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UFC Best Bets: MMA Picks, Predictions, Odds to Consider on DraftKings Sportsbook for October 30

Stephie Haynes gives her best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Saturday’s UFC betting card.

UFC 266: Hooker v Haqparast Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

UFC 267 is a fantastic card, without the shadow of a doubt. It features 15 fights of varying degrees of importance, but the main card is truly premium fodder. The nine-fight undercard is chock-full of prospect pairings that have an air of intrigue around them, with some fresh faces making their promotional debuts dotting the bout sheet. There are also veteran vs. prospect matchups to whet the appetite (looking at you, Amirkhani vs. Murphy).

When all the excitement dies down from the preliminary card, we’ll be treated to a main card that will see two title bouts and four top-tier contender pairings to cap off a prime day of action. Day? Yep, that’s right. This card takes place in Abu Dhabi, so it kicks off 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday. For all the Europeans that lament their plight at having to stay up until the crack of dawn, this card is a custom fit for you.

Khamzat Chimaev makes his long-awaited return to octagon action against super tough Li Jingliang, and one has to wonder if the time off will affect Chimaev since he had a pretty severe bout with COVID-19 and even considered retiring. Volkan Oezdemir will try to right the ship after a devastating knockout loss to Jiri Prochazka when he takes on head kick specialist Magomed Ankalaev. Alexander Volkov also looks to get back on the winning track when he takes on red hot slugger Marcin Tybura in a heavyweight clash, and Islam Makhachev meets up with short-notice replacement Dan Hooker in what will surely be an action-packed firecracker.

Then you get to the title fights, and they are smokin’. In a more perfect world, the co-main event featuring Petr Yan in a bantamweight duel with Cory Sandhagen would be for the undisputed title, but alas, it is for an interim belt. The bright side is there will be no doubt who gets first crack at Aljamain Sterling when it’s all over. The main event will see 42 years young Glover Teixeira challenge Jan Blachowicz for his light heavyweight crown, and it’s hard to root against either guy. Both have had their ups and downs but have managed to keep their eyes on the prize. Now, here we are, on the eve of two of the most likable guys in the sport throwing down for the gold. It doesn’t get much better than that for diehard MMA fans.

There are plenty of other fights that will no doubt appeal to all sorts of combat appetites, but we’re going to take a look at the four that we feel 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 over the last two and a half years. Since losing to Thiago Santos, he’s gone on a perfect five-fight run, picking up a title along the way and defending it in a “champ-champ” pairing with middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya. Before the Santos loss, he was on a four-fight winning stretch. It’s hard to fathom that just four years ago, Blachowicz was fighting for his spot on the roster, and he’ll defend his belt for the second time on Saturday. And make no mistake, he’s made marked progress in his fight game, most noticeable during the Adesanya fight where his crisp jab did most of the heavy lifting. He’s shown devastating power, as well, taking out the likes of Luke Rockhold, Corey Anderson and Dominick Reyes. At 38, he’s never looked better.

Enter Glover Teixeira, who officially turned 42 years old Thursday. Also on a five-fight hot streak, Teixeira has been having the late-bloom Cinderella run that is extraordinarily rare in the sport. If he manages to pull off the win, he’ll be the oldest first-time champion in UFC history. Glover has a knack for being able to reverse his fortune mid-fight, more than once finding himself stunned or dropped, then reaching into a deep reserve of mental fortitude to turn the fight around and claim the victory. He’s a clever grappler with absolutely nasty ground-and-pound and is quite submission-savvy, as well. At 42, he’s never looked better.

This is also an incredibly hard choice to make, but I think Blachowicz’s power and ultra-dependable jab will be what wins this fight. His high output has seen him outstrike every opponent he’s beaten, and in his first fight with Jimi Manuwa, a loss, he even got the better of the numbers (by one, but still, a stat is a stat). Blachowicz isn’t too shabby on the ground either, evidenced by his great takedown game seen across many of his fights. There’s no doubt Glover can get the win here, I just think the odds are much more favorable, at least in my mind, for Big Jan to keep his belt. Don’t expect this one to go the full five rounds.

Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen

Petr Yan To Win By Decision +140

Yan vs. Sandhagen has had me going back and forth for weeks. It is, by far, the hardest fight on the card to make a prediction on. But from my current train of thought, I’m leaning Yan. The reason comes down to adaptability. Aljamain Sterling is an elite-level wrestler, but Yan was outwrestling him handily before the unfortunate foul that caused him to lose his belt. When he fought Jose Aldo, he outstruck him 194 to 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 nod against T.J. Dillashaw back in July. His striking is technical, punctuated by a crisp, piston-like jab and well-timed combinations. He’s a big believer in body work and rips a left to the liver with devastating effect. His lanky frame allows him to often dictate the range, and when he’s not trying out new spinning moves, he’s a composed and savvy fighter. Add in his exceptional footwork, and you’ve got the recipe for a fight that is really, really hard to pick. This contest will likely go the distance, and I’m cautiously, unconfidently choosing Yan to take the W.

Islam Makhachev vs. Dan Hooker

Dan Hooker To Win By Decision +1000

Makhachev is the next coming of Khabib Nurmagomedov, according to those in the know, and while his wrestling may look similar, his overall athleticism falls a tad short when compared to the retired lightweight king. Don’t get me wrong, Makhachev is a juggernaut and most assuredly claims the “best wrestler” moniker now that the Eagle has left his perch. He has the unrelenting grind and pressure style that is designed to beat guys like Hooker. His submission game is outstanding, he has demonstrated flashes of power and he remains composed, almost to a fault. Some might say he’s too composed and wholly unwilling to take chances. He’s also been hurt by lesser men than Dan Hooker, so there is a clear threat on the feet, especially with Hooker willing to be the one to take big risks for maximum dividends.

Hooker, on the other hand, is athletic, fairly durable, has good takedown defense and has a deep well of cardio. The fight with Dustin Poirier demonstrated all those facets to a T, but he’s not faced a crushing force like Makhachev. This could be a breakout performance for Hooker if he manages to pull off what many think is impossible. The late notice aspect also adds a bit of an X-factor. But when it comes down to it, I’m going with Hooker based more on a gut feeling than anything else, so make of that what you will. 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’m a big fan of Jingliang. He has a bold style that relies on aggression, pressure and a blistering pace, but there are other assets he possesses that bolster his game. For instance, he’s got an insanely durable chin and has never been knocked out. As a matter of fact, of his five losses, he’s only been finished once, back in 2015, by standing rear-naked choke to Keita Nakamura. Since then, he’s gone 8-2 in his octagon outings. He’s a cardio machine and has a certified heater, as evidenced by nine of his wins coming by way of knockout. Just ask Santiago Ponzinibbio, who got a taste of that fire back in January.

Then you have Chimaev, a real athletic phenom. He’s fast, powerful and strong, with great instincts that have led to timing perfect shots, resulting in devastating finishes. He’s only been past the first round once, so it’s hard to get a read on what his stamina reserves might look like, and his level of competition has not been anywhere close to Jingliang’s, with the exception of Gerald Meerschaert — even there, it’s a bit of a stretch. He’s going to have a decided size advantage but getting a read on where his true ceiling lies is anyone’s guess.

This bit of excellent matchmaking is the true litmus test for Chimaev, and just another day at the office for Jingliang. Chimaev can certainly get the win, but I can’t stop thinking about the wealth of higher-level experience Jingliang has. When you combine that with all his athletic gifts, I’m hard pressed to pick against him, even if I weren’t a fan. Look for Jingliang to wear him down and score the knockout past the mid-point of the fight.


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All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is crooklyn949) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.


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