UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor 3 is slated to be the biggest and baddest pay-per-view of the year. All the following lines and props provided are courtesy of Fanduel Sportsbook.
- Alen Amedovski (-152) vs Hu Yaozong (+124)
- Sean O’Malley (-950) vs Kris Moutinho (+590)
- Ilia Topuria (-250) vs Ryan Hall (+198)
- Zhalgas Zhumagulov (-385) vs Jerome Rivera (+290)
To kick off UFC 264, we have Hu Yaozong making his octagon return after nearly three years, down a weight class, against Alen Amedovski, making his UFC return after nearly two years on the sideline. The amount of variability in this fight, along with the unknowns of how much each fighter improved in their time away, tells me to not bet on this fight!
Sean O’Malley is the biggest favorite on the entire card for UFC 264, and rightfully so, against Kris Moutinho making his UFC debut, giving up 4″ of height, and 5″ of reach. At (-950), there remains no betting value on “Suga” leaving me to possibly look toward the prop market or avoiding this fight altogether.
Ilia Topuria vs Ryan Hall is a matchup that should tell us a lot about the grappling prowess of Topuria, someone who seems unafraid to test the waters against the “Wizard” in the grappling department. Whether that remains gamesmanship, I have never seen someone control the pace and general tenor of a fight the way that Hall does, in his unpredictability and willingness to Imanari Roll at any given moment for the heel hook. I trust the wrestling of Topuria, I don’t trust the line, and am happy to use this fight as a learning experience.
Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs Jerome Rivera is an example of a fight that has so many different reasons to fade one fighter, but the tale of the tape screams otherwise. Given the experience and general ability of Zhumagulov, you might assume the (-385) is a solid spot against Rivera. However, Rivera is sporting a 6″ height and reach advantage, something that could come into play in a match-up that Zhumagulov should win handily. Instead of taking a flier on the underdog, I will choose to pass on this matchup.
There are usually a couple of spots on every card that stand out from a “hammer” perspective. That means, I would normally like to drop the hammer on a bet, but I know that the line value for a smaller bettor like myself, might not provide the biggest payout. It is ALWAYS risky to place parlays, especially in MMA, but what is dangerous, is always more fun!
One bet that stands out to me is Max Griffin (-188) vs Carlos Condit. Griffin has been surging recently, showing improved execution, and a commitment to his striking and combinations behind his good defensive movement. Condit has proven to try and win striking battles in the past, struggling when his opponent exposes his weak takedown defense and occasionally being submitted. In this matchup, I think Griffin is the more gifted athlete, along with the wrestling in his back pocket should his boxing not be enough for Condit at his advanced age.
To pair with Griffin, I would play Jennifer Maia (-200) vs Jessica Eye. Similar to Griffin and Condit, I could see Maia winning from distance, but I also think she has a distinct advantage should this fight end up taking place in the wrestling and grappling department. Eye seems to be healthy and in good shape, but Maia is looking to bounce back off what you would call an impressive decision loss to the champion, Valentina Shevchenko.
My Official Parlay for UFC 264: Jennifer Maia & Max Griffin at (+130)
- Yana Kunitskaya (+100) vs Irene Aldana
- Trevin Giles (-105) vs Dricus du Plessis
I like Yana Kunitskaya (see my breakdown article for why) to win an all-around fight, using her experience and depth of skills to win a decision against Aldana. At (+100), that is a great line to place a straight play on.
Trevin Giles has displayed the ability to go the distance and win at the UFC level, where Dricus du Plessis has never been the distance in his career. That usually leads to a wake-up call at the UFC level, especially against an opponent in Giles who has the experience and composure to maintain his distance and outland his opponent on the feet. We could see a wrestling-heavy game-plan from Giles, either way, I think he wins this fight, and as a slight underdog, I want to be placing a bet here.
- Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor to Start Round 3: -110
- Michel Pereira by Decision: +250
- Greg Hardy vs Tai Tuivasa Fight to go the Distance: +170
I believe that given that each man has knocked the other out, the trilogy fight should play out differently than the first two. Even in defeat, McGregor landed a few hard shots that made Poirier have to bite down on the mouthpiece. After being KO’d for the first time in his career, McGregor is sure to approach Poirier more cautiously. We might still see a finish, I just believe we see the start of Round 3 before that.
Michel Pereira might look like the lesser striker on paper to Niko Price, but his improvements in fight IQ and execution with defensive movement, make it very hard for him to be hit square and hurt. Additionally, he possesses the wrestling chops and defensive submission awareness to avoid bad spots. Price is an unorthodox opponent with big power in his hands, that is ultimately very hittable, and not a good defensive wrestler. At (+250), I like taking a chance on Pereira more than on his moneyline price.
Finally, two heavyweights that have proven to have some durability and the ability to go the distance will match up. Greg Hardy has been improving his standup continuously, but remains lost on the mat. Thankfully for him, Tai Tuivasa prefers to stand and brawl, and I’m not sure he is savvy enough to find a finish on the mat, even if he is able to get it there. I see these two young prospects going the distance to surprise the masses, and at (+170), there is some solid value given their recent results.
Please let me know down below in the comments section who you are going with for UFC 264, or if there are any props that caught your eye. Next week, we will start keeping track of my record on official picks! Good luck to all who follow, and make sure you remember to gamble responsibly!
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Featured Image Credits To UFC.com