UFC 272 takes place this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and it’s headlined by the long-awaited grudge match between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. The former “best friends” are finally going to square up inside the cage and settle their business, but before that we’ve got 12 other fights, including a number of extremely fun matchups.
Let’s take a look at some of the best bets available on the card. All odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Dos Anjos was originally scheduled to face Rafael Fiziev, but when Fiziev contracted COVID-19, Moicano answered the short-notice call, flying in from Brazil to take his crack at a top-10 lightweight. That change probably benefits dos Anjos, who goes from facing an elite striker to facing a jack-of-all-trades style of fighter, which is well-suited for dos Anjos’ style.
The former lightweight champion butters his bread with his trademark style of pressure fighting, crowding opponents back to the fence and hammering them with body kicks and hooks; he also shoots in on the hips and plays a smothering top-game. That should prove highly effective against Moicano, who is a rangy striker but easily gets put on the back foot, not to mention being somewhat slow of foot. On the floor, Moicano is probably the more dangerous submission threat, but dos Anjos is a more than capable grappler, and I struggle to see Moicano locking up anything from his back. Dos Anjos probably wins a decision, but given his propensity to attack the body, I could see a stoppage as well. Either way, dos Anjos should get his hand raised.
The question when anyone fights Barboza is whether they can consistently pressure him and keep his back to the fence. At range, Barboza is a both a monster kickboxer and a great defensive wrestler, but once he gets moving backward, it all sort of falls apart. Mitchell should be able to do just that. Mitchell is also a pretty good wrestler and an incredibly dangerous submission grappler, so once he does secure a takedown, he’s a real finishing threat if Barboza attempts to create a standup. Add to that Barboza is on the downslope of his career, Mitchell is just about to enter his peak, and the result is “Thug Nasty” should win this one.
Both of these guys are good prospects for the lightweight division, but this seems like a good matchup for Turner. He’s longer than Mullarkey and packs more power in his punches. Mullarkey is perhaps a touch quicker, but he tends to run himself onto shots, that’s a bad idea against Turner. If Mullarkey leans on his wrestling, he can make this one closer, but Turner is improving rapidly and he’s nasty in the clinch. I could see him catching Mullarkey and putting him away or simply outworking him for 15 minutes.
I am a bit surprised that Nzechukwu is the favorite here. Nzechukwu has flashed some promise, but he still has big holes in his game, most noticeably that he is absurdly defensive. Despite being huge for the division (6-foot-5 with an 83-inch reach), Nzechukwu never uses his length, instead fighting from behind a high shell-guard. He’s gotten away with it to an extent because he hits pretty hard and has a penchant for finding openings from behind his guard, but that’s not going to work against the otherworldly chin of Negumereanu. If Negumereanu simply walks forward and swings hammers, he’ll eat some return fire, but he will land some shots of his own, and Nzechukwu will retreat even further. Add in the wrestling pedigree of Negumereanu, and I favor him to pull off the upset.
Covington by Unanimous Decision, +120
I did a deeper dive on this fight earlier this week, so I won’t spend much time here. The short version is that this is a terrible style matchup for Masvidal, who simply won’t be able to keep pace with the wrestling and work rate of Covington. Masvidal is an excellent defensive fighter, though, so he should make it to the final horn, but this is Covington’s fight to lose.
Greg Hardy by KO/TKO, +300
This may be my most controversial bet of the card, but I’m still a believer in Greg Hardy’s potential inside the cage. The fact is, Hardy is a better athlete than 99.9% of the heavyweight division, and athleticism counts for a ton in MMA, especially in the higher weight classes. By all accounts, Spivac is a better fighter than Hardy, but he’s lost to the best athletes he’s faced, and I don’t like how he reacts to getting hit. Hardy, for his many flaws, hits super hard and moves extremely quickly. I’m backing the upset and given that you get an extra +125 for going KO instead of a straight bet, I’m in for the prop here.
Parlay of the Week
Covington/Masvidal Over 2.5 Rounds (-320)
As noted above, I heavily favor Covington to get the win in this one, but he’s not a huge finisher and Masvidal is excellent defensively. Barring an early “baptism,” this leg should hit.
In their 15 combined UFC fights, Rodriguez and Yan have gone to decision a whopping 13 times, and that includes a pair of five round fights. Simply put, neither woman is a huge finisher, and both women are very durable. I’d feel comfortable with this line for a 5-round fight, so I feel great with it for only a 3-rounder.
In what is certain to be a strictly striking affair, Jacoby is the better kickboxer and the bigger man. Jacoby’s calf kicks will be able to stunt some of Oleksiejczuk’s frenetic movement, and his jab should stay tethered to the Polish fighter’s face. Oleksiejczuk isn’t impervious to damage, so a late stoppage could be in play. But a 3-round decision is just as likely.
Parlay these three bets together for +180 odds
Long Shot of the Week
Covington/Masvidal to End in the first 60 Seconds of Round 1, +2500
As noted above, this fight lines up very well for Covington. However, the former interim welterweight champion was hurt in both of his fights with Usman and could potentially be a little shopworn at 34. Given that, and the likelihood that Masvidal knows a prolonged battle isn’t in his interest, it’s possible that Masvidal comes out and goes for broke early.
If you’re going to bet on a long shot, make it a fun one, and what could be more fun than cheering for Masvidal to pull off another Ben Askren-esque knee?
Tough week this past week. Really got the main event wrong. Apparently, Islam Makhachev is better than I thought, and I thought he was the best lightweight in the world. Fortunately there is a lot of action this week, and I like our chances to rebound.
Good luck y’all, and gamble responsibly!
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