Betting Guide for UFC Fight Night on 7/18/20
After a short two-day break, the UFC is back in action.
This one is highlighted by a rematch for the vacant flyweight title, and FanDuel Sportsbook has plenty of odds: outright winners, method of victory, and more.
Let's take a look at the best bets to make.
Deiveson Figueiredo (-220) vs. Joseph Benavidez (+184)
These two already fought each other in February, resulting in Deiveson Figueiredo defeating Joseph Benavidez by second round TKO when he dropped him with a right hand. The title is still vacant since Figueiredo failed to make championship weight for that fight. The pair also clashed heads right before the knockout, and many people believe that the fight should have been paused.
Benavidez landed 46 of 94 significant strike attempts (48%) compared to 25-of-49 (51%) for Figueiredo, and all three judges scored the first round for Benavidez in that first fight.
But Figueiredo is the much bigger fighter, carrying a one-inch height, three-inch reach, and noticeable physical size advantage, and he wasn't damaged or in trouble at any point during that bout. He stopped both of Benavidez's takedown attempts and came very close to ending the fight with an armbar following his lone takedown attempt just over a minute into the fight.
The odds show that if the fight goes the distance, Benavidez is the more likely fighter to get the decision at +340, compared to +380 for Figueiredo. That TKO in their first fight marked just the second inside the distance loss of Benavidez's career. But even without the headbutt, Figueiredo's power looked to overwhelm Benavidez, which is why I expect him to get the finish once again.
To sweeten his -220 odds, there is better value betting him at -115 to win by KO/TKO or Submission. There is also an odds boost at FanDuel Sportsbook to take advantage of Figueiredo winning by KO/TKO at +150 instead of +125.
Alexandre Pantoja (-225) vs. Askar Askarov (+188)
In case Figueiredo couldn't make it to Yas Island or failed to make weight, Alexandre Pantoja was on standby as the alternate to fiil in for the title fight. That tells us where he stands in the eyes of the UFC's leadership and all but confirms that he will be fighting for the title next with a win here. He has won four of his past five fights, with the lone loss coming by decision to Figueiredo.
Askar Askarov, on the other hand, is an undefeated prospect with a draw to Brandon Moreno and a decision win over Tim Elliot in his two-fight UFC career.
Pantoja is the more active fighter on the feet, landing 4.58 significant strikes per minute compared to 3.43 for Askarov. As far as takedowns, Askarov averages 2.00 per 15 minutes, while Pantoja sits at 1.10, and both fighters have a defense rate of 60% or better.
But Pantoja has already submitted two opponents in the UFC and averages 1.3 submission attempts per 15 minutes, while Askarov has not attempted any in the UFC, so Askarov may be more keen to keep this fight on the feet.
Pantoja's past three wins all came in the first round, but on Saturday, he'll be up against a fighter who has never been finished before. Pantoja by points can be had at plus-money sitting at +105. FanDuel Sportsbook is also offering a parlay including Pantoja, Roman Dolidze, and Marc Diakiese all to win boosted from +251 to +300.
Joseph Duffy (-360) vs. Joel Alvarez (+290)
For a fighter who has competed just seven times since joining the UFC in 2015 and compiled a 4-3 record, it is a bit odd to see Joseph Duffy favored so heavily here. On the other side, we have a much greener fighter in Joel Alvarez, who has gone 1-1 since joining the UFC last year.
Alvarez is six years younger but has just two fewer pro fights (18). He also has a five-inch height and four-inch reach advantage.
The pair's striking numbers are almost identical:
|Category||Joseph Duffy||Joel Alvarez|
|Strikes Landed per Min||2.56||2.55|
|Strikes Absorbed per Min||3.63||3.44|
We haven't seen Alvarez work on the ground at all through two UFC fights, but considering he won 14 of his 15 pre-UFC fights by submission, he certainly serves as a threat in that realm. His other two career victories came by TKO, and his UFC debut was the only fight of his career to go to decision.
Meanwhile, Duffy has seen four of his seven UFC fights end early.
With the pair so closely matched, the value appears to be on Alvarez at +290. With those long odds and the tendency of both of these fighters to end fights early, the safe bet to make here is the fight to not go the distance at +102.