UFC 234: Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum

UFC 234: Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum

The UFC heads back to Australia this weekend with a relatively top-heavy fight card that features local hero Robert Whittaker’s title defense against Kelvin Gastelum. In the co-main event, New Zealand’s Israel Adesanya will fight Anderson Silva in what should be an intriguing clash of styles.

We’re here to break down the entire UFC 234 main card to bring you the best bets and betting advice for this pay-per-view event.

Let’s get started.

Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Robert Whittaker will attempt to defend his UFC Middleweight Championship in front of thousands of screaming local fans in Melbourne, Australia. The last time he stepped foot in the Rod Laver Arena, he competed against Derek Brunson, and it turned out to be a thrilling first round of action that saw both fighters stumbling around the cage. “The Reaper” defeated Brunson and it inspired an exciting run to the title.

Now, at the top of the middleweight division, Whittaker is coming out of two intense battles with Yoel Romero. In the first one, his knee was damaged just a few minutes into the fight after Romero smashed it with a push kick. He overcame the adversity to win a decision after denying Romero’s takedowns and beating him up with heavy strikes.

Whittaker then managed to injure his hand in the second fight before somehow hanging on and winning a split decision. The second fight was much more competitive than the first, with Romero coming out of it feeling robbed by the judges after he scored some significant knockdowns.

Whittaker will be facing Kelvin Gastelum, who – like Whittaker – made a move up to middleweight after a lengthy stint as a welterweight. Gastelum has jumped all the way up into a title shot after recent wins against Michael Bisping and “Jacare” Souza. The Bisping knockout was impressive in nature, but more of a measure of Bisping’s decline and baffling decision to take a fight on two-week notice, more so than Gastelum’s meteoric rise. Moreover, the “Jacare” fight proved to be incredibly competitive, with Gastelum just making it over the line at the end of three rounds.

Best odds for Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum:

Whittaker’s a favorite in this one, and it’s easy to see why.

Anyone who can come out on top after ten rounds with Yoel Romero demands respect. There’s even the fact that Robert Whittaker might just be the greatest middleweight fighter in the history of the UFC. Now that’s something.

So, Gastelum, a guy coming off two wins over “aging” competitors, finds himself against one of the best to ever do it? How can he win?

Gastelum has a pathway or two to victory, but he’s going to need to act fast. Whittaker’s typically most vulnerable in the first round. It takes the Australian a few rounds to get going in his fights, helping to understand his opponent’s style and movements and then implement an appropriate game plan to beat them. We saw this when Brunson – not the best of strikers – clipped Whittaker and nearly finished him.

Gastelum’s going to need to rush out and make the most of his advantages in the early rounds before Whittaker’s cardio and intelligence takes over.

However, Whittaker is insanely durable. Yes, he often gets injured or harmed during fights, but he survives.

That’s why we see Whittaker outlasting Gastelum in this one to win.

Bet on Robert Whittaker to win: -229 (Pinnacle)

Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya

Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya is completely bizarre.

Adesanya has quickly become one of the most talented – and talked about – strikers in the UFC since joining last year. Rising to the occasion in all of his appearances so far, Adesanya was 2018’s breakout mixed martial artist and finds himself already close to earning a title shot against the winner of Whittaker vs. Gastelum. He ranks amongst the best in the division, yet the UFC decided to pit him against a legend of the sport who hasn’t competed in quite some time.

Anderson Silva is an all-time great and a fan-favorite, but that doesn’t exactly help you when you’re locked inside a cage in 2019. Moreover, if you’re wondering how Silva and Adesanya are matched against each other if it’s such a ‘mismatch,’ the UFC has tricked Silva into believing he’ll be awarded a title shot if he defeats Adesanya this weekend. It’s an offer “The Spider” couldn’t refuse.

Best odds for Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya:

People continue to draw similarities between Anderson Silva and Israel Adesanya for many fairly obvious reasons. Stylistically, they look similar in some ways. Yes, they utilize loads of feints, spinning attacks, and unique striking techniques, but there’s a huge disparity right now when it comes to the actual attributes of these two.

Adesanya is lightning-fast and uses his excellent anticipation to read his opponent and smoothly measure a safe operating distance inside the cage. His opponents have a difficult time landing their hands on him. Silva’s going to need to turn back the clock many, many years if he wants to top Adesanya this weekend in Melbourne. However, there’s a fair chance that even the best version of Silva would fall short against “The Stylebender.”

