Last Updated: 2018-12-06
There are two pay-per-view events left on the UFC calendar for 2018. One of them is this weekend in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with a main event between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega. This is UFC 231 and there are 12 fights slated for this card, including two title fights.
We’ll grab some odds from BetDSI Sportsbook for this weekend’s action and take a look at all 12 matches, with a more detailed look at the five on the main card. Use the promo code BTB200 and get a 100 percent deposit match bonus up to $500 that you can use on this fight card.
We’ll start things off on UFC Fight Pass in the welterweight division with Chad Laprise as a big -370 favorite against Dhiego Lima. This fight is juiced -165 to the over 1.5 rounds. Lima, a former Titan FC champ, is 0-2 in his UFC career. Laprise lost his last fight in the first round to Vicente Luque, but the 32-year-old is back on home soil and he is 5-1 in UFC fights in Canada.
Brad Katona and Matthew Lopez meet in the lone bantamweight scrap on the docket. Katona is a -185 favorite with the over 2.5 rounds heavily juiced at -215. Katona is 7-0 in his career and this is his first fight since winning TUF 27 back in July over Jay Cuccinello. The Canada native only has three stoppage wins out of his seven victories, hence the heavy juice on the over. Lopez has suffered all three of his career losses over his last five UFC fights.
The Fight Pass finale features Devin Clark and Aleksandar Rakic in the first of two light heavyweight fights on the card. Rakic is a huge -590 favorite in a fight that is also juiced -170 to the over 1.5 rounds. Rakic is 10-1 in his career and 2-0 in UFC. His lone loss came in his professional debut way back in 2011.
To Fox Sports 1 we go for the remainder of the preliminary card. There are some solid fights on the prelim card, including native son Olivier Aubin-Mercier against Gilbert Burns. OAM is a -125 favorite against Burns in a fight expected to go the distance with -190 on over 2.5 rounds. Aubin-Mercier is coming off of a rather surprising loss to Alexander Hernandez back in July, but Burns is off of a loss of his own against Dan Hooker. That was a first-round knockout loss. Both guys have a solid ground game, so the over 2.5 -190 looks like a good bet if you can stomach the juice and the judges will probably end up giving the nod to the Canadian fighter.
Eryk Anders and Elias Theodorou might be the headliner on a Fight Night card, but it is simply a prelim fight here. This fight was originally supposed to have Antonio Carlos Jr., but he withdrew because of an injury that needed surgery. The line movement here is interesting, as Theodorou has been bet into a favorite against Anders. He is a small favorite at -120, but still. Anders has lost two of his last three fights, but, pound for pound, seems like a stronger fighter with a better resume.
Two women’s fights wrap up the Fox Sports 1 portion of the show. Katlyn Chookagian and Jessica Eye meet in the first one in the flyweight division. Chookagian is a -185 favorite and that line doesn’t really seem big enough. Maybe Eye has turned a corner after a 16-month hiatus that spanned all of 2017. She has won two straight fights. But, Chookagian is in better form.
The other women’s fight is between Claudia Gadelha and Nina Ansaroff. Gadelha is a big -315 favorite and, like the other fight, it appears very likely to go the distance. Both fighters are going pretty well right now, as Gadelha’s only UFC losses have been to Jessica Andrade and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Ansaroff has won three straight, but this is a step up in class, as the line indicates.
Jimi Manuwa (+160) vs. Thiago Santos (-200); Total: 1.5 (140/-170)
Jimi Manuwa and Thiago Santos was supposed to happen a few months ago, but Manuwa suffered an injury in training and Santos fought Eryk Anders instead. Santos won that fight by knockout and now gets that matchup with Manuwa at 205 pounds. With the injury, we haven’t seen Manuwa since March, when he lost to Jan Blachowicz. The 38-year-old could very well be on the downside of his career. He’s lost two straight, including a KO loss to Volkan Oezdemir in 42 seconds at UFC 214. That was about a year and a half ago. While Oezdemir is one of the top light heavyweights right now, it’s hard to believe that Manuwa is going to have gotten better between the injury and the March loss.
Santos comes in off of two straight wins and he has won four of his last five fights. Give credit to the 34-year-old, who is fighting for the fifth time in 2018. He certainly doesn’t back down from a challenge or back out of making money. He’s won four of his last five fights, with the lone loss to David Branch back in April. Santos took a fight to replace the one scheduled against Manuwa and definitely appears to be in better form than his opponent.
Pick: Thiago Santos
The -200 price tag seems cheap here. If you really wanted to, you could pair it with Chookagian at -170 to get a nice plus money parlay price.
Kyle Bochniak (+135) vs. Hakeem Dawodu (-165); Total: 2.5 (-220/180)
Kyle Bochniak and Hakeem Dawodu battle it out in the feathweight division. Bochniak has alternated losses and wins over his last five fights, with his most recent result a loss to Zabit Magomedsharipov back at UFC 223. Each of his last five fights has gone all 15 minutes, which, coincidentally, makes up all of his UFC bouts. He was very impressive in CES, but this is a spot where he needs to prove it, as this is the last fight of his current contract.
