The best Featherweight and women’s Flyweight fights Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has to offer go down this Saturday (Dec. 8, 2018) inside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega and Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valentina Shevchenko headline UFC 231. Fight fans will also get to see grappling ace Gunnar Nelson square off with Brazilian powerhouse Alex Oliveira and Thiago Santos throw down with Jimi Manuwa in a clash of Light Heavyweight knockout artists on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card.
There’s still Christmas gifts and expensive liquors to be bought before the 25th, so let’s fatten up that wallet.
What Went Wrong Last Weekend?
I didn’t consider Edmen Shahbazyan’s wrestling. I knew he had it in his arsenal, as he’d used it prior to his Contender Series appearance, but I figured it was insufficient to drag Darren Stewart out of his comfort zone. Turns out it was, and while I was right about Shahbazyan losing steam in the later rounds, it happened too late to make a difference.
UFC 231 Odds For The Undercard:
Cláudia Gadelha (-320) vs. Nina Ansaroff (+260)
Katlyn Chookagian (-175) vs. Jessica Eye (+155)
Elias Theodorou (-125) vs. Eryk Anders (+105)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier (-130) vs. Gilbert Burns (+110)
Aleksandar Rakic (-550) vs. Devin Clark (+425)
Brad Katona (-210) vs. Matthew Lopez (+175)
Chad Laprise (-350) vs. Dhiego Lima (+290)
Diego Ferreira (-340) vs. Jesse Ronson (+280)
I get why Elias Theodorou is the favorite, as he’s 7-2 in the UFC and Anders is coming off of a horrendously brutal knockout loss to Thiago Santos. At the same time, look at who Theodorou has beaten; a bevy of slow-as-molasses grapplers, a Sam Alvey who threw less than 50 strikes in the entire fight, and Cezar “Mutante,” who deserved the win against him. Anders can shut down his grappling, outbox him, and overall make his night miserable. Put a bit on him.
Gilbert Burns is worth a look as well. Aubin-Mercier has had issues with fellow physical grapplers, and not only is Burns colossal for the weight, he packs nightmarish power in his hands. Definitely worth at least a look, I’d say.
UFC 231 Odds For The Main Card:
Max Holloway (-125) vs. Brian Ortega (+105)
Valentina Shevchenko (-350) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (+290)
Thiago Santos (-220) vs. Jimi Manuwa (+180)
Gunnar Nelson (-135) vs. Alex Oliveira (+115)
Hakeem Dawodu (-165) vs. Kyle Bochniak (+145)
Thoughts: I keep betting against Brian Ortega and he keeps winning. I’m going to keep betting against Brian Ortega because Max Holloway is the best Featherweight on the planet.
Interesting factoid: Ortega has not hit a takedown since his UFC debut. He’s gotten people down by either pressuring them into shooting, snapping them down from the clinch, or just straight-up knocking them stupid. Holloway is the more able pressure fighter, has sufficient distance management to avoid prolonged clinches, and took Jose Aldo’s best shots with nary a wobble. So long as his brain’s still in the right part of his skull after that 226 incident, he dominates this.
Kyle Bochniak is only a slight underdog against one of the best up-and-coming strikers in the Featherweight division. This is odd. Yes, people are high on him after the Magomedsharipov fight, but he got his ass beat for 15 minutes that night. He’s 2-3 in the Octagon and should be 1-4, as the decision against Barzola was garbage. Dawodu has beaten superior fighters and is going to tear him a new one from bell-to-bell, so bet accordingly.
UFC 231 Best Bets:
- Single bet -- Eryk Anders: Bet $40 to make $42
- Single bet -- Gilbert Burns: Bet $30 to make $33
- Parlay -- Max Holloway and Hakeem Dawodu: Bet $60 to make $113.40
This upcoming Saturday night is going to be a special evening — don’t miss it. See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC 231 results on fight night, which is as good a place as any to talk about all the action inside the Octagon, as well as what you’ve got riding on the sportsbook.