Bet on Israel Adesanya to win by decision: +200 (Bovada)

Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon

Moreover, this is where the pay-per-view all falls apart. The third-last bout of the evening will see Rani Yahya compete against Ricky Simon in what should be an entertaining fight, albeit one between two competitors that don’t demand respect or attention of the four fighters above.

Rani Yahya has been doing some of his best work in the UFC in his last three fights, despite having been with the promotion since January 2011. Yahya has three consecutive stoppage victories to his name against Henry Briones, Russell Doane, and Luke Sanders, helping him to recover after losing to Joe Soto back in March 2017.

Ricky Simon is undefeated in two fights with the UFC and enters UFC 234 with an impressive seven-fight winning streak behind him, dating back to his time in Titan FC and KOTC. His UFC debut was a controversial one, as he finished the fight with a guillotine choke locked in but didn’t get a tap from Merab Dvalishvili when the final horn sounded. Strangely, Dvalishvili was deemed unconscious after the horn and Simon was awarded the win.

Best odds for Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon:

Rani Yahya’s dangerous submission game is the X-factor in this fight. Simon loves to scrap in a fast-pace fight and that might lead to stumbles, takedowns, and trips, eventually resulting in mat time. The longer this one is on the mat, the more Yahya’s chances of a finish increase.

We’re taking Yahya to win.

Bet on Rani Yahya to win: -105 (Bovada)

Nadia Kassem vs. Montana De La Rosa

Undefeated Nadia Kassem will look to make it two in a row in the UFC when she fights Montana De La Rosa this weekend at UFC 234.

Kassem, an athlete from Sydney, Australia, had finished all four of her first fights outside the UFC via the first-round stoppage and none of them lasted more than 90 seconds. Against Alex Chambers in Sydney, though, Kassem was taken the distance before winning a unanimous decision.

Montana De La Rosa is 2-0 in the UFC after first appearing during The Ultimate Fighter Season 26, where she lost to eventual champion, Nicco Montano. De La Rosa scored submission wins against Christina Marks and Rachael Ostovich, to make it three submission victories in her last three professional fights.

Best odds for Nadia Kassem vs. Montana De La Rosa:

We haven’t seen a whole lot from Nadia Kassem through her professional career to date, and there’s not a lot to suggest she can hang in there with Montana De La Rosa if this fight hits the mat. There’s also not enough evidence that indicates she can keep it upright and out of danger.

De La Rosa is a decent takedown artist who will be looking to get this one to the floor and lock up a submission – that’s if a KO/TKO victory doesn’t come before it though.

Bet on Montana De La Rosa to win: -242 (Pinnacle)

Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey

Jim Crute is the latest Australian prospect to crash the UFC’s roster. He made a name for himself on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series by smashing Chris Birchler in the first round. That KO/TKO win earned him a spot in the big leagues and he started with a bang against Paul Craig at UFC Fight Night 142, where he earned a kimura submission win.

Crute was originally scheduled to face Ryan Spann this weekend, but a change of circumstances has led to him needing to prepare for Sam Alvey instead.

Sam Alvey is a heavy-hitting southpaw fighter, who was training for a fight with Gadzhimurad Antigulov. He welcomes the challenge here against the Aussie prospect and is certainly excited to compete on his first-ever pay-per-view main card.

Best odds for Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey:

Crute is also a powerful, lightweight fighter with extremely devastating top game and decent kickboxing ability. When he secures a top position, he rains down heavy ground and pound and has excellent submission ability to top it all off.

Alvey’s left-handed cross might cause problems for Crute who was training for Spann, and that combined with his knockout power could be a recipe for disaster for the Australian.

Crute fought to a close fight with Paul Craig, who seemed levels below most other fighters in the division when inside the cage.

This one is a winnable fight for Alvey, and we’re taking the underdog in this one.

Bet on Sam Alvey to win: +110 (Bovada)

UFC 234 fight card

UFC 234 begins on ESPN+ from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, February 9.

UFC 234 Main Card on PPV (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum
  • Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya
  • Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon
  • Nadia Kassem vs. Montana De La Rosa
  • Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey

UFC 234 Preliminary Card on ESPN+ (6:30 pm ET / 10:30 am GMT)

  • Dong Hyun Ma vs. Devonte Smith
  • Austin Arnett vs. Shane Young
  • Kai Kara-France vs. Raulian Paiva
  • Teruto Ishihara vs. Kyung Ho Kang
  • Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Rosa
  • Jalin Turner vs. Callan Potter
  • Wuliji Buren vs. Jonathan Martinez

UFC Fight Night 144: Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes

UFC Fight Night 144: Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes

The UFC will head back to Fortaleza, Brazil, this weekend for a fantastic Brazilian-focused fight card with many legends and rising stars.

