The 251st edition of Ultimate Fighting Championship is booked in and ready to go on Saturday, July 12th. UFC Fight Island on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is our exotic destination and we have a top-class bill to match our surroundings.
Billed as Usman v Burns, their Welterweight Championship matchup will finish off the night in style but, from a betting perspective, there are no fewer than 13 fights to work through.
— UFC (@ufc) June 24, 2020
The Ultimate Battle
Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman will take on challenger Gilbert Burns in the final bout of UFC 251 and the sportsbooks have identified a clear favourite in this one. Usman can currently be claimed at odds of 1.47 with Bet365 while Burns is available at 2.55 with Sports Interaction.
As with all the fights on the bill, Usman v Burns has been slow in terms of producing props so it’s all about focusing on the moneyline bet. The champion’s record is pretty phenomenal at this stage of his career with 16 wins from 17 fights. Burn’s tally of 19 from 22 is respectable but based on the respective quality of these two men, we suspect that the sportsbooks have called this correctly.
— UFC (@ufc) June 23, 2020
Usman v Burns may be taking top billing but for many MMA fans, the rematch between Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski is the highlight of the evening. The pair first met at UFC 245 when the Australian Volkanovski came through by a unanimous decision to claim the featherweight championship belt.
Ahead of the return, the defending champion is a short-priced favourite to take the win and you can back Volkanovski at 1.48 with Bodog. Challenger Holloway is quoted at 2.60 with Spin Sports but could there be some value in picking the outsider this time?
Max Holloway remains a dangerous fighter even if the stats might suggest that his career is on the wane. Two of his five overall defeats came in 2019 but he has 21 victories to look back on and, at the age of 28, Holloway can still peak. Volkanovski is an obvious threat and a worthy favourite but the Aussie isn’t unbeatable and, at the very least, this may be closer than those moneyline odds are suggesting.
Best of the Undercard
13 fights are scheduled for UFC 251, starting with the bantamweight bout between Davey Grant and Martin Day. The women are well represented with three fights and the most interesting of these is the strawweight battle between Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas.
Once again, this could be tighter than the market indicates with Namajunas going off as hot favorite at 1.5 with 888Sport. Andrade is, therefore, left as the outsider at 2.45 with 10Bet and she could well be a value pick at that figure.
The tale of the tape shows that Milwaukee’s Namajunas is the up and coming fighter with eight wins from her first 12 MMA bouts. With 20 wins from 27, Andrade has a weaker win average but she certainly has the experience and we’re surprised that the moneyline bet isn’t closer than this.
Just ahead of that top-rated women’s battle, Amanda Ribas will take on Paige VanZant in the flyweight division. There could be little value in this match up with Ribas one of the shortest favourites on the night at 1.12 with Bet365.
Anyone who is backing an upset can claim VanZant as the rank outsider at 5.70 with Sports Interaction.
The four bouts highlighted so far have all featured a clear favourite but are there any fights with closer moneyline odds?
The answer lies in one of the more unheralded bouts of the evening with Marcin Tybura and Alexander Romanov’s heavyweight battle at the end of the preliminary card. Some sportsbooks even have the same moneyline odds for both fighters while, in other places, Romanov is a very narrow favourite. Bodog may be the place to be for Romanov backers at 1.83 while Spin Sports have a tempting 1.90 for Marcin Tybura.
Punters can wait until the props open closer to fight night but, we already have some likely parlays in place for UFC 251. To start with the main attraction, we feel that the Usman v Burns clash will go with the obvious favourite. Their fight records may be comparable but Usman has the edge in terms of quality so that could be a safer pick with which to open.
Elsewhere, Max Holloway is something of a punter’s nightmare. He’s wildly unpredictable but when on top of his game, the man known as ‘Blessed’ can beat anyone and he has every chance of reversing that earlier defeat to Alexander Volkanovski.
Our remaining picks also favour the outsiders: Jessica Andrade’s greater experience inside the Octagon can be enough to claim the fight against the admittedly impressive Rose Namajunas. Finally, although the battle between two journeymen fighters won’t set UFC 251 alight, we’re backing Marcin Tybura to come through as the marginal outsider against Alexander Romanov.
One or two of our recommended sportsbooks have yet to declare but there is a range of prices if you want to head to your favourite outlet and pick a parlay from the following.
- Max Holloway to beat Alexander Volkanovski at 2.60 with Spin Sports
- Kamaru Usman to beat Gilbert Burns at 1.47 with Bet365
- Jessica Andrade to beat Rose Namajunas at 2.45 with 10Bet
- Marcin Tybura to beat Alexander Romanov at 1.90 with Spin Sports