UFC on ESPN 11: Betting Picks, Predictions and Odds
June 19, 2020
By Brian Edwards
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For the fourth consecutive weekend, the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the UFC Apex Facility for Saturday’s 12-fight show.
Twenty-three of 24 fighters made weight on Friday, with Frank Camacho being the lone exception. Camacho hit the scales at 158 pounds, two pounds over the 156-pound limit for non-title lightweight scraps. He is a -480 favorite vs. Justin Jaynes (+350) at FanDuel.
UFC on ESPN 11 Resources
Date: Saturday June 20, 2020
Venue: UFC Apex Arena
Betting Odds: Sides and Totals
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
TV/Time: ESPN+, ESPN, 5:00 p.m. ET
UFC on ESPN 11: Main Card
Picks and Predictions
The main event will feature a pair of heavyweight contenders, with third-ranked Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes (13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) facing seventh-ranked Alexander Volkov.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov
The 29-year-old Blaydes has only tasted defeat in the Octagon against No. 1 contender Francis ‘The Predator’ Ngannou, who has dusted Blaydes twice with knockout victories. The first came in Blaydes’ UFC debut back on April 10 of 2016.
The Folkstyle wrestler out of Chicago was the NJCAA national champion as a redshirt sophomore at Harper Junior College, but he left school after that year to pursue a mixed-martial-arts career. After the first loss to Ngannou, Blaydes ripped off a six-fight winning streak, although his TKO victory over Adam Milstead was overturned due to a no-contest when he tested positive for marijuana.
Blaydes took out Alexey Oleynik (TKO), Mark Hunt (unanimous decision) and Alistair Overeem (TKO) prior to the second setback to Ngannou in the UFC Beijing main event on Nov. 24 of 2018. Since then, however, Blaydes has three consecutive victories, including a second-round TKO (punches) win over former heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos in the UFC Raleigh headliner on Jan. 25.
Blaydes owns 10 wins by KO and three by decision.
Volkov (31-7 MMA, 5-1 UFC) is off a unanimous-decision win (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Greg Hardy in the UFC Moscow co-main event this past November. He had seen his six-fight winning streak snapped his previous time out, when Derrick Lewis scored a third-round KO victory with only 11 seconds remaining in their UFC 229 bout on Oct. 6 of 2018. If Volkov could’ve survived the last 11 seconds, he was poised to win a decision over Lewis.
The 31-year-old Volkov is the former M-1 Global heavyweight champion and the former two-time Bellator heavyweight kingpin. He signed with the UFC after successfully defending his M-1 strap for the first time in 2016.
In his promotional debut, the 6-foot-7 Russian earned a split-decision victory (29-28, 27-30, 29-28) over Timothy Johnson at UFC Belfast on Nov. 19 of 2016.
Next, Volkov captured a UD win (30-27 across) over Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson on April 15 of 2017. Then in a Fight of the Night scrap against Stefan ‘Skyscraper’ Struve, Volkov collected a third-round TKO win (punches). He improved to 4-0 in the UFC with a fourth-round KO win over former UFC heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum in the UFC London headliner on March 17 of 2018. Volkov garnered a Performance of the Night bonus for an extra $50,000 in that spot.
With an 81-inch reach, Volkov will have a one-inch edge over Blaydes. Volkov will enjoy a three-inch advantage in height.
As of Wednesday, FanDuel had Blaydes as an expensive -410 ‘chalk,’ leaving Volkov as a generous +300 underdog. The price for Blaydes to win by KO/TKO was -140.
By Friday afternoon, the price on Blaydes was up to -440 with Volkov as a +320 underdog. The prop on Blaydes to win by KO/TKO had moved up to -185. DraftKings had the total at 2.5 rounds (‘under’ -148, ‘over’ +110).
UFC on ESPN 11 Picks
I was prepared to play the prop on Blaydes to win by KO/TKO at a -140 price on Wednesday. However, with the price jacked up to -185, that’s too expensive. I still like Blaydes to win and recommend using him in any parlay you might’ve working (and if that parlay is still alive going into the main event, you’ll have the option of hedging with Volkov as a big ‘dog), but our official play on VI will be one unit on ‘under’ 2.5 rounds at the -148 price.
