UFC 259 was an incredible event for the company, the fans, and bettors alike. It just got really weird there at the end. After Aljamain Sterling was kneed in the head on the mat and world champion Petr Yan was disqualified, we had a new title holder at Bantamweight.
It surely isn’t the way Aljamain Sterling wanted it but he got it. He trained hard, pushed forward for most of the fight, and was even up on one of the judges’ scorecards through 3 rounds. You have to punish fighters who break the rules, though, and if that means they lose the belt in the process then so be it.
If not, then an athlete could use the rules to their advantage. That’s what athletes do. Have you watched an NBA game in the past 15 years? Those guys are trying harder to draw a foul than they are actually eluding the defense and making the shot.
The game quickly molds itself from the ruleset and evolves from there. If knees to the head were allowed on the mat, you would see wrestlers much more hesitant to shoot in on their opponents’ legs because if they failed, they were in the danger zone and could be kneed in the head from the sprawl very easily.
With that being said:
If they secure the takedown, they would be more motivated to pass guard. That I love because one of the most boring positions in modern mixed martial arts is the guard. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it can be a very exciting position but in MMA, you rarely see a lot of damage done from there.
Submissions from the guard are rare in the men’s divisions and sweeps are even less likely to happen. If you allowed the knees to the head on the mat, then the fighter in top control would love to pass guard because if he did, he would be just one side control position away from pinching their opponents’ head with their elbow and then blasting knees from there.
It is pretty brutal, though, and I guess barbaric or at least that is how it would be perceived and we all know that perception is 9/10 of the law.
I can’t sit here and say it was a tough break for Petr Yan. Apparently, Khabib Nurmagomedov said that he heard the now former champion’s corner tell him that he could hit Aljo from there. This isn’t a matter of a language barrier.
Yan should know the rules. He is the world champion and ambassador for Bantamweight mixed martial artists all across the globe. There are only a few to remember. No groin shots, 12 to 6 elbows, fish hooks, eye gouges, small joint manipulation, and knees or kicks to the head of a grounded opponent.
I feel bad for Aljo and I saw the memes are already coming out mocking him. Here’s the thing. The fans and the media are bringing the man’s honor into question and saying he was milking it or whatever.
Look, it doesn’t matter. The way the majority of these fighters’ contracts are designed, they get double the payout if they win. He was fading but still in the fight when Petr blatantly broke the rules hitting him so hard that then the likelihood of him winning was even lower.
I’ve always said I can’t tell a man or woman how to make money. Whether it is a homeless beggar, working girl, drug dealer, or MMA fighter who always chooses the path of least resistance/excitement regardless of what the fans or their boss thinks, we can’t tell these guys how to make money.
Aljo knew the rematch would be made and also how well it will sell now with twice the bad blood. If Yan truly deserves the world title then he will go out there against Sterling in the immediate rematch and take it.
We took the over 3.5 rounds for (-130), the same price Petr Yan closed at on the moneyline, and it hit for us but only by about 2 minutes as the fight concluded at 4:29 of the 4th round.
There was also a tip on Sterling to win at (-110). He closed at plus money and this was a gift, simple as that but I will take it and hopefully remember this day the next time I am “robbed” on the judges’ scorecards.
Elsewhere on the card, we, of course, saw Israel Adesanya take the first L of his career against the perpetually underrated and undervalued Jan Blachowicz of Poland. The sportsbooks just keep making him the underdog and he just keeps winning.
We were on Izzy in a couple of different plays and I thought he would be a little bit bigger in there compared to the Pole but that was certainly not the case. Blacho was probably close to 20 pounds heavier than Adesanya on fight night.
Amanda Nunes took care of business rather quickly as she subbed Megan Anderson with a triangle/armbar combo after crrrracking the Aussie with a few overhand rights. I know it had to feel good throwing and landing those on a taller opponent.
Amanda doesn’t get the opportunity to do that very much in her fights but it is such a strong weapon against the taller opponent especially if they are standing straight up in the air. It will make you wish you were the shorter athlete in there.
The card was incredible from top to bottom. All of the originally scheduled 15 fights went off without being cancelled. I thought that in and of itself was pretty special.
