UFC 282 Gambling Preview: Will Magomed Ankalaev usher in new era of light heavyweight division?

UFC 278: Santos v Gordon

The final pay-per-view event of the year goes down Saturday when UFC 282 takes place in Las Vegas. Headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev, there are also 12 other fights on the card, meaning we’ve got a lot of chances to cash tickets before the end of the year. So let’s take a look at my favorite bets available this weekend.

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

UFC 278: Santos v Gordon

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Straight Bets

Jared Gordon, +210

Maybe it’s because he came at one of ours (and missed), or maybe it’s because I will simply never learn, but I’m once again fading Paddy Pimblett.

Look, Pimblett is probably a better fighter than I give him credit for, and I recognize that this is a tailor-made matchup to get him a win with a step up in competition. It is impossible for me to not believe in Pimblett. Although he is a skilled grappler with some strength in his hands and has some wrestling power, he doesn’t have the most impressive athletic skills. His defense also lacks quality, so Luigi Vendramini can still beat him. Gordon is not going to blow your doors off with his game, but he’s incredibly solid all around, and he’s faced much stiffer competition than Pimblett (albeit, losing to those guys). Maybe if Pimblett looks good here, I start to believe in him, but I think Gordon is going to make things very tough on “The Baddy” come Saturday.

Dricus Du Plessis, -175

Speaking of people I refuse to believe in, enter Darren Till. Here is a fact: Till has not clearly won a fight since 2017, when he knocked out Donald Cerrone, who was already on the well-done side of cooked. Till has a questionable decision win over Stephen Thompson, and a questionable split decision win over Kelvin Gastelum (whom I also have many thoughts on). It’s all losses. And you can come at me with “he looked good against Whittaker” — that’s still an L. The man has not definitively won a fight in half a decade and has never done so against legitimately elite competition, AND he’s coming in after a 15-month layoff and is facing a whirling dervish of activity and aggression that is DDP. There is no world in which I believe he will win this fight. Du Plessis is not the best defensive fighter in the world, but he is going to put a pace on Till and Till isn’t a defensive genius either. I think Till will hang on for the scorecards. But DDP has broken more fighters than Till.

Chris Curtis, +140

Last Week I mentioned there were two lines that I wasn’t clear on, but I actually missed both. Well, fair warning in case I make it three-for-three, because I have no idea why Chris Curtis is an underdog to Joaquin Buckley. Curtis has a better technique striker and fights faster than Buckley. He is also more defensively sound. Sure, Buckley has the power advantage, but Curtis has only been knocked out once in his career, and that was when he fought twice in one night. Curtis has not surrendered to a UFC takedown, so Buckley will likely be forced into pure kickboxing matches here. I don’t get why Curtis doesn’t have the UFC’s favorite. From a value perspective, this is one of my favorite bets on the card.

MMA: JUL 30 UFC 277

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Prop Bets

Magomed Ankalaev by KO/TKO, +120

I did an in-depth breakdown of the main event that you can read here, so I won’t rehash too much of that now. The short version is that this fight will likely be very competitive, up until it isn’t. Blachowicz will have success with his kicks early, but Ankalaev’s speed and timing are going to cause him major problems. Ankalaev can catch Blachowicz when he falls down defensively.

Ilia Topuria by Decision, +275

Simply put, I’m a huge Ilia Topuria guy. Bryce Mitchell is a great fighter. Topuria, however, has the potential to be a title contender. At only 25, the guy is a very, very good grappler, and he has nasty power and speed in the hands. Mitchell is an excellent grappler, though he will struggle to get takedowns. Topuria, on the other hand, is far better. That being said, Mitchell is tough as nails (or drill bits? Topuria doesn’t seem to be able to get him out. Instead, this feels like a back-and-forth scrap where Topuria edges out a decision.

Edmen Shahbazyan to win by KO/TKO or Submission, -110

In a battle where both men are coming in on three-fight losing streaks, I still feel really good about Shahbazyan’s chances to get Dalcha Lungiambula out of there. For starters, 10 of Shahbazyan’s 11 career wins have come by finish, and four of Lungiambula’s five losses have gone the same way. Shahbazyan excels in nearly every measure. He’s younger, bigger, faster, and has much better wins than Lungiambula. Add in that Shahbazyan finally left Glendale Fight Club to start working with a legitimately top-shelf gym, and I think we’re about to see the 25-year-old finally start to fulfill some of his potential, starting with a dominant showing this weekend.

UFC Fight Night: Crowder v Rozenstruik

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Parlay of the Week

Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev Over 1. 5 Rounds, -300

As mentioned above, I think this will be a highly competitive and somewhat slow fight early on. Both men will need to be careful early on, as fireworks start because of the quick-notice five round change. Also, Ankalaev has gone over 1. 5 in seven of 10 UFC fights, while Blachowicz has done it in 15 of his 18 UFC bouts.

Bryce Mitchell vs. Ilia Topuria Over 1. 5 Rounds, -255

As mentioned, this fight is likely to be very fast-paced. However, both fighters have shown that they are quite resilient.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Chris Daukaus Does Not Got The Distance, -550

This is the easiest possible bet of the whole card. Fourteen of their 16 combined UFC fights have ended in a finish, with nine of those coming in the very first round. Barring something crazy happening, these two are going to meet in the middle and chuck mitts until one of them gets bagged up.

Parlay these three bets together for +119 odds.

UFC Fighter Portraits

Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Long Shot of the Week

Steven Koslow by to win by Submission in Round 1, +1400

Conner Burks (my No Bets barrered host) reviewed the tapes and found that Cameron Saaiman’s past performance shows some questionable grappling. There are worse things than taking a swipe at a guy who has won first round submissions in six of his professional fights and four of his amateur bouts.

Wrap Up

It was a mixed bag last week for us, as we lost more bets than we cashed. But thanks to some good lines, we still ended up ahead. Nobody ever went broke making a profit, so let’s try and continue to good run.

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

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Source: https://www.mmafighting.com/2022/12/9/23500634/ufc-282-gambling-preview-will-magomed-ankalaev-usher-in-new-era-of-light-heavyweight-division?rand=96749