This year I am 72-38 and +17.17 units on UFC bets. With this being the biggest card of the year I plan to continue my run and make some more positive bets. Follow my bets on twitter @wtppassline .
Lightweight – Josh Burkman (28-15) vs. Drew Dober (17-8)
Burkman has not looked good in any of his fights since 2015 (1-5, 1 NC). Dober is a solid striker and his wrestling is good enough to win this fight easily.
Prediction: Drew Dober (-330) for 3*
Flyweight – Eric Shelton (10-3) vs. Jarred Brooks (12-0)
Shelton was a great underdog on The Ultimate Fighter and will be another great underdog in this fight. Brooks is making his UFC debut after being delayed at UFC 208. Brooks pressures his opponent and continuously moves forward but forgets to defend too often. Shelton is a good counter puncher, especially on his back heels.
Prediction: Eric Shelton (+125) for 1*
Women’s Strawweight – Kailin Curran (4-4) vs. Aleksandra Albu (2-0)
Curran is someone who not only we want to win in the UFC but so does the UFC. She is a pretty face that they could market, but she is only 1-4 in the UFC and if it weren’t for such a limited number of fighters in the weightclass she would have been cut by now. Albu is fighting her second fight in the UFC after making her debut two years ago. This is the opponent Curran can use for momentum since Albu has some ring rust. But Albu’s boxing and takedown defense should be the difference.
Prediction: Aleksandra Albu (-155) for 2*
Featherweight – Andre Fili (16-4) vs. Calvin Kattar (16-2)
Fili is best known for being on the wrong end of one of 2016’s “Knockouts of the Year” but he shouldn’t be on the wrong end of a highlight in this fight. Kattar is taking the fight on three-weeks notice and if there is anything to know about UFC betting it is not to bet on the guy who hasn’t been preparing himself mentally and physically for a fight for the past three plus months.
Prediction: Andre Fili (-350) for 2*
Featherweight – Renato Moicano (11-0, 1 NC) vs. Brian Ortega (11-0)
Battle of two undefeated fighters. Moicano isn’t yet a household name but I think he is well on his way. He is sometimes a boring fighter as he is very smart and technical but you know what you are going to get in his fights. Ortega may be undefeated but he was losing his last three wins before earning the stoppage. That says a lot about Ortega, he is a hard nosed fighter and never gives up, but eventually you will run into a fighter that won’t give you an opportunity to make a come back. Insert Moicano.
Prediction: Moicano (-155) for 3*
Catchweight (140 lbs) – Aljamain Sterling (13-2) vs. Renan Barao (34-4)
The California State Athletic Commission denied Barao a fight at Bantamweight because of his previous weight issues. The CSAC said that if he makes weight without any problem they will revisit allowing him to compete at Bantamweight in the future. Sterling’s bread and butter is getting the takedown and controlling his opponent on the ground, but Barao, even though he has regressed since his championship reign, still has one of the best takedown defenses in the UFC. Barao will give Sterling fits with his jabs and low kicks.
Prediction: Renan Barao (-105) for 4*
Featherweight – Ricardo Lamas (17-5) vs. Jason Knight (18-2)
This is such a close and hard fight to predict. Lamas has some very powerful leg kicks that I think will stop Knight’s pressure. Knight has some of the guard in the UFC but I don’t think Lamas will take the fight to ground and he is a good enough wrestler to keep the fight standing. This will be such a good and close fight but I’m going with Lamas by a hair.
Prediction: Ricardo Lamas (-110) for 1*
Light Heavyweight – Jimi Manuwa (17-2) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (14-1)
Oezdemir is way over matched in this fight. Manuwa was put on the card as insurance for if Jones decided to binge on coke and spend all night in the strip club. So they gave him an opponent that wouldn’t really matter whether he fought him or didn’t fight him. This one is easy.
Prediction: Jimi Manuwa (-185) for 4*
Welterweight – Robbie Lawler (27-11, 1 NC) vs. Donald Cerrone (32-8, 1 NC)
Lawler is one of my favorite fighters, but he always makes his fights too close for comfort. Cerrone is another one of my favorite fighters but more for the reason that this guy will fight anyone anywhere with any amount of notice. I respect that. This fight will be another one that will be very close and I think will end in split decision. Only way this fight gets stopped is if Lawler can hit Cerrone’s midsection repeatedly, we all know he has a very soft midsection.
Prediction: Robbie Lawler (-160) for 2*
Women’s Featherweight Championship – Cristiane Justino (17-1, 1 NC) vs. Tonya Evinger (19-5, 1 NC)
This fight just isn’t fair. Good for Evinger to not be scared and take the big payday to fight Justino after the current champion Germaine de Randamie got her panties in a wad and complained about fighting the PED using Justino. UFC stripped her of her belt for refusal to fight Justino but I think the UFC should have just given the belt to Justino. Why put someone like Evinger through the torture. Just parlay Justino into every bet you make because betting it alone isn’t worth it but I have too.
Prediction: Cristiane Justino (-1200) for 1*
Welterweight Championship – Tyron Woodley (c) (17-3-1) vs. Demian Maia (25-6)
Woodley has great takedown defense but he has never faced probably the greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to ever step into the octagon. The fight will be determined by whether or not Maia can get Woodley to the ground, if he can he wins, if can’t Woodley wins. It’s as simple as that. I think Woodley avoids going to the ground and wins, but it’s a very nervous prediction. Dana White has said that the winner of this fight will face Georges St-Pierre and Woodley has already stated that would be a dream come true for him. You can’t stop dreams from happening!!!
Prediction: Tyron Woodley (-215) for 2*
Light Heavyweight Championship – Daniel Cormier (c) (19-1) vs. Jon Jones (22-1)
I want Cormier to win because Jones has become the easiest person to hate in all of the UFC, but Jones has been mentally preparing for this fight for way too long and this is his redemption tour. Jones finally dropped the good-guy attitude on camera and has now embraced the villain role, but he is still the best fighter in the UFC hands down. Normally a guy coming off such a long layoff is not a good bet, but this is Jon “Bones” Jones we are talking about. Cormier had some good moments in their first fight but he couldn’t keep Jones down, which is the only way he can win. Jones being back in the UFC is great for the sport and great for the fans, but not great for Cormier. This is the only bet I am rooting for myself to lose.
Prediction: Jon Jones (-255) for 5*