Bellator 208: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen

Bellator 208, the second of two big-time Bellator events taking place this weekend, will see Fedor Emelianenko and Chael Sonnen battle it out to advance in the Bellator World Heavyweight Grand Prix. Scheduled for Saturday, October 13, just one day after Matt Mitrione and Ryan Bader headline Bellator 207, Bellator 208 will also feature several brilliant fights between established talent in the promotion.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen

Fedor Emelianenko and Chael Sonnen are going to compete in a heavyweight bout in Bellator in 2018. It sounds ridiculous, and it kind of is, but there’s a lot to love about this matchup. Emelianenko advanced to the second round after defeating finishing Frank Mir inside the first minute of his first-round matchup, and Sonnen made his way to the semifinals by outworking Quinton Jackson through three rounds.

Best odds for Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen:

Let’s begin by saying that it seems like whenever you back against one of these two fighters, they go on to win the bout with ease. It happened to many bettors who picked Quinton Jackson to be too big and strong for Sonnen in the first round, and many people though Mir would be too much for Fedor. Yet, here we are.

Fedor’s legacy lives on as not just the greatest heavyweight to ever compete in mixed martial arts but arguably one of the best mixed martial artists of any weight class in the history of the sport. Gone are the days of his ridiculous 29-fight winning streak, but Fedor is still an incredibly dangerous fighter with crafty fighting ability on the feet and on the mat, too.

Moreover, then there’s Chael Sonnen, whose athletic ability might not be what it once was, but his intelligence and understanding of the fight game is still as good as ever. After losing to Tito Ortiz in his Bellator debut, he went on to defeat Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson via unanimous decision.

Pace and pressure is the key for Chael Sonnen in this matchup. He’ll need to avoid trading shots with the super-powerful Fedor Emelianenko, but if he can get this fight to the mat and control the flow of the fight with his excellent top pressure, he might do enough to win on the scorecards. Sonnen makes for a great underdog bet.

Bet on Chael Sonnen to win at odds of +223 with Pinnacle

Benson Henderson vs. Saad Awad

Benson Henderson is on the last fight of his Bellator contract and will be looking to end his current run by making a statement in front of the fans at Bellator 208. Henderson will face Saad Awad, who is on an impressive four-fight winning streak.

Best odds for Benson Henderson vs. Saad Awad:

Long-time fans of mixed martial arts remember Benson Henderson as a wrecking ball who has beaten the likes of Frankie Edgar, Donald Cerrone, Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal, and many other top lightweights in the UFC. Since moving to Bellator, we haven’t seen the Henderson of old, and he has overwhelmingly struggled to get consistent results. Recently, however, Henderson did snap a losing streak and returned to winning ways.

As mentioned earlier, Saad Awad’s four-fight winning streak is exactly the type of momentum that Henderson is in desperate need of. Awad’s heavy punches and fight-finishing power has helped him secure victories after losing to some of the top contenders in Bellator’s lightweight division.

Benson Henderson should be too good for Saad Awad in this fight. Awad is dangerous, but is a little too vulnerable to strikes and Henderson should make him pay at close and long range.

Bet on Benson Henderson to win -450 with Bovada

Alexander Shlemenko vs. Anatoly Tokov

Alexander Shlemenko will return to Bellator again to face Anatoly Tokov, who is flying under the radar despite winning 19 of his last 20 fights.

Best odds for Alexander Shlemenko vs. Anatoly Tokov:

  • Alexander Shlemenko: -112 (Bovada)
  • Anatoly Tokov: -102 (Bovada)

A former champion of Bellator, Shlemenko is arguably on the worst stretch of his career. It’s only two consecutive defeats, so it might not seem like much, but he dropped a fight recently that was he expected to win against Bruno Silva at M-1 Challenge. That defeat made it two in a row for Shlemenko who last lost to Gegard Mousasi in the Bellator cage.

It’s not going to be easy for Shlemenko to snap this streak, either, as he’ll be facing Anatoly Tokov who has likely forgotten the feeling of losing. Tokov joined Bellator in February 2017 and won his debut with the promotion but was forced to sit out after tearing his ACL. He returned to the cage in a big way by defeating Vladimir Filipovic via submission in less than one minute at Bellator 200.

Who could honestly confidently back Alexander Shlemenko after what we saw from him at M-1 Challenge in his last fight? He looked disinterested, and his power wasn’t there. Tokov will be ready for Shlemenko’s tricky spinning attacks and eventually take over the contest.

Bet on Anatoly Tokov to win at odds of -102 with Bovada

Cheick Kongo vs. Timothy Johnson

Cheick Kongo will test Timothy Johnson in his first fight with Bellator after his back-and-forth seven-fight stint with the UFC.

Best odds for Cheick Kongo vs. Timothy Johnson:

  • Cheick Kongo: +113 (Bovada)
  • Timothy Johnson: -135 (Bovada)

Cheick Kongo has won all of his last six fights (!!!) and is now on the best run of his entire mixed martial arts career. As always, we never really know what version of Kongo we are going to get on fight night, but he has managed to outlast so many of Bellator’s heavyweight fighters in a row. This will be a different test, though, considering that Timothy Johnson is a decent fighter who is crossing over from the UFC. While competing with the UFC, Johnson managed several major victories – including one over Marcin Tybura – but was never able to string two wins together.

The odds for this fight have been all over the place. Some bettors picked up Timothy Johnson at generous underdog odds, but those days have been and gone. Kongo is now a moderate underdog and will make for an excellent bet here at Bellator 208.

Bet on Cheick Kongo to win at odds of +113 with Bovada

Henry Corrales vs. Andy Main

Henry Corrales and Andy Main will get the Bellator 208’s main card started.

Best odds for Henry Corrales vs. Andy Main:

Things change quickly in mixed martial arts, and there is arguably no greater evidence of that than the way that Henry Corrales has turned his Bellator career around. After losing his first three fights with the promotion, Corrales has since picked up three major victories.

He’ll be facing Andy Main, who is mostly known for his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter Season 12. Since then, however, he’s crafted a stable career as a mixed martial artist and will now enter Bellator after winning eight of his last nine fights.

This is Corrales’ opportunity to shine against a Bellator newcomer. Look for Corrales to keep his streak alive.

Bet on Henry Corrales to win at odds of -550 with Bovada

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Best Bets for Bellator 208

We’ve analyzed all of the matchups at Bellator 208, and we are confident in our list of best bets below:

  • Chael Sonnen to win: +223 (Pinnacle)
  • Benson Henderson to win: -450 (Bovada)
  • Anatoly Tokov to win: -102 (Bovada)
  • Cheick Kongo to win: +113 (Bovada)
  • Henry Corrales to win: -550 (Bovada)

Bellator 208 Fight Card

The Bellator 208 main card begins on Paramount Network from 9:00 pm ET (1:00 am GMT) on Saturday, October 13.

Bellator 208 Main Card – Paramount Network (9:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)

  • Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen
  • Benson Henderson vs. Saad Awad
  • Alexander Shlemenko vs. Anatoly Tokov
  • Cheick Kongo vs. Timothy Johnson
  • Henry Corrales vs. Andy Main

Bellator 208 Preliminary Card (6:30 pm ET / 10:30 pm GMT)

  • Tommy Espinosa vs. Suhrob Aidarbekov
  • Frank Buenafuente vs. James Gonzalez
  • Jeremy Puglia vs. Eric Olsen
  • Mike DiOrio vs. Andrews Rodriguez
  • Zarrukh Adashev vs. Christian Medina
  • Ryan Castro vs. Dennis Buzukia
  • Jerome Mickle vs. Nick Fiore
  • Robson Gracie Jr. vs. Jamal Pottinger
  • Jennifer Chieng vs. Jessica Ruiz
  • Shaquan Moore vs. David Meshkhoradze

Bellator 207: Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader

Bellator 207 Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader

There’s no time to rest for fans of mixed martial arts. Just days after the most significant event in UFC history that saw Khabib Nurmagomedov defeat Conor McGregor (and an intense post-fight brawl), Bellator will be hosting not one but two epic events.

Bellator 207 is the first of the two and will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Friday, October 12.

Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader

The Bellator World Heavyweight Grand Prix continues this weekend when Matt Mitrione meets Ryan Bader in the first semifinal of the major tournament. Mitrione advanced to the second round after defeating Roy Nelson by majority decision, and Bader made his way here after knocking out “King Mo” in less than 20 seconds.

