Betting Guide for UFC 279
The world's fight leader returns from an excursion overseas to their palace in Las Vegas, and a UFC pioneer is being ushered out of the sport in a super awkward mismatch. That's par for the course if you get on the bad side of Dana White, though.
UFC 279: Diaz vs. Ferguson will take place Saturday from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Which MMA bets stand out on FanDuel Sportsbook?
Norma Dumont and Irene Aldana to Both Win
(-110; 1.5 Units)
Last week's trip to Paris was a successful one, bumping the two-legger to 16-9 year-to-date.
Saturday's card has absolutely no shortage of comfy favorites, but I really have a hard time seeing either one of these ladies lose.
Norma Dumont (-400) is the third-largest favorite on the card taking on Danyelle Wolf. Wolf, a 38-year-old former boxer, had some buzz around potentially having the skill set to challenge Amanda Nunes at featherweight, but her MMA debut on Dana White's Contender Series fell flat.
In a decision, Wolf landed just 28% of her strikes. She also defended just 44% of her opponent's strikes. Dumont, a multi-time UFC winner, lands 50% of her strikes on average, and she defends a razor-sharp 67% of them. Wolf's inaccuracy could be humiliating if that holds.
In a fight 10 pounds lighter, Irene Aldana (-186) should also take care of business. The backbone of a fight with Macy Chiasson will be her takedown defense, and it sits at a tremendous 84% entering this one.
Chiasson just hasn't been able to technically compete with other strikers in bantamweight. She's got just a 45% striking accuracy and 46% striking defense, which was on full display in a second-round knockout loss to Raquel "The Decision Machine" Pennington of all people.
We've seen Dumont struggle with wrestlers. That won't be Wolf. We've seen Aldana blitzed by Holly Holm in the striking. That's not Chaisson's game. In fruitful matchups, these ladies should carry our torch with success.
Kevin Holland and Daniel Rodriguez Go the Distance
(-110; 1.0 Unit)
Kevin Holland (-196) and Daniel Rodriguez (+158) are this week's fight I can't wait to watch.
Especially now that we've seen some lapses in the dominant champion, Holland is a force at welterweight since dropping down from 185 pounds. He's scored second-round finishes in both bouts, and he'll be right on track to a huge name next with a win over Rodriguez.
Holland is a black belt in jiu-jitsu, but he lets his hands talk most of all. Well, not all the time. Still, a 54% striking accuracy and 55% striking defense are an excellent mark, and he's just now rebuilding some of his volume peripherals after effectively getting sat on at middleweight (50% takedown defense).
He won't have that threat to worry about against the boxer Rodriguez, who averages less than a takedown per 15 minutes (0.84). Rodriguez (+2.68 striking success rate) is the third-most efficient striker on this card per minute, so he'll not be overwhelmed in this domain.
I know Holland is on a power binge in this division, but in 25 UFC appearances, neither of these fighters has been knocked out.
This fight has a 15-minute war on the feet written all over it. It's hard to bet against Holland given his nearly-perfect track record at welterweight so far, but I do believe D-Rod forces him to earn this one on the cards.
**Editor's Note: This fight has been canceled in the aftermath of weigh-ins Friday. All bets will be voided.**
Dart Throw of the Week:
Julian Erosa by Submission (+650; 0.25 Units)
More often than not, I'd straight pick Hakeem Dawodu to beat Julian Erosa (+172).
Dawodu is just a far superior striker. His +2.67 striking success rate is fourth-best on this card, and Erosa's -0.22 rate doesn't hold water if the fight stays there.
However, this is really a tricky matchup for "Mean" Hakeem. He's never faced a fighter that averaged over 0.5 submission attempts per 15 minutes before Erosa (0.8).
At 6'1", "Juicy J" is massive and strong for this weight class. He's also shown the ability to grapple at a high level in UFC, and Dawodu's 60% takedown defense accurately represents that he's had occasional issues with getting taken down. Most notably, those issues happened against Movsar Evloev -- another huge featherweight.
Dawodu's biggest issue in this matchup is that he'll likely have to deal with that threat for 15 minutes. He has just a 0.17% knockdown rate historically, so without the power to punish Erosa's 48% striking defense in a fight-ending manner, Erosa can hang around.
That was exactly Erosa's formula to defeating other long, talented strikers like Sean Woodson and Charles Jourdain. He wilted them via late-round submissions. I'll throw a dart that it happens again.