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UFC

Jan 21, 2022

UFC 270: Ngannou vs. Gane Predictions, Picks, Odds

UFC 270 is rapidly approaching and we have two title bouts on top of a card filled with intriguing matchups to look forward to. In the main event the UFC heavyweight title is up for grabs as former teammates Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou lock horns in the octagon. 

Just before the big boys made the walk, the trilogy bout between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo is set for the co-main event.

UFC 270 MAIN CARD PICKS

UFC 270 takes place on January 22 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Catch the action on ESPN+, early prelims kick off at 6.00 PM ET while Ngannou and Gane are expected to take the stage at around 12.00 AM ET. 

Interim champ Gane is currently installed as the betting favorite over heavyweight champ Ngannou.

UFC 270 VIDEO BEST BETS

UFC 270 BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Saturday, December 22, 2022
  • TV-Time: Early Prelims (ESPN+ 6:00 p.m.), Prelims (ESPN2, 8:00 p.m.), Main Card (ESPN+ PPV, 10:00 p.m.)
  • Venue: Honda Center
  • Location: Anaheim, California
  • Odds Analysis: UFC 270 Betting Odds Analysis

Odds & Bouts Subject to Change - per BetMGM

UFC 270 PREVIEW & ANALYSIS

UFC 270 HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT
FRANCIS NGANNOU VS. CIRYL GANE PREDICTION

Current champion Francis Ngannou has won five straight ever since losing back to back fights in 2018. The champ most recently put the nail in the coffin of Stipe Miocic’ title run whilst avenging a devastating unanimous decision loss from 2018, with a second-round KO in early 2021.

Undefeated interim-champion Ciryl Gane is also on a hot streak with seven wins in seven octagon appearances. The challenger is currently the betting favorite to claim the title at UFC 270.

Ngannou wins this fight by knocking out Ciryl Gane. His fight-ending abilities can’t be overstated as he carries power into the later rounds. Cardio has been a stick in the wheel for ‘The Predator’ in the past however, and the champ is 0-3 in fights settled on the cards.

Gane has less areas of weakness - perhaps the only negative thing in his game is the fact that he can be overly defensive sometimes. When he fought Lewis, another dangerous striker, I predicted his overly defensive tendencies would hand him defeat, however that prediction was wrong. Gane really impressed me by pressuring the knockout puncher at the right moments. 

The champ will always have a puncher’s chance, but I don’t give him more than that in this fight. So far, Gane hasn’t even been in a compromising position inside the octagon, and he’s fought the who’s-who of the heavyweight division. 

If Gane takes his time and picks at the champion from a distance, his chances of winning increase for every second that passes. Ngannou needs to rush this win whereas Gane can get on his bike and let Francis come to him. This narrative certainly favors Gane. Once we enter the championship rounds, Gane can start pressuring and put it on the champion.

BEST BET: CIRYL GANE VIA KNOCKOUT 

Ciryl Gane gone the distance in three of his last five fights. (AP)

UFC 270 FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT
BRANDON MORENO VS. DEIVESON FIGUEIREDO PREDICTION

After capturing the title with two dominating performances over two-time UFC flyweight title challenger and all-time divisional great, Joseph Benavidez, it looked like Figueiredo would be on top for a while.

Moreno had something to say about that however. Fresh off a first-round win over Alex Perez, Figueiredo would face Moreno on a historically short-notice of 23 days, headlining two consecutive PPV events all in the span of less than a month.

Figueiredo is astronomically oversized for flyweight, and the weight cut has always had an effect on him. His physical advantages have gotten him far in the past, but that fight-ending power from Figueiredo met its match in Moreno’s godlike durability. The guy has an iron chin. 

Deiveson is also a relatively low-volume guy and usually tends to focus more on countering than pushing the action. When Deiveson counters he counts on his reflexes being superior to his opponent, however the speed of Moreno truly puzzled the former champion in both prior meetings. 

