It seems barely a week goes by without the UFC being embroiled in some form of controversy. This week it was Lyoto Machida who scuppered the UFC on Fox 19 co-main event by accidentally taking a banned supplement. A week ago this card was pretty strong but is now somewhat diluted. Nevertheless, here are the best betting tips on offer…
Nurmagomedov vs. Horcher
Unbeaten in 22 fights, Khabib Nurmagomedov has manhandled all he has faced including a dominant performance over the current lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos. However, that fight was his last, almost two years to the day and landscape of the 155lb division has changed irreparably since those days. When fit, Khabib is arguably the best lightweight in the world. The only trouble is we won’t know if he’s still on top form until fight time.
UFC newcomer Darrell Horcher is tasked with the unenviable job of facing the returning Nurmagomedov. Like a sacrificial lamb, Horcher was called up for his promotional debut following the loss of Tony Ferguson from the card due to health issues. But previous appearances for Bellator and three consecutive headliner appearances for Cage Fury indicate that Horcher may not be as out of his depth as many think.
For me, the Dagestani wins this comfortably and will no doubt be the first man to finish Horcher as well as securing his first finish in the UFC since stopping Thiago Tavares three years ago.
Recommendation: Under 2.5 Rounds – 2 units at +105 (21/20) @ 5Dimes
Namajunas vs. Torres
Rose Namajunas makes her return to the Octagon after brutally derailing the Paige VanZant hype train last December. Namajunas opened as a reasonable underdog in that fight but performed like a world-beater. It was the sort of performance that you would expect to see from a fighter within reach of a title shot, and beating Tecia Torres could be all she needs.
Torres already holds a win over Namajunas from their days fighting under the Invicta FC banner. Unbeaten as a professional she has also seen off fellow UFC strawweights in Angela Magana, Felice Herrig and is the only other fighter besides Namajunas to beat VanZant.
Although Namajunas will open as the betting favorite, it is Torres who is the more rounded fighter and is very much a live dog. The value play is Torres outright and she could very well be the big winner in the race to the championship.
Recommendation: Tecia Torres – 2 units at +200 (2/1) @ 5Dimes
Teixeira vs. Evans
Continuing the trend of this misfortune-riddled card, this is a main event with an injury replacement as Glover Teixeira fills in for an injured Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. Teixeira came in hot to the UFC’s light heavyweight division but has had a rocky time of it since losing a title fight against Jon Jones. He has somewhat regained his old form, however, with two straight wins and could see himself back in the title picture with a win here.
The newer viewer will be forgiven for wondering why one of the Fox Sports presenters is fighting in the Octagon since it’s been so long since Rashad Evans was in regular competition. ‘Suga’ fell short in his comeback fight against Ryan Bader but in fairness he had been benched for two years. With a return to form on Fox he is back in the game but a bad loss could raise the retirement question.
If it were three rounds then I’d be betting it to go the distance, as it’s five I’m not so sure. I’ll make a small play on over 3.5 to hedge myself.
Recommendation: Over 3.5 Rounds – 2 units at -135 (3/4) @ 5Dimes