Blaydes vs. Volkov
In the co-main event, eighth-ranked featherweight Josh Emmett will take on 10th-ranked contender Shane Burgos. As of Wednesday, FanDuel had Burgos (13-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) installed as a -136 favorite with Emmett at +116 odds on the comeback.
Josh Emmett vs. Shane Burgos
The price on Burgos was up to -144 at FanDuel by Friday afternoon, with Emmett as a +118 underdog. DraftKings had the total at 2.5 rounds (‘under’ -148, ‘over’ +110).
Emmett (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) owns back-to-back KO wins over Michael Johnson (punch) and Mirsad Bektic (punches). On March 30 of 2019, Johnson appeared to be in cruise control on his way to an easy decision victory when Emmett landed a perfect right that closed the show with only 46 seconds remaining in the third and final round.
Burgos will enjoy a 5.5-inch advantage in reach and a 4.5-inch height advantage. He is also the younger fighter by six years.
The 29-year-old Burgos has three straight wins over Kurt Holobaugh (armbar submission), Cub Swanson (split decision) and Markwan Amirkhani (third-round TKO). He took his only career loss by third-round KO in a FOTN performance against Calvin Kattar at UFC 220.
Burgos won his first three UFC fights over Tiago Trator (UD), Charles Rosa (third-round TKO) and Godofredo Pepey (UD). The win over Rosa was another FOTN performance.
UFC on ESPN 11 Picks
I’ve become a believer in Emmett, especially in his power after taking the Bad Beat on Johnson. I had the Team Alpha Male product hist last time out against Bektic, cashing a +140 underdog ticket. Let’s go with two units on Emmett as a +118 underdog.
Emmett vs. Burgos
In a welterweight showdown, Belal Muhammad will face Lyman Good. DraftKings had Muhammad (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) installed as a -130 favorite on Friday afternoon, leaving Good as a +105 underdog.
Belal Muhammad vs. Lyman Good
Muhammad has won back-to-back fights and is 6-1 in his last seven Octagon appearances. His only loss in this seven-fight stretch was a UD setback (30-27, 29-28, 30-27) to Geoff Neal, who is 6-0 in the UFC with five finishes.
The 35-year-old Good will have a two-inch edge in both height and reach, but he is the older fighter by four years. Good, who has fully recovered since testing positive for COVID-19 in early April, will be fighting with a heavy heart after his father recently passed away.
UFC on ESPN 11 Picks
Muhammad is in top form right now. Good is 21-5 overall and 3-2 in the UFC, but he hasn’t been able to win back-to-back fights since joining the promotion. Let’s go with 1.5 units on Muhammad at a -125 price from William Hill.
Muhammad vs. Good
Catchweight Bout (160 lbs)
In the opener of the main card, veteran lightweight Jim Miller will make his 35th career walk to the Octagon to face Roosevelt Roberts in a 160-pound catcheweight contest. That’ll bring him into a tie with Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone for the most appearances in UFC history.
Jim Miller vs. Roosevelt Roberts
The 36-year-old Miller has seen five of his last six fights in end in Round 1. He is 3-2 in his last five outings, including three first-round wins by submissions over Alex White, Jason Gonzalez and Clay Guida.
The 26-year-old Roberts (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) is a -240 favorite at DraftKings. Only three of his 11 career fights have gone the distance.
UFC on ESPN 11 Picks
Let’s go with one unit on ‘under’ 2.5 rounds at a -106 price (DraftKings)
Miller vs. Roberts
In a middleweight contest on the Prelims portion of the card, Marc-Andre Barriault will try to get his first UFC victory and salvage his roster spot against Oskar Piechota. Both fighters are on three-fight losing streaks.
Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Oskar Piechota
Piechota, the 30-year-old former Cage Warriors middleweight champ, won his first two UFC fights, but he’s been finished inside of two rounds in three consecutive defeats. Barriault has lost by decision in all three of his UFC appearances, including a split-decision setback against Krzysztof at UFC 240.
UFC on ESPN 11 Picks
Only two of Piechota’s 14 career fights have gone the distance, and those are also the only two scraps of his career that have made it into Round 3. Let’s go with one unit on ‘under’ 2.5 rounds at a -139 price from DraftKings.
Barriault vs. Piechota