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UFC Fight Night MMA Betting Odds (12/17)

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The last UFC event of the year is finally here and will be headlined by Sean Strickland and Jared Cannonier. A 14-fight event, this card is packed with great fights from top to bottom. Every fight on the main card can headline an event, and I really think the matchmakers did an amazing job. Matchups like Tsarukyan vs. Ismagulov, Albazi vs. Costa, Dober vs. Green and Nurmagomedov vs. Kakhramanov are all fights that have fight of the night potential as well as fight of the year. 

 

After this card, the UFC takes a month-long break and prepares for another year of upsets, new champions and exciting fights in 2023. So before we welcome in the new year, I will be giving you guys my best bets from the fights I like most this weekend. All of the bets placed and odds mentioned in the breakdown are from the BetMGM sportsbook app.

Main Card

Cannonier vs. Strickland Odds

Sean Strickland -115, Jared Cannonier -105

Two fighters looking to get back into the win column after coming up short in their last matchups. Strickland took on newcomer and now champion Alex Pereira and found out quickly that playing with fire will get you burnt. Strickland was knocked out in the first round after dropping his right hand for just a second, which led to a devastating Pereira left hook. 

Cannonier, on the other hand, took on the former champion Adesanya and was out-classed and out-struck, losing unanimously on the scorecards. Strickland has a pressure style of fighting, which leads with a sharp jab and the occasional takedown that breaks his opponents. The trouble is that occasionally Strickland will abandon the takedown when he shouldn’t and end up paying like he did against Pereira. 

Cannonier may not have the striking background that Pereira does, but he surely can end a fight quickly, and coming off a knockout loss I can see it going the same way for Strickland if he doesn’t mix in the takedowns successfully and tire Cannonier. From a betting perspective, I am going to side with Cannonier, as I see him having the edge in this fight because of his power. Strickland will have to drag Cannonier into deep waters and hope that his large frame and gas tank take an effect on his power and break late in the fight. Strickland will also have to wrestle to avoid big shots and stay away from his ego getting him knocked out, because if he can’t get Jared to the ground then I don’t see this going well for him. 

Best Bet: Jared Cannonier ML -105 / Cannonier by KO/TKO or Sub +225

Tsarukyan vs. Ismagulov Odds

Arman Tsarukyan -200, Damir Ismagulov +160

Both fighters are high level in all areas of mixed martial arts, and it’ll be a treat to watch. Both are coming off exciting fights where they fought to a referee’s decision. Arman lost to Mateuz Gamrot by decision, and Ismagulov edged out Guram Kutaladze by split decision. This matchup is interesting because the competitors are equally skilled on the ground but would rather keep the fights standing and look for finishes.

Because of their confidence on the ground, it makes for an exciting clash that could see a finish at any point in the fight. Tsarukyan averages just over 13 minutes of fight time while landing 3.76 significant strikes per minute and mixing in 2.71 takedowns per 15 minutes. His strength lies in his grappling, but he also displays a high-level Muay Thai skill set. 

Ismagulov averages 15 minutes of fight time while landing 4.05 significant strikes per minute and mixing in 1.40 takedowns per 15 minutes. The fighters are similar in all aspects, but what I think will make the difference is how educated Tsarukyan is on the ground. 

Damir will be able to stop some takedowns and even escape from danger occasionally, but ultimately the fact that Tsarukyan can also be offensive on the ground makes him dangerous anywhere the fight goes. I’m going to be siding with Tsarukyan in what I expect to be an exciting fight for as long as it lasts. 

Best Bets: Arman Tsarukyan ML -190 / Tsarukyan in Rd 3 or Dec -105

 

Albazi vs. Costa Odds

Amir Albazi -500, Alessandro Costa +350 

Albazi is one of, if not the biggest favorites on the card, and in my opinion is a huge favorite because of the lack of experience from Costa. Albazi is very good, and in the UFC is 3-0 overall having made his debut back in 2020. Costa, on the other hand, made his debut on The Contender Series in the beginning of 2022 and won by split decision. He wouldn’t get the contract on the show but would get his contract after a 12-second knockout win on a regional event that the UFC brass attended. 

If this was a fight between two UFC vets, I would lean with Costa, as he not only has the skill to grapple with Albazi, but also possesses fight-ending power that differentiates the fighters. Albazi is world class in every department of mixed martial arts, but with four-ounce gloves and the power behind costas punches, Albazi is going to have to stay sharp. 

Still, with only power as the ace up his sleeve, Costa will have to create chaos to get Albazi off of his game plan. Albazi has more experience at the highest levels, and while he also possesses the power to stop his opponent, the scales tip in the favor of Costa in that department. Albazi will have to be patient and put on a masterclass to show the rookie the levels that exist between them. I am going to side with Albazi and will be prop-hunting on this one to take that massive -500 line and make it favorable for us. 