Let’s recap how we did with our tips and predictions from last week as well as do a quick betting preview for this Saturday’s Fight Night card from Las Vegas. All of the current betting odds are provided by BetOnline unless otherwise noted.
UFC 259 Betting Recap
Amanda Nunes Parlay Anchor
We had three different parlays hit on Saturday night at UFC that were multi event plays that included Amanda Nunes as the anchor. These were 2,3,and 4-leg parlays that paid (-270), (-122), and (+113) respectively.
I was pretty confident heading into the event regarding an Amanda Nunes victory and we got it pretty easily.
I was quite proud of this one because we put out a doorbuster special betting odds blog more than a week before the fights because I thought the (-150) where Amanda Lemos opened against Livinha Souza was a steal.
We said to jump on this bet as soon as possible because the line was going to reach (-200) by fight week and then potentially climb to (-240) by fight night. We were spot on here predicting the line movement.
The fight went even better. Amanda was more than a level above her opponent in there on Saturday night and it showed with a second round stoppage. I can’t brag too much because it is just one fight and only a (-150) payout at best but we nailed this one!
Joe Benavidez vs Askar Askarov Over 2.5 Rounds
From the way this one played out, Askar Askarov at near or even money was an outstanding betting play and I admit that I was on him in the weeks leading up to the fight but then chickened out and played the over 2.5 for a measly (-213) instead.
The round total turned out to be a much bigger sweat than a bet on Askar would have been but the “Russian coast” came in the third round and our bet survived.
Parlay Benavidez/Askarov over 2.5 and Makhachev Win
This was a nice win here. Makhachev was virtually the perfect parlay piece from Saturday night if I have ever seen one. Drew Dober is a beast and can knock out any Lightweight on the planet but he was taken down several times by Alex Hernandez.
All the respect in the world to Alex but he isn’t Dagestani or Khabib’s #1 sparring partner. Islam is the “dark horse” of the Lightweight Division in some people’s eyes but I see caballo blanco. It is pretty clear to me that he has the skills to take out everyone at the top.
Dominick Cruz vs Casey Kenney Over 2.5
Looking back, this was kind of a foolish play at betting odds of just (-260) but both of these fighters are incredibly durable so it ended up working out for us. Dominick Cruz, though, really put himself in the fire more than we are used to seeing out of him in his career.
Yes, he did his patented figure 8 footwork on the outside which set up a lot of his entries and more so his defense to the forward movement and strikes of his opponent but Dom was throwing bombs.
He does duck his head a lot and that is exactly how former multiple weight world champion Henry Cejudo caught him with a knee to the dome in Cruz’s last Octagon appearance. Kenney couldn’t predict or time it, though, and eventually tired from the forward pressure of Cruz.
It was the perfect game plan from the former champion and even though he showed that he has certainly lost a step, Cruz executed for the win over a very tough and talented up and coming fighter in Casey Kenney.
Dominick Cruz by Decision
In our Fighter Focus article for the week, we looked at 3 fighters and their chances to win this past Saturday at UFC 259. Aljamain Sterling was one of those guys along with Casey Kenney. I usually try to pick athletes who I am picking to win but not with Kenney.
We took Cruz by decision because it did pay significantly more, double in fact, and that was more than enough for me as Dom is not at all a finisher, and Kenney, who is in his prime, has shown to be quite durable as well.
This was a very nice (+200) payout we got from The Dominator.
The other athlete we featured in our Fighter Focus for the week was European Light Heavyweight standout Alexander Rakic. I have been a huge fan of this guy since I first saw him compete inside of the Octagon.
I will never forget miraculously having internet service as I rode on a train through rural Vietnam and watched Rakic lose what was in my opinion a bad decision to fellow Euro Volkan Oezdemir. The weight of the low kicks that Rakic was landing in that fight was ignored by the judges and Volkan took a win from us.
After that, though, Rakic came back strong with a dominant win over Anthony Smith where he showed us and his future opponents a new wrinkle to his game and that was takedowns and surprisingly strong top control.
Anthony Smith is a very underrated grappler and he got smeshed.
Rakic was going up against the always dangerous and deathly determined Thiago Santos at UFC 259 but with an affordable price of just (-160), I felt we needed to make a play on the Austrian, Rakic.
Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan over 3.5
I suppose I spoke enough about this fight in the lengthy opener. The way it worked out, though, was 2 wins and zero losses for us. I will take that and run with it. Am I going to bet on Aljamain Sterling in a rematch, though? Probably not.
It will be interesting to see where the sportsbooks line this one. I think Yan will open at (-200) or more. If he doesn’t, though, and he is an affordable favorite, I would jump on it. With that being said, Sterling looked bad in there.
Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier are taking a lot of flack for their biased commentary and believe me, I get it. DC was spot on about Sterling’s performance, though. He said the New York native was trying to hard in there and that is exactly what he was doing.
There was too much thought. Bruce Lee taught us not to think but to feel. I realize it is rarely ever that easy but I do believe Sterling will be more in the moment in the inevitable rematch.
With that being said, though, he is also going to be less confident. He was getting broken down in that fight and his takedowns weren’t there. Turns out, these Russians can really wrestle even when they are striking “specialists”.
I was sweating this round total bet for a while as Yan really puts on the pressure as the fight progresses. He just cranks it up one notch at a time. It is truly a beautiful thing to witness.
Luckily for us, Petr waited until after the halfway mark of the 4th round before he disqualified himself with the illegal knee to the head of his opponent.
(-130) was nice and I feel like we made a smart play there that would have hit more often than not.
We have spoken enough about this fight. Aljo got the win for us at (-110) but it was a gift. I’ll take it, though.
Israel Adesanya was the final piece left for a perfect night of predicting and, of course, the guy gets the first loss of his career. I really felt like he was the better striker going into the fight but he didn’t show a lot of self discipline in there.
A messaged a friend and said he has the fight IQ of a Pokemon. I don’t really know if that’s an insult but Izzy sure looked crap at UFC 259. I realize that Jan Balchowicz does not and maybe never will get enough credit for what he does to people he fights but Adesanya looked terrible!
He was winning the feinting war but then was only capitalizing on a small percentage of his strikes from there. It was almost as if Izzy was fighting scared. I hate to say stuff like this because I am a martial artist too and it is very disrespectful but I have a responsibility to my readers that outweighs ethics, at least at that level.
Izzy likes to fight. He is a gamer and that actually worked against him against Jan. He came out in the first round very disciplined with every strike but opened up too early and played into the hands of the much more powerful puncher, Jan Blachowicz.
When I heard Adesanya wasn’t putting on/cutting weight for this fight up at 205, a weight class 20 pounds up from Middleweight, I thought he would still cut 5 or so pounds and walk into the Octagon on Saturday night weighing about 210.
Cutting 20 pounds from 205 to 185 is pretty much normal. I used to cut from 160 to 140 and he would be losing a smaller percentage, of course, at a higher weight.
But no. Izzy stepped on the scales weighing only 200 pounds. That tells me that he cut nothing and would be giving up a minimum of 20 to the Light Heavyweight champion.
That proved to be enough to make The Last Style Bender hesitant with his strikes and even though he has plenty of opportunities to crack the Pole, he didn’t want to get slept himself. And if we know one thing as bettors, it’s this: Scared money don’t make money. Bad grammar, I know, but it’s an expression.
We had Izzy on the moneyline at (-230) as well as to win by TKO for (+150). Both were foolish plays in hindsight but winning all of our others still meant for a proper paying night of bets.
Wagered 10 units and returned 5.72/1000.00 dollars wagered and 572.00 is net profit.
Return on investment for the week is 57%
UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad Betting Preview
Dan Ige (-130) vs Gavin Tucker (+110)
Here is a nice matchup of similarly styled fighters who are both in the prime of their respective professional mixed martial arts careers.
Dynamite Dan Ige is a hard puncher who pushes the pace and can score takedowns on most of the Featherweight Division. His opponent, Canada’s Gavin Tucker, prefers to use his muscular frame to take down and control his opponents on the mat as well.
The difference between the two men lies in the striking department. Dan Ige hung in there with Edson Barboza on the feet while Gavin Tucker has struggled at times and was beaten down badly by an older Rick Glenn a few years back.
That was his only loss, though, and he appears to have grown from it tremendously.
Hawaiian Dan Ige is coming off of his first loss in his last 7 fights when he dropped a decision to Calvin Kattar. Ige has clearly been in there with the better competition and if the two fighters’ wrestling games cancel out like I think they will, we are left with a striking battle.
