Fresh off of UFC 287, the world’s premier MMA promotion returns with another Fight Night event, this time in Kansas City, Mo. Headlined by a featherweight tilt between former champion Max Holloway and rising contender Arnold Allen, UFC Kansas City features 14 fights and several live dogs in the mix.
As always, all odds are courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Pedro Munhoz, +170
Last week, I was pretty firmly behind Adrian Yanez as he took a massive step up in competition when he fought Rob Font. That blew up in my face, and now I’m trying to learn a lesson.
Chris Gutiérrez is an exciting and promising fighter who is unbeaten in his previous eight bouts, but Munhoz is a major step up in competition. Yes, Munhoz has lost four of his previous six bouts, but like with Font a week ago, all of his losses have come against the elite of the elite in the division. Add in that Munhoz is the one guy at bantamweight who can not only match Gutiérrez’s low kicking ability, but exceed it, and he’s a very live underdog in this matchup.
Dustin Jacoby, -155
Azamat Murzakanov may be undefeated, but I’m in no way sold on the Russian fighter. Murzakanov was on his way to losing to Tafon Nchukwi before landing the third-round flying knee knockout, and his career wins have not been against particularly great competition. Meanwhile, Jacoby has looked sensational since rejoining the UFC in 2020, and were it not for losing a bad split decision in his most recent fight, he’d be 7-0-1 in the UFC over that time. In a bout that should be contested primarily on the feet, I favor the man who is the cleaner technician and has some clear physical advantages as well. I favor the former Glory kickboxer Jacoby.
Arnold Allen by Decision, +330
Father Time comes for us all, and I believe he’s here for Max Holloway.
Though he’s only 31 years old, Holloway has been fighting professionally for 13 years. That is right around the time we generally start to see a drop off in fighters, and based on his trilogy fight with Alexander Volkanovski, I think that’s already happening. Holloway was undressed in that fight, in a way he had not been the previous two times out, and I think a drop in athleticism is partly to blame. The body only has so many miles on it, and Max has had a rough road, particularly lately.
Allen, meanwhile, is certainly fresher and his run of late has seen him deal with very little adversity. “Almighty” is exceedingly well-rounded (think of a featherweight Rory MacDonald) and his main issue has been a lack of dynamic offense. That still could prove problematic here, but against a slowing Holloway, Allen can compete on the feet early and I think find takedowns in the later rounds to pull away. Max is as tough as they come, only having been finished once in his career though, so I expect this one to make it to the final horn.
Edson Barboza by KO/TKO/DQ, +380
As mentioned above, I’m trying to learn some lessons this week. At UFC 287, the wily veterans held court against the young upstarts making a massive leap up in competition, and Barboza has a chance to do the same against Billy Quarantillo. Because if you think Rob Font or Pedro Munhoz have had a tough run of competition, just check out Barboza’s résumé. In his UFC run, Barboza has faced arguably the toughest strength of schedule of any fighter, period. Six former champions, a handful of title contenders, and basically no one outside of the top 10, for more than a decade! That’s insane. “Billy Q,” in contrast, lost to the one top-15 guy he ever faced.
Quarantillo is exciting and dynamic, but he doesn’t care too much for defense, and Barboza remains an explosive and dangerous fighter. Over the past few years, when matched up against lesser competition, Barboza has been able to get the job done, and he will certainly have opportunities to clobber Quarantillo. The question is whether the Brazilian still has it. At this price, I’m willing to bet he does.
Parlay of the Week
Max Holloway/Arnold Allen Over 1.5 Rounds, -450
Holloway has gone to a decision (in five-round fights) in each of his previous seven contests. He’s gone over 1.5 rounds in 25 of his 30 professional fights. Allen has hit Under this number in his past two bouts, but prior to that went 11 straight without an early finish. Easy.
Bill Algeo/T.J.Brown Over 1.5 Rounds, -400
In their combined 12 fights inside the UFC, Algeo and Brown have only failed to eclipse 7 minutes and 30 seconds once, a corner stoppage for Algeo at 1:50 of the second round. Had Herbert Burns opted to continue fighting, these two would be perfect in their pursuit of Over 1.5s.
Joselyn Edwards/Lucie Pudilova Over 2.5 Rounds, -305
In five UFC bouts, Edwards as gone to five straight decisions. Pudilova, meanwhile, has gone to decision in 12 of her previous 14 fights. I’ll be astonished if this doesn’t go to the judges.
Parlay these two bets together for -135 odds.
Long Shot of the Week
Tanner Boser to Win by Split or Majority Decision, +1400
First off, let’s acknowledge that Boser is looking a lot more svelte than usual as he prepares for his light heavyweight debut. Good for him.
Second, let me explain the bet. On No Bets Barred, I’ve been experimenting with a thing I call the ChatGPT bet. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and this week, ChatGPT is saying that Boser is going to win a hard-fought decision over Ion Cutelaba. Who am I to argue with the machines? On top of that, this bet actually seems feasible, as Cutelaba throws the kitchen sink early and inevitably fades late, meaning scorecards can get wacky — something Boser is a bit accustomed to at this point, with four of his 30 career fights ending in split or majority action.
Is this the most sound reasoning of all-time? Of course not. But it’s a fun bet to be along on the ride for, so tail if interested.
We basically broke even last week and very nearly hit our Long Shot of the Week, which would have been the first of the year. Alas, the search continues.
Until next week, enjoy the fights, good luck, and gamble responsibly!
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