Best odds for Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader:

Matt Mitrione could have (and arguably should have) been Bellator’s heavyweight champion already if it wasn’t for the grand prix. Mitrione has looked outstanding since transitioning to Bellator and remains undefeated in the promotion after four fights. While his biggest win was his knockout victory over Fedor Emelianenko on the grand stage of Bellator NYC last year, some of his best work was against Roy Nelson at Bellator 194 in the first round of this tournament. Despite a narrow decision and being dominated by Nelson for minutes at a time, Mitrione’s stand-up looked better than ever, and he was piecing up the veteran with stiff straight punches, excellent body shots, and heavy leg kicks. Ultimately, his work while standing was enough to win over two of the three judges.

Ryan Bader has also looked exceptional since joining the ranks at Bellator, and it’s difficult to decipher whether it’s because he has improved dramatically or only because he is facing lesser-skilled competition – it’s likely a combination of both. Since leaving the UFC, Bader has defeated Phil Davis, Linton Vassell, and Muhammad Lawal, and now reigns as the light heavyweight champion of the promotion. If he goes on to win the tournament, he’ll also become the first-ever simultaneous two-division champion in Bellator.

Bader’s wrestling is the X-factor in this matchup, and there’s no doubting the significance of his advantage in this department. Mitrione was continually grounded by Nelson in his last fight and was beaten so severely on the mat in round three that one judge awarded Nelson with a 10-8 in the final round. Of course, Mitrione’s striking is as dangerous as ever, but it’s too hard to pick against Bader and his grappling in this main event.

Bet on Ryan Bader to win at odds of -275 with (Bovada)

Roy Nelson vs. Sergei Kharitonov

Roy Nelson’s levels of frustration couldn’t be any higher. After losing what he believes is a controversial decision against Matt Mitrione in the first round of the Bellator World Heavyweight Grand Prix, he’ll now compete in the co-main event while Mitrione has the chance to advance in the tournament. Nelson will face the returning Sergei Kharitonov, who has compiled an impressive four-fight winning streak since losing to Javy Ayala in November 2016.

Best odds for Roy Nelson vs. Sergei Kharitonov:

  • Roy Nelson: -350 (Bovada)
  • Sergei Kharitonov: +265 (Bovada)

You never really know what you’re going to get from Roy Nelson. At the age of 42, we’ve almost seen it all from “Big Country,” but he’s managed to drop several incredibly important fights in recent years. Nelson’s greatest problem seems to be a vast discrepancy in the way that he scores a fight compared to the way the actual judges score the bout. Against Mitrione, Nelson secured critical takedowns in round one and two but did little work from the dominant position and therefore was unable to steal the rounds. Of course, this problem is quickly forgotten when he lands one of his super-powerful punches and finishes the fight via knockout.

Sergei Kharitonov’s Bellator debut couldn’t have gone any worse than it did. After managing an impressive five-fight winning streak, Kharitonov was knocked out by Javy Ayal in only 16 seconds at Bellator 163. Despite bouncing back with a win over Chase Gormley not long after, Kharitonov has since competed in China and Russia and again worked his way into another winning streak of four.

Nelson lost to Mitrione solely because he was outmatched on the feet. He won’t be out of his league in this one.

Bet on Roy Nelson to win at odds of -350 with (Bovada)

Lorenz Larkin vs. Ion Pascu

Lorenz Larkin has been asked to deal with yet another opponent change for Bellator 207.

Larkin was initially scheduled to fight Yaroslav Amosov, but an injury forced Amosov to withdraw and Erick Silva to step in. However, Silva also became injured recently, and it is now Ion Pascu who will meet Lorenz Larkin at Bellator 207 this weekend.

Best odds for Lorenz Larkin vs. Ion Pascu:

When Lorenz Larkin made his way to Bellator, many thought he would be in the running for a title. However, Larkin went on to lose fights with top Bellator talent in Douglas Lima and Paul Daley and now finds himself needing to reclimb the ranks.

Larkin will be up against Pascu, who has appeared only once inside the Bellator cage. In his debut with the promotion, he lasted the distance with Ed Ruth and now will secure his first victory with the organization.

It won’t be easy, but Lorenz Larkin’s class will shine through at Bellator 207.

Bet on Lorenz Larkin to win at -700 with Bovada

Kevin Ferguson Jr. vs. Corey Browning

Kevin Ferguson Jr. will move down to the lightweight division as he looks to make a name for himself in the 155 lbs category. “Baby Slice” will be competing against Corey Browning on the main card of Bellator 207.

Best odds for Kevin Ferguson Jr. vs. Corey Browning:

  • Kevin Ferguson Jr: -750 (Bovada)
  • Corey Browning: +475 (Bovada)

Kevin Ferguson has bounced back in a big way since losing his mixed martial arts debut. “Baby Slice” was submitted by a guillotine choke in his first-ever fight but has since backed it up with three wins all by way of first-round stoppage. He’ll enter this fight after defeating Devon Brock in only 34 seconds.

Browning will be making his Bellator debut this weekend and is primed with a brilliant opportunity to snap a two-fight losing streak and score a significant victory on the biggest stage of his career so far. After starting his career with three stoppages, Browning has since lost touch and been unable to secure a victory.

Don’t be fooled into comparing “Baby Slice” with the street fighting of his father, Ferguson Jr. is becoming increasingly technical and well-rounded as a mixed martial artist. Look for a finish here.

Bet on Kevin Ferguson to win at -750 with Bovada

Carrington Banks vs. Mandel Nallo

Two incredibly exciting prospects will do battle at the beginning of Bellator 207’s main card when Carrington Banks meets Mandel Nallo in a lightweight bout.

Best odds for Carrington Banks vs. Mandel Nallo

  • Carrington Banks: -235 (Bovada)
  • Mandel Nallo: +185 (Bovada)

Banks started his career with seven consecutive victories and looked to be nearly unstoppable until meeting Adam Piccolotti recently. Upon entering the Piccolotti fight, Banks was a heavy betting favorite but ended up giving his back to the submission-wiz and losing the fight in the third round.

Nallo is flying under the radar a little since joining Bellator even after securing an impressive 18-second head kick knockout in his debut with the promotion. With a big win over Banks on the Bellator 207 main card, Nallo is well on his way to becoming a highly-regarded prospect – if he isn’t already!

Bet on Carrington Banks to win at -235 with Bovada

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Best Bets for Bellator 207

We’ve reviewed all of the fights on the Bellator 207 main card and here are our best bets for the evening:

  • Ryan Bader to win: -275 with Bovada
  • Roy Nelson to win: -350 with Bovada
  • Lorenz Larkin to win: -700 with Bovada
  • Kevin Ferguson Jr. to win: -750 with Bovada
  • Carrington Banks to win: -235 with Bovada

We’re taking all of the favorites here.

Bellator 207 Fight Card

The Bellator 207 main card begins on Paramount Network from 9:00 pm ET (1:00 am GMT) on Friday, October 12.

Bellator 207 Main Card – Paramount Network (9:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)

  • Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader
  • Roy Nelson vs. Sergei Kharitonov
  • Lorenz Larkin vs. Ion Pascu
  • Kevin Ferguson Jr. (Baby Slice) vs. Corey Browning
  • Carrington Banks vs. Mandel Nallo

Bellator 207 Preliminary Card (6:30 pm ET / 10:30 pm GMT)

  • Michael Kimbel vs. Alex Potts
  • Sean Lally vs. Kemran Lachinov
  • Kastriot Xhema vs. Pat Casey
  • Sinead Kavanagh vs. Janay Harding
  • Nicholas Giulietti vs. Alex Ortiz
  • Alexandra Ballou vs. Lisa Blaine
  • Andre Fialho vs. Javier Torres
  • Kristi Lopez vs. Sarah Click
  • Tim Caron vs. Vincius de Jesus

UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor

UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor

It’s finally here. Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his UFC Lightweight Championship against Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 229 this weekend at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

This bout is not just the most anticipated of the evening; it’s also one of the greatest matchups ever put together by the UFC. Nurmagomedov and McGregor will headline a relatively stacked main card that features several epic clashes between ranked UFC contenders.

We’re here to bring you all of the odds and our analysis.

Let’s go!

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor

Nurmagomedov:-150, McGregor: +155

It’s been almost two years since we have seen Conor McGregor compete inside the UFC’s Octagon, and when he returns this weekend, he’ll be up against his toughest test to date. Standing across from him is the undefeated Russian lightweight, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has stormed past 26 opponents and never looked in trouble while doing so.

However, as much as this is a difficult task for “The Notorious,” it’s also a big ask for Nurmagomedov, who is yet to face a striker of McGregor’s caliber – partly because McGregor is arguably the best striker in the UFC.

