It’s the Super Bowl of MMA, with UFC 276 going down Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. And befitting the biggest week in MMA of the year, the card is absolutely stacked. The main event is a middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya, the co-main event is a featherweight title trilogy bout between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway, and the rest of the card features four other ranked fighters, one former champion, two future Hall of Famers, and six highly touted prospects. Every fight on the card is excellent, so let’s get to it.
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Max Holloway, +170 (37% Implied Probability)
This is the easiest bet on the card to make. Volkanovski and Holloway have fought twice before, and while Volkanovski won both fights, the second was razor close, with many people believing Holloway deserved to get the win. In that second fight, Holloway clearly won the opening 10 minutes, and though Volkanovski adjusted and scraped out a win, Holloway now knows he can do the same again. This fight is very close, and so the odds should be substantially lower, close to a pick ‘em. Because they aren’t, taking a value play on Holloway is a good bet.
Robbie Lawler, -120 (54.5% Implied Win Probability)
While I can kind of understand the logic here, this is the line I was the most shocked by. Robbie Lawler is certainly not in his prime, but Bryan Barbarena is a matchup tailor-made for him to look good in. Lawler’s recent struggles have all come against fighters who could take him down and did so repeatedly. Barbarena isn’t going to do that. He’s a tough-as-nails scrapper, but he doesn’t have the power, diversity, or acumen of Lawler on the feet, and as such, he’s going to mostly get tuned up while coming forward. I think Lawler can win both a technical kickboxing fight or a straight-up brawl, and so I love him to win.
Jalin Turner, -150 (60% Implied Win Probability)
I love Jalin Turner. I think he is an elite prospect for the lightweight division, and if he can continue to make the weight (a big question given how massive he is), this is a guy who can make a real run at the title. Turner is enormous for 155, an excellent wrestler and grappler, and an extremely dangerous striker. Add in that he’s an exceptional athlete and Turner has all the makings of a legitimate contender. At only 27 years old, Turner is still developing as a fighter, and Brad Riddell presents a challenge as well-coached, savvy veteran, but Turner is simply too dangerous in all phases. He’s a more active and more powerful striker, and much more threatening on the ground. Factor in his rate of development and this should be a coming out party for “The Tarantula.”
Sean O’Malley by Decision, +150 (40% Implied Win Probability)
This line has already dropped a lot, which makes sense because it should be even money in the first place. O’Malley is a hyper-potent offensive force, but he’s not recklessly aggressive and has been content to simply out-point fighters before, and that’s what he will have to do here because Pedro Munhoz is tougher than a coffin nail. In his 27 career bouts, Munhoz has never been finished. Munhoz doesn’t have the footwork, speed, or volume to keep up with O’Malley, but he damn sure has the chin to make him work the full 15.
Donald Cerrone by KO/TKO, +400 (20% Implied Win Probability)
This is probably the dumbest bet I made on the card, but I can’t talk myself out of it. Yes, Donald Cerrone hasn’t won in his previous six fights, and yes, Jim Miller is on a two-fight winning streak, but it just feels like that is all smoke. Miller has been beating Contender Series debutants and unpolished rookies, while Cerrone has been losing to some of the best in the world. When he gets a step back in competition, against a guy who is equally as seasoned as he is, I think he’s going to prove that he’s not fully washed, more likely heavily rinsed. Remember, Cerrone and Miller fought once before and Cerrone delivered a devastating head-kick KO. If he did it once, he can do it again.
Parlay of the Week
Israel Adesanya, -450 (81.8% Implied Win Probability)
I don’t know if y’all know this, but Israel Adesanya is pretty good at kickboxing. Like, he might be the best we’ve ever seen at it in MMA. That’s a pretty tough out for Jared Cannonier, who only has two recorded takedowns in his entire UFC career. Cannonier is a good fighter, but he’s in over his head here. For a more in-depth breakdown of this fight, you can turn here, but the short version is: I don’t like to use the word “lock” that often, but I would be stunned if Adesanya didn’t get the job done.
Andre Muniz, -320 (76.2% Implied Win Probability)
You how I love Jalin Turner as a prospect? I love Andre Muniz even more. At 32 years old, he may be out of the prospect zone, but this man has been a monster since joining the UFC off the Contender Series in 2019. His last three fights have all been first-round submissions, including doing so to Ronaldo Souza. If you can tap Jacare, you can tap literally any human being on the planet, and that includes Uriah Hall.
Maycee Barber, - 285 (74% Implied Win Probability)
I’m not nearly as high on Barber as some are (including Barber herself), but I am incredibly low on Jessica Eye. Eye is almost 36 years old, hasn’t won a fight in three years (a bout she missed weight for), and wasn’t even a great fighter at her peak. Barber is far from a finished product, but she’s athletic, powerful, and aggressive, and that should be more than enough to win this one.
Parlay these three bets together for +116 (46.3% Implied Win Probability) odds.
Long Shot of the Week
Max Holloway To Win By Split or Majority Decision, +1100
For all the reasons explained above, only more so. I’m genuinely surprised to see this line this high, given that their previous fight was a split decision the other way. While I think Volkanovski is slightly better, these two men are in a dead heat, and with the Fight To Be Won By Split or Majority Decision prop only coming in at +350, this feels like value.
If you listened to No Bets Barred this week, you’ll know that Conner and I got a little crazy, putting bets down on every single fight on the card. For this, I tried to be slightly more responsible with my bets, but if there’s a fight you want to gamble on that I didn’t suggest some action for, give that a listen and maybe me, Conner, or New York Ric have something you’ll like.
Enjoy the fights, good luck, and gamble responsibly!
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