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UFC Vegas 11 Best Bets, Covington vs. Woodley Picks and Predictions



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UFC Vegas 11 Main Card Picks

Thirteen fights are on the docket for Saturday’s UFC Vegas 11 card at The Apex Center.

Date: September 19, 2020
TV-Time: ESPN/ESPN +, 6:00 p.m. ET
Venue: UFC Apex Center
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Betting Odds: Money-Lines, Totals

UFC Vegas 11 Analysis
Covington vs. Woodley

Odds: Colby Covington (-360) vs. Tyron Woodley (+290)

The headliner will feature the long-awaited showdown between a pair of bitter rivals, as former welterweight kingpin Tyron Woodley (19-5-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) takes on Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington.

As of Friday morning, FanDuel had Covington (15-2 MMA, 10-2 UFC) installed as an expensive - 360 favorite, with Woodley available for a generous +290 payout. DraftKings had the total at 4.5 rounds (‘over’ -225, ‘under’ +165).

The 38-year-old Woodley has been dominated basically every second of his last 50 minutes in the Octagon. After winning the belt with a first-round knockout win over Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 on July 30 of 2016, Woodley retained his strap in a majority draw vs. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson at UFC 205.

He would then successfully defend his 170-pound title with three straight wins over Thompson (majority decision at UFC 209), Demian Maia (unanimous decision in a UFC 214 snoozer) and Darren Till (second-round submission at UFC 228). However, on March 2 of 2019 at UFC 235, Kamaru Usman absolutely destroyed Woodley to become the new welterweight champion via UD (50-44, 50-45, 50-44).

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Woodley returned to the Octagon nearly 15 months later to face Gilbert Burns on May 30. Burns floored Woodley with a right hand in the first 20 seconds of the fight and then dominated the rest of the round by inflicting punishment from the top position on the ground. Burns coasted to an easy UD win as a +160 underdog (50-44, 50-45, 50-44).

If those two fights are any indicator, Woodley appears to have lost his battle with Father Time. Granted, Usman remains the champ and Burns is being targeted to face him for the belt next. Therefore, you can make the valid argument that Woodley was simply outclassed by the world’s two premier welterweights.

However, Covington is – at worst – the third-best 170-pounder currently. Which is why Woodley should be given credit for taking this fight, especially at his age after these mixed martial artists have feuded for years with all sorts of trash talking that has at time crossed the line.

Covington is making his Octagon return for the first time since losing to Usman by fifth-round KO at UFC 245 last December. The 32-year-old former American Top Team member had a 3-1 advantage on all three judges’ scorecards going to the fifth and final stanza.

Usman dropped him with a punch and was raining down subsequent shots while Covington was covering up, but also appeared to still be moving to get out of harm’s way. Nevertheless, referee Marc Goddard called a stop to the fight with only 50 seconds remaining. Covington immediately protested the stoppage before racing out of the arena in frustration.

Covington has repeatedly pointed out some mistakes by Goddard in the fight, most of which seem valid when watching replays. Whatever the case, he appears to be in great position to get the Burns-Usman winner with a dominant performance vs. Woodley.

Covington saw his seven-fight winning streak ended in the loss to Usman. Some of those victories included scalps over Lawler, former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos, Maia, Dong Hyun ‘The Stun Gun’ Kim, Max Griffin and Bryan Barberena.

UFC Vegas 11 Picks
Covington vs. Woodley

Covington is certainly the play here, but he’s too expensive for my taste. I’m all about using him in a parlay, though, and I’ll get to those specifics shortly. That’s the only way I want some action on this scrap, though, because method-of-victory props aren’t appealing because you can’t trust Covington to finish fights. He has won each of his last five fights by decision.

UFC Vegas 11 Analysis
Cerrone vs. Price

Odds: Donald Cerrone (+130) vs. Niko Price (-154)

In the co-main event, the UFC’s all-time leader in career wins, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, will try to end the longest losing streak of his career at four when he collides with Niko Price in a welterweight showdown. As of Friday morning, FanDuel had Price (MMA, UFC) listed as a –154 favorite, leaving Cerrone at +130 on the comeback. DraftKings had the total at 1.5 rounds (‘under’ -125, ‘over’ -106). The 37-year-old Cerrone (36-15-0-1 MMA, 23-12 UFC) was on a three-fight winning streak just 15 months ago, setting up a UFC 238 showdown with Tony Ferguson with a shot at the lightweight championship at stake for the winner. VegasInsider scored Round 1 for Cerrone in a back-and-forth stanza.

