Mixed martial arts (MMA) will enjoy a full-on pay-per-view (PPV) blockbuster this Saturday night (March 2, 2019) when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hits T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, with two title fights and a plethora of violence-filled match ups in tow. Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones headlines against unexpected contender Anthony Smith, while Welterweight kingpin Tyron Woodley faces fellow wrestling standout Kamaru Usman in UFC 235’s co-feature.
Can’t think of anything pithy to say, so let’s just dig into those numbers.
What Went Wrong at UFC on ESPN+ 3?
Well, we almost made it to March without failing to turn a profit. I made two assumptions that proved false: I assumed that Damir Hadzovic neither could (nor would) use wrestling against Polo Reyes and I assumed that Jan Blachowicz could withstand Thiago Santos’ power. Luckily, Gillian Robertson was there to soften the blow.
UFC 235 Odds For The Undercard:
Zabit Magomedsharipov (-245) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+205)
Johnny Walker (-130) vs. Misha Cirkunov (+110)
Cody Stamann (-190) vs. Alejandro Perez (+165)
Mickey Gall (-270) vs. Diego Sanchez (+230)
Edmen Shahbazyan (-125) vs. Charles Byrd (+105)
Macy Chiasson (-450) vs. Gina Mazany (+360)
Marlon Vera (-200) vs. Frankie Saenz (+170)
Polyana Viana (-280) vs. Hannah Cifers (+240)
Thoughts: UFC is going all-out for this show, so I might as well do the same. Misha Cirkunov, Charles Byrd, and (God help me) Diego Sanchez are your underdogs of choice.
The last time I recommended betting against Johnny Walker, he flattened his man in seconds. This time around, though, he’s up against the best grappler he’s ever faced, one who held his own on the feet against the ludicrously aggressive Ion Cutelaba and masterfully defused him. Yes, Cirkunov’s losses to Volkan Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira were worrying, but he has the wrestling and composure to takedown the towering Brazilian and ruin his day ... especially since Walker has had just weeks to prepare.
Byrd strikes me as the best value on the card. I feel he’s being overlooked because he lost to Darren Stewart last time out, while Shahbazyan beat “The Dentist” by decision in his Octagon debut. Shahbazyan had to lean on his wrestling to do it, though, and burned himself out despite doing no substantial damage from the top. Byrd can match or exceed the Edmond Tarverdyan product anywhere the fight goes, has a stronger body of work, and has a more proven gas tank.
In other words, go big on “Kid Dynamite.”
The last time I recommended betting on Sanchez, I lost a lot. This time, though, I genuinely believe he’s got a chance. The only competent wrestlers Mickey Gall has had to deal with in the Octagon were Sage Northcutt and Randy Brown, both of whom are primarily strikers. Sanchez, shopworn as he is, can still grind out a fight from guard like nobody’s business, and against a single-minded submission specialist, I genuinely believe he has one more good win left in him.
UFC 235 Odds For The Main Card:
Jon Jones (-850) vs. Anthony Smith (+575)
Tyron Woodley (-175) vs. Kamaru Usman (+155)
Ben Askren (-280) vs. Robbie Lawler (+240)
Weili Zhang (-125) vs. Tecia Torres (+105)
Cody Garbrandt (-165) vs. Pedro Munhoz (+145)
Thoughts: Even on the heels of two knockout losses, Garbrandt at only -165 seems conservative. Pedro Munhoz loves to slug it out on the inside, where Garbrandt excels. Further, Munhoz doesn’t have the wrestling to impose his submission game, meaning this fight will take place almost exclusively in Garbrandt’s wheelhouse. “No Love” just hits too damn hard for Munhoz to survive the protracted exchanges he thrives in. You can parlay Garbrandt with Polyana Viana to get positive odds, so I say go for it.
UFC 235 Best Bets:
- Single bet — Misha Cirkunov: Bet $40 to make $44
- Single bet — Charles Byrd: Bet $80 to make $84
- Single bet — Diego Sanchez: Bet $20 to make $46
- Parlay — Polyana Viana and Cody Garbrandt: Bet $40 to make $47.20
UFC 235 is the big one of the year so far ... be sure you don’t miss it. See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 235 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.