Khabib’s pathway to victory in this matchup is no secret; he’ll look to secure takedown after takedown and maul McGregor on the mat with vicious ground and pound. Although his gameplan never changes, no one has been able to stop the onslaught of takedowns from Nurmagomedov to date. Nurmagomedov’s takedowns come as a result of overwhelming forward pressure that forces his opponent back to the cage. Edson Barboza’s terrifying kicks were no match for Nurmagomedov because the Russian continually pushed him backward and disallowed him from planting his feet.

It could be a different story against McGregor, however.

The Irishman is a master of pressure, as well. Although he doesn’t storm forward in the same way that Nurmagomedov does, McGregor controls the center of the Octagon due to his reach, reflexes, timing, and feints. If Nurmagomedov can’t move McGregor from the center, the Russian will have an increasingly challenging time getting McGregor to the mat.

Moreover, as long as this fight is standing, it’s in favor of Conor McGregor.

Prediction: Conor McGregor by KO/TKO – Round 2

Bet: Conor McGregor to win

Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis

Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis

Ferguson: -310, Pettis: +325

Tony Ferguson is back, and he wants to make a statement.

“El Cucuy” was stripped of his UFC Interim Lightweight Championship after an unfortunate injury caused him to withdraw from his main event title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov in April this year. Now motivated to earn himself a shot at the winner of Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor, Ferguson is set on defeating Anthony Pettis at UFC 229.

Pettis’ last performance against Michael Chiesa was enough to make everyone assume he has returned to the form of his past. However, Pettis has always been a fantastic fighter, and his submission win over Chiesa shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Pettis is remarkably skilled on the mat and has picked up several major submission victories over elite grapplers in recent years alone. Moreover, on the feet, of course, Pettis’ outstanding arsenal of kicks and counter punches means that he is still as dangerous as ever.

When these two forces collide at UFC 229, it’s tough to see a scenario in which they both leave the cage unscathed.

Prediction: Anthony Pettis by KO/TKO – Round 2

Bet: Total Rounds – Under 2.5

Bet: Anthony Pettis to win

Derrick Lewis vs. Alexander Volkov

Derrick Lewis vs. Alexander Volkov

Lewis: +158, Volkov: – 172

Alexander Volkov was arguably already deserving of a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship, but he’ll now need to get through the heavy-hitting Derrick Lewis to get that opportunity.

Lewis will step into the cage after his fight with Francis Ngannou at UFC 226 that was memorable for all of the wrong reasons. A miserable total of 31 strikes were landed by both fighters through 15 minutes of “action” and led many to wonder what went wrong. Lewis came out on top almost only because Ngannou rarely attempted to engage. That victory moved Lewis to 8-1 in his last nine fights, and he now enjoys a two-fight winning streak after losing to Mark Hunt in 2017.

Although Alexander Volkov is one of the most skilled heavyweight fighters on the roster, he seems to get very little of the respect he deserves in this division. Volkov is currently on a six-fight winning streak, and four of those are in the UFC since joining in 2016. Most recently, Volkov secured a win over former champion Fabricio Werdum.

Volkov’s superb conditioning could see him outlast Lewis and take over in the second and third round. Expect Volkov to punish Lewis’ body with kicks to sap all of the energy and explosiveness from “The Black Beast.”

Prediction: Alexander Volkov by unanimous decision

Bet: Alexander Volkov to win

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes

Saint Preux: +201, Reyes: -222

Ovince Saint Preux is set to face the rising up-and-comer Dominick Reyes on the main card of UFC 229.

“OSP” is a proven veteran of the light heavyweight division and is enjoying a career rejuvenation now after winning four of his last five fights. Before this streak, Saint Preux suffered defeat against Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira, Jimi Manuwa, and Volkan Oezdemir, all of whom are top-rated light heavyweight fighters. And recently, “OSP” has been scoring wins in all kinds of ways against unproven contenders and rising talent.

That’s precisely the category in which Dominick Reyes lies right now.

Unbeaten after nine fights and with three-first round victories to his name in the UFC, Reyes is storming up the ranks and is demanding attention from fans around the world. His exciting and fast-finishing style has been ultra-impressive, and he’ll be looking to put “OSP” away early in this one.

Prediction: Dominick Reyes by KO/TKO – Round 1

Bet: Dominick Reyes to win

Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig

Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig

Waterson: +110, Herrig: -118

Michelle Waterson and Felice Herrig will open up the UFC 229 main card with an exciting women’s strawweight clash.

Waterson is now 3-2 in the UFC with her only losses to current champion Rose Namajunas and the super-tough Tecia Torres. Her win over VanZant is easily her most impressive, as she secured a takedown and submitted her with a rear-naked choke in the first round. Waterson narrowly avoided a three-fight losing streak by winning a closely contested battle with Cortney Casey most recently.

Felice Herrig is in a similar position to Michelle Waterson right now. With wins over Cortney Casey, Justine Kish, Alexa Grasso, and Kailin Curran, Herrig has shown she is a class above the middle-tier of the division. However, she was unable to launch herself higher into the rankings recently after losing to Karolina Kowalkiewicz by split decision.

This should be a competitive back-and-forth war, but we’re siding with Felice Herrig.

Prediction: Felice Herrig to win by unanimous decision

Bet: Felice Herrig to win

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UFC 229 Fight Card

UFC 229 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, October 6.

Pay-per-view (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor
  • Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis
  • Ovince Saint Preux vs. Dominick Reyes
  • Derrick Lewis vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Michelle Waterson vs. Felice Herrig

FS1 Prelims (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Sergio Pettis vs. Jussier Formiga
  • Vicente Luque vs. Jalin Turner
  • Aspen Ladd vs. Tonya Evinger
  • Scott Holtzman vs. Alan Patrick

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:30 pm ET / 12:30 pm GMT)

  • Lina Lansberg vs. Yana Kunitskaya
  • Gray Maynard vs. Nik Lentz
  • Ryan LaFlare vs. Tony Martin

Bellator 206: Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald

Gegard Mousasi is a significant betting favorite at odds of -230 and Rory MacDonald currently sits at +221.

This is the matchup that everyone wanted. The fans and fighters themselves called for this one, and now Bellator has managed to put together one of the most highly-anticipated fights of the year.

It’s not surprising to see Mousasi and MacDonald reigning over their divisions in Bellator already. These world-class fighters are incredibly well-rounded and would arguably still be disrupting the top of their respective divisions in the UFC.

Before parting ways with the UFC, Gegard Mousasi was on a five-fight winning streak that included KO/TKO victories over Chris Weidman, Uriah Hall, Vitor Belfort, and Thiago Santos. After signing to Bellator in 2017, Mousasi has since defeated Alexander Shlemenko and then took the middleweight title from Rafael Carvalho in May this year.

Rory MacDonald has been equally as dominant since joining the ranks at Bellator. MacDonald dominated Paul Daley on arrival and then defeated the underrated Douglas Lima by unanimous decision to claim the welterweight title.

And that’s why this fight is sure to be amazing. MacDonald will be moving up a weight class to challenge Mousasi for the Bellator Middleweight Championship and attempt to become the first-ever simultaneous two-division champion in Bellator.

What should we expect?

Both fighters have several remarkably similar traits and tendencies. They are exceptionally composed during combat and rarely stray from their chosen game plan. Systematic in their approach, Mousasi and MacDonald will patiently wait for the right opportunity to strike.

These fighters are well-versed on the mat, as well as on the feet, and apply outstanding pressure from the top position while connecting with heavy ground and pound. While standing, we can expect to see Mousasi land with his stinging jab and MacDonald will likely attempt to answer back over the top with his counter right hand.

If it weren’t for the size and strength disparity, it would be hard to separate these two fighters.

We believe Mousasi deserves to be the betting favorite by only a slight margin. These odds are too far apart, and we will be backing MacDonald to win at what seems like exceptional value.

Prediction: Rory MacDonald by unanimous decision

Bet: Rory MacDonald to win (+221 at SportBet)

Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva

Quinton Jackson will enter the co-main event as a significant favorite (-253) against Wanderlei Silva (+245) for this rematch.

Well, here we are again. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will step into the cage with Wanderlei Silva for the fourth time when they clash at Bellator 206.

Silva holds a 2-1 advantage over “Rampage” with knockout finishes in 2003 and 2004 in Pride. Jackson got his revenge at UFC 92 in 2008 when he floored Wanderlei with a powerful left hook.

To say that Wanderlei Silva isn’t the same fighter is a gigantic understatement. However, it’s worth mentioning that “Rampage” isn’t as terrifying as he once was, either. Although it’s been over four years since we’ve witnessed a KO/TKO finish from Quinton Jackson, this could be the night we see another one. Jackson’s boxing has evolved tremendously since losing to Wanderlei many years ago, and this was the critical factor in the third fight.

