UFC 276 Preview

Jamie Samuel UFC

Photo Credit: Youtube, UFC Ultimate Fighting Championship

From the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, we have a PPV show that is stacked from top to bottom.  Early prelims start at 8am AET Sunday morning and the PPV starts at noon AET.  On paper this is a brilliant card and you could do worse than spending around seven hours in front of the television for this show.  Here’s a preview of the entire card with tips and betting strategies.  Please note that the odds shown were correct at the time of publication but can change before the event.

 

Main Event

Middleweight Title

Israel Adesanya (C) vs Jared Cannonier #2

Adesanya has seemed unstoppable for the last few years.  The only loss was when he moved up to Light Heavyweight to challenge Jan Blacowicz for the title.  Cannonier has only lost once in his last six fights and that was to Australian Robbie Whittaker.  Adesanya beat Whittaker by decision at his last start.  This decision was controversial with many thinking that something smells rotten in Denmark.  If you only look at that result with a common opponent it looks like Adesanya should win.  Cannonier is a bigger fighter than Adesanya has been facing at Middleweight and when you consider that Adesnya lost at Light Heavyweight this could be a closer affair than the market would have you think.

Current Odds:

Adesanya: 1.2

Cannonier: 4.8

Betting Strategy

The overs on Cannonier at 4.8 is very attractive.  No need to look at method of victory markets with the value on offer here.  I’m taking the 4.8, which is clear overs, even though the price may drift to 5.0 or higher.  There may be more money come because of the value so I would take the price now.

 

Co-Main Event

Featherweight Title

Alexander Volkanovski (C) vs Max Holloway #1

For many in Australia, this should be the main event.  After beating Max Hollaway for the title at the tail end of 2019 and again in 2020 few would have thought another rematch would happen.  However, with two impressive victories since then, Max has retained #1 contender status.  If Max fails to win this one there won’t be another title fight in his future for some time.  Volkanovski hasn’t lost since 2013 and Holloway has only lost to Connor McGregor and Alex in the same period of time.  I see that Alexander has become an even better fighter since getting the title and has impressed more than Max since they last met.  I am expecting Alexander Volkanovski to win.

Current Odds:

Volkanovski: 1.5

Holloway: 2.7

Betting Strategy

No surprise that Volkanovski opened as favourite and the punters have agreed with his price continuing to shorten.  The current head-to-head price is too short with an opponent as dangerous as Max Holloway.  Based on the improvement that Volkanonvski has shown there is significant value in the method of victory markets.  While the 4.0 available for KO/TKO or submission is attractive I don’t think the submission is really there so I want to take the 5.0 available for Volkanovski by KO/TKO.

 

Middleweight

Sean Strickland #4 vs Alex Pereira

After two impressive fights in the UFC Pereira is now getting an opponent ranked in the top five.  This could be a case of climbing the ladder too quickly.  With only five total MMA fights Pereira has risen quickly and while he beat Adesanya in kickboxing twice that was quite some time ago and a different discipline.  This fight does look like it will have a kickboxing feel to it.

Current Odds:

Strickland: 1.8

Pereira: 2.1

Betting Strategy

When the market for this fight opened Pereira was the favourite.  Some early money came and they were both sitting at 1.9.  The money then came for Pereira again and Strickland got out to 2.1, but since then it has all been one-way traffic and Strickland is now clear favourite.  I can see that the price for Pereira will drift some more.  On that basis, I want to take a chance on Pereira being as good as the matchmakers think he is.  2.1 is good but if you can get 2.2 or even 2.3 that will be good shopping.

 

Welterweight

Robbie Lawler vs Bryan Barerena

This fight is going to draw plenty of excitement as both fighters have been around for years with Lawler debuting in 2013 and Barbarena the next year in 2014.  Lawler has faced a higher level of competition and had four more UFC fights than Barbarena.  On paper, this fight looks like it’s going to be a stand-up affair but with these two it’s anyone’s guess how it’s going to go.

Current Odds:

Lawyer: 1.94

Barberena: 2.04

Betting Strategy

Lawler opened as favourite at 1.83 and some early money came and the price dropped to 1.73.  Since then the price has rebounded to 1.94.  This drove the price for Barbarena to 2.1 but has levelled off around even money.  This is a very even fight and this is one to keep your powder dry and wait for the last three fights of the night.

 

Middleweight

Pedro Munhoz #9 vs Sean O’Malley #13

With always colourful hair Sean O’Malley has been an entertaining fighter.  With a couple of points decision wins in 2017 and 2018 to start his career it’s been all knockouts since then.  There was a two-year break after those decisions and the only loss was to Marlon Vera in 2020.  While Munhoz has only one win in his last five, all by decision, those losses were all against current or former champions.  With Sean O’Malley having become a knockout artist in the last couple of years it may not be enough for Munhoz last the distance to obtain a win.

Current Odds:

Munhoz: 3.5

O’Malley: 1.34

Betting Strategy

Sean O’Malley is obviously going to start favourite, however, the price is too short to get any value.  I would suggest that O’Malley by knockout represents good value so a small play at that price is in order.

 

 

Lightweight

Brad Riddell #14 vs Jalin Turner

Since making his impressive UFC debut in October 2019 Kiwi Brad Riddell had been racking up impressive victories until he ran into a wheel kick in his last start in December last year.  Jalin Turner has been making short work of his opponents in recent times.  If Ridell lives up to his potential this is a possible fight of the night candidate.  However, it remains to be seen what the impact of a loss last start has.

