The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns on Saturday night with a fantastic card, featuring not one, not two, but three title fights. Moving from the United States to the Middle East, we’ll get our first look at “Fight Island,” which is located in Abu Dhabi and will host the promotion’s next four events.
Let’s take a look at UFC 251 odds, picks, and predictions from the best sports betting sites.
UFC 251 Fight Island Main Event Odds
- Usman -230 (favorite), Masvidal +185 (underdog)
- Volkanovski -210 (favorite), Holloway +170 (underdog)
- Yan -225 (favorite), Aldo +180 (underdog)
Kamaru Usman (C) vs. Jorge Masvidal – welterweight title fight
Odds: Usman -230 (favorite), Masvidal +185 (underdog)
In a rare occurrence, we lost the original main event but ended up with a more-anticipated replacement fight.
Gilbert Burns was originally supposed to challenge Kamaru Usman for the 170-pound belt, but had to drop off after testing positive for COVID-19. In stepped Jorge Masvidal, who flew to Las Vegas for testing before gaining clearance to travel to the United Arab Emirates.
Usman is 16-1 while Masvidal is on a three-fight winning streak, following up two straight knockouts with a TKO win over Nate Diaz in November. He took the fight on six-days notice and cut 20 pounds in that time period.
The thought here is that the fight could go one of two ways:
- Usman uses his elite wrestling and pressure game to smother Masvidal as he did Tyron Woodley and Rafael Dos Anjos.
- Masvidal comes out swinging and we get into a slug fest that does not go the distance.
Usman is coming off a fifth-round TKO over Colby Covington, a matchup between two pressure fighters that actually stayed on the feet for the entirety of the 24 minutes. Usman can stand and bang, but Masvidal is a better striker than Covington and hits harder, so the consensus seems to be that Usman would be better served to close the distance and stay on top of his opponent. Masvidal has good takedown defense but struggled with Demian Maia in a split decision loss back in 2017.
This one should be a classic case of the winner being the fighter who can assert their style and put the contest on their terms.
Best bet: Usman moneyline -230 (with 50% profit boost) at DraftKings Sportsbook– Bet now
Alex Volkanovski (C) vs. Max Holloway – featherweight title fight
Odds: Volkanovski -210 (favorite), Holloway +170 (underdog)
A rematch for the featherweight belt.
Volkanovski took the title from Holloway a few months ago, using a combination of leg kicks and deceptive footwork and head movement to throw the champion off his game and out of rhythm. Holloway made adjustments in the 4th and 5th round, but ran out of time to tilt the fight back in his favor.
The weird thing about this fight is that Max says he trained via Zoom calls for the rematch and hasn’t exactly seemed super-focused. It’s hard to determine how much that matters or does not matter, but his lead-up to this fight has been a little quirky.
Volkanovski said he wants to finish Holloway in this fight, perhaps to prove a point and solidify himself as the 145-pound champion, but if Dustin Poirier couldn’t do it in a higher weight class, I don’t see how it happens on Saturday.
Best bet: fight to go the distance, -200 at FanDuel Sportsbook– Bet now
Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo – for the vacant bantamweight title
Odds: Yan -225 (favorite), Aldo +180 (underdog)
A scam bout for the vacant bantamweight title, if we’re being honest.
Jose Aldo is a legend in the game and a future Hall of Famer, but he moved down to 135 in December and lost a split decision to Marlon Moraes. Now he’s 0-1 in the weight class and fighting for the belt based on reputation alone, while deserving fighters like Aljamain Sterling wait their turn.
Yan is six years younger and on a nine-fight winning streak. He’s got solid power and cardio and looked good in a third-round knockout of veteran Urijah Faber at UFC 245. Everything seems to be his favor on paper, but the X-Factor here is Aldo’s experience and resume, and the fact that he’s fought some of the best ever over the course of a long and storied career. It feels dirty and wrong to pick against Aldo, but the fact of the matter is that he’s 3-5 dating back to 2015 and clearly not the same elite fighter he used to be.
Best bet: Petr Yan by KO/TKO/DQ, +110 (with 50% profit boost) at DraftKings Sportsbbook– Bet now
Two intriguing fights in the women’s strawweight and flyweight divisions.
Rose Namajunas is a -215 favorite to avenge her loss to Jessica Andrade back in 2019. Consensus is that Thug Rose looked good before she was KO’d via slam in the second round. Andrade took the strawweight title and then lost her first title defense to current champ Zhang Weili.
At 125 pounds, Amanda Ribas is a -770 favorite over Paige Van Zant, who will be fighting for the first time since January of 2019, after undergoing arm surgery following her submission win over Rachel Ostovich. Van Zant had lost three of four fights entering the Ostovich bout while Ribas is on a four-fight win streak and has not lost since joining the UFC in 2019.
The preliminary card will be highlighted by former light heavyweight title contender Volkan Oezdemir as a -159 favorite against UFC debutante Jiri Prochazka, who comes over from Rizin with a 26-3 career record. He’s a +129 underdog.
There are no shortage of aggressive betting offers from DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and FOX Bet.
- FanDuel Sportsbook is running 25 to 1 odds on UFC 251
- BetMGM is offering 100-1 odds on Kamaru Usman— CO, IN and WV only
- FOX Bet if offering $5 for every KO or TKO– get here
- DraftKings Sportsbook is also running a 50% profit boost– get here
There’s also plenty of boosts to grab and a solid grouping of props.