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.
Jared Gordon, +210
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. But I cannot help it: I refuse to believe in Pimblett. He’s a good grappler and he’s got some power in his hands, but he’s not a spectacular athlete, and his defense is very lacking, which allows guys like Luigi Vendramini to have moments against 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). Other than that, it’s losses all the way down. 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. My guess is Till hangs on to see the scorecards, but DDP has broken better fighters than Till before.
Chris Curtis, +140
Last week I said there were two lines I was confused about, and I happened to miss on both of those bets. 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 is the better technical striker, fights at a much higher pace, and is better defensively than Buckley is. 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. Not to mention, Curtis has never surrendered a takedown in the UFC, meaning Buckley is likely forced into a pure kickboxing match here, and I truly don’t understand why Curtis isn’t the favorite. From a value perspective, this is one of my favorite bets on the card.
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 should find success early with his kicks, but Ankalaev’s speed and timing will give him big problems, and when Blachowicz inevitably slips up defensively, Ankalaev will catch him.
Ilia Topuria by Decision, +275
Simply put, I’m a huge Ilia Topuria guy. That’s not knock on Bryce Mitchell as a fighter, I just think Topuria has all the makings of a legitimate title threat. At only 25, the guy is a very, very good grappler, and he has nasty power and speed in the hands. Mitchell is a heck of a grappler in his own right, but I think he’s going to struggle to land takedowns, and on the feet, I think Topuria is just better. That being said, Mitchell is tough as nails (or drill bits?), and I don’t think Topuria gets him out of there. 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. Moreover, Shahbazyan is simply better in almost every metric. 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.
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. The short-notice change to five rounds will have both men be cautious early, before the fireworks begin. 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
Also as mentioned above, I suspect this fight will be really high-paced, but both men have proven to be quite durable.
Possibly the easiest bet on the entire 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.
Long Shot of the Week
Steven Koslow by to win by Submission in Round 1, +1400
This week’s Long Shot comes courtesy of my No Bets Barred co-host Conner Burks, who crunched the tape and determined that despite his gaudy record, Cameron Saaiman has shown some suspect grappling in his past performances. When faced against a man who has secured first-round submissions in all six of his professional fights (and four of his amateur bouts), there are worse things you can do than take a stab on that guy.
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.
Until next week, enjoy the fights, good luck, and gamble responsibly!
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