Current Odds:

Riddell: 2.15

Turner: 1.77

Betting Strategy

While the price for Ridell is attractive it’s still too short to be value.  If the price gets out to 2.8 I would have a small play.  Otherwise, this is a fight to sit back and enjoy watching.

 

Welterweight

Ian Garry vs Gabriel Green

Both Ian and Gabriel have had two wins in the UFC.  Ian Garry has a five-inch height advantage over Gabriel Green, however, their reach is around the same.  This has all the makings of a slugfest with Green having a significant edge in work rate.

Current Odds:

Garry: 1.57

Green: 2.5

Betting Strategy

Some serious money has come for Garry which has pushed out the price for Green.  I would have installed Green as the favourite by the punters have spoken.  Take the 2.5 if you can still get it.  There may be a market correction again before fight time.

 

Welterweight

Jim Miller vs Donald Cerrone

This is one of those fights the long-time mixed martial arts fans are salivating over.  With a combined 105 fights between them, this is a fight between two future hall of famers.  Donald has 36 wins of which 23 are in the UFC and Jim has 19 UFC win in his total 34 wins.  Donal Cerrone missed a recent fight due to food poisoning and it is just over a year since his last fight.  Jim Miller last fought back in February this year getting a second-round knockout over Nikolas Motta.  Donald hasn’t won for a while but when you look at his opponents (Alex Morono, Anthony Pettis, Connor McGregor and Justin Gaethje) you realise this is among the highest-level competition the UFC has had to offer.

Current Odds:

Garry: 1.5

Cerrone: 2.7

Betting Strategy

The punters have figured out that the prices offered on Donal Cerrone are big overs and the money has continued to come.  I expect that by the time of the fight Cerrone will be close to even money.  Take the 2.7 now.  2.2 will still be great value so don’t miss out.

 

 

Middleweight

Brad Tavares #12 vs Dricus Du Plessis

Dricus Du Plessis has won both of his UFC starts by knockout.  Tavares has faced some of the elite fighters in the UFC but has only had three fights in the last four years and his last fight was a year ago.  In his eighteen-fight MMA career, Dricus has never once seen the judge’s scorecards.  Tavares has won 12 of his 14 UFC fights by decision.  I can’t see this one going the distance.

Current Odds:

Tavares: 2.15

Du Plessis: 1.75

Betting Strategy

I can’t see Tavares getting the win here so to get some value I want some of the Dricus Du Pessis by KO/TKO or submission at 2.3 which represents great value.

 

 

Middleweight

Uriah Hall #9 vs Andre Muniz #13

This is a classic striker versus grappler contest.  Uriah Hall is well known to UFC and has won five of his last seven fights losing only to Sean Strickland #4 back in a five-round fight in August and Paolo Costa back in 2018.  Andre Muniz has won all four of his UFC starts; The last three by submission in round one and his first UFC fight won by unanimous decision.

Current Odds:

Hall: 3.60

Muniz: 1.32

Betting Strategy

Uriah Hall opened at 3.0 and has drifted to 3.6 as punters are clearly coming for Muniz.  While Muniz deserves to be favourite it was no accident that Hall knocked out Anderson Silva not long ago and in my book, the market seems to have got it wrong.  On this basis, I would suggest taking the overs on Uriah Hall

 

Women’s Flyweight

Jessica Eye #10 vs Maycee Barber #13

Jessica Eye is ranked at #10 but presents quite a conundrum.  Both of these fights have won five fights in the UFC but Jessica Eye has nine losses.  On her day Eye is one of the best fighters you will see but having lost four of her last five fights including a second-round loss to Valentina Shevchenko it has been mostly downhill since then.

Current Odds:

Eye: 3.4

Barber: 1.3

Betting Strategy

Eye at 3.4 is big overs.  There is 4.0 available for Clark by points but that seems a riskier option.  Eye opened at 2.7 and has continued to drift.  I would continue to monitor betting and hope for 4.0 on the head-to-head market.  If the prices start to drift back take a position at 3.5.

 

 

Women’s Bantamweight

Jessica-Rose Clark vs Julija Stoliarenko

A really interesting fight to start proceedings with Australian Jessica Rose Clark facing Julia Stoliarenko.  With an overall record of 9-7-1 Stoliarenko is still yet to win in the UFC with a UFC record of 0-4.  While the statistics show Clark has a clear edge in striking it is in the grappling skillset that she shines.  If it goes to the ground look for Clark to win by submission.  With an overall record 11-7 1NC Clark has a UFC record of 4-3.  Two of the losses were by decision in fights that could have easily gone her way.  Clark’s most recent fight was a loss where she got caught in an armbar by Stephanie Egger in round one.  This is a must-win for Stoliarenko as you can’t lose five fights and expect to retain a contract.

Current Odds:

Clark: 1.64

Stoliarenko: 2.27

Betting Strategy

Clark opened at 1.8 and the money has continued even going as low as 1.5.  Even at 1.64, I think this is big overs but I would be waiting to see if it gets back to 1.8 and take a position at over 1.70.  Clark by submission is being traded at 13.0 so I would be inclined to take a small bet at that price.