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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:54 PM

UFC on ESPN+ 28 Odds, Preview and Picks

UFC on ESPN+ 28 - Lee vs. Oliveira
Vegas Betting Preview & Predictions

Date: Saturday, March 14, 2020
TV/Time: ESPN, 3:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Ginásio Nilson Nelson
Location: Brasília, Brazil

Barring a last-minute change, the UFC Brasilia show will go down Saturday “behind closed doors” with zero fans in attendance.

The 12-fight card was originally going to be on ESPN+ only. However, with all other major sports postponing or cancelling events due to the coronavirus pandemic, the entire event will also air on ESPN (Proper) starting at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

During a Thursday appearance on ESPN’s Sports Center, UFC President Dana White said he spoke with both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who both encouraged him to proceed with the event despite the global crisis created by the coronavirus.

UFC Catchweight Bout (158.5 lbs) Odds

Money-Line: Kevin Lee (-145) vs. Charles Oliveira (+125)
Over-Under: 2.5 Rounds (Under -140)

Odds Subject to Change (T&C's Apply, 21+)

Lee vs. Oliveira Analysis

Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira (28-8-1 MMA, 16-8-1 UFC) will face Kevin ‘The Motown Phenom’ Lee in the headliner. Lee tipped the scales at 158.5 pounds Friday morning, coming up 2.5 pounds short of the 156-pound limit for lightweight, non-title fights.

The scrap will still take place with Lee forfeiting 20 percent of his purse to Oliveira.

As of late Friday afternoon, FanDuel had Lee (18-5 MMA, 11-5 UFC) installed as a -146 favorite with Oliveira at +124 on the comeback. The betting shop had a slew of proposition wagers available, including if the fight will go the distance. ‘No’ is -550 and ‘Yes’ is +320.

The 30-year-old Oliveira is ranked 13th in the 155-pound loop and is riding a six-fight winning streak. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has finished all six of his opponents during his current surge, bagging five Performance of the Night bonuses in the process.

Three of his wins have come in Round 1 and the other three ended in Round 2. The first four victories were by submissions, extending his UFC all-time record to 13 career submissions.

Oliveria’s run started with a first-round submission win over Clay Guida at UFC 225. His five other scalps have come over Christos Giagos, Jim Miller, David Teymur, Nik Lentz and Jared Gordon.

‘Do Bronx’ has gone the three-round distance in only three of his 37 career fights. He’s never been into the fourth round in his career, but this bout is scheduled for five rounds in the main-event slot.

Oliveria owns other notable wins over the likes of Myles Jury, Jeremy Stephens, Jonathan Brookins, Will Brooks and Darren Elkins. He’s the UFC’s all-time leader in Performance of the Night bonuses with nine and has the most submission wins (six) in the histroy of the UFC’s featherweight division.

s Oliveira is also second in UFC history with 15 career finishes and is in a second-place tie with Nate Diaz and Joe Lauzon for most Post Fight bonuses. He has nine POTN bonuses, three for Fight of the Night and three for Submission of the Night.

Oliveira owns a 16-0 career record in his fights that have taken place in Brazil.

Lee avoided a three-fight losing streak by scoring a head-kick knockout win over Gregor Gillespie in the opening round of their main-card fight at UFC 244. It marked his return to lightweight after going up to welterweight and losing by fourth-round submission to Rafael dos Anjos in last May’s UFC Rochester headliner.

The 27-year-old Lee is in a main-event slot for the sixth time in his career. All six of those spots have come in his last seven scraps.

Lee’s other four career losses have come against Al Iaquinta (twice), Tony Ferguson and Leonardo Santos. His best wins have come over Edson Barboza by fifth-round TKO (doctor stoppage), Michael Chiesa via first-round submission, Francisco Trinaldo by second-round rear-naked choke, Magomed Mustafaev via second-round RNC and Jake Matthews by first-round KO (punches).

Lee’s 18 carer victories include eight by submission, seven via decision and three by knockout. He has garnered three POTN bunuses in wins over Mustafaev, Chiesa and Gillespie.

Oliveira has a one-inch edge in height, but Lee has a three-inch advantage in reach.

Lee vs. Oliveira Picks

With the exception of his win over Stephens, Oliveira has come up short in his fights against highly-ranked foes. That list includes former champions like Anthony Pettis, Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar. He’s also lost to opponents who have challenged for the belt like Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and Ricardo Lamas. Lee is a powerful wrestler with heavier hands than the Brazilian. However, it’s hard to ignore Oliveira’s six-fight winning streak, unbeaten record on his home turf and sick submission game. Another slight factor driving this play is Lee’s weight-cut struggle. I like Oliveira for two units and a +124 return.

