UFC 251 takes place this Saturday on Fight Island and DraftKings is offering users multiple ways to get in on the action. To view betting odds for all of the fights, check out the DK Sportsbook UFC 251 event page. Additionally, DraftKings users can enter Saturday’s MMA $2.25M The Island Millionaire [$1M to 1st! + ToC Entry] Contest before the daily fantasy MMA action gets underway at 6 p.m. ET. Finally, users can enter the Free $1K UFC 251 Pool, which locks at 8 p.m. ET.
Below, Matt Nelson offers his predictions on which fighters he believes look like best bets and which underdogs he believes have betting value.
Best bet: Petr Yan (-215)
The UFC bantamweight title is up for grabs as Russian prodigy Petr Yan takes on UFC veteran and former Featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Yan enters on a nine-fight winning streak, most recently dominating veteran Urijah Faber and earning a victory by third-round KO. His arsenal of punches and kicks, combined with his relentless motor and forward pressure, make him one of the most dynamic fighters in the division. He’s counterstrikes effectively, switches stances with ease and always keeps his opponents guessing. And while Aldo is a better wrestler with more championship-level experience, he’s not the fighter he once was and will need a flawless performance in order to pull off the win. Look for Yan to pick Aldo apart in the middle rounds en route to a late-round stoppage victory.
Prediction: Petr Yan via fifth-round KO/TKO
Dog: Max Holloway (+170)
Former champion Max Holloway certainly has the tools and experience necessary to reclaim the featherweight belt, as well as a little bit of revenge, against Alexander Volkanovski on Saturday. While there were some concerns about his inability to train properly due to COVID-19 restrictions, those concerns are overstated in my opinion. Holloway is a significant strike machine whose durability allows him to pressure forward and attack without taking significant damage. And while Volkanovski was able to subdue Holloway with leg kicks and out strike him in their first fight, I expect Holloway to execute a much more effective game plan in this one. The fight is closer than the odds suggest and I think that Holloway’s championship experience will make the difference in a close five-round fight.
Prediction: Max Holloway by decision
Best bet: Volkan Oezdemir (-159)
Looking to bet on a favorite without a lot of juice? Look no further than former light heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir. He has eight UFC fights under his belt and will be going up against a fighter in Jiří Procházka who is making his UFC debut. While Procházka is a solid striker with decent power, this fight will be a big step up in competition and he’ll struggle if he can’t get an early knockdown. Oezdemir is the more consistent striker and if he’s patient he should be able to get the best of Procházka over the course of three rounds and eke out a decision victory
Prediction: Volkan Oezdemir by decision
Dog: Davey Grant (+141)
Davey Grant takes on Martin Day as both fighters attempt to establish themselves as mainstays in the bantamweight division. While Day only has one fight — a loss — in the UFC, Grant has five, including two wins. As long as Grant can avoid an early knockout, which he has done so far in each of his UFC contests, he should be able to take the fight to the ground and earn a decision victory.
Prediction: Davey Grant by decision
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