From there, I think this is Dan Ige’s fight to lose. I love his pressure on the feet and that may be something that tires Gavin. He has a lot of muscle on his frame and the more bulk you have, the more oxygen you need to sustain your performance.
The bad thing is that the Apex facility is at least 2,000 feet above sea level. That might not seem like much but after living there for years and then being at sea level, there is a difference. I think we are getting a good price here on Dan Ige.
I think he should probably be in the (-180) range to defeat Gavin Tucker. I did mention these fighters are in their primes but that might have been a stretch for the Canadian who is now 34. He is also shorter with less reach.
His wrestling isn’t other worldly, though, and I think this one plays out as a kickboxing match in which Dan Ige has a clear advantage with his hands.
Leon Edwards (-250) vs Belal Muhammad (+205)
Can you say trap bet on Belal? I can. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to play it, though!
I understand the Brit coming in here as the favorite but with betting odds well north of 2 to 1, I do not believe the books got this one right. They want us to do exactly what we are doing right now and that is bet on the underdog just because.
Are we, though?
No, not just because but Muhammad has a pretty good chance to come in here and at least steal the first round or two from a rusty Leon Edwards. The last time we saw Leon inside of the Octagon was back in July of 2019.
I know it feels like 5 years considering but still, 18 months away from competition in your prime kinda sucks. A big part of this was Leon getting COVID-19 and then after being matched up with Khamzat Chimaev, that fight was cancelled also due to the Dagestani/Swede continuing to have complications from the deadly virus.
Leon’s last loss was a little more than 5 years ago, though, and that came at the hands of the seemingly unbeatable Kamaru Usman.
Edwards reported that COVID really crushed him at least temporarily when he lost 12 pounds in just 4 days. How much has it affected his training and preparation? Is it still? I know Chimaev was saying his lungs still haven’t recovered.
We are all, of course, learning more and more every day about the lasting effects of this terrible disease.
I think Rocky Edwards should be the favorite here but I really don’t believe in the 2.5 to 1 favorite line where it is now. He is a strong fighter who is good everywhere but Belal Muhammad is a problem.
This will be a big step up in competition for Belal but I feel he is as ready as he will ever be. Every time we see this guy fight, he looks better and better. The only problem is that his level of competition hasn’t been the best.
While Leon Edwards has wins over Vicente Luque, Cowboy Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson, and Rafael dos Anjos, Belal’s biggest win recently came against Tim Means and that was a split decision.
I think he is going to make it a close fight, though, no matter what. I feel like Belal will be pushing the pace like he normally does and the question remains: How are Leon’s lungs post COVID-19?
Muhammad, unlike Edwards, has zero rust on his body and MMA game. The Chicago native fought and won a decisive decision by out striking Dhiego Lima less than a month ago.
I give Belal the edge in form, if you will, and also in the cardio department. That gives him advantages in the beginning and end of the fight. That is enough for me to make a small play, just one unit, on Belal Remember the Name Muhammad.
There you go, guys. You have a couple picks to start your fight week. If you want to wait on the Belal Muhammad line, I think that would be the smart idea. People are going to be on the favorite, Leon Edwards, here and I get that but fighting an aggressive cardio machine in great form when you’re clearly not may not be the best spot for Edwards.
Edwards has beaten Luque who beat Belal but styles make fights and Muhammad has an opportunity here to steal one from the Brit and make a massive jump in the UFC’s Welterweight rankings.
This past weekend was almost a clean sweep for us thanks to Petr Yan defying the rules and Israel Adesanya fighting not to lose against the notorious Polish power of Jan Blachowicz. Most people I know left the main event alone and I’m not going to pretend that I only predicted it because it was the main event and everyone wants action on the last fight.
I felt confident in him but once again, Jan Blachowicz came through as a decent sized underdog and ruined our chance at a perfect night of betting.
I like Dan Ige a lot this week. That line is probably going farther in his direction so jump on that one now. The Muhammad betting line is likely going the way of Rocky Edwards so waiting a bit on that one won’t hurt us.
Let’s put together another profitable week of UFC betting with UFC Fight Night Las Vegas this Saturday.