UFC returns this weekend with two main events. The current women’s UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion, Amanda Nunes will be facing off against Irene Aldana. In the other main event will Charles Oliveira will face off against Beneil Dariush.
In addition to the co-main events, we will look at the welterweight matchup between Mike Malott vs. Adam Fugitt on the undercard. After breaking down the match, we will share our predictions for the fight.
Let’s start with Malott vs Fugitt
Malott vs. Fugit
Mike Malott, a 31-year-old Canadian, wants to continue his winning streak when he returns to his home country to fight Adam Fugitt at Rogers Place. Malott has been on a tear lately, winning his last five fights by submission or knockout in the first round.
On the other hand, Fugitt is coming off a win but lost his UFC debut last year. This will be a tough fight for Fugitt, but he has the potential to pull off an upset.
Let’s take a look at these odds for this bout.
Fugitt possesses several admirable qualities. He boasts a favorable stature, exudes a sense of veteran confidence and presence, and possesses underappreciated power and wrestling skills. However, it is worth noting that he does not excel in terms of athleticism and, despite being in the early stages of his UFC career, he is already 34 years old.
Conversely, Malott, also in the early stages of his UFC journey, is three years younger than Fugitt and exhibits superior athleticism.
Additionally, Malott is renowned for his high level of intelligence inside the octagon and is known to prepare for his fights thoroughly.
The fact that he will have the support of the Canadian crowd at UFC 289 can also be advantageous, as long as it doesn’t lead to overconfidence. Nonetheless, I personally believe that Malott will remain level-headed in that regard.
I would recommend betting on Malott at -192 at BetOnline to win this match on the money line.
Oliveira vs. Dariush
Oliveira’s lean physique has always given him a natural advantage in submissions. This attribute has allowed him to accumulate an impressive 16 submission victories, making him the record-holder in the UFC.
Interestingly, Oliveira’s current level of submission prowess surpasses any previous stage of his career, mainly due to his increased confidence in his striking abilities.
Let’s take a look at the odds for this co-main event.
Previously, Oliveira relied on luring his opponents to the ground or initiating takedowns himself in order to execute his submission game. However, he has now developed the ability to unsettle his adversaries with powerful strikes before seamlessly transitioning into his trademark Rear-Naked Choke (RNC).
Oliveira has significantly heightened his overall threat level by incorporating another reliable method to take the fight to the ground, making him an even more formidable force to reckon with.
When it comes to facing Oliveira on the ground, Dariush stands out as one of the rare individuals who has the potential to withstand repeated grappling exchanges without relying solely on luck to escape dangerous situations.
While Dariush may not receive as much acclaim for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu accomplishments, he can be described as a straightforward grappler who prioritizes controlling positions rather than seeking immediate submissions.
What sets Dariush apart is his exceptional ability to impose relentless pressure from the top position, a quality that even Oliveira struggles to match. Now that Glover Teixeira has retired, it can be argued that Dariush holds the distinction of being the most effective top position fighter across the entire UFC roster.
Oliveira and Dariush exhibit contrasting styles in their striking approaches. Oliveira’s Muay Thai technique is characterized by a more fluid and unrestricted flow, partially attributed to his willingness to accept takedowns from his opponents.
On the other hand, Dariush showcases a more robust takedown defense, which complements his boxing-oriented offensive arsenal. While Oliveira’s recent displays of power have garnered attention, Dariush has also amassed his fair share of impressive finishes, and he places a greater emphasis on defensive measures compared to Oliveira.
The recent success of both fighters can be attributed to the surge in their confidence, which accompanies a series of consecutive victories. However, it should be noted that Oliveira is coming off a loss. Many had predicted an earlier downfall for him due to his historical tendency to experience mental breakdowns during fights.
However, even in his loss to Islam Makhachev, Oliveira showed resilience and did not succumb to such setbacks. Nevertheless, the question arises whether this recent loss has planted a seed of doubt in his mind, potentially impacting his confidence moving forward.
I don’t think it will and would recommend betting on Oliveira to win at +120 odds at BetOnline.
Irene Aldana vs Amanda Nunes
While Irene Aldana has been impressive with her recent string of KO/TKO victories in three out of her last four fights, it is difficult to envision this upcoming bout being a closely contested one.
Let’s breakdown the odds for this matchup.
Barring a closely fought match against Valentina Shevchenko, we have only witnessed Nunes appear vulnerable once during her championship reign, when she lost the belt to Juliana Pena.
It is worth noting that Nunes had recently recovered from a bout of COVID prior to that fight, and a dominant performance in the subsequent rematch dispelled any doubts about her continued dominance in the sport.
Nunes’ exceptional well-roundedness is perhaps what makes her most dangerous, and this poses a significant challenge for Aldana.
In one of Aldana’s recent fights, she was taken down five times and allowed over 5 minutes of control time in a decision loss to Holly Holm, who is not known for her offensive grappling skills to the same extent as Nunes.
Moreover, when faced with a formidable striker, Nunes has shown no hesitation in utilizing her grappling expertise, as exemplified by her successful takedowns against Germaine de Randamie on eight out of eleven attempts.
In summary, Nunes is expected to emerge victorious, and the outcome is unlikely to be a closely contested affair.
As much as I would love to recommend betting on a huge underdog like Aldana, Nunes is too talented.
I’m picking Nunes to win by TKO, so I would recommend laying the juice and betting on her to win at -345 at Betonline.
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