Best Bets for UFC 221: Underdogs, Props & Parlays

Mark Hunt knocking out Chris Tuchscherer
Mark Hunt knocking out Chris Tuchscherer. Photo by UFC (YouTube).
  • UFC 221 takes place in Perth, Australia, on Saturday (Feb. 10) at 10:00 p.m. ET.
  • Who are the best bets to win straight up?
  • What are the best prop bets and parlay wagers?

The UFC returns to Australia with UFC 221, headlined by an interim-title showdown between middleweights Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero. The co-main event features a heavyweight tilt between New Zealander Mark Hunt and 26-year-old Curtis Blaydes.

Last week’s Best Bets for UFC Fight Night 125 went 2-1. (The John Dodson scrap was canceled.) That pushes our overall record to 18-11, but we lost a bit of money last week, lowering our overall profit down to $66.33. (Maybe I should go back and read my 6 Tips for Successful MMA Betting?)

Time to get back to our profitable ways with the best bets for UFC 221.


Best Bets to Win

Ben Nguyen winning the Nitro Bantamweight Championship
Ben Nguyen winning the Nitro Bantamweight Championship. Photo by Team Super Saiyan (YouTube).

BEN NGUYEN (+100) VS JUSSIER FORMIGA (-120)

Jussier Formiga (20-5) can grapple and has one of the best back games in the business. He is an absolute leech when he gets his hooks in. But even though Formiga has a better body of work against some world-class guys in the division, it’s hard to bet against rising star Ben Nguyen (16-6).

“Ben 10” has improved certain aspects of his game, like scrambling and takedown defense, in order to keep his fights standing. Why? Because if his fights stay upright, he’ll knock his opponent’s head off. He’s a future title contender who’s only UFC loss came to Louis Smolka in what was a slobber-knocker of a fight.

That +100 moneyline for Nguyen at BetOnline is a nice round number to bet on.

SUGGESTED BET POTENTIAL PAYOUT
$50 on Ben Nguyen (+100) $50 profit

ROSS PEARSON (-145) VS MIZUTO HIROTA (+125)

Ross Pearson (19-14) is at the tail end of his career and, he should not be the betting favorite in this fight. Mizuto Hirota (18-6-2) is extremely durable and his takedowns will be too much for “The Real Deal” to handle.

This is a bit of a risky bet as Pearson can win this bout with his fierce striking and veteran experience, but if Hirota weathers those early shots, he will grind out a nice decision win.

BetOnline has Hirota at +125. Put a small wager on “Pugnus.”

SUGGESTED BET POTENTIAL PAYOUT
$25 on Mizuto Hirota (+125) $31.25 profit

Best Prop Bet

NGUYEN VS FORMIGA UNDER 2.5 ROUNDS (+130)

Above, we have Ben Nguyen picking up a big win. Now we are going to take that one step further and bank on him finishing Jussier Formiga in UNDER 2.5 rounds.

BetOnline has the UNDER 2.5 at +130 which is worth a minimum bet.

SUGGESTED BET POTENTIAL PAYOUT
$25 on the UNDER (+130) $32.50 profit

Best Parlay Plays

CURTIS BLAYDES (-165) + MIZUTO HIROTA (+125): COMBINED +261

Curtis Blaydes is a hard-hitting heavyweight who is younger and faster than Mark Hunt. Those two men are on different trajectories in the division and Blaydes should be able to put Hunt away. Above, we have Hirota over Pearson because his durability and takedowns are undervalued by his +125 moneyline. Pair those two for a nice payout.

SUGGESTED BET ON PARLAY 1 POTENTIAL PAYOUT
$25 on Blaydes + Hirota (+261) $65.34 profit

LI JINGLIANG (-150) + Tyson Pedro (-270): COMBINED +128

Li should be able to beat Matthews with crisp and powerful striking. He’s also no slouch in the grappling department so we expect the “The Leech” to win his fifth fight in a row. Meanwhile, Tyson Pedro is a far more well rounded MMA practitioner than his opponent, Saparbek Safarov. No matter where the fight goes, “Vote for Pedro.”

SUGGESTED BET ON PARLAY 2 POTENTIAL PAYOUT
$25 on Jingliang + Pedro (+128) $32