After both fighters lost to Chael Sonnen in their recent bout, Jackson and Silva will welcome a stand-up battle in this one, and it’s likely that Jackson will connect with enough power to end the night early.

Prediction: Quinton Jackson by KO/TKO – Round 2

Bet: Quinton Jackson to win (-255 at BetOnline)

Andrey Koreshkov vs. Douglas Lima

Andrey Koreshkov (-150) is favored to score the victory against Douglas Lima (+135) at Bellator 206.

Unlike the rematch between Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva, Andrey Koreshkov vs. Douglas Lima is a rematch that the people actually wanted.

Koreshkov and Lima will open up the first round of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix here at Bellator 206 this weekend. The winner of this fight will go on to meet the victor of Paul Daley vs. Michael “Venom” Page in the semi-finals. If victorious, they’ll then fight for the Bellator Welterweight Championship in the final. There’s clearly a lot at stake here for these two former champions.

There’s also a lot of history.

These two first met at Bellator 140 in 2015 when Douglas Lima lost his title to Andrey Koreshkov. After bouncing back with a win against Paul Daley, Lima then successfully reclaimed his belt by knocking out an over-aggressive Koreshkov in the third round.

This fight is essentially a battle of power vs. speed. Lima packs jaw-shattering power in his hands and Koreshkov is the lighter and faster fighter who has controlled most of the action between these two in the past.

Prediction: Andrey Koreshkov by unanimous decision

Bet: Andrey Koreshkov to win (-150 at BetOnline)

Aaron Pico vs. Leandro Higo

Aaron Pico (-450) is a massive betting favorite against former title challenger Leandro Higo (+430)

It’s about time that we stop calling Aaron Pico a “prospect.”

The 22-year-old has now managed three spectacular KO/TKO finishes consecutively and bounced back from the stunning defeat in his debut. Showcasing his heavy hands, Pico has crushed his last two opponents with devastating body shots and is yet to utilize his offensive wrestling skills inside the Bellator cage.

There’s no doubting that Leandro Higo is the toughest test to date for Pico. Higo is a smooth and highly-skilled submission specialist with many rear-naked choke finishes to his name. Now 1-2 in his three fights under the Bellator banner, Higo has only dropped bouts against Eduardo Dantas and Darrion Caldwell, who were the bantamweight champion at the time. If Higo wishes to be victorious against Pico, he’s going to need to avoid the mighty punching power of his adversary and uncover a way to get Pico down on the mat.

Prediction: Leandro Higo by submission – Round 3

Bet: Leandro Higo to win (+431 at BetOnline)

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Bellator 206 fight card

The Bellator 206 main card begins on DAZN from 10:00 pm ET (2:00 am GMT) on Saturday, July 29.

Bellator 206 Main Card – DAZN (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald
  • Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva
  • Andrey Koreshkov vs. Douglas Lima
  • Leandro Higo vs. Aaron Pico
  • Keri Melendez vs. Dakota Zimmerman

Bellator 206 Preliminary Card (7:00 pm ET / 11:00 pm GMT)

  • Adam Piccolotti vs. James Terry
  • Gaston Bolanos vs. Ysidro Gutierrez
  • Jeremiah Labiano vs. Justin Smitley
  • Danasabe Mohammed vs. Salvador Becerra
  • Arlene Blencowe vs. Amber Leibrock
  • Joe Neal vs. Josh San Diego
  • Abraham Vaesau vs. DeMarco Villalona
  • Cass Bell vs. Ty Costa
  • Isaiah Batin-Gonzalez vs. Khai Wu
  • Ignacio Ortiz vs. Jacob Ycaro
  • Ricky Abdelaziz vs. Laird Anderson
  • Chuck Campbell vs. Joseph Ramirez
  • Anthony Figueroa vs. Samuel Romero

UFC 227: T.J. Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt

UFC 227: T.J. Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt

UFC’s next pay-per-view event is here. At the top of the bill, T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt will engage in an immediate rematch after the two battled in November last year. On that day, Garbrandt had his title taken away from Dillashaw after a back-and-forth fight that ended in the second round.

T.J. Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt

T.J. Dillashaw is the slight favorite in this main event and can be found for odds of -112, while Cody Garbrandt is at -100 with most sites.

If their first fight was anything to go by, this rematch for the UFC Bantamweight Championship could go either way.

At UFC 217, Garbrandt almost defended his title from Dillashaw when he landed a devastating punch that sent Dillashaw to the mat with seconds remaining in round one. As Dillashaw walked back to his corner, he was wobbling all over the place and looked as if his chances of victory were slim. However, Dillashaw bounced back in the second round and began controlling the action before connecting with a powerful punch of his own that forced Garbrandt to the floor. Only this time, Dillashaw had enough time to finish the fight with a series of strikes to his grounded opponent.

Moreover, the two are set to go head-to-head again for the second time in a matter of eight months. What can we learn from their first fight? Well, Dillashaw had trouble finding his optimal range in the first round. Garbrandt was using his typical elusive footwork to dance in and out and avoid any real danger. He also can position himself in ways that he can launch devastating punches and punish Dillashaw for missing. However, all of that turned on its head in the second round when Dillashaw started to launch kicks without proper setup. By all means, it was these kicks that changed the fight.

This time around, we’re taking Cody Garbrandt to get the win against T.J. Dillashaw.

Prediction: Cody Garbrandt inside the distance

Bet: Cody Garbrandt to win [-100]

Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo

Current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is the betting favorite here, of course, and he’s currently at odds of -455. Henry Cejudo, the challenger, now sits at +400.

The co-main event of UFC 227 features another title fight, although this one isn’t getting nearly enough attention compared to the rematch in the main event.

Like Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt, though, this fight between Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo is the second time that these two have met. At UFC 197, “Mighty Mouse” defeated Cejudo in dominant style. He controlled the clinch and connected with many powerful knees and elbows to eventually back Cejudo up and put an end to the fight.

Since then, “Mighty Mouse” has defeated Tim Elliott, Wilson Reis, and Ray Borg, and each of these victories has an amazing story behind them. Elliott won a UFC organized flyweight tournament that was created with the sole intention of finding someone who can challenge Demetrious Johnson. “Mighty Mouse” then submitted talented jiu-jitsu black belt Wilson Reis. And his flying armbar submission vs. Ray Borg is something that fans will never forget.

Cejudo has been on a roll of his own lately, as well. He lost a decision to Joseph Benavidez which sure looked questionable. However, he backed it up with two consecutive victories and managed to defeat Wilson Reis using his improved striking and then Sergio Pettis over three rounds.

Will Cejudo’s elite wrestling play a factor this time around?

Prediction: Demetrious Johnson to win inside the distance

Bet: Demetrious Johnson to win [-455]

Cub Swanson vs. Renato Moicano

Veteran Cub Swanson is a heavy underdog at +350 while Renato Moicano is available for -355.

Talented striker Renato Moicano will face yet another tough test as he prepares to take on exciting veteran Cub Swanson in a three-round fight.

Moicano could very well be the most underrated fighter in the UFC’s featherweight division and has made a name for himself for being a tough and gritty stand-up fighter with impeccable technique to go with it. He outclassed Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FOX 24 before finding himself in a memorable matchup with Brian Ortega not long after. He was getting the better of Ortega on the feet before eventually falling victim to a guillotine choke from the jiu-jitsu ace in the third round. He enters this fight after defeating Calvin Kattar at UFC 223.

And then there’s Cub Swanson, a fan favorite in the 145 lbs division who recently had his four-fight winning streak snapped. Now, he finds himself in desperate need of a victory after losing to Brian Ortega and Frankie Edgar. Unfortunately for Swanson, though, this one looks like a difficult task.

Prediction: Renato Moicano by unanimous decision

Bet: Renato Moicano to win

Polyana Viana vs. JJ Aldrich

Brazilian Polyana Viana [-240] is a moderate betting favorite in this main card matchup with JJ Aldrich [+240].

Arguably the least anticipated fight on this main card is a women’s strawweight battle between Polyana Viana and JJ Aldrich. Viana and Aldrich are both unranked in the 115 lbs division and had been moved to this main card to plug some holes after injuries ruined the original plans for the event.

This fight could accurately be regarded as a striker vs. grappler type of affair. Viana, a jiu-jitsu fighter, will be looking to get Aldrich down to the mat and work her over with ground and pound or eventually submit her. On the other hand, Aldrich is a reasonably talented kickboxer with the ability to keep her distance and pepper an opponent with strikes. She’ll be focusing on disallowing Viana to shoot in for takedowns.

It’s hard to see a case in which Aldrich can stop the takedowns and keep this one standing long enough.

