UFC

Betting Guide for UFC 267

Alexander Volkov has a plus matchup this weekend, but his short odds make him difficult to bet. How can we get creative betting the heavy favorites at UFC 267?

The pay-per-view that's not a pay-per-view. This weekend's card with two title fights will be free on ESPN's streaming service, and there's a special 10:30 am Eastern start time for the card, as well. With so many heavy favorites, how do we bet the slate?

UFC 267: Blachowicz vs. Teixeira takes place Saturday from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. Where is the sharpest place to wager on Saturday's card using FanDuel Sportsbook?

Islam Makhachev, Khamzat Chimaev, and Alexander Volkov All to Win (-120)

With 12 of the 15 favorites at -200 or greater to win on Saturday, combining the right trio might be the best way to pursue something closer to even money. My "v" key got a workout in with this crafted parlay.

Islam Makhachev (-650) is the largest favorite on the card for good reason. Khabib Nurmagomedov's protege hasn't faced a single second of UFC adversity since April 2019 in a back-and-forth fight with Arman Tsaruykyan -- who is also climbing up the ranks. Makhachev's 3.31 takedowns per match on 65% efficiency tell the story; no one has been able to consistently hold off his beautiful wrestling and top control. Dan Hooker has a good takedown defense on paper (80%), but Makhachev has been matchup-proof to this point.

Khamzat Chimaev (-550) is arguably the weakest leg of this parlay. It's only because there is an unknown about his lengthy layoff from COVID-19 struggles, but if anything like the old Chimaev returns on Saturday, he should blast Li Jingliang's 59% takedown defense. Chimaev has only absorbed two significant strikes in three UFC fights due to what has been unstoppable wrestling and top control. Jingliang is coming off a knockout, but that is likely his only path to victory here.

Last but not least, heavyweight Alexander Volkov (-290) is in a fantastic matchup, as well. After five rounds against the best heavyweight striker in the UFC, Marcin Tybura (+0.32 striking success rate) should be a walk in the park. Volkov's +1.96 striking success rate on 4.84 significant strikes per minute -- good volume for anyone, much less a heavyweight -- should wear down the Polish bruiser. Don't let Volkov's 67% takedown defense fool you; he's defended the last eight attempts by anyone except the premium wrestler in the division, Curtis Blaydes.

Parlaying these three together nets a -120 bet that's each individual leg carries an implied 75% probability to hit or greater. Not too shabby.

Amanda Ribas to Win (-154)

Every week on my podcast, I search for a Fight of the Night to be tightly contested. Initially, I pegged Amanda Ribas (-158) and Virna Jandiroba this week, but as I dug deeper, Ribas should have her way in this fight.

Ribas will be looking to rebound from a disappointing knockout loss against Marina Rodriguez -- now a title challenger. Ribas was dominating that fight with 3:39 of control time in the first round, but one well-crafted offering dropped her to the mat. That type of power isn't with Virna Jandiroba this weekend.

Jandiroba is an excellent grappler with 13 of her 17 pro wins by submission. Ribas will not be out of her element to deal with that, as she has three submissions against UFC foes, too. However, Ribas should have a clear advantage in striking.

Ribas has a 71% striking defense that Rodriguez (41% striking accuracy in that fight) really didn't even penetrate. As a striker, Jandiroba is as awkward as a -0.27 striking success rate would indicate.

The stock of Ribas shouldn't be lower because of one punch, but in some ways, it is. She is only -154 with a sizable edge in the domain in which each round starts. Expect her to either cruise to a decision, or perhaps she can even finish the wounded Jandiroba for her fourth career knockout.

Dart Throw of the Week: Benoit St. Denis by Submission (+420)

The very last set of finishing props to publish on FanDuel Sportsbook this week was in the welterweight fight between Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Benoit St. Denis (+172).

Zaleski dos Santos is a UFC veteran with an 8-3 record, so it's not a surprise to see him well-positioned against the newcomer. However, Dos Santos has been finished three times in seven pro losses, so he is not an unstoppable force.

St. Denis' UFC prospects are fascinating. As a former member of the French Special Forces, St. Denis has an 8-0 record that was most recently tested in the Brave FC promotion -- a mid-tier promotion in Europe. St. Denis has seven submission wins in those eight wins, and the other was also a knockout. He has athletically been too much for his competition, and his grappling is top tier.

It's nearly impossible to level set St. Denis given he has never fought an opponent with a UFC-affiliated appearance. However, I'm willing to buy into his propensity for finishes given that Zaleski dos Santos has just two wins over UFC opponents still with the promotion.

There is innate value in Benoit St. Denis using his base style to score a finish of Zaleski dos Santos, especially considering dos Santos has just a 59% takedown defense. If he gets this fight to the ground, "The God of War" seems to be capable of ending it quickly.