The biggest fight of the year takes place this weekend when UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev defends his title against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in a battle of the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. UFC 284 also plays host to an interim featherweight title fight between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett, plus 11 other matchups going down in Perth, Australia, so let’s get to it.
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Alexander Volkanovski, +300
I have a detailed breakdown of the fight which you can find here. The short version is that while I pick Islam Makhachev as my favorite, Volkanovski stands a good chance to beat him. Honestly, Volk probably is the toughest fight for Makhachev at lightweight (at least for the foreseeable future), and while I don’t favor him to win, he’s got a better chance than these odds suggest. He can take control of this fight if Volk is able to keep the momentum going, or even survive under Makhachev.
Francisco Prado, +225
I’ve been backing the old guard and it’s gotten me nowhere this year, time to change it up with some new blood. Francisco Prado is an undefeated, 20-year-old prospect with real upside. Prado looks fantastic getting off the bus. He hits hard and is very aggressive. Although there are some concerns regarding his gas tank, this competition is quite a leap in terms of the level of competitors. Jamie Mullarkey however isn’t great so this could be a good scrap. Give me the youngin’ at this number.
Parker Porter by Decision, +350
This line is confusing to me. Parker Porter as a straight up underdog is +100, by this prop is at +350? Porter has won all three UFC fights by decision. Justin Tafa lost two matches. Something isn’t adding up that there’s this big a difference in the price. Although Tafa is far more dangerous, Porter has proved to be a much more durable fighter and keeps a ridiculous pace for heavyweight. Value bet.
Alonzo Menifield by KO/TKO/DQ, +225
Menifield has been a hit or miss fighter throughout his career but his current win streak makes it seem he may have turned a corner. Menifield is brimming over with confidence after the violent finishes of Askar Molharov and Misha Cirkunov. Jimmy Crute might not be the best name for him, but he’s still having trouble and may not last long. Why bet Menifield straight when you can bet him by KO though, as 10 of his 13 career wins have come by way of knockout.
Tyson Pedro to Win by KO/TKO/DQ or Submission, -105
Tyson Pedro has been a complete finisher in his nine career victories. That should continue against Modestas Bukauskas who has been finished in four of his five career losses, three of those being in the UFC. In fact, the first time around Bukauskas struggled to make headway, with his lone win coming against a late replacement, and now that he’s back inside the octagon, I expect the same outcome. He’s simply not good enough to compete at this level.
Parlay of the Week
Makhachev/Volkanovski Over 1. 5 Rounds, -320
Although Makhachev’s past two fights have seen him hit the under twice, Volkanovski has proven to be a stronger fighter than Bobby Green or Dan Hooker. And Volkanovski hasn’t finished a fight in the first seven minutes since back in his regional days. It is an excellent parlay piece.
Yair Rodriguez/Josh Emmett Over 2. 5 Rounds, -285
Although Rodriguez can be a very exciting and dynamic striker, outside of the occasional Brian Ortega injury, his last fight with him, he’s not proven to be an early finisher. He went the distance with Max Holloway and Jeremy Stephens, and was one second away from going 25 minutes with the Korean Zombie. Likewise, Emmett has mostly won decisions in his career and he’s only been stopped once. The fight shouldn’t be stopped.
Loma Lookboonmee/Elise Reed Over 2. 5 Rounds, -305
Eight of Lookboonmee’s 10 career fights have gone to decision. Meanwhile, Reed has hit the over in five of her eight career fights, including three of four inside the UFC. The scorecards for this fight are certain to be in the books.
Parlay these three bets together for +135 odds
Long Shot of the Week
Randy Brown by Submission, +1200
I understand Jack Della Maddalena’s hype train. He’s young, exciting, and an excellent boxer. But Randy Brown is no joke. He’s a seasoned veteran with excellent physical attributes and a well-rounded game to back it up. JDM is going to have to navigate the huge reach disadvantage and be able to fend off the submission attacks from Brown should they get into tie-ups. Frankly, Brown may have some value just as an underdog at +255, but with five career submissions to his name, and JDM’s clear ability on the feet, take a shot on these long odds.
We’re really struggling to get something going this year. I continue to choose to believe in retiring legends and clearly washed fighters to my detriment. We are fortunate to have none this weekend so we may be able to cash some bets. At the very least, we took some big swings this week, so we don’t need to have a perfect weekend to still see some profit.
Enjoy the fighting, luck and gambling responsibly until next week!
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