By: Trent Pruitt & Nick Stavas
The third and final UFC event of the week will take place on Saturday night from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. It features a heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris that the oddsmakers give a decently sized edge to Walt Harris. Nick Stavas and Trent Pruitt look to stay hot as they went 2-2 (+$147) with their best bets on Wednesday night’s event, hitting a +160 play in one fight!
Main Card – 9 P.M. EST on ESPN+
Main Event: Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris – Heavyweight
Co-Main Event: Claudia Gadelha vs. Angela Hill – Strawweight
Dan Ige vs. Edson Barboza – Featherweight
Eryk Anders vs. Krzysztof Jotko – Middleweight
Song Yadong vs. Marlon Vera – Featherweight
Best bet: most likely to profit
Value bet: best bet relative to Vegas odds
Confidence level: 5-star scale next to each bet (★★★☆☆)
Alistair Overeem (+116) vs. Walt Harris (-136)
The 11th and final fight of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night from Jacksonville, Florida features a heavyweight fight that sees Alistair Overeem fighting out of Amsterdam, Netherlands up against Walt Harris, fighting out of Homewood, Alabama. Overeem boasts a 45-18 record, entering at 39 years and 11 months old while Harris is 13-7 and 36 years and 11 months old.
I’m rolling with Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris on Saturday night. He has some serious power and Overeem’s chin hasn’t been able to hold up recently. Harris is also riding a three-fight win streak and looking to make his own run at a title fight. He needed barely a minute combined over his last two fights to finish his opponents, including a 12 second fight last time out. A lot of people are liking Harris by TKO, but I’m going to ride him on the money line as the price isn’t too steep.
Best Bet: Harris -135 ★★★☆☆– Trent Pruitt (@the_real_pruitt)
Claudia Gadelha (-190) vs. Angela Hill (+165)
Claudia Gadelha enters this contest as a fairly large favorite, and for good reason. She boasts a 17-4 record and is the 7th ranked strawweight while her opponent, Angela Hill, is 12-7 and ranks 16th in the same division. Hill does have five knockouts to her resume. I’m leaning towards that not being too much of a factor though as 9 out of Gadehla’s last 10 fights have gone the distance while 10 of 13 of Hills have gone to decision. With those stats, you think we would look to bet this fight to go the distance… Unfortunately, the oddsmakers are aware of these trends and set a hefty -265 price tag for “Goes the Distance” while “Does not go the Distance” comes in at +205. I would stay away from that, not only because the price is crazy high but also because Gadelha has a very respectable ground game – leaving the door open for a possible stoppage win via submission or punches.
It’s a little chalky, but I think locking Claudia Gadelha in on the moneyline is the safest play here. She should be able to take care of business as she’s peaking right now in her career. She’s the more technical fighter and I think she has a big advantage on the ground. I’m going with a mid level confidence play on the favorite here.
Best Bet: Gadelha (-190) ★★★☆☆
– Trent Pruitt (@the_real_pruitt)
Edson Barboza (-135) vs. Dan Ige (+105)
At first glance, a bettor could look at Barboza’s 1-4 record in his past five outings and be quick to pull the trigger on the underdog here. Not so fast. Yes, Barboza is 1-4 dating back to March and yes, he’s only a modest 13-8 in his UFC career. But here are some of his losses: Khabib Nurmagomedov, Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, Donald Cerrone, Kevin Lee, Michael Johnson and Paul Felder. Not a bad resume when you look a little closer. Any fan that has followed the UFC for awhile would be shocked to find out that Barboza is only 34 years old because it seems like he’s been in the UFC since the beginning of time. But, throughout his entire career Barboza has always “punched up.” He has chosen to take the big-money fights as opposed to choosing lower-profile opponents that he can actually beat. With Dan Ige, Barboza is a little bit more in his range and I think that’s why he’s favored here. Barboza is a pure striker with jiu-jitsu skills that can hang with the best of them. I mean, he took Khabib the distance, so he’s obviously doing something right on the ground. Ige, however, is one of the hottest fighters in the UFC right now. After a debut loss to Julio Arce, Ige rattled off five straight victories in the past two calendar years, which earned him a ranking in the featherweight division. A great grappler who rarely makes a mistake standing up and wins most of his fights by decision, Ige has the chin of a mad man, proving in his short career that he’s willing to trade shots with whoever will oblige. Unfortunately, Barboza isn’t exactly the guy you want to trade shots with for three rounds. For that reason, I like Barboza in this scrap. Just the pure technical striking and power that Barboza possesses makes me feel like Ige is going to get severely out-boxed and maybe even knocked out.
Best Bet: Barboza (-135) ★★★★☆
Value Bet: Barboza by stoppage (+250) ★★☆☆☆– Nick Stavas (@nickstavas)
Eryk Anders (+140) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (-160)
Song Yadong (-170) vs. Marlon Vera (+145)
In my opinion, this is probably the most underrated fight on the card as it pins Song Yadong, the 14th ranked bantamweight against Marlon Vera, who is ranked 15th in the same division. This fight will be a three round brawl at the featherweight level, 145 Lbs. which is slightly heavier than their normal 135 Lb bantamweight class. It’s really about as even as it gets between these two. Yes, they have different strengths, weaknesses and styles, but overall, they’re both excellent fighters and it’s no surprise that this line is quickly closing. It opened at Yadong -200 at certain books and has since been bet down. This seems like an appropriate time to introduce my value bet for this contest. I have a two star confidence play on Vera here considering how even these guys are in the rankings. Since it’s basically a coin flip in my eyes, the pure value play would be taking Vera for the plus money payout. He has the height and reach advantages and is 27 years old compared to Yadong being just 22. The Ecuadorian, Vera, is entering on a 5-fight win streak, all coming by finish.
If you’re looking for the best bet to cash a ticket, I have to take the under on 2.5 rounds at -105 and here’s why. Song Yadong is an excellent boxer and he is going to come out quick and look to take the fight to Vera. I’ve found that Vera typically is a slower starter so this leaves an opportunity for Yadong to get the TKO early on. The extra 10 Lbs. should theoretically add a little more power to his punch as well. On the flip side, Vera is a very solid grappler who will look to throw the kitchen sink at you in terms of submission moves. If Yadong can’t get the stoppage early on, look for Vera to submit Yadong due to Yadong’s endurance giving out while Vera gets stronger as time goes on. Like I said, I’m not 100% sure who wins this fight, but I believe it’ll end before the 2.5 minute mark in the 3rd round! It’s going to be a good one between a couple of young guys looking to climb the rankings!
Best Bet: Under 2.5 Rounds (-105) ★★★★☆
Value Bet: Vera (+145) ★★☆☆☆– Trent Pruitt (@the_real_pruitt)