Prediction: Polyana Viana to win inside the distance

Bet: Polyana Viana to win [-240]

Thiago Santos vs. Kevin Holland

There are no surprises here as Thiago Santos is the overwhelming favorite at odds of -370 and Kevin Holland can be found for odds of +330.

Kevin Holland will be stepping in on short notice to challenge Thiago Santos on UFC 227’s main card. Holland got the call up to compete on this pay-per-view main card just weeks after making an appearance on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. On that night in June, Holland picked up a unanimous decision victory over Will Santiago.

As for Thiago Santos, his place in the division will be tested as he looks to not just score a victory here against this UFC newcomer, but do so in style. The last time Santos was tested by a UFC debutant, he was submitted in the first round by Eric Spicely.

Prediction: Thiago Santos inside the distance

Bet: Thiago Santos to win [-370]

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UFC 227 fight card

UFC 227 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:15 pm ET (10:15 pm GMT) on Saturday, August 4.

Pay-per-view (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • J. Dillashaw [-112] vs. Cody Garbrandt [-100]
  • Demetrious Johnson [-456] vs. Henry Cejudo [+400]
  • Cub Swanson [+348] vs. Renato Moicano [-355]
  • Polyana Viana [-240] vs. JJ Aldrich [+240]
  • Thiago Santos [-370] vs. Kevin Holland [+240]

FX Prelims (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Pedro Munhoz vs. Brett Johns
  • Ricky Simon vs. Montel Jackson
  • Bethe Correia vs. Irene Aldana
  • Matt Sayles vs. Sheymon Moraes

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:15 pm ET / 10:15 pm GMT)

  • Alex Perez vs. Jose Torres
  • Ricardo Ramos vs. Kyung Ho Kang
  • Danielle Taylor vs. Weili Zhang
  • Marlon Vera vs. Wuliji Buren

UFC on FOX 30: Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier

UFC on FOX 30: Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier

Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier

The bookmakers are all about Dustin Poirier in this one as he will enter the cage as a betting favorite at -157, whereas Eddie Alvarez is sitting at decent value of +155.

And here we go!

A brilliant rematch between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier will headline the action at UFC on FOX 30 in Calgary, Canada, this weekend.

These two originally met at UFC 211 in May last year, but the fight somehow turned into a disaster. Poirier was leading the way and beating up Alvarez for minutes before Alvarez shockingly turned the fight around and began to claw his way back into the contest. It would take what was deemed an ‘illegal strike’ for referee Herb Dean to step in and end the fight, calling it a ‘No Contest.’ Despite what was turning into one of the better fights of 2017, it ended up resulting in a disappointing mess.

Since then, Dustin Poirier has picked up significant victories over the likes of Anthony Pettis and Justin Gaethje, finishing both inside three rounds. As for Alvarez, he also sent Gaethje down the rankings after stopping him in the third round.

These two are set to clash for the second time in just over a year, and if it’s anything like the first time they met, it’s going to be a contender for Fight of the Year.

There are many reasons to back Dustin Poirier here in this main event. In particular, his exceptional head movement kept him out of the way of Eddie Alvarez’s bombs (before eventually being clipped in the finishing sequences). He also controlled the timing and distance of the fight for the majority of those two rounds. This one has a smarter and more complete Dustin Poirier performance written all over it.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier to win inside the distance

Bet: Dustin Poirier to win (-157)

Jose Aldo vs. Jeremy Stephens

Former champion Jose Aldo is the slight favorite for this co-main event at -125, while Jeremy Stephens is a marginal underdog at +110.

Jose Aldo, who is possibly the greatest featherweight in UFC history (or even mixed martial arts history) will attempt to break out of an unfortunate streak when he meets Jeremy Stephens this weekend. Aldo lost his title and suffered his first defeat in almost eight years when he was knocked out by Conor McGregor in 13 seconds at UFC 194. Since then, it looked as if Aldo would get back on track when he scored a big win over Frankie Edgar at UFC 200. However, the former champ has now lost two-straight against Max Holloway, the new king of the featherweight division.

As for Stephens, he’s been inching closer and closer to a title shot in the UFC’s 145lbs division. He’s currently riding a three-fight winning streak with victories against Gilbert Melendez, Doo Ho Choi, and Josh Emmett. Moreover, those last two fights were excellent knockout finishes of the adamant Choi and a rising Emmett. A win here against Aldo will shoot him up near the very top of the featherweight division.

As for the fight itself, I think many people are going to be surprised to see that Jose Aldo hasn’t at all declined. Rather, he looked relatively bad against Max Holloway – a guy who has been dominating the featherweight division for a very long time. Expect Aldo to bounce back to winning ways.

Prediction: Jose Aldo to win by unanimous decision

Bet: Jose Aldo to win (-125)

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Tecia Torres

Another former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, will begin as a betting favorite this weekend as she can be locked in at odds of -260 against Tecia Torres (+240).

It wasn’t all that long ago when Joanna Jedrzejczyk was considered not just the best female strawweight in the world, but possibly one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world, as well.That sounds like a bizarre take right now, we know, but it’s certainly amazing how quickly things can change in mixed martial arts.

Since losing to Rose Namajunas – twice – Jedrzejczyk is now in desperate need of a victory. Her opportunity will come against Tecia Torres, who had been storming through the division. With wins over Bec Rawlings, Juliana Lima, and then Michelle Waterson, Torres earned a shot against top contender, Jessica Andrade. Yet, she then fell short against Andrade when it mattered.

A win for either Jedrzejczyk or Torres here puts them near the top and within range of a championship fight with Rose Namajunas.

You know what? This is a very tough matchup for Tecia Torres. Jedrzejczyk made a name for herself by dominating everyone not named Rose Namajunas, and this could very well be another example. We are prepared to see a motivated Jedrzejczyk execute a smart game plan and cruise to victory.

Prediction: Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win by unanimous decision

Bet: Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win (-260)

Alexander Hernandez vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier

Rising star Alexander Hernandez is a slight underdog (+100) against Olivier Aubin-Mercier (-124).

25-year-old Alexander Hernandez made a massive statement in his UFC debut when he finished Beneil Dariush in just 42 seconds at UFC 222. Nearly no one saw that performance coming from Hernandez, who entered the fight with an 8-1 record and minimal levels of hype attached to his name.

And then there’s Olivier Aubin-Mercier, who is a rising prospect in the division as well. Unlike Hernandez, he’s not new to the UFC; however, it’s only been recently that “The Quebec Kid” has made waves in the division. Now, with four victories in a row, Aubin-Mercier is undefeated since June 2016.

Hernandez could be an up-and-coming star in the division, but we have to give him some time to develop further. Aubin-Mercier will likely get over the line in this three-round fight.

Prediction: Olivier Aubin-Mercier to win by unanimous decision

Bet: Olivier Aubin-Mercier to win (-124)

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UFC on FOX 30 fight card

UFC on FOX 30 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 4:00 pm ET (8:00 pm GMT) on Saturday, July 28.

FOX Main Card (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Dustin Poirier [-157] vs. Eddie Alvarez [+155]
  • Jose Aldo [-125] vs. Jeremy Stephens [+110]
  • Joanna Jedrzejczyk [-260] vs. Tecia Torres [+240]
  • Alexander Hernandez [+100] vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier [-124]

FOX Prelims (6:00 pm ET / 10:00 am GMT)

  • Jordan Mein vs. Alex Morono
  • Hakeem Dawodu vs. Austin Arnett
  • Kajan Johnson vs. Islam Makhachev
  • Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Ion Cutelaba

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (4:00 pm ET / 8:00 pm GMT)

  • John Makdessi vs. Ross Pearson
  • Alexis Davis vs. Katlyn Chookagian
  • Dustin Ortiz vs. Matheus Nicolau
  • Randa Markos vs. Nina Ansaroff
  • Devin Powell vs. Alvaro Herrera

UFC Fight Night 134: Mauricio Rua vs. Anthony Smith

UFC Fight Night 134: Mauricio Rua vs. Anthony Smith

Mauricio Rua vs. Anthony Smith

Ahead of this main event in Germany, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will be stepping inside the cage as a moderate underdog (+200) against Smith (-230).

After Volkan Oezdemir was pulled from this bout with Mauricio Rua just a few weeks ago, Anthony Smith was deemed the man most suitable to step up and challenge “Shogun” without much preparation.

The contest, which doesn’t scream importance, actually holds major implications for Rua, who might throw himself into the mix for a shot at Daniel Cormier and the UFC’s Light Heavyweight Championship if he manages to score a win here in Germany. As for Smith, it might just mean he gains the respect he deserves as a tough contender in the division after recently moving up from middleweight and defeating Rashad Evans in the first round.