Ferguson clearly won Round 2, though, and all the momentum was in his favor going to the third and final frame. Just as the third was starting, however, Cerrone made a rookie mistake by blowing his nose. This prompted immense swelling in his eye that caused the doctor to come into the Octagon and call off the bout.

In his next two fights, Cerrone lost by first-round KO to Justin Gaethje and Conor McGregor, two of the best fighters in UFC history. Then at UFC 249 in Jacksonville on May 9, VI scored Cerrone with a 29-28 win over Anthony Pettis in the Prelims headliner. However, the judges gave the nod to Pettis via UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in an epic slugfest.

Some pundits have suggested a loss to Price could be the end of Cerrone’s career. Perhaps that’s true, but there’s still a ton of fun fights out there for Cerrone at 155 and 170 pounds, and the men that have beaten him recently are four of the sport’s all-time greats. In other words, I think Cowboy’s demise has been exaggerated in recent months.

Price (14-4-0-1 MMA, 6-4-0-1 UFC) presents a style that makes for a great matchup with Cerrone. The 30-year-old ‘Hybrid’ has garnered four Performance of the Night bonuses in his six UFC victories. He’s prone to get into slugfests, which is the way Cerrone prefers to fight.

Price is off a third-round TKO (doctor stoppage) loss to Vicente Luque in a back-and-forth war at UFC 249. All six of Price’s wins in the Octagon have come via stoppages, including four first-round finishes.

UFC Vegas 11 Picks
Cerrone vs. Price

Prediction: I don’t think Cowboy (currently, that is) is on the level of Luque or Geoff Neal, who have handed Price three of his four career UFC losses. However, I don’t think that Price’s wins have come over any fighter’s that are on Cerrone’s level (past or present). Tim Means, Alan Jouban, Brandon Thatch and James Vick represent the best-known victims on Price’s resume. As you’ll see by small risk, this is a play I make with much confidence. However, I think the ol’ Cowboy has one more second wind left in him. Give me Cerrone for one-half unit and the +130 payout.

UFC Vegas 11 Analysis
Chimaev vs. Meerschaert

Odds: Khamzat Chimaev (-405) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+305)

Khamzat ‘Borz’ Chimaev (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) was The Story of the four-show run on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi back in July. He won a middleweight fight over John Phillips by second-round submission after relentlessly beating on Phillips for every second of the opening frame. Ten days later, Chimaev defeated Rhys McKee via first-round KO in a welterweight scrap, becoming the first fighter in UFC history to win a pair of fights in that short period of time.

Now Chimaev is going back up to 185 pounds to challenge veteran Gerald Meerschaert, a 32-year-old BJJ black belt with a 31-13 career record. Meerschaert has 23 career wins by submission, six by KO and two via decision. He is 6-5 in the UFC despite going 2-4 in his past six outings. As of early Friday morning, Chimaev was a –405 ‘chalk.’

UFC Vegas 11 Picks
Chimaev vs. Meerschaert

I want three units on ‘under’ 1.5 rounds at a –125 price (DraftKings). This is going to be total domination by Chimaev, but it’s hard to choose a method-of-victory prop since he’s equally capable of winning by KO or submission. If you want to cover both of those victory methods, you’re still looking at laying a substantial minus price. I would normally never recommend betting in this manner, but I’m going to make an exception here because my confidence in Chimaev winning by finish is through the roof.

We’re conceding a split with a win and a loss here, but it will still produce a profit (assuming Chimaev wins inside the distance) since both options offer plus money. Let’s put one unit on Chimaev to win by KO/TKO (FanDuel) for a +180 payout. Also, let’s go with one unit on Chimaev to win via submission for a +210 payout.

UFC Vegas 11 Bonus Picks

-- Sixteen of Johnny Walker’s 22 fights have ended in Round 1. Walker (17-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) has 14 wins by KO and two by submission. The 28-year-old Brazilian has been KO’d three times and submitted once.

Walker will face Ryan Spann, who has an 18-5 career record with 11 submissions and four KOs. Three of his losses are by finish (two KOs, one submission), so only five of his 23 fights have gone the distance. I like ‘under’ 1.5 rounds at a –115 price for 1.5 units (DraftKings). Also, I’ll go with one-half unit on Walker as a –118 favorite at FanDuel.

-- Let’s go with an all-chalk, three-fight parlay using the numbers from DraftKings for each fighter:

Chimaev (-400), Kevin Holland (-250 vs. Darren Stewart), Covington (-360)

-- For one unit, that pays out for a +123.61 per the VegasInsider.com parlay calculator.

  
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