Coming off a mammoth three-title PPV, the UFC is back at it yet again at the UFC Apex this Saturday night with UFC Fight Night: Edwards v. Muhammad. Leon Edwards enters this contest looking to solidify himself as the number one contender after a long hiatus, while Belal Muhammad is attempting to shock the world and knock off an opponent that a lot of individuals believe should’ve already fought for the welterweight title. Naturally, a card like this is not going to rival a three-fight title PPV, but there are still some betting opportunities for us here. Before I address those, however, let's take a quick look back at UFC 259:
UFC 259 Betting Recap:
- All Fight Picks: 8-7
- Official Bets: 4-3
- Units: -1.04
Sean Brady (-210) came through with a dominant submission victory over Jake Matthews (+175) and continues to impress. Brady looks like the real deal in the welterweight division. Speaking of dominating victories, Askar Askarov (-120) outclassed Joseph Benavidez (+100) en route to a unanimous decision victory. Askarov solidified himself as next-in-line to fight the winner of Figueiredo/Moreno 2.
Aleksandar Rakic’s (-157) performance over Thiago Santos (+137) was a bit anti-climatic, but a win is a win, especially in a wide open light heavyweight division. Islam Makhachev (-360) looked incredible in his bout against Drew Dober (+300), one that ended with a slick submission victory, and he looks poised to win the title in 2022. Unfortunately, for us, Makhachev was paired with Israel Adesanya (-235) in a parlay (-125) that lost. The next bout was a tough one to swallow, as Petr Yan (-110) was well on his way to defeating Aljamain Sterling (-110) until landing a blatantly illegal knee. As a result, Yan lost the bout via disqualification and our bet went with it - along with his belt - something no one could've predicted.
Amanda Nunes? She continues to do Amanda Nunes things. Nunes (-1000) quickly disposed of Megan Anderson (+650), defended her featherweight championship and cashing our sprinkle (half unit) play on her winning by submission (+165). And lastly, Adesanya (-235), on a quest to become UFC’s fifth “double champ,” lost a unanimous decision to light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (+195), thus capping off our night with a loss. We’re right back at it this weekend with a decent UFC card so without further adieu, so let’s now dive into UFC Fight Night: Edwards v. Muhammad to hunt down the best bets for fight night!
Misha Cirkunov (-135) v. Ryan Spann (+115)
The co-main event of the night features two light heavyweight fighters trying to gain some traction in their division, and I like Misha Cirkunov here. Cirkunov is simply the better fighter overall and is the better and more technical striker who throws more varied strikes on the feet. He’s also the far superior grappler with his Judo background. Cirkunov is active in top position on the ground and has several finishes there, but my only concern is that, at times, he does not do a good job of getting out of compromising positions during a given fight - he’ll instead accept them, which can be frustrating if you’re backing him as a bettor.
Cirkunov's opponent, Ryan Spann, has legit knockout power on the feet and does a decent job of moving forward and pressing the action. He needs to continue to do that in this fight in order to get the victory, as he comes into Saturday night with a good guillotine that he can use when his opponent is threatening the takedown. Outside of his power, however, Spann really does not have much else to offer. Defensively, on the feet, he gets hit too much and is susceptible to a knockout shot himself. His defensive wrestling is not good either, and he can be taken down easily and controlled. So long as Cirkunov avoids Spann’s power on the feet, I believe he will utilize his grappling to control Spann, get him to the ground, and submit him. I put 1.5 units accordingly on Misha Cirkunov to get the victory outright here over Ryan Spann at -135.
Angela Hill (-380) v. Ashley Yoder (+315)
This strawweight bout was supposed to happen a couple of weeks ago, but due to Ashley Yoder’s cornerman testing positive for COVID-19, it was subsequently cancelled and re-booked. The short delay has no effect on how I believe this fight transpires either: Angela Hill has 21 professional MMA fights in her career, and 14 of her 21 fights have gone to a decision. That’s better than a 66% clip! Hill also comes into Saturday’s fight off of three straight decisions, while her opponent, Ashley Yoder, has 14 professional fights in her career, and 10 of those 14 fights have also gone to a decision. That’s better than a 71% clip!
As a matter of fact, the last time one of Yoder's fights did not go to a decision was all the way back on December 9th, 2016, (that's eight straight decisions). Finally, and maybe most importantly, Hill beat Yoder 3+ years ago at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale via - you guessed it - a decision. Because of this I’m putting 2 units on Hill to win via decision (-185) against Yoder in this strawweight battle on Saturday night.
Gloria de Paula (-185) v. Jinh Yu Frey (+160)
I typically do not like betting obscure women’s MMA fights due to high variance, but this is one I just could not pass up. Gloria de Paula looked impressive in her victory on the Dana White Contender Series late last year, and she’s a very well-rounded fighter who is aggressive on the feet and likes to move forward and pressure her opponents. De Paula has fast hands, good power, and consistent volume on the feet, and on the ground she is aggressive as well, constantly looking to improve her positions and land damage. De Paula also has good top control and will definitely be the stronger fighter in the grappling exchanges.
This matchup is more about Jinh Yu Frey though. She’s small for the division, a natural atomweight (105lbs) who is fighting at strawweight (115lbs). Yu Frey is 0-2 thus far in the UFC and has just not looked impressive at all. She’s primarily a wrestler but doesn’t use her wrestling effectively, and offensively she has trouble controlling her opponents. Defensively she can also be taken down and controlled. On the feet Yu Frey does have a good left hand, but she isn’t the best at disguising it or setting it up. She has not been impressive, and I believe it’s because she’s undersized for the division and not of UFC caliber.
De Paula will have no problem dictating where and how this fight goes, and I believe that she has several paths to victory. For that reason I’m putting 2 units on de Paula her to get the victory here outright over Yu Frey. Best of luck to anyone betting the fights this Saturday. Below are my full list of picks/winners. BOL!
All Picks for UFC Fight Night: Edwards v. Muhammad:
Gloria De Paula