In the main event of UFC Fight Night 144, Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes will meet for the second time. The winner of this high stakes bantamweight fight will emerge as the next contender for the UFC Bantamweight Championship. TJ Dillashaw currently holds that title.

The co-main event will feature featherweight legend Jose Aldo, who will be defending his spot in the 145-pound division against the fast-rising Renato Moicano.

Join us as we preview the fights at UFC Fight Night 144 and provide our best bets for the event.

Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes

Raphael Assuncao has never quite been in a position to demand a title shot, but he definitely will be if he wins this fight against Marlon Moraes.

Assuncao has been a dominant force in the UFC’s bantamweight division, dropping just one fight in the last eight years; that defeat was to current champion, TJ Dillashaw. Since losing to Dillashaw at UFC 200, Assuncao has worked his way to four more impressive wins against the likes of Aljamain Sterling, Marlon Moraes, Matthew Lopez, and Rob Font. Despite looking like the top contender in the division, the UFC instead decided to book him against Moraes once more.

Moreover, from Moraes’ perspective, it all makes sense.

Moraes lost his UFC debut to Assuncao but has since dominated Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling, scoring tremendous knockout victories inside the first round. Those wins came after a competitive battle with John Dodson in which he earned a split decision win.

Moraes has displayed amazing power, technique and timing in his last two fights. He was a known fight-finisher during his time at World Series of Fighting and has only now translated this ability to the UFC, where he has scored consecutive finishes against highly-rated bantamweight opponents.

The winner of this matchup will go on to face Dillashaw for the bantamweight title.

Best odds for Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes:

Assuncao’s first meeting with Moraes was a very competitive battle from start to finish. The veteran took many of Moraes’ best shots – some of which were enough to put away Rivera and Sterling – and managed to stay in the fight and use a calculated strategy to score the split decision win.

It was incredibly close, though, and the rounds could have gone either way.

Assuncao is typically a counter striker but has recently become more aggressive, perhaps with the belief he needs to be more entertaining to become favorable in the eyes of the UFC brass?  Moraes is a devastating counter striker and can land bombs on Assuncao when given a chance – the last fight is evidence. Moraes picked up steam in the final round of their first meeting and there’s an argument to be made that he’ll carry that momentum into the next rounds of their rivalry.

Look for Moraes to come away with a win in this main event.

Bet on Marlon Moraes to win: -169 (Pinnacle)

Jose Aldo vs. Renato Moicano

Believe it or not, Jose Aldo will be competing in a three-round co-main event this weekend.

The once long-reigning featherweight champion of the UFC is now desperately attempting to regain his right to another shot at the belt he once held. After first losing his title to Max Holloway in June 2016, he would then fail to reclaim it in an immediate rematch not that long after. Fortunately for the Brazilian veteran, he would then bounce back with a devastating body punch stoppage against Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FOX 30. With a convincing win here against Moicano, Aldo finds himself in a peculiar position just outside the range of another shot at Holloway.

Renato Moicano is a man on a mission. Currently tearing through the 145-pound weight class, the 29-year-old Brazilian is 5-1 in the UFC. His only defeat in the UFC so far – and his professional career – was to former title challenger Brian Ortega at UFC 214. Moicano was winning the fight convincingly before giving up his neck in the middle of round three.

Best odds for Jose Aldo vs. Renato Moicano:

Many are quick to believe that Jose Aldo is over the hill and could be outworked by a younger, more athletic opponent. While that might hold some truth, Aldo has made an effort to hide his weaknesses by adapting his strategy to focus more on his boxing and less upon his kicking prowess. At close range, Aldo’s defensive ability combined with expert timing and power has made him a dangerous boxer – Stephens learned this the hard way by eating a powerful left hook to the body.

Moicano is a bright prospect with the capability of beating up many top-tier boxers in the division. This was proved by his win over Calvin Kattar recently. However, Moicano does have more defensive holes than his adversary in this contest, and we can only expect Aldo to piece him up when given a chance.

If Moicano blocks high with his traditional high-arm guard, watch Aldo go low to the body with heavy punches. Don’t write off Aldo just yet.