Hakeem Dawodu is only 1-1 in his UFC career and this is a step up in class for the 27-year-old. He lost in just 39 seconds to Danny Henry back in March, but rallied to top Austin Arnett in July for his first UFC win. It’s fair to wonder what we will get from him. He’s an inexperienced, unpolished fighter, but the athleticism and talent are there. Dawodu is on the last fight of his four-fight contract, so he has something on the line here as well.
Pick: Kyle Bochniak
Bochniak just seems like the more disciplined fighter in this matchup. Neither guy is all that trustworthy, but we haven’t seen Dawodu able to do as much effective striking since making the leap from WSOF.
Alex Oliveira (+105) vs. Gunnar Nelson (-135); Total: 1.5 (-120/-110)
If Gunner Nelson had been fighting regularly, what would this line look like? Alex Oliveira will be fighting for the third time in 2018 and already has wins over Carlos Condit and Carlo Pedersoli Jr. Except for a slip-up last December against Yancy Medeiros, Cowboy has been running pretty well in UFC. He hasn’t fought a ton of top-end fighters, but he’s beaten all comers except Medeiros. The 30-year-old has 25 pro fights under his belt and has to be in better form than Nelson.
Nelson hasn’t fought since July 16, 2017 in a loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio. Prior to that, he picked up wins over Alan Jouban and Albert Tumenov. The loss to Ponzinibbio came with some controversy, as Nelson said that he was poked in the eye. His appeal was denied. After that, Nelson had to back out of his May fight against Neil Magny because of a knee injury. We do have a disenfranchised fighter here looking to get over the disappointment of that controversial loss. Don’t underestimate the power of that.
Pick: Gunnar Nelson
We do have a contrast of styles here. Oliveira is more of a knockout artist and Nelson is more of a submission artist. Cowboy has tapped three times. A better way to approach this fight is to take Nelson by submission and Oliveira by knockout and roll with plus money outcomes on both sides. The pretty standard vig on the 1.5 rounds total suggests that we should see a stoppage win here. This isn’t an arbitrage by dictionary definition, but a better way to pick a higher-variance fight.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (+265) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (-345); Total: 4.5 (-220/180)
The vacant women’s flyweight strap is on the line between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko. Those that haven’t been paying close attention to UFC may be surprised to see Joanna, a former champion, such a big underdog, but Shevchenko is probably the best pound-for-pound fighter outside of Cyborg Justino in UFC right now.
Jedrzejczyk lost back-to-back fights to Rose Namajunas and then dropped down in class to get a confidence-building win over Tecia Torres. One interesting thing here is that Jedrzeczyk has been fighting in the strawweight division dating back to her UFC debut. She was a flyweight coming up through the ranks, but this is her first fight at flyweight since 2014. That seems like a concern.
Shevchenko got back to flyweight with her win over Priscilla Cachoeira back in February. No offense to Cachoeira, but that was more like wiffle ball for Shevchenko. This fight is a much bigger challenge, but she’s still a big favorite in this bout. She lost her title shot to Amanda Nunes back at UFC 215 in what was a pretty controversial split decision.
Pick: Valentina Shevchenko
It wouldn’t be a huge stunner if Joanna Jedrzejczyk wins this fight, but Shevchenko is a step up from what the women’s divisions used to have when Joanna was at the top of her game.
Brian Ortega (-115) vs. Max Holloway (-115); Total: 3.5 (-125/-105)
Brian Ortega brings an unblemished 14-0 record into his fight with Max Holloway for the welterweight title. This highly anticipated matchup was put on hold after Holloway was hospitalized with concussion-like symptoms prior to UFC 226. It’s fair to wonder where Holloway actually is right now in that process. He also hasn’t fought since December 2, 2017, when he retained the title with his second straight win over Jose Aldo.
This is a good step up in class for Ortega, but there are many that believe he is the best fighter in this weight class right now. His knockout win over Frankie Edgar showed that he has a formidable upright game to go along with his terrific ground game. He is one of the sport’s most balanced fighters and a rapid riser in UFC.
Max Holloway doesn’t have much to prove. He won the title over Anthony Pettis, has beaten Jose Aldo twice, and has scored wins over several other top-end UFC fighters since his debut in 2012 at just 21 years old. Holloway, though, has taken some abuse in some of his fights and his pre-fight interview before UFC 226 was scary. How will he react when he gets hit in this fight? It isn’t a matter of if, it is a matter of when.
Pick: Brian Ortega
Maybe it was just an isolated incident for Holloway and he’ll be just fine in this fight, but Ortega hasn’t really been in trouble in too many of his fights. It is crazy to think that both of these guys are just 27 years old, but Ortega does seem like the fresher fighter. Maybe the long layoff will be enough to help Holloway get healthy.
This is probably a good live betting candidate. See how Holloway’s chin looks when he gets popped and see if he has all of his faculties. If he does, maybe you can take him then. If he doesn’t, the door is wide open for Ortega.
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