There’s a real chance that Mauricio Rua can withstand Smith’s pressure and beat him up in the second round.

Prediction: Mauricio Rua to win inside the distance

Bet: Mauricio Rua to win [+200]

Glover Teixeira vs. Corey Anderson

Glover Teixeira is the man that many expect to win this one and he sits at -190, while Corey Anderson is valued at +183.

Moments before that main event, there’ll be another fascinating light heavyweight battle as Glover Teixeira steps into the Octagon with Corey Anderson.

Teixeira has long been regarded as one of the most feared and heavy-hitting strikers in the 205lbs division in the UFC. He’s tough, somewhat durable for his size, and has shown an ability to get guys out of there with strikes early or take them the distance and have his hand raised. After being flattened by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in 2016, Teixeira returned to form with a win over Jared Cannonier. But then, his rise came to another end when he was on the wrong end of an Alexander Gustafsson masterclass. Most recently, he scored a big win over Misha Cirkunov and now wants to put his name back in contention with a win against Anderson.

Anderson, much like Teixeira himself lately, has been in this strange position inside the division in which he is defeating the mid-tier and lower-tier guys, but can’t score wins over anyone ranked inside the top five. He lost to Jimi Manuwa and Ovince Saint Preux in 2017 but managed to snap that losing streak earlier this year when he faced Patrick Cummins at UFC Fight Night 128. Without a doubt, this would be the biggest win of Anderson’s career if he gets over the line vs. Teixeira in Germany.

Prediction: Glover Teixeira inside the distance

Bet: Glover Teixeira to win (-190)

Vitor Miranda vs. Abu Azaitar

Abu Azaitar is considered the favorite (-184) while Vitor Miranda can be found at odds of (+160).

Vitor Miranda’s been for a while now, and that’s saying it politely. At the age of 40, Miranda is still stepping into the UFC’s Octagon and competing against up-and-coming monsters in the middleweight division. Most recently, his record fell to 3-3 in the UFC after losing a unanimous decision to Marvin Vettori at UFC Fight Night 112. His three win streak of KO/TKO victories has come to a close since 2016 and without another spectacular win this weekend in Germany, Miranda might be on the verge of an ending to his career in the UFC.

Abu Azaitar will be stepping into the UFC’s Octagon for the very first time this weekend. With a record of 13-2-1, Azaitar has done most of his best work at WSOF. He’s riding an eight-win streak that started way back in 2013. Come this weekend, Azaitar will have the full support of the German crowd at Barclaycard Arena. Azaitar is stocky and powerful, and he’ll attempt all sorts of looping punches.

Prediction: Vitor Miranda by unanimous decision

Bet: Vitor Miranda to win (+160)

Marcin Tybura vs. Stefan Struve

Marcin Tybura has everyone behind him in this contest and he is a -218 favorite while Stefan Struve and his plentiful experience is +205.

Here’s a brilliant battle between two very skilled heavyweight fighters. Marcin Tybura will step into the cage for the first time since losing to Derrick Lewis earlier this year. That defeat was Tybura’s second consecutive shortcoming and a quick end to the hype behind him as one of the newest title contenders in the heavyweight division. Before then, Tybura had managed wins over Andrei Arlovski, Luis Henrique, and Viktor Pesta.

And then there’s Stefan Struve, who was beginning to look much better than he had done in previous years. However, much like Tybura, he’s now on a two-fight skid thanks to losing to Alexander Volkov and Andrei Arlovski. Struve, known as “Skyscraper” stands at 7’0” (214cm) and is freakishly large, even for the biggest category in the UFC.

Prediction: Marcin Tybura to win inside the distance

Bet: Marcin Tybura to win (-218)

Nasrat Haqparast vs. Marc Diakiese

Nasrat Haqparast is a moderate underdog in this lightweight bout at +185, and Marc Diakiese is the favorite at -190.

While most of this card is filled with aging veterans or people at the very top of their game (or past), this lightweight bout is sure to be an action-packed contest between two fighters with high ceilings. By that, we mean that while they are still developing, they can reach major heights and their potential is seemingly unlimited.

Nasrat Haqparast has just stepped foot inside the UFC’s cage one time so far, but he made quite the appearance. He battled with experienced veteran Marcin Held and took him to a relatively close decision late in 2017. Nasrat has excellent boxing ability and has rounded out his game with the team at Tristar in Canada.

And Marc “Bonecrusher” Diakiese was previously storming through the division but recently ran into a series of defeats at the hands of Drakkar Klose and Daniel Hooker. The Klose fight was a relatively even contest, but Diakiese was outworked by the pressure of his opponent. And then, against Dan Hooker, Diakiese was submitted by the rising lightweight star in the third round.

Prediction: Nasrat Haqparast to win by unanimous decision

Bet: Nasrat Haqparast to win (+185)

Danny Roberts vs. David Zawada

There’s a large margin between these two fighters as Danny Roberts is -320 and David Zawada is +336.

After Alan Jouban was removed from UFC Fight Night 134 with a neck injury in the lead-up to this fight, David Zawada will now step in and replace Jouban in a fight with Danny Roberts.

Zawada, a German fighter with a 16-3 record, will be making his UFC debut in front of his fans in Germany.  At the age of 28, Zawada has managed five consecutive victories through KSW, GMC, and Respect FC. He’s somewhat of a brawler and is known for trading heavy hands with opponents.

Roberts will be returning for the first time since defeating Oliver Enkamp with a brilliant KO/TKO finish at UFC Fight Night 127 earlier this year. The win was a much needed one for Roberts who has been swapping between wins and losses since 2016.

Prediction: David Zawada inside the distance

Bet: David Zawada to win (+336)

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UFC Fight Night 134 fight card

UFC Fight Night 134 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 10:30 am ET (2:30 pm GMT) on Sunday, July 22.

FS1 Main Card (2:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm GMT)

  • Mauricio Rua [+211] vs. Anthony Smith [-210]
  • Glover Teixeira [-181] vs. Corey Anderson [+165]
  • Vitor Miranda [+150] vs. Abu Azaitar [-151]
  • Marcin Tybura [-218] vs. Stefan Struve [+205]
  • Marc Diakiese [-190] vs. Nasrat Haqparast [+185]
  • Danny Roberts [-320] vs. David Zawada [+336]

FS1 Prelims (12:00 pm ET / 4:00 pm GMT)

  • Nick Nein vs. Damir Hadzovic
  • Emil Meek vs. Bartosz Fabinski
  • Khalid Taha vs. Nad Harimani
  • Justin Ledet vs. Aleksandar Rakic

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (10:30 am ET / 2:30 pm GMT)

  • Davey Grant vs. Manny Bermudez
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Darko Stosic
  • Damian Stasiak vs. Pingyuan Liu

UFC Fight Night 133: Junior Dos Santos vs. Blagoy Ivanov

UFC Fight Night 133: Junior Dos Santos vs. Blagoy Ivanov

Junior Dos Santos vs. Blagoy Ivanov

Junior Dos Santos is the betting favorite at -168, while Blagoy Ivanov can be found at +158.

It’s been a while now since we’ve seen Junior Dos Santos enter the UFC’s Octagon, but here we are. After a six-month suspension from USADA kept Dos Santos on the sidelines ever since he fought Stipe Miocic at UFC 211, “JDS” now returns and will face a UFC newcomer in the main event here in Boise, Idaho.

Blagoy Ivanov is a former WSOF/PFL champion from Bulgaria, and has great plans to become the UFC’s heavyweight champion. There’s possibly no better way to test his abilities straight-up than a five-round war with Dos Santos, either. Don’t be fooled by his lack of experience in the UFC, because Ivanov is a monster who is capable of terrifying the heavyweight division.

While “JDS” has crisp, technical boxing, Ivanov has destructive power in his hands and will happily wait for an opportunity to launch some bombs. “JDS” should be too good for Ivanov, however.

Prediction: Junior Dos Santos to win inside the distance

Bet: Junior Dos Santos to win (-168).

Sage Northcutt vs. Zak Ottow

It seems like bookies and fans are expecting Sage Northcutt to get the job done against Zak Ottow. He’s currently the favorite at -127, while Ottow is +125.

It seems like every time we see Sage Northcutt lately he has improved greatly. Most recently, his move to Team Alpha Male has resulted in the creation of a very strategic and well-rounded fighter who used his striking techniques and well-timed takedowns to control the contest against Thibault Gouti at UFC Fight Night 126. While it wasn’t an impressive finish like we have seen from Northcutt previously, it’s clear that he is growing into a very talented mixed martial artist.