Best Bets: Albazi in Round 3 or Dec +130 / Albazi by KO/TKO or Dec -115

Dober vs. Green Odds

Drew Dober -165, Bobby Green +135

Both of these guys have well over 40 professional fights and have been in the UFC since 2014 and are at a point in their careers that it’s more about the show and less about the title runs. Dober averages just over eight minutes of fight time, and in his last five fights has three finishes. Green averages just over 12 minutes of fight time, and while he doesn’t possess the one-punch knockout power, he does possess the pressure and pace that usually breaks his opponents as he drags them into deep waters. 

Green has never made a clear run at the title but has gotten the opportunity to fight the best of the division and has put on a show every time he steps into the Octagon. The biggest difference in this fight comes in the form of recent activity and the power difference. Dober has been fighting 2-3 times a year, while Green has fought once a year stemming back to 2019. Green does have experience, but being away from the Octagon for nearly a year against a hard puncher like Dober could be a very hard test and something I’m not sure he’s prepared to handle at this stage in his career.

Stylistically, I believe Green has good boxing. He also has a wrestling background that he uses periodically to keep himself off the mat and out of danger from sub attempts. Still, Green has always been more of a brawler and showman, and less a fighter who will one day hold the belt. Green will always be a fun fight, but the higher he climbs in the rankings, the more he will have to game plan. Against Dober, I don’t think he matches up well. 

Sure, Green can stop Dober and perhaps stun him, but historically Dober has shown a chin made of granite. Regardless of the damage, he has fought through adversity to find finishes. Dober may have a tough time finishing Green, but I believe he is better at putting the game together and will pull away in this fight when it counts. 

Best Bets: Drew Dober ML -160 / Dober vs. Green FDGTD +118

Prelims

Nurmagomedov vs. Kakhramanov Odds

Said Nurmagomedov -110, Saidyokub Kakhramanov -110

Saidyokub shocked everyone in his debut when he made Ronnie Lawrence look like an amateur. He was an underdog in that matchup, and sadly I don’t think we will have many spots where we see Saidyokub as a dog. The fact that this is his second fight for the promotion and already a pick ‘em fight against Said Nurmagomedov speaks volumes. 

Not related to the Eagle, Khabib, Said Nurmagomedov still brings a very well-rounded and sharp mixed martial arts game. He differs from his Russian counterparts, as he prefers to create space and throw strikes, mixing in a lot of kicks. Nurmagomedov can also wrestle, but it’s not his first weapon of choice. He averages 4.15 significant strikes landed per minute while mixing in a mere 0.61 takedowns per 15 minutes. 

It’s safe to assume that Said uses his knowledge of grappling to keep fights standing where he feels comfortable. Kakhramanov, on the other hand, can also strike but averages 2.29 significant strikes landed, which is half of the volume thrown by Nurmagomedov. The stat that sticks out is in the takedown department, as Kakhramanov averages six takedowns per 15 minutes. 

The paths to victory are clear for these fighters, and whoever can get to their game plan first will lead the dance. I will be siding with Kakhramanov, as Nurmagomedov has deficiencies in his game that I believe Kakhramanov will capitalize on.

Best Bets: Saidyokub Kakhramanov ML -110 / Kakhramanov vs. Nurmagomedov FGTD -145

Battle vs. Fakhretdinov Odds

Bryan Battle +125, Rinat Fakhretdinov -150

Both fighters are undefeated in their last five fights and are looking to continue their winning streaks. Rinat comes to the UFC from a Russian promotion that now has combined with Eagle FC, and like most Russians he has a sambo background and can wrestle well. Battle is another well-rounded fighter who carries a large frame with a lot of power and exceptional Jiu Jitsu skills. 

I believe those skills will be the difference in this matchup. Battle isn’t the best striker in the world but does average 7.18 significant strikes landed per minute while mixing in 1.31 takedowns per 15 minutes. Rinat averages three significant strikes landed per minute while mixing in five takedowns per 15 minutes. 

If Rinat can’t find takedowns easily during this fight, I don’t see him having much success. He does have a full camp for this fight, but the way he throws a lot of his looping strikes and overhand rights leaves him open for a lot of counters from the hard-hitting Battle. It’s important to note that Battle is stepping in on two weeks’ notice, and if he can’t find a finish early in this fight, I don’t know if he’ll have enough in the tank to outlast the pace and pressure from Rinat. 

Best Bet: Bryan Battle ML +135 / Battle vs Fakhretdinov FDGTD +100

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