That speed deficiency will always be there and it is up to Deiveson to figure out a way around it. If he takes a counter striking approach once again he will leave his chin open for fire and with his hands-down style he relies on his chin to save him from big shots - this didn’t end up great for him the last time around. The changes Deiveson needs to make to beat a guy like Moreno constitutes a change of foundation - he simply can’t rely on countering against the far faster striker. 

Moreno’s wrestling base also trumps Deiveson’s jiu-jitsu which we saw in both bouts. All in all, this fight is Moreno’s to lose. As long as Deiveson competes at 125-pounds, the weight cut means we will always get a fighter fighting at 70%, whereas the more healthy fighter will be fresher and sharper. That’s a big factor. The fact that Moreno beat him so handily last time is also a red flag in my book.

BEST BET: BRANDON MORENO VIA DECISION 

UFC 270 WELTERWEIGHT BOUT
MICHEL PEREIRA LIMA VS. ANDRE FIALHO PREDICTION

The always-exciting Michel Pereira starts off his 2022 season against short-notice opponent and UFC-debutant Andre Fialho. Pereira is a bit of a puzzle in the octagon. While having great punching power usually comes at a cost, the athletic Pereira has shown to have cardio for days in his last two bouts. This is in spite of the guy looking like a fighter with one round of gas in previous UFC outings. 

‘Demolidor’ has a strong wrestling foundation to fall back on, and has shown a solid ability to take guys down in a number of his fights. Holding guys down is another story, however the takedown is still a powerful agent in the eyes of the judges.

Fialho is a hard-hitting finisher with 12 wins inside the distance in 17 bouts. The 27-year old has competed in a number of smaller promotions, notably Bellator, LFA and UAE Warriors. The youngster is on a roll as of late having won four consecutive bouts by way of knockout.

Fialho is a dangerous striker but he is too raw to already be competing on the big stage. His foundation is there, but his footwork is all over the place, and his composure goes out the window after round one - all things you must have control over if you want to make it big in the UFC.

Pereira has struggled with similar issues in the past, but it seems his six outings under the UFC mantle have taught him a thing or two. He was punished for his overzealous performance against Tristan Connelly and has won two straight by decision coming into this weekend’s fight. If Pereira can keep his emotions in check his fundamentals are far more technically sound than the less experienced Fialho.

Pereira has shown that he can mitigate the danger of a power puncher, when he danced around Khaos Williams for three rounds and won a decision. Mix in a few takedowns here and there and the gas tank should be emptied out for Andre by the end of the first. Pereira will take over from there.

BEST BET: MICHEL PEREIRA BY DECISION 

Michel Pereira has won six of his last eight fights. (AP)

UFC 270 BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT
CODY STAMANN VS. SAID NURMAGOMEDOV PREDICTION

At this point in MMA, every time we see a fighter bearing the Nurmagomedov name he or she is almost guaranteed to be a betting favorite. The same goes for Said Nurmagomedov who is scheduled to take on 135-pound wrestler Cody Stamann this weekend at UFC 270.

Despite what people usually associate with the name Nurmagomedov, Said Nurmagomedov is primarily a striker who works on the feet. The grappling is there for the 29-year old Dagestani, but he is more effective and dangerous standing. His grappling skills are more implemented defensively.

Stamann is one of the better wrestlers in the talent-stacked bantamweight division. He averages 2.80 takedowns every three rounds and is successful 44% of the time when he shoots. Not bad when you factor in the level of opposition Stamann has been facing throughout his UFC tenure - current champ Aljamain Sterling and prospect Song Yadong being noteworthy.

In the striking department Stamann lacks the fundamentals to keep up with the best however, as nine octagon appearances have seen the 32-year old land a total of zero knockdowns. In fights where Cody has gotten less than four takedowns, he is 3-3. Nurmagomedov has a whopping six-inch reach advantage over the short and stocky wrestler meaning he will be able to land shots from the outside. 

