UFC 239 goes down this Saturday in Las Vegas and features some huge fights. Here are the best bouts for you to bet on, including one ambitious bet for the brave and a safe bet for those with cash to splash. The odds for this card may change before the weekend. That being said, here are some UFC 239 betting tips.
1. Ben Askren (-260) vs Jorge Masvidal (+200)
Ben Askren (19-0) will make his second UFC appearance against Jorge Masvidal (33-13). The bout will play as a classic striker vs. grappler matchup. Both men are top fighters, hence why the lines are fairly close.
Masvidal is currently coming off a brutal KO win over Darren Till at UFC Fight Night 147. Masvidal was also an underdog in that bout and upset the odds against Till in his native England. I think Masvidal will prove the bookies wrong once again and should be a top pick for betting at UFC 239.
Askren is a phenomenal wrestler and rallied back to beat Robbie Lawler in impressive fashion at UFC 235. Lawler tagged Askren early in the bout, with many arguing that the fight could have been stopped. Askren is poor on his feet, and was lucky not to be KO’d by Lawler. Masvidal has shown that he has thunderous KO power on numerous occasions and should be able to catch Askren and finish the fight on his feet. Masvidal also has very good takedown defence, making Askren’s job even harder.
Pick – Jorge Masvidal.
2. Luke Rockhold (-180) vs Jan Blachowicz (+140)
Luke Rockhold (16-4) makes his light heavyweight debut against number 6 ranked Jan Blachowicz (23-8). Both fighters will be looking to bounce back from vicious knockout losses to Yoel Romero and Thiago Santos, respectively.
Rockhold’s light heavyweight debut has come with an abundance of hype. Many believe that in a stagnant division, Rockhold may be one of the only legitimate challenges to Jon Jones’ throne. Rockhold won the middleweight strap after a spectacular win streak, a fact which is easily forgotten after his highlight-reel loss to Michael Bisping.
Blachowicz often leaves himself open to counters when he rushes forward with wild hooks. Despite adding an effective jab to his arsenal, Blachowicz still favours his bull in a china shop style reckless offence. Rockhold should be able to take advantage of this with some well-timed takedowns, after which he can dispatch of his Polish counterpart with his trademark ground and pound. On his feet, Rockhold is extremely effective on the backfoot. His backstepping right hook is fantastic and will likely find a home against Blachowicz. However, it is Rockhold’s suffocating top control which will win him this fight.
Coming off of two brutal knockouts in his last three fights, there will be questions of if Rockhold’s chin has withered away. The fact that Rockhold is going up a division may help alleviate this concern and despite this worry, the American will prove too much on the ground for Blachowicz this weekend.
Pick – Luke Rockhold.
3. Edmen Shahbazyan (-680) v Jack Marshman (+450)
For punters who enjoy a walk on the wild side, Jack Marshman (23-8) is the pick for you at UFC 239.
Edmen Shahbazyan (9-0) has eight of his nine victories coming by way of first-round finishes. Shahbazyan was signed to the UFC after a brilliant 40-second TKO of Antonio Jones on Dana White‘s Contender Series. In his latest UFC appearance, the Edmund Tarverdyan Glendale Fighting Club prospect finished Charles Byrd in 38 seconds. Shahbazyan has proven how dangerous he is on the feet and showed competent wrestling against Darren Stewart, but Marshman could upset the odds this Saturday.
Marshman is a hard-hitting Welshman who is not afraid to take a shot to land one. He is incredibly tough and will be dangerous on the feet until the very last second of the fight. Marshman has poor takedown defence, so Shahbazyan will likely use this as a path to victory. However, with betting lines so wide, Marshman is worth a punt. If he is able to test Shahbazyan’s cardio and drag the prospect into a war, Marshman may be able to wear him down and eventually land the punch that will earn him the upset win. As a 6-fight UFC veteran, octagon experience could prove to be the x-factor for Marshman.
Pick – Jack Marshman.
4. Amanda Nunes (-350) v Holly Holm (+260)
Amanda Nunes (17-4) is the greatest female mixed martial artist in history. In the eyes of some, the Brazillian will have very little issue in finishing Holly Holm (12-4) to retain her bantamweight belt. If you have a larger budget and want a sure victory (without being a ridiculously large favourite like Jones), Nunes is a safe bet.
That being said, Holm has made a career from big upsets, becoming the first woman to beat Ronda Rousey via a stunning head kick knockout. Despite this, Holm has two wins from five since that famous moment and it is a wonder how she is getting a title shot at all. Nunes hits ridiculously hard, as shown by her stunning KO of Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino at UFC 232. Nunes is also a more technical striker, with impeccable accuracy and boxing. There is always a chance that Holm gets lucky once again, but this should be a comfortable win for The Lioness.
Pick – Amanda Nunes.
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