Bet on Jose Aldo to win: +110 (Pinnacle)

Demian Maia vs. Lyman Good

One of the most dominant grapplers in the history of the UFC, Demian Maia now finds himself needing to snap a terrible three-fight losing streak. After seven consecutive wins skyrocketed him to a title shot in the UFC’s welterweight division on short notice, Maia was dominated by Tyron Woodley for five rounds after failing to secure a takedown. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert was then matched against the two next-best wrestlers in the division, Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman where he was outworked yet again. Maia has racked up 12 career wins by submission and 10 decision victories in his professional career.

Lyman Good is now 2-1 in the UFC after securing a dominant first-round victory against Ben Saunders at UFC 230. Saunders, who is also a submission happy grappler, was knocked out in just 1:32 by a combination of punches from the 33-year-old “Cyborg.” Good has 10 KO/TKO victories on his record and seven wins by way of decision.

Best odds for Demian Maia vs. Lyman Good:

It feels like Demian Maia has nothing more to give, but this is probably when he is most dangerous.

Maia’s striking is less than good, but it almost entirely exists as a way to set up his takedown. If the takedown isn’t there (see fights with Woodley, Usman, and Covington), his striking is helpless against the relentless attack of his opponent.

This fight ultimately comes down to whether Maia can secure the takedown.

If he can, we haven’t seen enough from Good to suggest that he can defend the submission onslaught and inevitable rear-naked choke from Maia. If he can’t, there’s an almost equal chance that Good lights him up on the feet and earns a stoppage.

Maia’s takedowns are surprisingly decent, but we’re inclined not to believe so because of recent performances. He’ll take down Good and earn a submission, and it might not take long.

Bet on Demian Maia to win: -175 (Bovada)

Charles Oliveira vs. David Teymur

Despite fighting just minutes before someone who is regarded as the best grappler in the UFC, Charles Oliveira is the UFC record holder for most submission wins in the organization. With 17 submission victories to his name from 25 professional wins, Oliveira is a brilliant fight-finisher who has only managed two decision wins in his career. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace will be looking to extend his record by submitting David Teymur this weekend in Fortaleza.

Teymur is up there with the most underrated of all fighters in the UFC’s lightweight division. Undefeated in the UFC so far, the 29-year-old Swede has three decision wins and two KO/TKO victories in the promotion so far. There’s arguably no better test right now for Teymur than the always-dangerous Oliveira.

Best odds for Charles Oliveira vs. David Teymur:

Whereas the earlier mentioned Demian Maia relies heavily on a takedown for his success, you could say that Charles Oliveira relies on a submission win more so.

Deadly in the opening stages of a fight, Oliveira attempts to wrap up his opponent and lock in a fight-ending submission. If he is unable, however, he often finds himself discouraged and up against all the odds.

David Teymur has 82% takedown defense so far in the UFC and seemingly has the defensive wrestling ability to nullify Oliveira’s grappling. As long as this one stays standing, Teymur should cruise to a victory.

Bet on David Teymur to win: +102 (Pinnacle)

Johnny Walker vs. Justin Ledet

Also on the main card is an exciting battle between Johnny Walker and Justin Ledet.

Ledet will step in as a moderate underdog at odds of +180 at Pinnacle and represents the better value bet in this matchup. Walker’s claim to fame is a quick knockout finish of Khalil Rountree. Ledet is a durable fighter who may be able to withstand Walker’s heavy hands. If Ledet can stay out of the Thai clinch, it should be one of the best bets of the night.

Bet on Justin Ledet to win: +180 (Pinnacle)

UFC Fight Night 144 fight card

The UFC Fight Night 144 main card begins on ESPN+ from 8:00 pm ET (1:00 am GMT) on Saturday, February 2.

UFC Fight Night 144 on ESPN+ (8:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)

  • Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes
  • Jose Aldo vs. Renato Moicano
  • Demian Maia vs. Lyman Good
  • Charles Oliveira vs. David Teymur
  • Johnny Walker vs. Justin Ledet
  • Livinha Souza vs. Sarah Frota

Preliminary Card on ESPN+ (4:30 pm ET / 9:30 am GMT)

  • Markus Perez vs. Anthony Hernandez
  • Mara Romero Borella vs. Taila Santos
  • Thiago Alves vs. Max Griffin
  • Junior Albini vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
  • Ricardo Ramos vs. Said Nurmagomedov
  • Rogerio Bontorin vs. Magomed Bibulatov
  • Geraldo de Freitas vs. Felipe Colares

UFC Fight Night 143: Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw

UFC Fight Night 143: Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw

At UFC Fight Night 143 on ESPN, Henry Cejudo will defend his flyweight title from the current bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw. The super fight is a brilliant way to get things started over at ESPN now that the deal with FOX has concluded.

