No UFC card this weekend? No problem. It gives us a chance to look into the crystal ball, predict the future, and find value in the UFC futures.
We’re still a couple weeks out from UFC 219 on December 30th, but now is the time to pounce on some of the early dogs before the common folk catch on. You know the type, the ones who don’t do research and think it’s fun to bet on all the favorites.
Don’t be that person.
But don’t be the person who blindly bets on big longshots, either. It’s imperative, before you jump into the wagering waters, to do the research so that you can make educated bets. Or just read my column.
Below are a few gnarly waves of early odds that are worth surfing before the tide rolls out. In addition to UFC 219, we’ll also look at a potential GSP vs McGregor fight, and a crazy-not-crazy prop on whether Floyd Mayweather will actually get into the cage.
Grab your surfboard bruh because I have been on a roll the last few weeks. If you didn’t cash in on my UFC on FOX 26 picks, now is your chance to cling to a few of my UFC futures.
Early UFC 219 Betting
Although UFC 219 is a couple of weeks away, this time of year can blow by fast. All of a sudden it is going to be December 30th and you better have your picks in, or the value will be gone.
The odds haven’t been fully released for the prelims, but we do have some juicy moneylines on the main card and, trust me, there are a couple of jewels here that you need to shine immediately.
Cynthia Calvillo (-320) vs. Carla Esparza (+260)
This is a big moneyline that you need to jump on fast.
The UFC hasn’t been nice to their first women’s strawweight champion, Carla Esparza (12-4). For whatever reason, the former champ doesn’t get the respect she deserves. However, at UFC 219, she has a chance to derail another prospect who appears to be positioned to ride the hype train to the top.
Not only is Cynthia Calvillo (6-0) undefeated, but she is of Mexican heritage, which is extremely valuable for the UFC as they try to court Mexican fans. The Team Alpha Male product has all the makings a future champ, but unfortunately for her, she will be on the big stage facing her toughest challenge in Esparza.
Calvillo can most definitely hang on her feet, where she lands 3.65 strikes per minute, and can also handle her business on the ground. Out of her six pro fights, she has four finishes on her resume by TKO or submission.
But will the young blue-chip prospect be able to handle the wrestling pressure of Esparza? Not only does the 30-year-old veteran have experience on her side but a well-rounded game too. Let’s not forget that Esparza has a win over current strawweight champ Rose Namajunas; she is no stepping stone.
With a takedown average of 4.79/15 minutes, Esparza could easily grind this fight out and pick up a submission or decision win. When I see a +260 staring me in the face, I’m taking those odds and running with them while I can.
My bet: $45 on Esparza (+260)
Potential payout: $117
Carlos Condit (-190) vs. Neil Magny (+165)
Just 12 months ago, Carlos Condit (30-10) said that he needs to stop fighting because he can no longer take the headshots. Now he is making a return to the Octagon after a one-year quasi-retirement.
The UFC believes Neil Magny (19-6) is a proverbial “lamb to the slaughter” for Condit, one of their most beloved veterans. But it’s impossible to know which Carlos Condit we’ll see in the cage at UFC 219, and Magny is no lamb.
If anything he might be the wolf in sheep’s clothing, and a well-rounded one at that. Although he may not have killer standup like Condit, he is no slouch on the feet (3.97 strikes landed per minute), and he can take the fight to the ground if things get uncomfortable (2.66 takedowns/15 minutes). Magny’s diverse style has landed him wins over the likes of Johny Hendricks, Hector Lombard, and Kelvin Gastelum.
Before taking some time off, “The Natural Born Killer” had lost three out of four fights and was on the downslope of his career. He just didn’t look like the same fighter. Will a year off have changed that? Who knows, maybe he does come back better than ever, and he certainly has a striking game that can’t be ignored. But, for my money, which is what we’re playing with here, there are too many questions around Condit. I’m prepared to take Magny at +165.
My bet: $30 on Magny (+165)
Potential payout: $49.50
Georges St. Pierre (-160) vs Conor McGregor (+130)
(Fight must happen in 2018 for action.)
Every fan would love to see this and it would go down as the biggest fight in UFC history, raking in massive amounts of money for everyone involved. So it’s a logical fight to make right?
Not so fast.
Dana White has already poo-pooed the idea by saying that, if McGregor does return to the Octagon, it will be against Tony Ferguson. There is also the fact that St-Pierre surrendered his new middleweight title earlier this month after losing a mega-fight with colitis. Who knows how long he will be on the shelf while dealing with that kind of stomach issue. Let’s also not ignore the fact that GSP could easily retire and nobody would bat an eye.
There is still an outside chance that a fight of this magnitude could happen in 2018 but I’m leaning towards not likely. Also, the current odds on this matchup aren’t worth wagering on. I’d wait until the fight is rumored or announced and see if the money comes in on McGregor in order to see if you can get a better line on GSP for the win.
Tony Ferguson +145 vs. Conor McGregor -175
(Fight must happen in 2018 for action.)
This is a fight that could most definitely happen in 2018. So if you feel the early moneyline is ripe for the picking, go for it. I do.
It’s hard to say how the odds will fluctuate in the future on this potential matchup. If you go back to UFC 205, where McGregor took on Eddie Alvarez, the early odds had McGregor at -130 and Alvarez at +110. Come fight night, that shifted slightly to McGregor -155 and Alvarez +135.
Tony Ferguson is not Eddie Alvarez and poses more of a threat to the brash Irishman’s title than anyone has before. You can always expect to see a lot of money get thrown on McGregor, but I believe that people will also like Ferguson’s chances, so it’s possible the line doesn’t really shift that much.
My gut says take the +145 now because it could possibly go down to +135 or less when the fight is official.
Will Floyd Mayweather fight in the UFC in 2018?
- Yes +500
- No -900
I can’t believe that this is an actual possibility.
Personally, I’m not buying it, but if we have learned anything about Mayweather and the UFC, anything can happen.
UFC president Dana White confirmed to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that discussions have been made about the retired boxing superstar venturing into the Octagon.
“We’re talking to Floyd about doing a UFC deal,” White told ESPN. “It’s real. He was talking about [boxing] Conor McGregor. Was that real? Have you heard Floyd talk about many things that aren’t real? He usually tips his hand when he’s in the media, and then that shit ends up happening.”
Right now, it’s just “talk.” But we’ve seen this experiment before (see CM Punk and James Toney). In all likelihood, Mayweather’s Octagon venture would end just as poorly as those two. We’re not betting on him winning, though, are we? We’re betting on him fighting, and you know Money would love to cash in.
Take the YES at +500 because spectacle usually wins out over sense these days. Also, who wouldn’t want to see McGregor’s coach dance naked?
I will do the Riverdance naked the day Mayweather fights in the ufc. Absolutely never going to happen. Not ever. pic.twitter.com/yAUbche7OC
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) December 20, 2017
Let's have fun and keep it civil.