UFC Welterweight Bout Odds

Money-Line: Gilbert Burns (-190) vs. Demian Maia (+160)
Over-Under: 2.5 Rounds (Over -210)

Odds Subject to Change (T&C's Apply, 21+)

Burns vs. Maia Analysis

In the co-main event, fifth-ranked Demian Maia will face fellow Brazilian, Gilbert Burns, in a welterweight showdown. As of late Friday afternoon, FanDuel had Burns (17-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) installed as a -184 favorite vs. Maia (+156).

‘Yes’ is a -172 ‘chalk’ for the prop on whether the fight will go the three-round distance. ‘No’ is offering a +130 payout. The prop for Maia to win by submission is +600, while Burns is at +500 to win by KO/TKO.

The 42-year-old Maia (28-9 MMA, 22-9 UFC) went 3-0 in 2019, defeating Lyman Good via first-round RNC, Anthony Rocco Martin by majority decision and Ben Askren via third-round RNC. He won seven fights in a row to earn a title shot against Tyron Woodley in the summer of 2017.

Johnny Walker will look to rebound from his first UFC loss on Saturday as he fights in his home country as a favorite.
Johnny Walker will look to rebound from his first UFC loss on Saturday as he fights in his home country as a favorite. (AP)

Maia lost a UD to Woodley at UFC 214 and then droped two more UDs to Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman. Nevertheless, he’s bounced back and can get a fourth straight win Saturday night as a home underdog. If Maia gets his hand raised, he’ll tie Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone for most wins in UFC history with 23.

The 12th-ranked Burns brings a four-fight winning streak into this scrap. He’s off a unanimous-decision victory over Gunnar Nelson at UFC Copenhagen this past September in Denmark. Burns also has a pair of UD wins over Aelxey Kunchenko and Olivier Aubin-Mercier and a second-round submission victory over Mike Davis during his winning streak.

Burns has eight career wins by submission, five by knockout and four by decision.

Burns vs. Maia Picks

I like Burns to get the victory. He’s a little too expensive for my taste in terms of a straight bet, but I would encourage gamblers to put him in a parlay with Johnny Walker. I’d go with one unit on the Walker-Burns parlay that should pay out a +157 return.

Other Picks

-- Let’s go with two units on Johnny Walker to bounce back with a win over Nikita Krylov as a -144 favorite (FanDuel). Walker saw his nine-fight winning streak snapped his last time out when he lost by first-round KO to Corey Anderson at UFC 244. The 10th-ranked Brazilian owns a 17-4 MMA record and a 4-1 mark in the UFC. Three of his four wins came by first-round KOs. Let’s also put one-half unit on Walker to win by first-round KO for a +220 return (FanDuel).

-- I’ll put one-half unit on 35-year-old Rani Yahya to defeat Enrique Barzola as a +166 underdog (FanDuel). Yahya has compiled a 7-2 record in his last nine UFC scraps dating back to Sept. 13 of 2014. He has 20 career submission victories and a 26-10 overall record.

-- Let’s go with one unit on ‘No’ for the Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Aleksei Kunchenko to go the three-round distance. Kunchenko owns a 20-1 record with 13 wins by knockout and one by submission. Only seven of his 21 career fights have gone the distance. Dos Santos has 14 wins by knockout and three victories by submission. One of his six career losses have come by knockout and two have been via submission. Only seven of Dos Santos’s 27 career matches have gone the distance. Each of his last four fight ended before going to the judges’ scorecards.

B.E.’s Octagon Nuggets

-- The UFC Columbus and UFC Portland cards scheduled for March 28 in Ohio and April 11 in Oregon, respectively, will take place on the same dates but have been moved to the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas. White made the announcement Thursday night on Sports Center. The UFC is working with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on a process to screen all fighters for the coronavirus to ensure their safety. These events “will proceed with only essential personnel in attendance and without spectators.”

-- The Bellator 241 show scheduled for Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT., was cancelled early Friday afternoon. Fighters had made weight on Thursday and were ready to compete with no fans in attendance. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported that each fighter will receive full pay.

-- According to a report from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto on March 11, the promotion has nearly finalized the UFC Dublin headliner for Aug. 15. Darren Till and former middleweight champion Robert ‘Bobby Knuckles’ Whittaker are expected to collide in a 185-pound scrap. Till made his middleweight debut last year at Madison Square Garden in New York City, winning a split decision over Kelvin Gastelum. FanDuel has Whittaker listed as a -120 favorite vs. Till (+102). Whittaker will be making his first Octagon appearance since losing the belt last year in a second-round KO loss to current middleweight kingpin, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya, who successfully defended his strap for the first time in last week’s UD win over Yoel Romero at UFC 228.

-- Bantamweight champ Henry Cejudo is a -168 favorite for his first title defense vs. Jose Aldo (+144) at UFC 250.

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

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