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UFC 255 betting preview: Figueiredo-Perez and Shevchenko-Maia

·Combat columnist
·3 min read
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LAS VEGAS — All right. Where do we start about last week? Well, how about here: Let’s ignore my picks for last week. How about that? Yeah, I was 0-6. If I could make the font smaller, I would.

But yeah, I went 0-6. Since I started making picks, my winning percentage has been, to be modest, well above where I thought it might be, so much so that I have friends now calling me asking me for my handicapping advice.

Still: 0-6. Ugh. That’s a lot of money down the drain.

But on the bright side, things have to get better. And UFC 255 on Saturday (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+ PPV) at Apex has a number of betting options. The card is headlined by a men’s and a women’s flyweight title fight.

In the women’s title fight, champion Valentina Shevchenko is a massive -1500 favorite at BetMGM over Jennifer Maia. Maia is at +850. The over/under is 2.5 rounds, with over at -121 and under at even money.

Shevchenko by KO/TKO/DQ is -134 while Shevchenko by submission is +660. Maia, after all, is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and you could get Maia by submission at +1550.

Maia simply isn’t in Shevchenko’s class as a fighter, even though she upset Joanne Calderwood with an armbar submission to earn the title shot. Shevchenko, I believe, is going to dominate this fight; the only question in my mind is if it goes all the way or if she finishes it by either KO or submission.

Her edge in striking is pronounced, and so that will lead you to think she could finish Maia. But if she is pummeling Maia, and Maia turtles to avoid the punches and elbows from the top that Shevchenko is famous for, the champion has the kind of ground game to finish the fight.

But the most likely finish is Shevchenko by KO/TKO/DQ. I think she’ll batter Maia around the cage until the referee steps in. So I’ll lay three units on Shevchenko -134 to win by KO/TKO/DQ. I’ll have to lay $402 to win $300. That’s a bet I’m willing to make.

I’ll also lay two units on under 2.5 rounds at even money, so I’ll risk $200 to win $200.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JULY 19: Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil celebrates after defeating Joseph Benavidez in their UFC flyweight championship bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 19, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Deiveson Figueiredo enters the first defense of the UFC flyweight title he won in July with a 19-1 overall record, including nine KOs and seven submissions. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The men’s title fight between new champion Deiveson Figueiredo and challenger Alex Perez figures to be much more competitive, though Figueiredo is a solid favorite. At BetMGM, Figueiredo is -290 to win while Perez is +230. The over-under is 1.5 rounds, with over a -139 favorite and under a slight underdog at +115.

The fighters have similar styles and it figures to be a good stand-up battle. But I think it will go a while so I’m going to lay the -139 on the over to win $100.

I lean toward Figueiredo winning, but not enough that I want to lay -313, so I’m going to pass on that.

Best bets for UFC 255

  • I’ll take no and lay the -223 on the prop bet of Daniel Rodriguez-Nicolas Dalby going the distance. I’ll put one unit on that.

  • I love the flyweight bout between Brandon Moreno and Brandon Royval and think it’s a toss-up. But Royval is an extremely talented fighter and he’s an underdog at +160, so I’ll lay $100 on him to win $160.

  • Joaquin Buckley is a -264 favorite over Jordan Wright, but I think that line is inflated due to Buckley’s viral head-kick knockout of Impa Kasanganay in Abu Dhabi. This is a close, competitive fight. I’ll lay $100 on Wright to win, hoping to make a $215 profit.

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