Betting Guide for UFC 250 on 6/6/20
Last week's UFC Fight Night gave us a look at how UFC events will look in their APEX facility without fans. This week we'll get to see how it looks for a pay-per-view event.
Amanda Nunes won her women's featherweight championship belt in the headlining fight of UFC 200, and will now defend her women's bantamweight championship belt for the first time at the top of this loaded fight card. Trying to take that from her will be Felicia Spencer, who is a natural bantamweight competing in just her fourth UFC bout.
Outside of that, we have a co-main event of Cody Garbrandt vs Raphael Assuncao, and another main card bantamweight fight between Aljamain Sterling and Cory Sandhagen. The winner of either of those fights could be next in line to fight for the title in that division.
We will also get another look at two of the hottest prospects in the UFC at the moment, as Sean O'Malley and Chase Hooper will both be in action. The 25-year-old O'Malley is looking to ride the wave of his first-round knockout back in March, which ended a two-year layoff caused by USADA issues. And if 25 seems young to you, sit down real quick before reading that Hooper is five years younger than that! He's also coming off of a first-round knockout victory in his lone UFC fight.
So this card truly has it all - from double champs, to number one contender battles, to near-teenage prospects. Now let's see what that means to the betting world.
Amanda Nunes (-850) vs Felicia Spencer (+550)
This will be Nunes' seventh title fight in a row, and she has for the most part steamrolled through her competition during that time, picking up four first-round finishes. Her toughest competition came from women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko who currently looks like an unstoppable force in her own division.
The lone common opponent between Nunes and Spencer is Cris "Cyborg" Justino, and their respective fights with her went much different from each other. Nunes added Cyborg to her list of first-round finishes, while Spencer was dominated for three rounds.
By the numbers, Spencer holds a slight advantage in significant strikes landed per minute (4.54 to 4.34) and striking accuracy (55% to 49%), while the tables tilt heavily toward Nunes in every other major striking or takedown category.
Nunes is a deserving heavy favorite and the line has continuously grown to the point that it would be tough to bet her straight up. Her moneyline is certainly worthy of a parlay piece, and her -250 line to win by KO/TKO or submission is very attractive,
Spencer's avenue to victory is by ending up on top of Nunes on the ground and getting a submission, which she has won by in two of her three UFC victories. She is +1000 to win by submission, Nunes carries an 80% takedown defense rate and has not been submitted since her very first MMA fight back in 2008. However, Spencer has proven to be very durable, absorbing 122 strikes (while only landing 38) en route to her decision loss to Cyborg. That warrants a look at this fight going over 1.5 rounds with a price of -186.
Cody Garbrandt (-148) vs Raphael Assuncao (+122)
As I mentioned above, there is a chance that the winner of this fight could get the next crack at a title shot. Garbrandt has already held the belt once, winning a dominant five-round decision over former champion Dominick Cruz to claim the bantamweight belt. That was the last of his six-fight win streak to open his UFC career and only his second of those fights to go to a decision. He won the other four by first-round KO, with three of those coming in the first round.
He won that championship fight with fluid movements, hitting Cruz, while avoiding taking many serious shots himself. Garbrandt has not shown that same movement and defense since then, instead choosing to stand in the pocket and trade punches with his opponents, while trying for another knockout. That has resulted in the former champion suffering three knockouts losses in a row to TJ Dillashaw (x2) and Pedro Munhoz.
On the other side of the octagon is Assuncao, who has continuously fallen one victory shy of a title shot throughout his 15-fight UFC career. He does not present a big knockout threat to Garbrandt, as he has only won twice by KO/TKO across his 20 UFC and WEC fights. 14 of those fights went to a decision and Assuncao was knocked out in just one of the six losses.
This fight is unlikely to go to the ground, as Garbrandt has yet to be taken down in the UFC, so we don't need to put much thought into Assuncao winning by submission. With Assuncao not carrying the same knockout power as Garbrandt's previous opponents, this fight carrying plus odds (+134) to go to a decision is very appealing. Garbrandt is a rightful favorite at -148 to win the fight, and there I do see value on him winning by decision at +340.
Aljamain Sterling (-118) vs Cory Sandhagen (-104)
This is the bantamweight fight that many people feel should be the co-main event on this card. Sandhagen is 5-0 in the UFC, while Sterling is riding a four-fight win-streak of his own. Both of these fighters are incredibly active on the feet, as Sterling averages 4.85 significant strikes landed per minute (50% accuracy), with Sandhagen coming in at a whopping 7.14 (48%). Sterling has been much more effective on the defensive end, using his long 71" reach to absorb an average of only 1.95 strikes per minute (66% defense rate), while Sandhagen is sitting at 4.16 (48%).
Sterling is the fighter more likely to take this one to the ground, as he averages 1.91 takedowns per 15 minutes. But he's carrying just a 29% takedown accuracy rate and was unable to get Munhoz to the ground once in his most recent fight.
Sandhagen has gone the distance two fights in a row now, and Sterling has brought the fight to the judges in seven of his past nine appearances. So while we can expect an active fight, a finish is not all that likely. In fact, this fight is priced at -250 to go to a decision.
The advantage goes to Sterling if this fight goes to the ground, but it's no lock that happens. Sandhagen is the more active fighter on the feet and can certainly pick Sterling apart en route to a decision, which he is priced at +195 to win.
Herbert Burns (-270) vs Evan Dunham (+210)
Does that last name sound familiar? Herbert Burns is the younger brother of last week's headliner, Gilbert Burns. Herbert is the much greener fighter of the two, with just one fight in the UFC go to along with one on Dana White's Contender Series to his name. He did finish both of those fights in the first round, but that also provides us with very little evidence to see how good he really is. And he does have two decision losses on his resume from lesser competition.
Across the octagon is 20-time UFC veteran Evan Dunham, who has fought the cream of the crop in the lightweight division over the past 11 years. He has won just four of his past 10 fights, but his losses came against top names like Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone, and Rafael dos Anjos. Eight of his past 10 wins have come by decision, to go along with a 2017 draw against Beneil Dariush, so he shouldn't be counted on to get a finish. But he is very active on the feet, landing an average of 5.35 significant strikes per minute to go along with his 1.83 takedowns per 15 minutes, so Dunham can definitely do enough to win a decision.
This fight is taking place at a catchweight of 150 pounds, with Dunham moving down from his typical 155-pound weight class to meet Burns, the typical 145er. With a likely size advantage and a ton of experience on his side against a prospect that we have not seen much of, Dunham certainly can't be ruled out. At +210 to win this fight, Dunham stands out as a hopeful underdog on a card with so many big favorites.