Two title rematches headline the Octagon’s return to Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., this Saturday (Nov. 6, 2021) when Kamaru Usman and Rose Namajunas face dangerous rivals Colby Covington and Zhang Weili at UFC 268. The ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) card also features a Lightweight grudge match between Justin Gaethje and Michale Chandler, as well as a potential “Fight of the Year” between all-action Shane Burgos and Billy Quarantillo.
UFC 268 is a damn-fine offering from the world’s largest fight promotion, albeit one that’ll cost you. Let’s get ourselves some funds ...
What Went Wrong at UFC 268?
Despite Damir Ismagulov imploding on the scales and Virna Jandiroba failing to parlay a hugely dominant first round into an actual victory, we did pretty alright thanks to strong efforts from Andre Petroski, Petr Yan and Tagir Ulanbekov. Let’s keep this momentum going!
UFC 268 Odds For The Under Card:
Alex Pereira (-250) vs. Andreas Michailidis (+210)
Bobby Green (-175) vs. Al Iaquinta (+155)
Phil Hawes (-310) vs. Chris Curtis (+255)
Nassourdine Imavov (-117) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (-107)
Ian Garry (-360) vs. Jordan Williams (+300)
Gian Villante (-115) vs. Chris Barnett (-105)
Dustin Jacoby (-280) vs. John Allan (+240)
Melsik Baghdasaryan (-300) vs. Bruno Souza (+250)
Ode Osbourne (-170) vs. CJ Vergara (+150)
Thoughts: You know what? I picked seven out of eight “Prelims” correctly last week. So let’s cast a wide net this weekend: Alex Pereira, Ian Garry, Chris Barnett, Melsik Baghdasaryan and Ode Osbourne are all worth your money.
“Poatan” may have only recently dedicated himself fully to mixed martial arts (MMA), but he’s a long-time training partner of Glover Teixeira’s, who had his first cage fight back in 2015. I trust him to keep it standing against the massively underwhelming Michailidis, and it’s not even remotely a contest on the feet. This is arguably the best Middleweight striker in the world against a guy who failed to impress last time out against a man in K.B. Bhullar, who landed five head strikes in 15 minutes.
It’s a testament to Garry’s skills that he’s the largest favorite on the card despite this being his first UFC appearance. His crisp jab, good footwork and quality gas tank look perfectly suited to defusing Williams, who relies on raw pressure to make up for a lack of technical striking ability. Garry proved in his last fight that he could play keep-away all night and I fully expect him to do the same here.
Gian Villante could easily be 1-7 in his last eight fights, got torn apart by a former Middleweight in Jake Collier last time out, and previously gassed so badly he tapped to a nonexistent choke while in top position. I don’t understand why he’d be favored over anyone in the Heavyweight division at this point. Chris Barnett is faster, more technical and has far more experience against big men, making him worth an investment.
I was peeved when T.J. Laramie pulled out of his fight with Baghdasaryan, as he was sitting at more than +200 despite being far and away the best wrestler Baghdasaryan has ever faced. Bruno Souza, by contrast, will give “The Gun” the striking battle he craves and most likely get starched for it. Even if I’m not 100 percent sold on Baghdasaryan yet, he’s a good parlay stuffer.
Osbourne’s 1-2 Octagon run may not inspire much confidence, but it’s worth remembering that those losses came against extremely dangerous customers in Brian Keller and Manel Kape. He’s more than skilled enough to knockout C.J. Vergara, who was dropped twice and nearly stopped by two-time Contender Series washout Jacob Silva earlier this year. Though Vergara does pack some pop, odds are that Osbourne blows him away with a straight left down the pipe before long.
UFC 268 Odds For The Main Card:
Kamaru Usman (-290) vs. Colby Covington (+245)
Zhang Weili (-115) vs. Rose Namajunas (-105)
Justin Gaethje (-220) vs. Michael Chandler (+180)
Shane Burgos (-185) vs. Billy Quarantillo (+160)
Marlon Vera (-175) vs. Frankie Edgar (+155)
Thoughts: Kamaru Usman, Justin Gaethje and Shane Burgos round out this week’s picks.
The scary thing about Usman is that he’s already a markedly better fighter than when he first stopped Covington. Though still far from flawless, his striking has improved to the point where he can reliably unleash the terrifying power he’s long possessed, but struggled to utilize. As far as Covington, beating what’s left of Tyron Woodley is far from enough to convince me that he’s made the sorts of adjustments necessary to topple “The Nigerian Nightmare.”
In short, it will be 2-0 for the champ when the dust settles.
Even putting my long-standing fondness of Gaethje to the side, there’s a lot going his way. He’s got a significant edge in durability over Chandler and has recently proven himself a highly capable counter-puncher, which is bad news for someone who relies more on horsepower than unpredictability. With Gaethje’s wrestling skills taking Chandler’s takedowns out of the equation, it’s only a matter of time before “Iron” gets dented again.
I love watching Quarantillo fight, as I imagine most violence aficionados do. That said, Burgos is all wrong for him. “Billy Q” uses his bottomless gas tank to wear down opponents, then take over once fatigue has sapped their technical striking advantages. Not only is Burgos more than capable of keeping pace with Quarantillo, but he’s also the much harder and more technically-skilled boxer. So long as the egregious punishment he took against Josh Emmett and Edson Barboza loss didn’t permanently break Burgos’ chin, I like him to come out on top in a slugfest.
UFC 268 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Ian Garry and Chris Barnett: Bet $150 to make $223.50
- Parlay — Alex Pereira and Justin Gaethje: Bet $150 to make $156
- Parlay — Melsik Baghdasaryan and Shane Burgos: Bet $150 to make $157.50
- Parlay — Ode Osbourne and Kamaru Usman: Bet $150 to make $171
UFC 268 features two title fights, ultra-violent contenders and some quality newcomers, all of which make for a hell of a PPV. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 268 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPNEWS/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 268: “Usman vs. Covington 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.