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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:03 PM

UFC 227 Best Bets

The Octagon returns to Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday night for UFC 227, a 12-fight card headlined by a rematch between T.J. Dillashaw and Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt for Dillashaw’s UFC bantamweight title. All 24 fighters made weight on Friday morning.

As of Friday afternoon, most betting shops had the 32-year-old Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) installed as a -125 favorite. Garbrandt is a +105 underdog, while the total is 2.5 rounds (‘over’ -120, ‘under’ +100).

Garbrandt (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) took the 135-pound division by storm upon his arrival. After winning his first two UFC fights by unanimous decision, Garbrandt won three straight fights by first-round knockout to earn a title shot against Dominick Cruz at UFC 207. He took full advantage and cruised to a UD triumph over Cruz to win the bantamweight strap.

However, Garbrandt spent most of the early months of 2017 travelling the world and visiting various doctors for treatment on his ailing back that eventually required surgery. During this time, his rivalry with his former teammate in Sacramento, Dillashaw, grew by the day.

Garbrandt eventually was given medical clearance and agree to face Dillashaw at UFC 217 in New York City on Nov. 4 of last year. ‘No Love’ dropped Dillashaw with a big right hand late in the first round, but there only a few seconds remaining in the stanza. Dillashaw was saved by the bell but quickly recovered in the 60 seconds between rounds.

We know this because he caught Garbrandt midway through Round 2 and finished the job with ground-and-pound punishment as a -120 ‘chalk.’ For the second time in his career, Dillashaw was the UFC’s bantamweight kingpin.

Dillashaw first won the belt by stunning Renan Barao as a +550 underdog at UFC 173 during the summer of 2014. He successfully defended his strap twice (over Joe Soto and in a rematch with Barao) before dropping a split decision to Cruz in January of 2016.

Since then, the former Team Alpha Male member has ripped off three consecutive victories. He won unanimous decisions over Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200 and John Lineker at UFC 207 to earn the shot at taking his title back.

Prediction: Garbrandt went into the first fight versus Dillashaw with too much emotion. He’s been cool as a cucumber this week, letting the current champ do most of the talking. Gamblers shouldn’t mistake this for Garbrandt not bringing the same confidence he’s always had to the cage. ‘No Love’ is simply locked in and poised to take back his belt. I’ll go with six units on Garbrandt as a +110 underdog ([...] and [...]). Also, I’ll put two units on ‘under’ 2.5 rounds for a +115 payout at [...]. Furthermore, I want one unit on Garbrandt to win by TKO/KO for a +189 return ([...]).

In the co-main event, flyweight champion Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) will defend his belt against Henry Cejudo, a former gold-medal winner in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

As of Friday afternoon, most shops had Johnson listed as a -500 ‘chalk’ with Cejudo as a +375 underdog. The total was 4.5 rounds (‘under’ -150, ‘over’ +130).

This is a rematch of a first-round KO win by Johnson at UFC 197 in April of 2016. Cejudo was able to land an early takedown on Johnson, but the champ worked his way back to his feet and finished the fight shortly after with a barrage of knees to the body and punches to the face.

The 31-year-old Johnson won the inaugural flyweight tournament to win the belt by beating Joseph Benavidez by split decision at UFC 152 in September of 2012. He has successfully defended his strap 11 consecutive times, including seven finishes. Johnson has won four Performance of the Night bonuses during this stretch, including three in his last four outings.

He has also garnered three other bonuses, including one Submission of the Night, one KO of the Night and one Fight of the Night. His 11 title defenses are the most in UFC history.

Cejudo (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) lost a split decision to Benavidez after falling against Johnson in their first encounter. He bounced back to beat Wilson Reis by second-round KO at UFC 215 last September. Next, Cejudo earned a rematch with Johnson by defeating Sergio Pettis via UD at UFC 218 last December.

Prediction: I think Johnson retains his belt but he’s too expensive and there aren’t any proposition wagers that appeal to me. Pass.

Veteran featherweight Cub Swanson (25-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC) is hoping to dodge a three-fight losing streak when he takes on Renato Moicano on the main card. As of Friday afternoon, Moicano (12-1-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) was an enormous -400 favorite with Swanson as a +300 underdog. The total was 2.5 rounds (‘over’ -315, ‘under’ +258).

Moicano, a 29-year-old Brazilian, suffered his only career loss when he was submitted by still-undefeated Brian Ortega at the 3:29 mark of the third and final round at UFC 214. Most observers felt Moicano was winning the fight, but the judges were left out of the fray when Ortega won by guillotine choke last July.

Moicano bounced back from the loss to Ortega and defeated Calvin Kattar by UD at UFC 223 in April. In April of 2017, he bested Jeremy Stephens by split decision.

Swanson, at the age of 34, will make his 16th career walk to the Octagon in dire need of getting his hand raised. He has twice appeared to be on the cusp of a title shot during his distinguished career. After losing to Ricardo Lamas by second-round submission at his UFC debut in 2011, Swanson responded with a six-fight winning streak that included scalps of Ross Pearson, Charles Oliveira, Dustin Poirier, Dennis Siver and Jeremy Stephens.

The 6-0 run was halted by Frankie Edgar in November of 2014, however. Then Swanson lost to Max Holloway, who is currently the champ in the 145-pound loop. But Swanson refused to stay down for long, capturing four straight wins that included a UD victory over Doo Ho ‘The Korean Superboy’ Choi in one of 2016’s best scraps.

Edgar halted Swanson’s first run at the belt, and it was Ortega that killed his momentum last December by earning a second-round submission win at UFC Fresno. Looking to jump right back in the title picture, Swanson agreed to a rematch with Edgar, who was also coming off a loss to Ortega. Once again, Edgar would prevail in Atlantic City this past April.

Prediction: I can’t turn down Swanson at such huge underdog odds. Give me one unit on the +300 ‘dog and one-half unit on ‘under’ 2.5 rounds for the +258 return.

B.E.’s Octagon Nuggets

-- Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times broke the story late last night that the UFC 230 co-main event will be announced at a presser today at The Orpheum Theater in L.A. This three-round lightweight contest will mark the return of perennial 155-pound contender Nate Diaz, who will take on Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Nov. 3. Diaz has been on the sidelines enjoying the millions of dollars he made in a pair of fights against Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor since Aug. 20 of 2016. Poirier has already won a pair of fights by KO this year over Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez. [...] opened Poirier as a -175 favorite early Friday afternoon. I made the number -260. The global website adjusted Poirier to -195, leaving Diaz as the +170 underdog. Look for this number to keep climbing north of the -200 mark.

-- On my Games Galore (44) podcast yesterday, veteran MMA bettor GambLou (of fame) explained his reasoning for liking Brett Johns as a +200 underdog vs. Pedro Munhoz. He was also bullish on Garbrandt and suggested a small wager on Cejudo in the co-main event.

-- The UFC Moscow show was given a main event this week. The promotion’s debut in Russia will be headlined by a light-heavyweight scrap between red-hot Anthony Smith and former title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir. [...] had Oezdemir listed as a -190 favorite Friday afternoon, with Smith as the +150 underdog. This card is set for Oct. 27.

-- Best of luck on your bets and enjoy the show!

Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.

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