The card is relatively stacked for a non-pay-per-view event and features many fan-favorites as well as extremely competitive matchups between rising stars and debutants.

Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw

After dethroning the long-reigning Demetrious Johnson last year, Henry Cejudo is now setting out to do something that “Mighty Mouse” wasn’t able to do – defend his title from a bantamweight champion.

There had been talks of a 135-pound champion, such as Dillashaw or Cody Garbrandt, dropping down to challenge Johnson for quite some time. However, the champion would never accept the challenge.

So, straight after winning the title from Johnson, Cejudo took to the microphone and announced that he wanted to defend his title from the big guys.

TJ Dillashaw now steps in, as arguably one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the sport today.

Best odds for Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw:

Now on a three-fight winning streak, Cejudo has become the first ever athlete to win Olympic gold as well as a UFC championship when he defeated Johnson at UFC 227.

An incredibly accomplished wrestler, Cejudo has utilized his wrestling to defeat all of his opponent’s inside the cage so far. Whether it’s offensively, by moving forward and taking his opponent to the mat or defensively to keep the fight standing, Cejudo is a highly talented grappler and has proved trouble in the UFC.

However, recently, he’s developed as a striker and is now using somewhat of a karate-style stance to outwork his adversaries. For instance, Cejudo dropped Wilson Reis in the second round with a beautiful series of punches; something unimaginable many years ago.

Both his striking and grappling will be tested by the ever-dangerous Dillashaw, who is dangerous wherever the fight ends up.

Dillashaw steps into this fight after defeating Cody Garbrandt twice in a row – the first two defeats in Garbrandt’s career. Those wins came after topping John Lineker and Raphael Assuncao, both highly rated contenders in the bantamweight division. The only recent downfall was to Dominick Cruz in 2016 when he lost his title to Cruz via split decision.

Dillashaw’s boxing should be the edge. Whether it’s the same check-hook that tagged up Garbrandt and finished him early in the fight, or another technique, expect Dillashaw to gain an edge while standing and finish Cejudo inside the distance.

Of course, Cejudo has his wrestling to lean on, but Dillashaw is a talented wrestler (for mixed martial arts standards) and will likely nullify his advantages across the board.

Take Dillashaw to win.

Bet on TJ Dillashaw to win: -191 (Pinnacle)

Greg Hardy vs. Allen Crowder

Ex-NFL star Greg Hardy has racked up three consecutive wins to start his professional career and now finds himself making his UFC debut on the biggest stage in recent UFC history – the first-ever event on ESPN.

Hardy will be up against Allen Crowder, who lost his own UFC debut against Justin Willis in December 2017.

Best odds for Greg Hardy vs. Allen Crowder:

Hardy has picked up three first-round wins, all in the first minute. Two of these wins occurred during Dana White’s Contender Series, which is currently a stepping stone to the UFC.

With almost unparalleled athleticism in the UFC’s heavyweight division, Hardy is going to be a threat to ranked competitors in the future. But not right now. Hardy’s effectively a rookie mixed martial artist who has leaned on raw power and explosiveness to carry him over the line in all of his bout so far. With relentless forward pressure, pace and aggression, Hardy has stormed out of the gates in all of his bouts.

Unfortunately for Allen Crowder, he doesn’t appear to have the required tools to slow down a quickly advancing opponent. With relatively slow strike speed and poor defensive awareness, Crowder was repeatedly tagged while moving backward against Willis in his first UFC bout.

Whereas Crowder was landing with some strikes, he didn’t have the same impact as his opponent was. Expect the same in this fight as Greg Hardy lands with monstrous attacks and gets rid of Crowder inside the first round.

Bet on Greg Hardy to win: -519 (Pinnacle)

Gregor Gillespie vs. Yancy Medeiros

Gregor Gillespie, one of the best prospects in the UFC, is up against his toughest test to date when he meets Yancy Medeiros at UFC Fight Night 143.

Undefeated in his 11-fight career, Gillespie has proven to be one of the most exciting and highest-potential additions to the UFC’s roster in the last couple of years. Joining the organization in late 2016, Gillespie has now won five-straight and all last four wins via stoppage.

Medeiros was recently on an impressive three-fight winning streak of his own and was climbing through the UFC’s welterweight rankings before running into Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 126. Medeiros was finished in the first round early last year and all of his work against Alex Oliveira, Erick Silva, and Sean Spencer was untied.

