Best UFC bets: MMA picks, predictions, odds to consider on DraftKings Sportsbook for October 30
UFC 267 is a fantastic card, without a shadow of a doubt. It features 15 fights of varying importance, but the main map is truly premium fodder. The nine-fight undercard is packed with pairs of prospects who have an air of intrigue around them, with new faces making their promotional debuts dotting the fight sheet. There are also veteran versus prospect showdowns to whet the appetite (looking at you, Amirkhani versus Murphy).
When all the excitement is gone from the preliminary map, we’ll be treated to a main map that will see two title fights and four pairs of top contenders to cap off a top-notch day of action. Day? Yeah, that’s right. This card takes place in Abu Dhabi, so it starts at 10:30 am ET on Saturday. For all the Europeans who complain about having to stay awake until dawn, this card is tailor-made for you.
Khamzat Chimaev makes his long-awaited return in octagonal action against super tough Li Jingliang, and it has to be wondered if the free time will affect Chimaev as he had a pretty severe fight with COVID-19 and even considered retiring. . Volkan Oezdemir will try to straighten the ship out after a devastating knockout loss to Jiri Prochazka when he takes on headstroke specialist Magomed Ankalaev. Alexander Volkov is also looking to get back on the winning track when he takes on red slugger Marcin Tybura in a heavyweight clash, and Islam Makhachev meets short-term replacement Dan Hooker in what is sure to be an action-packed firecracker.
Then you get to the title fights, and they smoke. In a more perfect world, the main co-event featuring Petr Yan in a bantamweight duel with Cory Sandhagen would be for the undisputed title, but alas, it’s for an interim belt. The upside is that there will be no doubts about who gets Aljamain Sterling’s first crack when this is all over. The main event will see 42-year-old Glover Teixeira challenge Jan Blachowicz for his light heavyweight crown, and it’s hard to root for either guy. Both have had their ups and downs but have managed to keep their eyes on the price. Now here we are, on the eve of two of the nicest guys in sport jumping for gold. It doesn’t get much better than that for die-hard MMA fans.
There are plenty of other fights out there that will no doubt appeal to all kinds of fighting appetites, but we’re going to take a look at the four that we think are the most optimal bets to make on. DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira
Jan Blachowicz to win by KO / TKO / DQ +100
Blachowicz has certainly come a long way in the past two and a half years. Since his loss to Thiago Santos, he’s had a perfect five-fight run, winning a title along the way and defending it in a “champion-champion” pairing with middleweight pivot Israel Adesanya. Before Santos’ loss, he was on a four-game winning streak. It’s hard to imagine that just four years ago Blachowicz was fighting for his place in the roster and will defend his belt for the second time on Saturday. And make no mistake about it, he’s made marked progress in his fighting game, most noticeable during the Adesanya fight where his net jab did most of the heavy lifting. He also displayed devastating power, taking out Luke Rockhold, Corey Anderson, and Dominick Reyes. At 38, he has never looked so good.
Enter Glover Teixeira, who officially turned 42 on Thursday. Also on a five-fight streak in a row, Teixeira had the late-blooming Cinderella run which is extraordinarily rare in the sport. If he manages to secure the victory, he will be the oldest champion for the first time in UFC history. Glover has a knack for being able to reverse his fortune in the middle of a fight, finding himself more than once stunned or let down, then tapping into a deep store of mental strength to turn the fight around and claim victory. He’s a smart wrestler with an absolutely wicked floor and pound and he’s also very good at submitting. At 42, he has never looked so good.
It’s also an incredibly difficult choice to make, but I think Blachowicz’s power and ultra-reliable jab will be what wins this fight. His high performance saw him outperform any opponent he beat, and in his first bout with Jimi Manuwa, a loss, he even got the upper hand on the numbers (of a, but still, a statistic). is a statistic). Blachowicz isn’t too bad on the pitch either, as evidenced by his excellent teardown play seen in many of his fights. There is no doubt that Glover can take the win here, I just think the odds are much better, at least in my mind, for Big Jan to keep his belt. Don’t expect this one to do the full five laps.
Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen
Petr Yan to win by decision +140
Yan versus Sandhagen made me go back and forth for weeks. This is, by far, the toughest fight on the map to make a prediction. But from my current current of thought, I lean on Yan. The reason is adaptability. Aljamain Sterling is an elite level wrestler, but Yan handily passed him before the unfortunate foul that caused him to lose his belt. When he fought Jose Aldo, he beat him 194-83 before Aldo finally succumbed to the onslaught. Yan does whatever is necessary, adapts as needed, adjusts on the fly – quite simply, he gets the job done.
Sandhagen is a phenomenal fighter in his own right, and I firmly believe he should have gotten the green light against TJ Dillashaw in July. His strike is technical, punctuated by a clean jab, similar to a piston and well-synchronized combinations. He is a big believer in bodywork and tears a left in the liver with devastating effect. His lanky frame often allows him to dictate range, and when he’s not trying new rotational moves he’s a composed and savvy fighter. Add to that his exceptional footwork, and you’ve got the recipe for a fight that’s really, really hard to choose. This competition will probably go the distance, and I choose carefully, without confidence, Yan to take the W.
Islam Makhachev vs. Dan Hooker
Dan Hooker to win by decision +1000
Makhachev is Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next comer, according to connoisseurs, and while his fight may look similar, his overall athleticism is a bit lacking compared to the retired lightweight king. Make no mistake, Makhachev is a juggernaut and is sure to claim the nickname “best wrestler” now that the Eagle has left his perch. He has the style of grind and relentless pressure that is designed to beat guys like Hooker. His submission game is exceptional, he has shown flashes of power and he remains calm, almost at fault. Some might say that he is too calm and totally reluctant to take risks. He’s also been injured by fewer men than Dan Hooker, so there’s a clear threat to the feet, especially with Hooker set to be the one taking big risks for maximum dividends.
Hooker, on the other hand, is athletic, fairly durable, has good withdrawal defense, and has good cardio. The fight with Dustin Poirier demonstrated all of these facets of a T, but he wasn’t faced with overwhelming force like Makhachev. It could be an exceptional performance for Hooker if he manages to achieve what many think is impossible. The late reviews aspect also adds a bit of an X factor. But ultimately I’m going with Hooker based more on gut feeling than anything else, so do what you want with it. Look for this one to go the distance.
Li Jingliang vs. Khamzat Chimaev
Li Jingliang to win by KO / TKO / DQ +650
If you know me, you know that I am a big fan of Jingliang. He has a bold style that relies on aggression, pressure and a breakneck pace, but he has other strengths that bolster his game. For example, he has an incredibly tough chin and has never been knocked out. In fact, of his five losses, he was only finished once, in 2015, standing bareback against Keita Nakamura. Since then he’s gone 8-2 on his Octagon outings. It’s a cardio machine and has a certified heater, as evidenced by nine of its knockout wins. Just ask Santiago Ponzinibbio, who tasted that fire in January.
Then you have Chimaev, a true athletic phenomenon. He’s fast, powerful and strong, with great instincts that led to perfect shots, resulting in devastating finishes. He’s only passed the first round once, so it’s unclear what his stamina reserves might look like, and his level of competition hasn’t come close to Jingliang’s, except by Gerald Meerschaert – even there it’s a bit of a stretch. He’s going to have a decided size advantage, but we can only guess where his real cap is.
This excellent matchmaking is the real litmus test for Chimaev, and just another day at the office for Jingliang. Chimaev can certainly take the victory, but I can’t help but think about the wealth of top-level experience Jingliang has. When you combine that with all of his athletic gifts, I find it hard to fight him even though I wasn’t a fan. Look for Jingliang to exhaust him and score the KO after the middle of the fight.
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