The wrestling defense for Said will be tested on Saturday, but looking through his pro resume it has held up amazingly against grapplers with even higher takedown rates than Stamann. The average takedown rate of Said’s opponents is 2.20, meaning he is used to fighters going for his legs. In the UFC, Nurmagomedov has successfully defended five out of seven takedowns attempted against him and the most amount of time he has spent on his back was a little over two minutes against Raoni Barcelos. Value-wise it is unwise to back fighters with the Nurmagomedov name. For bettors that name has been tainted by former lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov’s dominant run through the division. 

However for this particular matchup, I think the path to victory is there for Nurmagomedov. He is far from a fish out of water on the ground, and Stamann needs to win this fight with grinding pressure and control time - Said can do more with a lot less as MMA judging revolves around damage more than anything else. In light of recent changes made to the judging criteria, the striker versus grappler matchup has become far more even. Now the striker can win rounds based on significant strikes landed while the wrestler must play catch up with takedowns.

Nurmagomedov is a high-volume striker with an emphasis on technique. His boxing is dangerous enough to dish out fight-ending damage and his composure is tight enough to win a fight on the cards. Nurmagomedov is 7-2 in decision fights. Eight of nine UFC bouts have gone the distance for Cody. Of those eight he has won five, two of which were split-decisions. This is an uphill battle for Stamann.

BEST BET: SAID NURMAGOMEDOV VIA DECISION

UFC 270 BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT
RODOLFO VIEIRA VS. WELLINGTON TURMAN PREDICTION

Rodolfo Vieira impressed me in his last outing by defeating Dustin Stoltzfus via bonus-winning third-round submission. The win was a big one for “The Black Belt Hunter” who had just suffered his loss as a professional five months prior. 

Cardio seemed to be the overall issue for Vieira in his upsetting loss to Hernandez however it looked like the 32-year old had been spending some time on the treadmill leading up to his most recent outing. When Rodolfo finds the takedowns he is lethal on the ground. His eight career wins consist of seven via submission and just one win by knockout. The sub’ is his bread and butter.

Turman looked like a kid with promise in his debut against Karl Roberson back in 2019. Here we are in 2022 however and the 25-year old has had an uphill battle in the octagon, winning just two of his five bouts under the UFC mantle, one of them coming by way of split decision. 

Turman is a relatively well-rounded guy but he doesn’t excel in any area. He is decent on the ground, and can inflict some pressure and damage on the feet, yet it seems that his opponents always find a way to take advantage of his deficiencies. Both Bruno Silva and Andrew Sanchez were able to finish Wellington in round one, and in his most recent bout Turman was barely able to get past aging vet’ Sam Alvey who is winless in his last six.

I think the back to back losses have gotten to Wellington. The confidence just isn’t there anymore. He’s still very young so while he may feel that he has lost his way at the moment, he still has yet to reach his physical prime. There is time to get back on track. Will that redemption come against Vieira though? One of Turman’s strengths is his ground game, and the fact that he has never been submitted could mean he can hang in there and tire Vieira out.

The finishing ability just hasn’t been there for the youngster on the big stage and even if Vieira tires out I don’t expect Turman to be able to put the nail in the coffin. The way to beat Vieira is to rope-a-dope in the early rounds and look to pile it on late. However Turman needs to bring his finishing ability into those later rounds, otherwise Vieira will survive to win a shoddy decision.

Striking-wise I will give Wellington the advantage. He has landed an average of 3.04 punches a minute in his five UFC bouts while absorbing 3.96. The average fight time is also in favor of Turman if we’re going with the narrative that he needs to take this fight into the later rounds to win - Turman’s UFC fights have lasted 10 minutes and 48 seconds on average whereas Vieira’s have lasted seven minutes and 48 seconds.

It seems like the betting market has written off Turman’s chances of pulling a 180 on his career, meaning if we are to find value it is on his side. -300 for Vieira is madness seeing as he has already been upset by a fighter similar to Turman in age and career trajectory. For a prediction, I’ll go with Vieira to grind his way to a greasy decision. For a bet however, I’ll side with the youngster to pull something out of the hat late. Vieira is relatively inexperienced in MMA with nine total pro fights. Only four times has he gone past round one. Turman must game plan accordingly to punish that.

BEST BET: RODOLFO VIEIRA VIA DECISION

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