Welterweight champion Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman (16-1, 7 KOs, 1 SUB) is defending his title against superstar Jorge Masvidal (35-13, 16 KOs, 2 SUBs) at UFC 251 on Saturday, July 11, 2020, at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The co-main event features a championship rematch between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway.
Catch the main event action on pay-per-view starting 10 pm ET.. The prelims have eight scheduled fights, airing on ESPN, ESPN+, and UFC Fight Pass. Let’s take a closer look at all three title fights and the picks you should be making on Betcris.
The Main Event
|UFC 251 Main Event
|Kamaru Usman -253 vs. Jorge Masvidal +195
|Fight goes / doesn’t go to decision: +140 / -180
Usman vs. Masvidal Fight Preview
Usman has won 14 straight pro fights - a streak that includes 11 octagon appearances and notable victories over Leon Edwards, Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley, and Colby Covington. Yet despite holding the belt in a stacked division, folks still seem to be sleeping on just how good he is. Obviously, the former NCAA champ is a beast of a wrestler, but his striking has developed to the point where he can win on his standup alone. That’s a scary thought.
Masvidal is one of the sport’s biggest stars and has the maybe the coolest origin story in MMA. This is a guy that started his career fighting in jorts in Kimbo Slice’s backyard. After 18 years as a pro, the ATT fighter has a chance to reach the sport’s apex. Unfortunately, he has to do it on a week’s notice against a bad style matchup.
The thinking here is that Usman can use his wrestling as a crutch. Demian Maia was able to drag Masvidal to the ground and gut out a decision. Usman is a much, much more dangerous takedown artist and a far more powerful wrestler.
Bet UFC Odds Picks
Usman isn’t cheap, but he holds a number of key advantages here. He’s bigger, stronger, and in fight camp shape. If you’re picking a winner, the champ is the correct choice.
We’d understand if the price scares you off. The other bet to think about is that this fight goes to a decision. Usman is not a dynamic finisher, and Masvidal is one of the savviest dudes in the game. This one should go to the cards.
Co-Main Event, Featherweight Championship
|UFC Featherweight Championship
|Alexander Volkanovski -250 vs. Max Holloway +194
|Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: -215 / +165
|Over/under 4.5 rounds: -238 / +182
Volkanovski vs. Holloway Fight Preview
The first time these two squared off, Volkanovski closed as a +180 underdog against a fighter who hadn’t lost in 14 straight featherweight matches. Holloway was being openly lauded as the featherweight GOAT, and the Aussie just seemed like another chapter in the “Blessed” tale.
Not only did Volkanovski pull off the upset, but he also did it in such convincing fashion that the champ is coming in as a -220 favorite this time around. Behind the perfect gameplan, he showed the athleticism, speed, and fight IQ to flummox the Hawaiian. We’d gotten so used to seeing Holloway overwhelm opponents with pace and volume that it was odd to see stop him cold and circle out of harm’s way.
The question here is whether Holloway can make adjustments. Don’t count him out: this is a guy that was blasting through the best fighters 145 had to offer. Maybe Volkanovski has his number, but it’s never gonna be a cakewalk against Blessed.
UFC Odds Pick
Holloway has a much better chance at winning than the odds would imply. But we’d like to see a line closer to +200 before we throw down on him. Instead, take the fight going to decision. Their first go-round went the distance, and neither has been finished since the early 2010s.
|UFC Bantamweight Title
|Jose Aldo +183 vs. Petyr Yan -235
|Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: -215 / +165
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Aldo vs. Yan Fight Preview
Maybe Aldo doesn’t deserve a title shot coming off of two straight losses - which includes his only appearance at bantamweight. Additionally, the Brazilian is just 2-4 in his past six fights. But those losses came against champions and elite contenders and wins over Jeremy Stephens and Moicano proved that Aldo can still pop at a high level.
It’s amazing that Petyr Yan hasn’t even been a pro-MMA fighter for that long, and his UFC career only goes back a few years. But in that short time, the 27-year old has made a huge impression, looking like a mini-Ivan Drago inside the cage. He comes forward, cuts off his opponents, and unleashes thudding combinations. The knockout rate might not be high, but you only need to watch him for a few minutes to know that he’s one of the hardest hitters in the division.
UFC Betting Odds Pick
Aldo might make this interesting for a couple of rounds, but he just doesn’t have what it takes to hang with Yan. The ugly truth for the future hall of famer is that he’s on the decline while Yan is on the rise. The Russian isn’t cheap, but it’s clear that he’s too young, fast, and nasty for Aldo.
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