Clint’s Corner: UFC 251 Is Chalky As Fuck
By: Clint MacLean (@DieHardMMAPod)
UFC 251 kicks off our Fight Island festivities, and we have a whole week to marinade in our anticipated for one of the biggest fight cards we have ever seen. We have 3 title fights! Count them! 3! Petr Yan and Jose Aldo for the vacant Bantamweight strap, Alexander Volkanovski, and Max Holloway are rematching to solidify the Featherweight title, and Kamaru Usman is defending his belt against former training partner and current hype train Gilbert Burns. Those three fights alone would be worth the price of admission, but the fights coming before the main card are also insane. The issue for bettors like me is that this card, unlike the last few cards we’ve been treated to, is extremely chalky. The lines are wide on most of these fights, and it’s going to make it challenging to play.
Over half of the fights on this card have a favorite of -170, so if you plan to bet, you have to be willing to lay that big wood, find prop bets to get some extra value, or play parlays! We all love a good parlay, but we know that Vegas was built on them, so we are going to have to get tricky.
— UFC (@ufc) July 1, 2020
For example, the very first fight of the night has a young fighter in Martin Day who hasn’t fought in 2 years, and he is a -170 favorite! Granted, he has been working out with former champion Max Holloway in preparation for this fight, but I have a tough time trusting a younger fighter who we haven’t seen in that long at this price.
The undercard has a few pick-em prices like Marcin Tybura welcoming Alexander Romanov to the UFC and Muslim Salikhov taking on Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. Still, both of these fights are a pick-em because we have no real idea who is going to take it home. Last week we were able to identify a secure path to victory for Tanner Boser and felt the line was off, but this week these fights really could go either way, and I don’t feel comfortable putting my money on them.
— Blue Corner Fighting (@blue_fighting) June 27, 2020
Fighters I have identified on this card that I would like to back are Makwan Amirkhani, Volkan Oezdemir, and Petr Yan. All 3 of these fighters are the favorites, and I agree with Vegas that they deserve that spot, but Oezdemir was the only one who I was able to pull the trigger on based on the line. Both Makwan Amirkhani and Yan feel like they are uncomfortably wide. I have been staring at these odds and considered parlaying these two fighters, but I can make arguments for both of their opponents.
Before losing to Dan Ige, Danny Henry demolished “Mean” Hakeem Dawodu with a HUGE punch that rocked the incredibly durable Canadian, and then Henry choked him unconscious. Makwan is a talent on the mat, but he struggles on the feet and has a tendency to gas out. This fight is taking place in Abu Dhabi, and even at 6 AM, when the fights are happening local time, the heat and humidity will make it feel like it’s 110 or higher, and that’s not good for the gas tank. I worry that if Amirkhani cannot get the finish, then he will be in serious jeopardy against a dangerous fighter capable of finishing.
Jose Aldo is an absolute legend in the sport of MMA and somehow manages to turn back the clock and prove he cannot be counted out. After losing his title to Conor McGregor back in 2015, Aldo reminded us who he was with a big win over another legend in Frankie Edgar. Aldo, unfortunately, dropped back to back fights against Max Holloway, and he was counted out by nearly everybody, myself included. It was then that Jose showed up larger than we had seen him in years TKOing the ever durable Jeremy Stephens with the body shot from Hell! Then he did it again against rising star Renato Carneiro who has never been knocked out before running into Aldo.
"Jose Aldo turning back the clock!" – @BrendanFitzTV
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) February 3, 2019
Aldo has now dropped from 145 to 135, and even though his record says that he lost his divisional debut against Marlon Moraes, most fans and Dana White believe he did enough to win that fight. I expected Aldo to look withered and weak and felt extremely lucky to cash a Maraes ticket that night because Aldo looked bigger, stronger, and extremely dangerous. The real question is that now he is making his second cut to 135, and those can be harder than the first with aging fighters. Aldo is only 33, but he is incredibly old in fight years, and we have to consider that.
I have solutions to these problems.
I am betting Makwan Amirkhani vs. Danny Henry under 2.5 rounds. The solution here is that I believe Makwan will get this fight done in the first round, and I am getting a far better price on that. Should Makwan NOT find a finish early and gas out, then his opponent Henry will have his opportunity to cash that ticket for me in the first few minutes of the 3rd round as well!
I believe that Petr Yan will be the next Bantamweight champion of the world, and I also think that he will follow the game plan laid out by Max Holloway. Holloway dismantled Jose Aldo at 145 by picking up the face as Aldo began to slow down and fade in round 3. Petr Yan is similarly a volume striker, and this is a championship fight where rounds 4 and 5 are in play. If Aldo cannot finish Yan early, then I fully expect him to run out of gas. Yan isn’t one to let a kill slip through his fingers. I plan to either play Yan by KO at +120, or if you take a smaller betting size and sprinkle Yan winning in rounds 3, 4, and 5, you can take a risk-averse approach to bet that fight and possibly cash a colossal score.
Good luck Everybody!