And for this fight, he’ll be moving up a weight class to the welterweight division to take on Zak Ottow. Ottow firmly believes that he’ll crush Northcutt with his sheer strength and size, and will be looking to slam Northcutt onto the mat and beat him up down there. While standing, it’s hard to see how Ottow can hang with Northcutt’s striking excellence.

Prediction: Sage Northcutt to win by decision

Bet: Sage Northcutt to win (-127)

Dennis Bermudez vs. Rick Glenn

Dennis Bermudez is the heavy favorite in this contest and is sitting at -258 during fight week. Rick Glenn’s odds are upward of +200 at the moment.

Dennis Bermudez is in desperate need of a victory. There’s no other way to say it. Bermudez has been on the losing end of three-straight fights, being defeated by Chan Sung Jung, Darren Elkins, and then Andre Fili. Our expectations of Bermudez have changed dramatically from his form of 2013, but he’s still certainly capable of defeating the likes of Rick Glenn.

Rick Glenn has accumulated at 2-2 record with the UFC since joining in 2016. After four fights with the promotion, he’s now going to be facing his toughest test when he steps into the cage with Bermudez. Yes, Glenn did score an impressive underdog victory against Gavin Tucker, but his efforts against Myles Jury prove that he might have difficult staying with Bermudez through three rounds.

Prediction: Dennis Bermudez to win by decision

Bet: Dennis Bermudez to win (-258)

Randy Brown vs. Niko Price

An interesting fight here if you are leaning either side. Randy Brown is -120 at the moment while Niko Price is the slight favorite at -104.

In a relatively insignificant main card matchup, Randy Brown will do battle with Niko Price. Brown was gaining some momentum after defeating Erick Montano and Brian Camozzi, but lost it all when he faced Belal Muhammad at UFC 208. However, he clawed back a victory by defeating the highly-regarded Mickey Gall in a pick-em’ match at UFC 217.

He’ll be facing Niko Price, who has experienced his own fair share of ups and downs recently. After defeating Alan Jouban at UFC Fight Night 114, Price then lost to Vicente Luque. It didn’t take long for him bounce back to winning ways, though, and he scored a second-round submission win over George Sullivan at UFC on FOX 27 earlier this year. That defeat to Luque remains the only blemish on Niko Price’s career so far.

Prediction: Niko Price to win inside the distance

Bet: Niko Price to win (-104)

Myles Jury vs. Chad Mendes

Myles Jury doesn’t bring the same name value that Chad Mendes does and is sitting as a moderate underdog at the moment (+212). Mendes can be had at -260.

Was it really that long ago when Myles Jury was considered one of the best prospects in the UFC? After Donald Cerrone dominated him and then Charles Oliveira submitted him in the first round, Jury took an extended break away from the sport. He fought twice in 2017, and looked impressive on both occasions by defeating Mike De La Torre and Rick Glenn consecutively. But now, he’s up against another of the top contenders in the featherweight division, Chad Mendes.

Mendes is returning from his own break of sorts. The featherweight was suspended for two years due to violating USADA’s drug testing policies. The sport has moved on since Mendes last entered the cage – a clash with Frankie Edgar – so it remains to be seen whether Mendes still has what it takes to hang in there through three rounds.

It won’t be easy, but Myles Jury stands a real chance to upset Mendes in this fight.

Prediction: Myles Jury to win by decision

Bet: Myles Jury to win (+212)

Cat Zingano vs. Marion Reneau

This seemingly close battle will open up the main card, as Cat Zingano is a very slight underdog (+101) against Reneau (-120).

Former UFC title challenger, Cat Zingano will collide with Marion Reneau in what should be a fascinating way to start the main card in Boise, Idaho.

While Zingano hasn’t been in the best of form, she provided a very tough challenge for a rising star in the division when she took Ketlen Vieira to a split decision at UFC 222. The defeat marked her third consecutive loss and she now will be looking to score her first win since she defeated Amanda Nunes in September 2014.

That momentum is much the opposite of Marlon Reneau who is appearing to have some sort of career resurgence right now. Reneau hasn’t lost since February 2016 and most recently defeated Talita Bernardo and Sara McMann.

Everyone seems to be all over the place when it comes to picking a winner here, but we’re going to side with Cat Zingano to return to form.

Prediction: Cat Zingano to win inside the distance

Bet: Cat Zingano to win (+101)

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UFC Fight Night 133 fight card

UFC Fight Night 133 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, July 14.

FS1 Main Card (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Junior Dos Santos [-168] vs. Blagoy Ivanov [+158]
  • Sage Northcutt [-127] vs. Zak Ottow [+125]
  • Dennis Bermudez [-258] vs. Rick Glenn [+205]
  • Randy Brown [-104] vs. Niko Price [-120]
  • Myles Jury [+212] vs. Chad Mendes [-260]
  • Cat Zingano [+101] vs. Marion Reneau [-120]

FS1 Prelims (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Eddie Wineland vs. Alejandro Perez
  • Darren Elkins vs. Alexander Volkanovski
  • Justin Scoggins vs. Said Nurmagomedov
  • Kurt Holbaugh vs. Raoni Barcelos

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:30 pm ET / 12:30 pm GMT)

  • Liz Carmouche vs. Jennifer Maia
  • Mark De La Rosa vs. Elias Garcia
  • Jessica Aguilar vs. Jodie Esquibel

UFC 226: Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

UFC 226 Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

It’s International Fight Week, and that means the UFC will feature their biggest and best stars here in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UFC 226 main card is jam-packed with outstanding fights, and the preliminary card is good enough to be a main card on any other day!

Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

Stipe Miocic is a moderate betting favorite at -240, while Daniel Cormier sits at +230.

Superfights don’t come around often in mixed martial arts. In fact, we might not have ever seen one of this quality before. The UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, will defend his strap from the challenging Daniel Cormier, who currently reigns over the UFC’s light heavyweight division. It’s a winner-takes-all matchup for Daniel Cormier, who could go home as a two-division champion after UFC 226.

However, to say that Cormier is going to be tested is a vast understatement. Cormier is going to need to bring the very best version of himself if he wants to hang in there with Miocic, who is currently regarded by some as the best heavyweight mixed martial artist of all-time. Add to that, Miocic is running wild at the moment and steps into the cage this weekend on a six-fight winning streak that was most recently capped with a dominant five-round battering of Francis Ngannou. Before that, he defended his title successfully against heavyweight greats Alistair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos.

The challenger, Daniel Cormier, recently scored a significant victory of his own when he stopped Volkan Oezdemir inside two rounds. Cormier made sure to showcase his strengths and dismissed of Oezdemir with relative ease after grounding him and finishing the fight with many unanswered shots.

Now, at UFC 226, these two giants will collide. Will Cormier’s pressure and clinch work be effective against the heavyweight champion, or will Miocic’s strength and size prevail?

Prediction: Stipe Miocic to win by KO/TKO

Bet: Stipe Miocic to win

Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega

Max Holloway is a slight betting favorite at -145, and Brian Ortega is great value at +138.

Moreover, if that spectacular main event isn’t enough, it’s backed by a fantastic co-main event that will see featherweight champion Max Holloway defend his title from Brian Ortega. This matchup between two young stars who are just hitting their peak is likely to be one of the most anticipated title fights in UFC featherweight history.

Holloway earned his belt by defeating Jose Aldo, the greatest UFC featherweight of all-time. To cement his case as the best featherweight in 2018, he then defended the title from Aldo not long after. Holloway’s striking precision, power, and determination to finish fights before the final bell have proved to be not just incredibly exciting, but also very dangerous for his opponents.

At UFC 226, Holloway will be facing another entertaining fighter who has made a career out of finishing opponents. Brian Ortega, who trains under the renowned Rener Gracie, has possibly the most creative arsenal of submissions and jiu-jitsu techniques in the UFC. We’ve seen this on display when he wrapped up the neck of Cub Swanson and submitted him with ease. However, then, Ortega did something that none of us expected and flattened Frankie Edgar with a series of punches that was enough to earn him a shot at Holloway and the title.

Max Holloway is a remarkable athlete and a very dangerous featherweight, but it’s hard to see how he can contain the many weapons of Brian Ortega at UFC 226.

Prediction: Brian Ortega to win by submission

Bet: Brian Ortega to win

Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis

Francis Ngannou is a significant betting favorite (-345), while Derrick Lewis hasn’t been given much chance (+325).

Francis Ngannou, who might just be the hardest-hitting fighter in the UFC, will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing effort against Stipe Miocic earlier this year when he faces Derrick Lewis at UFC 226 this weekend.

You might have heard it before: “Francis Ngannou hits harder than a Ford Escort going at full speed…” Those were the words of UFC President Dana White in the build-up to that fight with Stipe Miocic, and while that is clearly an exaggeration, not many fighters would be willing to step in there after seeing what “The Predator” did to Alistair Overeem last year.

