UFC 220 (Saturday, Jan. 20, Boston, MA) is the first big fight pay-per-view of the year and boy it’s a doozy. Anytime you have both the heavyweight and the light-heavyweight titles on the line on the same night, fight fans should take notice, as should bettors, as there is wagering action aplenty for those who enjoy betting on mixed martial arts.
In the co-main events, heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic will be looking to derail the hype-train that is Francis Ngannou, while Volkan Oezdemir will bring his artillery of power punches to the Octagon to face light-heavyweight title-holder Daniel Cormier.
Last week’s Best Bets for UFC Fight Night 124 hit two big underdogs (Mads Burnell +160 and Jeremy Stephens +150), a prop (Krause decision), and a parlay (Kyung Ho Kang winning (-345) + James Krause winning (-170)), so things are still rolling along nicely. Let’s keep that winning momentum going with the best bets for UFC 220.
There aren’t a lot of valuable underdogs on this card, but there are still some quality value bets, including the main event.
Stipe Miocic (c) (+155) vs. Francis Ngannou (-175): Heavyweight Title
I’ve already gone into great detail and previewed this fight (Best Bets for UFC 220: Ngannou vs. Miocic, Cormier vs Oezdemir) but I want to highlight it again, because the +155 line on Stipe Miocic (17-2) is too good to pass up.
All Ngannou (11-1) needs is one big punch and this fight will be over. The hype surrounding him is not baseless. Yet people are underestimating, not only Miocic’s skill-set, but his fighting IQ. It’s rare to see +155 on Miocic; take it, because he is a big step up in competition for Ngannou.
My bet: $50 on Miocic (+155)
Potential payout: $77.50 profit
Brandon Davis (-115) vs. Kyle Bochniak (-105): Featherweight
This is basically a pick’em fight, not an underdog bet, but there is value on Davis at -115. This is another attempt by the UFC to promote their Tuesday Night Contender Series by having one of the competitors — in this case Davis (8-2) — walk onto a pay-per-view card and make an impact.
Davis has recorded seven consecutive victories (or is on a 6-1 run, depending on whether you ask Sherdog or Tapology) but he is set to make his UFC debut this Saturday and the moneyline of -115 underestimates him.
Kyle Bochniak (7-2) isn’t as good as his record indicates. In fact, he should be 0-3 in the UFC as the judges definitely gave him a gift at UFC on Fox 21 against Enrique Barzola. “Crash” is average-to-decent in most areas but lacks any true standout skills.
Davis, on the other hand, is extremely durable and, as we saw on Contender Series, he puts together some great combinations and throws a lot of strikes (8.93 SLpM). While he also absorbs a lot (7.00 SApM), if “Killer B” can stay out of Bochniak’s range, he should be able to punch his way to a decision win.
My bet: $50 on Davis (-115)
Potential payout: $43.48 profit
Dustin Ortiz (+135) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (-155): Flyweight
Make no mistake, this will be a very close fight. Part of me wants to say stay away, but Dustin Ortiz (17-7) at +135 is a line worth a small bet.
Ortiz has fought tougher competition so far in his UFC career, including a huge upset win over Team Alpha Male prospect Hector Sandoval last August. Alexandre Pantoja (18-2) quietly entered the UFC as RFA flyweight champion and is currently 2-0 in the Octagon. He was the number-one seed on TUF 24 but lost in the semifinals to Hiromasa Ogikubo.
Pantoja definitely has all the tools in both the standup game and on the mat to win this fight, but as the old adage goes, styles make fights. Ortiz is a high-speed grappler similar to Ogikubo, whom Pantoja lost to on TUF. He’s also similar to Eric Shelton, a man Pantoja barely beat at UFC on Fox 23.
Ortiz’s stamina, strength, and speed will put him in position to win a hard-fought decision.
My bet: $25 on Ortiz (+135)
Potential payout: $33.75 profit
Best Prop Bets
Razak Abdul Alhassan via KO (-134)
All of his wins have come by way of KO/TKO, so it’s safe to say that 32-year-old could easily find another finish against Sabah Homasi, who has lost four fights via TKO including his last two. In fact, there is a good chance this fight doesn’t get out of the first round. Alhassan winning via finish is at -134, which is a suitable line to put a few dollars on.
Dustin Ortiz via decision (+200)
As mentioned above, Ortiz is not as bad as his record indicates. His style is going to give Pantoja fits. If he does win the bout, it will most likely be via decision as both men are pretty durable and scramble well on the mat.
Julio Arce via decision (+175)
Julio Arce is taking on Dan Ige and is -150 to win the fight. He is stepping in for an injured Charles Rosa on three weeks’ notice. Both Ige and Arce have something to offer in this fight, but Arce has slightly better stand-up and usually makes adjustments as the fight goes along. Take that +175 moneyline on Arce by decision.
Best Parlay Plays
This week’s multiples include both heavyweights, Miocic and Ngannou, though not on the same parlay, obviously. I matched the underdog Miocic with another dog in Dustin Ortiz; if both hit, that will be a nice profit. But if Miocic loses, I still have Ngannou matched with another favorite in Brandon Davis, which gives a conservative payout but would more than cover the cost of the first parlay.
My bet: $25 on Dustin Ortiz winning (+125) + Stipe Miocic winning (+145)
Potential payout: $112.81
My bet: $25 on Francis Ngannou winning (-185) + Brandon Davis winning (-125)
Potential payout: $44.32