ at the end of the year but I don’t rate him any higher than Miocic or Jones so a bet on him, of course, doesn’t make any sense at all with his betting odds at (+150).

My Betting Pick: Jon Jones

Hey, Joe Rogan… Got anymore of them heavyweight belts?

It isn’t coke but I think Jon Jones has what it takes to be king of the UFC’s Heavyweight Division by the close of 2021, seeing as the world doesn’t end by then. Jon would be the baddest man on the planet and surely be considered the greatest of all time should he accomplish this.

The betting odds for all three potential matchups between Jones, Miocic, and Ngannou are pretty even and in all likelihood, we are going to see these fights play out so why not go for the most valuable betting odds?

Why not bet on the fighter who has never lost? I know we haven’t seen Jon Jones compete in the UFC’s Heavyweight Division before but he is the best fighter in the past decade and he has the highest payout.

He beat Daniel Cormier twice pretty handily and DC was, of course, the heavyweight champ.

Francis Ngannou is without a doubt a scary guy but he hasn’t proven to us yet that he has filled in the holes of his overall game yet. The fight with Stipe will likely be highly educational. I am psyched for that fight and all the fights.

Never give us a month off again UFC!