UFC 280 Gambling Preview: Can Charles Oliveira keep his incredible run going against Islam Makhachev?

UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen v Dillashaw

It’s here. After weeks of anticipation, UFC 280 finally goes down on Saturday, featuring title fights in the two best divisions in MMA: Lightweight and bantamweight. In the co-main event, Aljamain Sterling puts his 135-pound belt on the line against former champion T.J. Dillashaw, and in the final fight of the night, Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev face off for the vacant lightweight title. On top of those two incredible fights, there are 11 other awesome bouts, with an enormous number of betting opportunities, so let’s get to it.

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

UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen v Dillashaw

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Straight Bets

T.J. Dillashaw, +150

Stylistically this fight should be in favor of Dillashaw. Dillashaw is the most fluid, dangerous and skilled striker. His best skill is counter wrestling. Sterling on the other side is a restricted striker and always appears uncomfortable on his feet. He needs to be taken down for his game. That’s a tall order against Dillashaw, who not only is one of the best defensive wrestlers in the sport, but he’s also impossible to keep down. In his entire career, Dillashaw has only given up a combined 88 seconds of control time, which does not bode well for the champion. The one major concern here is that Dillashaw has been out for over a year and he’s almost 37 years old, but he still looked pretty good against Sandhagen and given his major advantages in this one, I’m cautiously optimistic those won’t be an issue.

Beneil Dariush, +160

Initially, when I saw this card I was tempted to bet on Mateusz Gambrot. But, once I started studying the cards, it quickly became apparent that I would be wrong. I like Gamrot a lot and beating Arman Tsarukyan (however dubious) is an impressive achievement, but Dariush is probably the most underrated fighter in the entire sport now that Leon Edwards is welterweight champion. He’s an amazing grappler, a good wrestler, a savvy striker, and a better athlete than he gets credit for. Gamrot is a skilled wrestler, grappler and fighter. He fights with a fast pace and is not as agile on his feet as Dariush. I also struggle to believe that he will gain an advantage in the grappling area. He may win the third round strictly based on his work rate, but this fight feels like the definition of a coin-flip, so there’s plenty of value on Dariush.

UFC 259: Brady v Matthews

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Prop Bets

Sean Brady by Decision, +165

The prelim main event between Sean Brady and Belal Muhammad is one of the most competitive fights on the card (which is saying something) but I really like Brady’s chances of getting it done. Although they have similar styles, Brady and Muhammad are both very skilled grapplers and excellent defensive wrestlers. They also share a fair amount of striking. However, I believe Brady is more skillful and is the better athlete. Muhammad uses a lot kicks in his striking, so I can see Brady scoring takedowns with those kicks. From there, Brady should be able to control the action, but Muhammad is incredibly durable, and I highly doubt he can find a finish in 15 minutes.

Caio Borralho by Submission, +300

I hope you already listened to No Bets Barred this week, because we gave out this bet when it was +550, and as you can see, the line has plummeted. This bet still has merit, even at half its value. Borralho is a talented grappler with a penchant for finding the back, and Makhmud Muradov is deficient in both regards. Gerald Meerschaert was able to score multiple takedowns on him and ultimately find the submission, and that still feels like by far the most likely outcome for this fight.

Muhammad Mokaev vs. Malcom Gordon UNDER 1. 5 Rounds, -125

There’s a running gimmick on No Bets Barred that Under bets on flyweight fights never lose, and that’s because they don’t. We’ve hit something like 10 in a row, and for this one it’s not even hard to see how it happens. Mokaev, a top prospect in MMA is Gordon. He is a middle-level fighter and has been in the second round only once in five fights. This one seems destined to end early.

UFC Fight Night: Zabit v Kattar

Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Parlays of the Week

Islam Makhachev (-180) and Abubakar Nurmagomedov (-165)

Originally this was to have Zubaira Tukhugov included, but the trick still works. Could you just bet them both as singles and it be perfectly fine given the lines? Sure. But gambling is supposed to be fun, and what’s more fun than the Father’s Plan parlay?

I have a detailed breakdown of Makhachev against Oliveira. It is available here for your review. I will not go into too much detail about that fight. As for Nurmagomedov, it really boils down to the wrestling. Like the more famous Nurmagomedov, Abubakar is a very good grappler while Gadzhi Omargadzhiev has been dominated on the ground before. He should have a fairly straightforward time of scoring takedowns and dominating from top position.

Parlay these two bets together for +145 odds.

Also because the bet above is definitely a scam bet, and this card has the most depth in months with lots of great lines, I also added a second parlay for those who feel so.

Petr Yan (-265), Muhammad Mokaev (-1150), and Katlyn Chookagian vs. Manon Fiorot To Go To Decision (-300)

I’m stunned that Yan and Sean O’Malley have remained so close. I guess that speaks to the overwhelming power of stardom, because Yan is highly likely to tar and feather poor “Sugar” with pace, pressure, and vicious kicks. Based on the things he’s done and Yan’s character, this is an awful fight for O’Malley.

Mokaev is almost unimportant, but it’s worth considering. He should be a -10,000 favorite, so really he’s probably the best value on the entire card.

I will talk more about the fight below, but Fiorot and Chookagian aren’t great finishers. I would be surprised if they didn’t have judges.

Parlay these three bets together for -101 odds.

UFC Fight Night: Chookagian v Maia

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Long Shots of the Week

I’m again offering two long-shot bets in honor of this momentous week.

Katlyn Chookagian by Split Decision, +1000

As I mentioned above, it would surprise me if this decision didn’t come to a conclusion. That’s when things get exciting. Chookagian is known for her ability to win tough matches against less-experienced competition. Fiorot, despite all the hype surrounding her, has not shown enough for me to be confident enough in her. She’s a fine striker and a better athlete, but Chookagian can make this ugly and “Kiai!” her way to victory. It’s what she does. Given that, I almost took at shot on Chookagian by Decision at +240, but instead decided that +1000 for a split, when Chookagian already has four of them in her career, was a more fun bet.

Islam Makhachev To Win In Round 4, +1800

Again, I already did a full write up with my thoughts on this fight, so I won’t get bogged down in the weeds here, but this fight massively favors Makhachev. He’s the better wrestler and grappler, and the much better defensive fighter. I expect Oliveira to be competitive in the first round, attempting sweeps and submissions off his back, but as the fight drags on, he’ll start to fade, and by the third round, Oliveira will be in survival mode. The third round will be his last, and then we will have a lightweight champion.

Wrap Up

*Another win last week. This week will be the biggest test, as we’ve completely forgotten how to win lately. For some reason I tend to do worse on pay-per-view events than on Fight Night cards, so let’s see if we can keep the heater rolling.

Until next week, enjoy the fights, good luck, and gamble responsibly!

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