- UFC plans to return on Las Vegas on May 30
- The event will happen at UFC’s own headquarters, also known at the Apex
- Tyron Woodley returns to battle Gilbert Burns in the main event
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back after a week away where a key welterweight scrap headlines the card.
In the main event, former welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley will return for the first time since losing his belt 14 months ago to take on the surging contender in Gilbert Burns. The co-main event sees ranked heavyweights collide as Blagoy Ivanov battles Augusto Sakai.
The event is scheduled to take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, barring the Nevada State Athletic Commission approves the return of combat sports on Wednesday. Dana White is adamant they will and all signs point to that happening.
UFC Apex main card airs live on ESPN and ESPN+ at 9 p.m. EST. The table below shows odds for the entire card, followed by best bets for the event.
UFC Apex Odds
|Fighter||Book 1 Odds||Book 2 Odds|
Odds as of May 25.
Can Burns Continue His Hot Streak?
Tyron Woodley (19-4-1) is coming off a decision loss to Kamaru Usman at UFC 235 in March 2019, losing his welterweight title in the process. Since then, he has been training in Thailand and was set to fight Leon Edwards at UFC London in March of this year, but the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his career, “The Chosen One” has notable wins over Darren Till, Stephen Thompson, Robbie Lawler, Demian Maia, Kelvin Gastelum, and Carlos Condit. He also defended the welterweight title three times.
Gilbert Burns (18-3) is a perfect 3-0 since moving up to welterweight last year. He took two short-notice fights, beating Alexey Kunchenko and Gunnar Nelson by decision. At UFC Brasilia this past March, “Durinho” knocked out Maia in the first round to become a top-10 welterweight. He also has notable wins over Mike Davis, Olivier Aubin-Mercier, and Alex Oliveira.
This is a really intriguing matchup as no one truly knows what Tyron Woodley will show up. The last time we saw him, 14 months ago, he couldn’t pull the trigger and appeared disinterested in the fight. It ultimately cost him his welterweight title.
In the lead up to the fight, he has said he’s more motivated than ever and spent months in Thailand improving his already dangerous striking game. Burns, meanwhile, has been on a hot streak at welterweight; he has legit knockout power and is always dangerous on the ground.
There is no question the Brazilian has the advantage on the ground but Woodley has phenomenal takedown defense. Once he does that, it will frustrate Burns and The Chosen One will be able to use his reach and power to piece up the Brazilian and earn a TKO win in the second or third round. We’ve seen Burns be knocked out before and Woodley has the power to snap the Brazilian’s winning streak.
Pick: Tyron Woodley (-185)
Woodley vs Burns
Can Sakai Remain Undefeated in the UFC?
Blagoy Ivanov (18-3) suffered a split-decision loss to Derrick Lewis at UFC 230. The loss snapped his two-fight winning streak which included decision wins over Tai Tuivasa and Ben Rothwell. In his Octagon debut, he headlined a UFC show but suffered a decision loss to Junior dos Santos. The 33-year-old is the former World Series of Fighting heavyweight champion and has notable wins over Josh Copeland, Lavar Johnson, and Shawn Jordan.
Augusto Sakai (14-1-1) is a perfect 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Chase Sherman, Andrei Arlovski, and Marcin Tybura, whom he knocked out in 59 seconds last time out. The Brazilian earned his UFC contract by winning on the Contender Series and will now get a top-15 opponent. His lone loss came to Cheick Kongo in Bellator.
Sakai is the rising contender at heavyweight but Ivanov is too big of a step up, too soon. I am surprised Ivanov is not a slight favorite in this fight as he is the known commodity and has proven he can hang with the best heavyweights on the roster.
For Sakai, his path to victory is to knockout Ivanov, but neither dos Santos or Lewis, who are known as power punchers, could do it. Ivanov should be able to take the punches, keep coming forward, and use his Sambo wrestling to take Sakai down and earn a decision win.
Pick: Blagoy Ivanov (-110)
Other UFC Apex Picks
- Kevin Holland (-225): Holland fought just two weeks ago and picked up a quick knockout and I expect him to get another here.
- Roosevelt Roberts (-315): I don’t understand the matchmaking here as both are prospects but Roberts is better everywhere and should get a decision win. I wouldn’t recommend betting this fight, though as the value just isn’t there.
- Mackenzie Dern (-370): This is a perfect fight for Dern to return to the win column and do so by stoppage. But, if you are going to bet this fight, look for the inside the distance prop as the money line doesn’t present value.