UFC 279 Gambling Preview: Can Nate Diaz and Kevin Holland pull off short-notice upsets?

UFC 279 Ceremonial Weigh-in

So, that was insane.

UFC 279 is going to go down as one of the craziest fight weeks in history and suddenly, less than 24 hours from the event, everything has been shaken up which makes betting on this card a different beast entirely. The odds are closer for the top three fights, so I enjoy a few underdog bets. The fact that everything happens so late means there aren’t any prop lines for the top three fights. This has meant that a lot of my bets including this parlay, have been lost. As a result, things will be a little wonkier this week, with no Long Shot of the Week and only a small parlay. There are still a few bets that I am confident in, so let’s go to the betting breakdown.

As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

UFC 279 Ceremonial Weigh-in

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Straight Bets

Nate Diaz, +105

There is every chance that Tony Ferguson or Nate Diaz are wrongly bets. Both men had different styles and were prepared for opposing opponents. We don’t know what will happen. Despite this, Nate does have some advantages. Nate prepared for the fight in five rounds, which is a huge advantage as this fight will likely go to the final round. Nate, who has been competing in this division for some time, is more experienced than Tony. Finally, the matchup is in Nate’s favor. Unless Tony wants to play the lay-and-pray game, he’s likely going to spend much of the bout chucking hands with Nate, and while early on he can succeed, Ferguson is not defensively sound enough to play that game forever. I think Nate can outlast Tony over 25 minutes, and perhaps score a late stoppage win, if not take down a decision.

Kevin Holland, +430

This could definitely be a galaxy brain pick, and it’s coming out of left field considering how high I have been on Khamzat Chimaev, but it really feels like this is about to happen. Yes, Chimaev is a superior wrestler and Holland has a noted weakness to that area of MMA. This fight week with Chimaev was a disaster. I am now very curious about his mental state. Missing weight by nearly a full weight class is really bad, and could easily show a total lack of dedication to his preparation this camp. Against Nate that probably wouldn’t have hurt him, but with the change? Holland can hurt him in one shot. This is only the fifth round. Holland’s durability is impressive so, assuming he survives this opening salvo and Chimaev did not really do half-asse his camp, then the second round can turn bad for Borz.

Then there’s the whole issue of how Chimaev responds to everything. He’s no longer beloved. How does this play out? When he fought Gilbert Burns, Chimaev got sucked into a brawl he almost lost because his ego got the better of him, and now he’s about to fight a man who he has an issue with and who will absolutely not stop talking trash to him in the cage. Chimaev could be slugging it out against Holland. In that fight “Big Mouth”, he has a good chance of iceing him. Plus, doesn’t it just feel like that’s the inevitable end to this entire fiasco?

Daniel Rodriguez, -150

I’m surprised Rodriguez is this much of a favourite over Li Jingliang. Normal circumstances would allow Rodriguez to comfortably win the fight with full training camps. He is the better boxer. Now though, Rodriguez comes into this fight with a nearly 10-pound advantage. Even stylistically going from Holland to Li is probably closer than going from Ferguson to Rodriguez. This bet is my favorite.

Chris Barnett, +330

I don’t believe Barnett can beat Jake Collier. But this is absurd. Collier should not be a -410 favorite against any game heavyweight, and Barnett is certainly that.

*Collier is a physical advantage that should not be overlooked. However, Barnett has the greater danger one-shot striker as well as the superior athlete. Collier’s record shows that he lost most of his fights against better opponents. Barnett may have lost to poorer athletes, or just plain worse competitors, but this is still bad heavyweight MMA. There is just no reason for Collier to be this big a favorite over anyone currently in the UFC.

UFC 274 Ceremonial Weigh-in

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Prop Bets

Tony Ferguson/Nate Diaz Over 4. 5 Rounds, -130

As mentioned above, I think this is a back-and-forth war and given how generally durable both men are, a finish seems unlikely. Maybe if Nate gets cut, or Tony really starts to fade down the stretch because he wasn’t ready for 25 minutes, then gets finished, but I still think there’s value in betting this line.

Norma Dumont To Win By Submission, +275

I have a lot of thoughts about this fight and almost none of them are good. Danyelle Wolf simply should not be in the UFC. She’s 38 years old with one professional MMA fight to her name, her Contender Series win, which was far from impressive. Although she did have a career in boxing, her opponent wasn’t a good boxer. This is not boxing. Dumont may not be a world champion, but she is a highly competent fighter and has submitted two times already. I think she has a great chance to score a takedown and tap out overmatched Wolf, and I’m not entirely sure why this line is this high.

UFC Fight Night: Almeida v Porter

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Parlay of the Week

Jailton Almeida, -600

Almeida is one of the most interesting prospects in MMA for the simple fact that he continues to compete at heavyweight despite being a more natural fight for 205 pounds. Although he’s dominated both of his opponents at the UFC, the result is not to be questioned. However, he now faces another natural light-heavyweight with an impressive wrestling history. Almeida, an athlete who is good enough to bring this fight to a close and then go on to be a killer from there.

Norma Dumont, -380

As detailed above, this fight is Dumont’s to lose. She could probably win a match in kickboxing against Wolf, as Wolf was not comfortable with the leg kicks during her Contender series fight. However, I don’t think that this will happen as Dumont is a huge grappler.

Parlay these two bets together for -213 odds.

Wrap Up

While we missed both of our straight plays last week, we hit all the rest of our bets, including yet another Long Shot of the Week at a tasty +787 payout. Vive la France! That’s about as good of a bounce back week as you can ask for and now we’ll try to keep it rolling with UFC 279.

Enjoy the fighting, luck and gambling responsibly until next week!

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