Best odds for Gregor Gillespie vs. Yancy Medeiros:

Yancy Medeiros is a striking-focused fighter with a poor chin and a tendency to get clipped. Against Gillespie, we should expect reckless striking exchanges from the very start. This will favor Gillespie, who has a superb chain takedown wrestling game and an ability to control the fight on the mat.

Once there, expect him to pin down Medeiros and work him over with brutal ground and pound.

Bet on Gregor Gillespie to win: -519 (Pinnacle)

Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz

The flyweight division might be disappearing sooner or later, but Joseph Benavidez is sticking around.

One of the best fighters in the UFC not to win a title, Benavidez will be fighting against Dustin Ortiz this weekend.

Dustin Ortiz is on a three-fight winning streak dating back to mid-2017 and has since defeated Hector Sandoval, Alexandre Pantoja and now Matheus Nicolau. His win over Nicolau was most impressive, as he dismantled the talented flyweight inside the first round with a well-timed head kick and punches.

Benavidez recently returned to winning form by defeating Alex Perez in the first round at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale in November last year. That win helped him get back to track after losing a split decision to Sergio Pettis in the middle of 2018.

Best odds for Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz:

Joseph Benavidez is regarded as a near top-tier talent in the UFC’s flyweight division. Equally well-rounded, Benavidez is a tricky opponent whether he is standing in front of you or down on the mat. With his experience, he brings a calm and composed level of focus with him at all times. Unfazed by strikes and a fight that isn’t going his way, he’s masterful at finding a way to win.

Ortiz might be regarded as a middle-of-the-road fighter, but he is bound to be a tougher test than Alex Perez, Benavidez’s last opponent. Relatively quick on his feet, Ortiz moves around and attempts to control the center with occasional forward pressure. Feinting and dipping his head to either side, he’ll eventually step forward and launch bombs. He’ll also change up his attacks by using kicks to the head or punches.

Benavidez is a deserving favorite, but not by this much. Ortiz is coming off a big win against Matheus Nicolau and might extend his winning streak. At these odds, it’s worth a stab.

Bet on Dustin Ortiz to win: +190 (Bovada)

Paige VanZant vs. Rachael Ostovich

Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich are set to square off in what should be a thrilling female flyweight bout at UFC Fight Night 143.

Best odds for Paige VanZant vs. Rachael Ostovich:

This fight is Paige VanZant’s to lose. She’s better at all aspects of mixed martial arts and has distinct advantages in the striking aspect of this contest. Ostovich does have the occasional ability to grab a dominant position on the mat – such as taking the back or mount – and could potentially hold control enough to win a round or two, but VanZant should do enough to scramble out of position and get back to working Ostovich with kicks.

It’ll be in the later moments of this fight (think rounds two and three) where VanZant takes over and earns the victory.

Bet on Paige VanZant to win: -160 (Bovada)

Glover Teixeira vs. Karl Roberson

Glover Teixeira gets a short-notice opponent in Karl Roberson to replace Ion Cutelaba at UFC Fight Night 143.

Best odds for Glover Teixeira vs. Karl Roberson:

Once regarded as one of the most dangerous light heavyweight competitors out there, Glover Teixeira has declined recently – and it all began with that stunning first-round knockout at the hands of Anthony Johnson. Probably most renowned for his boxing and jiu-jitsu abilities, Teixeira has recently lost fights in a multitude of ways. Against Alexander Gustafsson, he was boxed up for the majority of the fight before being dropped with a thunderous series of punches late in the contest.

That’s where Roberson will have the most significant advantage in this fight. If it hits the mat, he might find himself being mauled just like how Jared Cannonier was against Teixeira. However, if he can keep upright against this opponent, Roberson has a remarkable power and boxing advantage that will help him over the line.

Teixeira’s aging and Roberson is a rising star. Although it’s short-notice, Roberson had been training alongside Corey Anderson recently and will be in shape.

Take him to win.

Bet on Karl Roberson to win: +100 (Bovada)

UFC Fight Night 143 fight card

UFC Fight Night 143 begins on ESPN+ from 6:00 pm ET (10:00 pm GMT) on Saturday, January 19.

