All of the non-pay-per-view UFC events are like a box of chocolates, to make a reference to the iconic line in Forrest Gump. We had a pretty good idea that we were going to get a good card last weekend and it did not disappoint, including that really good main event between TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen.
This week, you can [insert least favorite chocolate flavor here]. Relative to last weekend’s card and next week’s UFC 265 broadcast, this certainly looks like one of the weaker fight cards that UFC has had in 2021. That may end up not being the case, as there could be some surprises, but we have a lot of fighters shaking off some rust and a main card that lacks the intrigue of last week’s action.
The card in question this week is either known by UFC on ESPN 28 or UFC Vegas 33, whichever you prefer. It is headlined by a main event between Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland and we will use the odds from FanDuel Sportsbook to pick out some good bets.
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UFC on ESPN 28 Betting Odds – Hall (+172) vs. Strickland (-215)
It isn’t a guarantee that a main event will be bad just because of where the line sits, but it is pretty interesting to see Sean Strickland priced as such a big favorite over Uriah Hall. We have no idea if Hall would have continued his winning streak against Chris Weidman, but Weidman suffered a knee injury burned into the memory banks of anybody that saw it happen or watched a replay.
That became the fourth win in a row for the 36-year-old Hall, who struggled for a time prior to that. Strickland has only lost three times in his career and rides his own four-fight winning streak into action.
One thing to keep in mind here is that this fight has the championship rounds, so the total is 3.5 and pretty evenly lined. The longer we go, does that favor Strickland more? He has six years on Hall and the underdog is just 4-5 in his career in fights that have gone to a decision. While this one probably won’t, decisions usually take place after 15 minutes. This fight could go 25.
Strickland is 9-3 in decisions with 15 stoppage wins. The longer this fight goes, the more it seems to favor the favorite, so maybe the -215 is a reasonable number.
Pick: Sean Strickland
UFC Vegas 33 Odds – Yahya (+116) vs. Kang (-142)
Kyung Ho Kang has not been seen in the UFC since before Christmas 2019. He won his second consecutive split decision over Liu Pingyuan. The first was over Brandon Davis. This is always such an important question with UFC fights, though. How much do we weigh wins from over a year and a half ago? It is great that Kang has won four of his last five, but he went all of 2020 without a fight and nearly seven full months of 2021.
Is that something that we should consider when Rani Yahya just beat Ray Rodriguez by second-round submission on March 13? The 36-year-old Yahya fought to a draw with Enrique Barzola right before UFC was forced to shut down. He, too, has won three of five with a draw in there.
Kang is the taller fighter. Both guys prefer to win by submission, as there are 32 submission wins between the two of them. Yahya has 21 of those, but also has 38 fights to 25 for Kang.
It seems like both guys will be looking for takedowns and top control. Theoretically, that should keep the fight going, right? The fight going the distance is -110. Yahya has tapped out once. Kang has tapped out once. Unless we’re going to see some history here, we should expect this one to go the full 15.
Pick: Fight to Go the Distance “Yes”
UFC on ESPN 28 Best Bets
As mentioned, this is not the greatest fight card. There aren’t even a ton of really attractive betting options.
Here are some best bets that do stand out:
Zarrukh Adashev (+110) vs. Ryan Benoit (-134)
Zarrukh Adashev is 0-2 in his two UFC fights, but he seems to have a good chance here against Ryan Benoit. Benoit is a guy that should probably fight at 135 or 145, but he’s choosing to fight at flyweight here again. Benoit was overweight and also had to be hospitalized during his weight cut prior to this scheduled fight earlier this year.
Benoit has lost three of four anyway and now hasn’t fought in over a year. While Adashev has losses to Tyson Nam and Su Mudaerji, those are two decent fighters. Certainly he has a good chance here against Benoit.
Pick: Zarrukh Adashev
Collin Anglin (+116) vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan (-142)
This fight does not have a total at FanDuel Sportsbook yet, but we do see a total of 2.5 with the Under at +120 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Both Collin Anglin and Melsik Baghdasaryan won their Contender Series fights back in May. They are now squaring off against each other here. The featherweights both won their fights by decision.
Prior to that, though, Anglin had four straight knockout wins. So did Baghdasaryan. Both guys were probably a little tight and a little tentative in their UFC debuts, at least on the Contender Series. Both guys landed a lot of significant strikes. Baghdasaryan had to keep defending takedowns, as did Anglin.
In this fight, both fighters should be more aggressive and be seeking out a finish instead of controlling the pace of the fight in hopes of getting a contract.