Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:56 PM
UFC 244 - Best Bets
Event: UFC 244
Date: Sat. Nov. 2, 2019
TV/Time: (ESPN/ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET and PPV, 10:00 p.m. ET)
Venue: Madison Square Garden
City: New York City, New York, United States
Main Event: Nate Diaz vs. Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal
As of early today, most books had Masvidal installed as a -160 favorite, with Diaz at +140 on the comeback. I think it’s a toss-up fight for the most part. Both fighters are strong in all areas. I believe Masvidal has more punching power and is more capable of finishing the fight early via knockout. However, Diaz’s chin is one of the best in the business. Masvidal has outstanding endurance, but the Diaz Brothers have cardio that’s next level. In other words, the longer the fight goes, advantage Nate. Give me two units on Diaz at +140.
Co-Main Event: Darren Till vs. Kelvin Gastelum
This is Till’s middleweight debut, so this is his first Octagon appearance without having to go through an agonizing weight cut. Till had visa issues all week and didn’t make it to NYC until Thursday. Some might find this to be an issue, but he made weight easily yesterday. And perhaps not being in the Big Apple and all that entails – endless media appearances, for instance – could be a good thing? Although Gastelum made weight at 184.0 pounds, he did request the towel (so he’d be completely naked with no extra weight caused by any clothes) and didn’t come downstairs to hit the scales until just a few minutes were left to weigh in. Whatever the case, Till has an enormous size advantage here. Now that’s nothing new to Gastelum, but let’s also remember that he’s coming out of an absolute war with Israel Adesanya in which he sustained a ton of damage. I sense a potential upset here. Give me Till at +200 for one unit.
Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson vs. Vicente Luque
Big step up in competition for Luque. I like Thompson. Give me ‘Wonderboy’ for 1.5 units at a -110 price.
Blagoy Ivanov vs. Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis
Ivanov is 2-1 in the UFC, but he was given a gift decision in what undoubtedly should’ve been a loss against Ben Rothwell. Lewis has lost 25 pounds, cut out fried foods, hired a nutritionist and didn’t have to cut weight to get below 265 pounds for the first time in his career. I believe that’ll translate into a career-best performance. I like Lewis for 1.5 units at a -110 price.
Kevin Lee vs. Gregor Gillespie
After going up to welterweight and losing to Rafael dos Anjos, Lee has dropped back down to 155 pounds. He needs a win in a bad way. ‘The Motown Phenom’ had struggled to make weight at lightweight (156 pounds for non-title bouts) in several spots preceding his move up to 170, but he made it yesterday. I’ll put one-half unit on Lee as a +130 underdog.
Johnny Walker vs. Corey Anderson
The straight price is a little expensive for my taste, but I’ll nonetheless put one unit on Walker at -160 (The Wynn in Las Vegas). I’ve been saying for about a year that I think Walker is the man who is going to eventually unseat Jon ‘Bones’ Jones as the light-heavyweight kingpin. He’s going to put on a show here in this spot against Anderson. Let’s go with all of the following: one unit on ‘under’ 1.5 rounds for a +125 return, one unit on the prop for Walker to win by KO at a -125 price and one unit on Walker to win in Round 1 for a +200 return. Obviously, I like Walker to win by first-round KO!
Brad Tavares vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
If you haven’t seen the 21-year-old prospect Shahbazyan yet, look forward to this, people! This is one of the promotion’s future stars. In 10 pro fights, he’s 10-0 with nine first-round knockouts. He’s 4-0 in the UFC. Three of his wins came in first-round KOs that lasted 40, 38 and 72 seconds. His other Octagon appearance was a split-decision victory over Darren Stewart. Let’s go with one unit on ‘under’ 2.5 rounds for a +145 return, 1.5 units on Shahbazyan at a -145 price (The Wynn) and one-half unit on Shahbazyan to win by KO for a +290 payout.
Folks, enjoy the show. It’s going to be incredible!
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.