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UFC 251 Underdog Bets – Does Masvidal Present Any Value?

Jose Aldo at a press conference
Jose Aldo can become a two-division champion with a win over Petr Yan at UFC 251, but oddsmakers don't give him a great chance of achieving that rare feat. Photo by Andrius Petrucenia (flickr).
  • Underdog bets abound  at UFC 251 on Saturday, July 11th, with prelims starting at 6:00 PM ET on ESPN
  • Will new champions emerge this weekend? Who shocks the world?
  • Check out the latest fight odds and the best underdog value picks for the first event on Fight Island

UFC 251 emanates from Yas Island (also known as Fight Island) in Abu Dhabi.  A stacked pay-per-view main card  features three title fights, a possible title eliminator, and much more.

Everybody loves a good come-from-behind story and the lines for this MMA mega-show are intriguing. There appear to be multiple opportunities for fight fans to capitalize on some underdogs getting plus money.

Masvidal Upsets Usman

Jorge Masvidal is the most tenured fighter in UFC history to receive his first shot at a championship belt. He is taking this fight on a few days’ notice and is truly living up to his “Gamebred” nickname.

To turn this cinematic narrative into a triumphant reality, he must get through an absolute brick wall of a belt holder who has never tasted defeat in the UFC.

UFC 251 Underdog Bet #1

Fighter Odds
Jorge Masvidal +185
Kamaru Usman -230

Odds taken on July 10th.

This fight has very similar vibes to when Michael Bisping challenged Luke Rockhold for the middleweight belt at UFC 199: a veteran pugilist teetering on the precipice of title contention for several years, finally gets a shot on short notice. Here’s a reminder of what happened in the Bisping/Rockhold fight.

Masvidal’s narrative takes on an additional level of intrigue when you consider that it is close to the one-year anniversary of his major career breakthrough.

Kamaru Usman is an elite fighter with a ton of tools at his disposal. He is a top-notch striker as shown by his last outing, defeating Colby Covington by TKO, but his wrestling base is what people are fixated on here. Many perceive that Usman will ragdoll Masvidal but I am not among those people. Masvidal’s submission grappling is incredibly underrated and I hope people finally give him his due when he becomes the new UFC welterweight champion.

Pick: Jorge Masvidal (+185)

Aldo Wins Gold in a Second Weight Class

Jose Aldo is the most accomplished featherweight titlist in UFC history. He aims to become a two-division belt holder here but has to get by bantamweight berserker Petr Yan.

UFC 251 Underdog Bet #2

Fighter Odds
Jose Aldo +180
Petr Yan -225

Fans are understandably high on Yan but I feel like Aldo is being a tad under-appreciated. Many pundits are saying that Aldo doesn’t deserve this title shot here and seem to be disregarding his chances in this one. This is an incredibly intriguing fight on paper and it could be the most memorable bout of what is a monumental evening.

Many look at Aldo’s last performance as a way to diminish his chances but I see it in a totally different way. I thought Aldo looked great dropping to 135 pounds and I also thought he should have gotten the nod over Marlon Moraes. (Moraes won via split decision.)

A win here would put Aldo among some elite competitors as he would have the distinction of holding belts over multiple weight classes. I think Aldo cements his legacy even further by capturing the bantamweight belt.

Pick: Jose Aldo (+180)

Holloway Regains Championship from Volkanovski

These two locked horns in December of last year and they’re running it back on Fight Island. The first bout was a pretty hotly contested fight in the eyes of many and a sequel seemed inevitable.

UFC 251 Underdog Bet #3

Fighter Odds
Max Holloway +170
Alex Volkanovski -210

The reigning champ is getting a lot of respect lately, and understandably so, but I can’t help but feel like recency bias is getting into the picture. It was not all that long ago that many were calling Max “Blessed” Holloway the greatest featherweight the UFC and, by proxy, the sport of MMA have ever seen.

Volkanovski is aiming to secure a finish in this one to emphatically assert himself as champion. A brazen thing to put out there considering Holloway’s vaunted durability.

I think Holloway makes the proper adjustments in this outing and evens up the Volkanovski series at 1-1.

Pick: Max Holloway (+170)

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