UFC Fight Night 143 on ESPN+ (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw
  • Greg Hardy vs. Allen Crowder
  • Gregor Gillespie vs. Yancy Medeiros
  • Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz
  • Paige VanZant vs. Rachael Ostovich
  • Glover Teixeira vs. Karl Roberson 

Preliminary Card on ESPN+ (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Donald Cerrone vs. Alexander Hernandez
  • Joanna Calderwood vs. Ariane Lipski
  • Alonzo Menifield vs. Vinicius Moreira
  • Mario Bautista vs. Cory Sandhagen

Early Preliminary Card on ESPN+ (6:30 pm ET / 10:30 pm GMT)

  • Dennis Bermudez vs. Te Edwards
  • Belal Muhammad vs. Geoff Neal
  • Chance Rencountre vs. Kyle Stewart

UFC 232: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson

UFC 232 Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson

The UFC travels to Los Angeles on late notice this weekend for an epic end-of-year pay-per-view event.

UFC 232’s main event is a highly anticipated rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. And although that fight is certain to draw all of the attention in the build-up to the event, we can assure you that the rest of the card is definitely worth your time.

Let’s get into it.

Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson

Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson first threw down all the way back in 2013.

At the time, Gustafsson was an underrated light heavyweight fighter from Sweden who entered the fight as a significant betting underdog and was primarily given no chance against one of the greatest fighters the sport has ever seen.

By the end of their 25-minute war, Gustafsson had gained tremendous levels of respect from audiences worldwide as he pushed Jones to the limit like no one else before him. It was proven that Jones had weaknesses after all and Gustfasson had exposed them for the world to see.

Despite a tight and competitive unanimous decision victory for Jones, fans have been hanging on to the hope of a rematch between these two fighters ever since then.

At UFC 232, it will all be decided.

Best odds for Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson:

The odds have tightened up significantly since the first time, but Jones is still the heavy favorite here at UFC 232.

The first time around, it was Gustafsson’s boxing ability that proved to be the difference maker for him. Landing straight punches to the head and stiff shots to the body, Gustafsson won two of the five rounds. This time, Jones has made an effort to tighten up his boxing defense while also improving his punching ability.

However, we predict that the deciding factor in this fight, once again, is Jones’ leg kicks. With Gustafsson walking forward to land hands on Jones, we’re expecting Jones to connect cleanly with his feared oblique kick that pushes toward the lead knee. If he can land this with the same success he did in the first fight; a depleted Gustafsson will eventually give in when the later rounds come around.

Bet on Jon Jones to win: -285 (Bovada)

Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino vs. Amanda Nunes

Not to be forgotten, the co-main event of UFC 232 is a headline-worthy fight between two of the greatest female mixed martial artists in the history of the sport.

Amanda Nunes, the UFC’s 135-pound champion, will be stepping up to face the reigning featherweight champion (145-pounds), who is better known as Cris Cyborg.

Best odds for Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino vs. Amanda Nunes:

Cyborg hasn’t found a worthy competitor in the UFC – or anywhere else for that matter – in the last couple of years. A powerful and skilled striker, Cyborg has destroyed her opponents with ease. Whether it’s a tactful effort against Holly Holm over five rounds or a destructive beatdown like against Yana Kunitskaya, Cyborg has always found a way to win.

Moreover, Amanda Nunes has been dominating everyone in her path, as well. Rising to fame by smashing Ronda Rousey in less than a minute, Nunes has since defended her title twice more and looks to be almost unbeatable in the bantamweight division.

Still, despite her success against bantamweight fighters such as Valentina Shevchenko and Raquel Pennington, Cris Cyborg is a notable step upward. Nunes’ counter-striking approach might not be best suited to a matchup with Cyborg. Cyborg’s constant forward pressure and heavy hands will test Nunes’ otherwise excellent chin and durability.

We respect her desire to move up and challenge the champion – and she’s definitely the most worthy competitor out there today – but Cyborg is on an entirely different level right now.

Bet on Cris Cyborg win: -241 (Pinnacle)

Carlos Condit vs. Michael Chiesa

Carlos Condit needs to snap a terrible losing streak and will have his chance to do so against former lightweight contender Michael Chiesa this weekend.

Chiesa is coming off two consecutive losses to Anthony Pettis and Kevin Lee and has now decided to move up 15-pounds to the welterweight division. Without the need to dehydrate and cut weight to make the 155-pound category, Chiesa plans on being stronger and more competitive in this new division.

There’s arguably no more significant test for him for his welterweight debut than former title challenger, Carlos Condit. Despite losing all four of his most recent bouts, Condit hasn’t looked entirely out of place. Sure, a quick submission defeat to Demian Maia wasn’t ideal, and neither was being outclassed by Neil Magny. But a tough fight with Robbie Lawler and a near-finish in the first round against “Cowboy” Oliveira suggest that Condit isn’t done just yet. He’s declining, but there’s still some to give.