There is one man who has wanted to get his hands on Ngannou for a long time now, though, and that’s Derrick Lewis. Lewis has made a career out of crushing skulls with his hands and is not one to care for a grappling match.

So, it looks like Ngannou and Lewis will be operating in their desired territory and they’ll be able to exchange heavy punches for as long as they remain conscious. And although the blueprint to defeating Ngannou is out there for the world to see, we’re not sure whether Lewis is capable of meeting the requirements.

Prediction: Francis Ngannou to win by KO/TKO

Bet: Francis Ngannou to win

Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis

Michael Chiesa is the favorite in this one (-147), while Anthony Pettis comes in as the underdog (+150).

Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis is a lightweight fight that holds plenty of significance within the division. It’s a fight that was initially scheduled to take place a couple of months ago, but the impacts of Conor McGregor’s latest rampage forced Chiesa out of the event due to injury.

Now, these two will be able to step into the cage for the first time in 2018 as they lock horns in what could be the ‘Fight of the Night.’ Chiesa enters this contest after claiming to be robbed by referee Mario Yamasaki in his fight with Kevin Lee. The lightweight looked to be seconds away from being choked unconscious, but Yamasaki stepped in and stopped the bout before Chiesa had a chance to submit.

And Anthony Pettis, a former champion, desperately needs a win at UFC 226 to move past what has been a recent struggle for him. Having won just two of his last seven fights, Pettis has shown just glimpses of his potential and hasn’t managed to put together a complete performance.

Prediction: Michael Chiesa to win by submission

Bet: Michael Chiesa to win

Gokhan Saki vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.

Gokhan Saki is the favorite in this opening fight (-145), while Khalil Rountree Jr. sits at +138.

To get the UFC 226 main card started, Dutch-Turkish former kickboxer Gokhan Saki will stand toe-to-toe with Khalil Rountree Jr.

Saki, who is a former Glory Light Heavyweight Champion, has recently made the switch over to mixed martial arts and made a successful UFC debut in September last year by defeating Henrique da Silva in an entertaining scrap. Fans witnessed some of Saki’s high-level striking combined with fight-finishing power, as he ended Silva’s night with 15 seconds remaining in the first round.

He’ll be facing Rountree Jr, who made a name for himself during The Ultimate Fighter 23 and has recently been in decent form. Yes, his last contest was a unanimous decision defeat (later overturned to No Contest), but before then he had crushed Paul Craig and Daniel Jolly with his powerful strikes.

Although Rountree is the more experienced mixed martial artist, it’s difficult to see how he will have an advantage against Gokhan Saki for as long as this fight remains standing.

Prediction: Gokhan Saki by KO/TKO

Bet: Gokhan Saki to win

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UFC 226 fight card

UFC 226 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (10:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, July 7.

Pay-per-view (10:00 pm ET / 2:00 am GMT)

  • Stipe Miocic [-240] vs. Daniel Cormier [+227]
  • Max Holloway [-145] vs. Brian Ortega [+138]
  • Francis Ngannou [-345] vs. Derrick Lewis [+325]
  • Michael Chiesa [-147] vs. Anthony Pettis [+150]
  • Gokhan Saki [-145] vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. [+138]

Fox Sports 1 Prelims (8:00 pm ET / 12:00 am GMT)

  • Uriah Hall vs. Paulo Costa
  • Paul Felder vs. Mike Perry
  • Raphael Assuncao vs. Rob Font
  • Curtis Millender vs. Max Griffin

UFC Fight Pass Prelims (6:30 pm ET / 10:30 pm GMT)

  • Dan Hooker vs. Gilbert Burns
  • Lando Vannata vs. Drakkar Klose
  • Jamie Moyle vs. Emily Whitmire

UFC on FOX 28: Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens

UFC on FOX 28: Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens

After a thrilling event in Austin, Texas, last weekend, the UFC travels to Orlando for the third time.

This time, the organization will host an action-packed fight card ‘UFC on FOX 28’ that is headlined by Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens.

The event was originally supposed to have a featured bout between Yoel Romero and David Branch at the forefront, but Romero was forced to step away from this event to compete in Perth, Australia, against Luke Rockhold instead.

Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Emmett (+135) / Stephens (-145)

The main event matchup is a fascinating featherweight scrap between a proven veteran in the division in Stephens against the fast-rising Emmett. Emmett jumped all the way to #4 in the featherweight rankings after he destroyed Ricardo Lamas with a knockout punch in the first round in December. Emmett stepped up to take the fight on short notice and proved the doubters wrong by ending the fight with conviction.

Stephens, on the other hand, has always been a contender in the division but has now strung together two impressive victories against talented opponents. Just last month, Stephens decisively beat down Doo Ho Choi in the second round, and that made it two wins in a row for Stephens after he chopped down the legs of Gilbert Melendez at UFC 215 not long before that.

The winner of this fight will be just outside title contention.

Prediction: Jeremy Stephens via KO/TKO

Jessica Andrade vs. Tecia Torres

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Andrade (-280) / Torres (+260)

In the co-main event, two of the very best women’s strawweights will compete in what seems like a title eliminator bout.

Tecia Torres was rumored to get the next shot at the new champion, Rose Namajunas, but the former champion in Joanna Jedrzejczyk got the call for a rematch instead. That means that Torres will now be competing against the insanely tough Jessica Andrade first if she wants a shot at that title.

Jessica Andrade broke through in a big way when she scored a decisive victory against Claudia Gadelha last year. It was a strong way to bounce back from losing to the then-champion, and now Andrade seems completely refreshed and ready to make another run for the title – no matter who the champion might be this time.

Torres is starting to turn heads in the division after she has scored three very impressive victories in a row. These victories mark a strong return to form after losing to Rose Namajunas in April 2016. Her and Namajunas are now 1-1 through their career, and a win against Andrade will set up a fascinating rubber match.

Prediction: Jessica Andrade via decision

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Saint Preux (-110) / Latifi (+105)

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi will also feature on the main card of UFC on FOX 28.

After an entire career of being just another contender in the division, Saint Preux is quickly gaining fame for his impressive ability to finish fights with the Von Flue choke. After losing to Jon Jones, Jimi Manuwa, and Volkan Oezdemir, Saint Preux has now put together three consecutive wins, and this was all topped off with a big knockout victory of Corey Anderson at UFC 217 in November.

Just like “OSP,” Ilir Latifi has enjoyed a return to winning ways recently. Latifi lost devastatingly to Ryan Bader in September 2016 when he was on the wrong end of a powerful knee. But he picked up a mightily impressive victory when he outclassed Tyson Pedro at UFC 215 in September.

Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux via KO/TKO

Mike Perry vs. Max Griffin

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Perry (-275) / Griffin (+280)

Fan-favorite Mike Perry will face Max Griffin in what is expected to be a full-on battle between heavy punchers.

Perry has captured the attention of MMA fans around the world because of his amazingly aggressive fighting style and attitude. He arrived in a big way in 2016 when he knocked out Hyun Gyu Lim and Danny Roberts, but opponents have now started to work him out.

Most recently, Santiago Ponzinibbio solved the Perry puzzle and defeated him in December. It is Perry’s second loss in four fights. Regardless of whether opponents are finding ways to handle Perry easier, he is always a strong chance to knock someone out.

Perry will come up against Max Griffin, who has won just one of his first three bouts with the organization. Colby Covington defeated him in his UFC debut but he then went on to win against Erick Montano. In his last bout, Griffin lost a unanimous decision to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos.

Prediction: Mike Perry via KO/TKO

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UFC on FOX 28 fight card

UFC on FOX 28 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 4:00 pm ET (9:00 pm GMT) on Saturday, February 24.

Main Card

FOX (8:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)

  • Josh Emmett (+135) vs. Jeremy Stephens (-145)
  • Jessica Andrade (-280) vs. Tecia Torres (+260)
  • Ovince Saint Preux (-110) vs. Ilir Latifi (+105)
  • Mike Perry (-275) vs. Max Griffin (+280)

Prelims

FS1 (6:00 pm ET / 11:00 pm GMT)

  • Renan Barao vs. Brian Kelleher
  • Sara McMann vs. Marion Reneau
  • Angela Hill vs. Maryna Moroz
  • Ben Saunders vs. Alan Jouban

Fight Pass Prelims

UFC Fight Pass (4:00 pm ET / 9:00 pm GMT)

  • Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
  • Sam Alvey vs. Marcin Prachnio
  • Rani Yahya vs. Russell Doane
  • Eric Shelton vs. Alex Perez
  • Albert Morales vs. Manny Bermudez