Best odds for Carlos Condit vs. Michael Chiesa:

Condit excels in a matchup that stays standing. Despite what many fans believe, Chiesa might not be the right guy to test his takedown defense at this stage. We’re expecting a fast and scrappy fight and this should swing the odds in Condit’s favor more than a slow and grinding grappling match.

If Chiesa gets Condit down, his rear-naked choke will probably end up sinking in sooner than later. However, we’re banking on Condit’s ability to stay upright and outpower Chiesa for three rounds at UFC 232.

At these odds, it makes for a great bet.

Bet on Carlos Condit to win: +150 (Bovada)

Ilir Latifi vs. Corey Anderson

Another light heavyweight clash that features on the UFC 232 main card will see Ilir Latifi up against Corey Anderson.

Both fighters are enjoying a decent patch of form and have managed to each string two consecutive wins together.

For Latifi, he’s becoming somewhat of a streak-breaker having just ended Tyson Pedro’s unbeaten career and then managing to snap Ovince Saint Preux’s resurgence.

Anderson has been up against older, proven talent and came away with unanimous decision wins.

Best odds for Ilir Latifi vs. Corey Anderson:

Latifi, a heavy-hitting wrestler, has proven to be too dangerous for most opponents when the fight hits the mat. With incredible strength and size, Latifi is a monster in top position and a difficult man to overcome.

Anderson is relatively well-rounded but has been exploited on the feet, highlighting a low-standard of defense. That’s precisely the area we’re counting on Latifi to expose at UFC 232.

Bet on Ilir Latifi to win: -141 (Pinnacle)

Chad Mendes vs. Alexander Volkanovski

Chad Mendes vs. Alex Volkanovski is a featherweight battle that may have title implications for the winner.

Having torn through the 145-pound division since his arrival, Volkanovski called out Mendes after defeating Darren Elkins and has now got his chance to prove he is worthy of a top rank in the division.

Mendes is a former title challenger who has been inside the UFC’s octagon with some of the best featherweight fighters to ever do it.

Best odds for Chad Mendes vs. Alexander Volkanovski:

Volkanovski is a unique talent inside the UFC’s featherweight division. He brings almost unparalleled levels of strength for this small weight class with him and uses this to dominate his opponents on the mat.

However, it could be an entirely different story against Mendes, who has elite level wrestling. Volkanovski is confident in his wrestling ability as well and has managed to defeat Jeremy Kennedy and Darren Elkins, but Mendes is another level.

Volkanovski is in with a chance, but these odds are way too good to pass up on for those betting on Chad Mendes.

Bet on Chad Mendes to win: -155 (Bovada)

Andrei Arlovski vs. Walt Harris

Getting the main card started is a heavyweight fight between Andrei Arlovski and Walt Harris.

Arlovski’s somewhat of a career resurgence has come to an end after losing two consecutive fights. He’ll now be looking to bounce back against Harris, who has had mixed results of his own lately.

Best odds for Andrei Arlovski vs. Walt Harris:

Although Arlovski is losing more than winning lately, the majority of his defeats have been against top-tier talent in the heavyweight division. His chin hasn’t completely packed it in yet, either, and he’s managed to stay strong against proven finishers such as Tai Tuivasa despite taking some cracking shots.

However, he lacks the required athleticism and power to get over the line against Walt Harris at UFC 232. Harris is explosive and has an impactful right-hand shot that could be enough to end Arlovski’s night.

These odds seem generous for Harris, a rising contender in the division.

Bet on Walt Harris to win: -165 (Bovada)

UFC 232 fight card

UFC 232 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, December 29.

UFC 232 Pay-Per-View Main Card (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
  • Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino vs. Amanda Nunes
  • Carlos Condit vs. Michael Chiesa
  • Ilir Latifi vs. Corey Anderson
  • Chad Mendes vs. Alex Volkanovski
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Walt Harris

FS1 Prelims (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Cat Zingano vs. Megan Anderson
  • Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Petr Yan
  • BJ Penn vs. Ryan Hall
  • Nathaniel Wood vs. Andre Ewell

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:30 pm ET / 10:30 pm GMT)

  • Uriah Hall vs. Bevon Lewis
  • Curtis Millender vs. Siyar Bahadurzada
  • Brian Kelleher vs. Montel Jackson