UFC 251: Division Betting Trends

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Spark Sports 2020 MMA Betting Record:
203-135, +19.78u
(Verified via OddsPortal)

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UFC 251 comes from Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, this Saturday night on ESPN. The betting public, whether they are casual or every day types, are ready for one of the best UFC events of this year. There are a number of UFC division betting trends that should be considered before making your bets. Some divisions have more probable outcomes than others. Let’s take a look at each fight on the UFC 251 card, and highly each active division trend. Let’s start with the ESPN+ early preliminary card.



UFC Men’s Bantamweight

Davey Grant (+150) vs. Martin Day (-162)

Division Trends – Since 2019:

Over: 54-31, +1.4u

Favorites: 55-28-2, +0.25u

This division trends point towards the over at about a 63% clip over the past year and a half, going 54-31 for +1.4 units, but honestly, I think if you’re getting anything better than +174 on the Under 2.5 rounds prop, you should probably take a small shot at it, in my opinion. 

The favorite in the bantamweight division has won at a 64% rate in the last year and a half, going 55-28-2 for just +0,25units. I think there is a sliver of value on Martin Day at -162, but I wouldn’t bet anything on him besides maybe a small recreational type parlay to kick the night off.

Day is the slightly younger fighter by just three years, he also has a height and reach advantage, which might help explain the current line. Day likely should be the favorite, but since he hasn’t stepped into the cage in quite a while, I would still tread carefully if backing Martin Day here. I can definitely see this one going the distance potentially as well, although that current price on the Under 2.5 rounds prop at +177 is definitely worth a shot, as that is surely a misprice.

 

Give me the Under 2.5 rounds in this fight at +177



UFC Women’s Bantamweight

Karol Rosa (-237) vs. Vanessa Melo (+211)

Division Trends – Since 2019:

Over: 22-6, +4.4u

The over in this division has hit at an incredible 78% clip over the last year and a half, going 22-6 for +4.4 units. Basically, based on those numbers, implied probability says that any Over at a price better than -367 is worth a shot here. The Over 2.5 in this fight is currently sitting at around -300, so if you pair this with another value play (possibly Martin Day?), you might have yourself a decent parlay to kick off the night.

The favorite has won 71% of fights in the women’s bantamweight division over the last year and a half, going 20-8 for just +0.75 units profit. Based on implied probability, the favorite in this division is a value play at about -250 or better, and we have Karol Rosa currently at -237.

It looks like the oddsmakers are leaning towards Karol Rosa in this one. Rosa is the younger fighter, she has both the height and reach advantage, and she likely has more potential and upside than Vanessa Melo, who is reaching the latter half of her MMA career. This is one of those spots, where the UFC is setting up Rosa for what should be a victory against an older veteran fighter. I think Karol Rosa wins this fight pretty handily, but it will likely be by decision, I can’t see her getting the stoppage.

I like the Over in this one parlayed with Martin Day, just a 1% recreational type parlay. I will also likely throw Rosa in a small parlay with another fighter. Again, these are just small, 1% type bets, nothing big what so ever. 

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UFC Men’s Flyweight

Raulian Paiva (-165) vs Zhalgas Zhumagalov (+153)

Division Trends – Since 2019:

Under: 13-16, +4.89

The under has been a profitable trend to ride in the UFC men’s flyweight division, over the last 18 months. Although the prop has only hit at a 44% rating, going 13-16, it has still been profitable at +4.89 units over the last year and a half. The under 2.5 rounds prop in this fight is currently sitting at +225, and I think it is worth a shot, as I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a finish between these two flyweights. Give me the under in this one at juicy plus money. As far as the favorite or the dog goes in this division, both sides have been an unprofitable trend to follow, with the favorite going 17-11-1 for -1.82 units, and the dog doing a little bit better for -1.31 units, so they have been pretty even to say the least. The favorite in the flyweight division has hit at a 58.6% rate over the last 18 months, meaning the underdog, at 37.9% has value at +164 or better at Zhumagalov is currently sitting at +153. It would take a lot more than that for me to jump on the underdog in this one, so for now, I can’t take a side. 


It has been suggested by some that Paiva is a fighter to watch in the UFC Flyweight division. Paiva is 1-2 in his last three fights, while Zhumagalov is on a four-fight win streak. Neither of these guys are really considered to be ‘finishers’ but I think because of that you are getting a decent amount of value on the under  2.5 rounds prop. With the majority of the sharp bettors being on Paiva by decision, I think taking a small contrarian play on the Under is a smart way to approach this fight.

 



UFC Men’s Heavyweight

Marcin Tybura (-105) vs. Maxim Grishin (-102)

Division Trends – Since 2019:

Coin Flip Dogs: 14-6, +8.57u

Dogs: 25-34-2, +2.1u

Since 2020:

Over: 10-8, +1.3u

The ‘coin flip dog’ in UFC Men’s Heavyweight Division bouts have been on a roll over the past 18 months, hitting at a 70% clip. With a 14-6, record the underdog vs favorites of -150 or better has profited +8.57 units over the last year and a half. This is a tricky trend to bet, because you see alot of line movement in coin flip fights. The fight who was the underdog early in the week, might end up being the favorite come fight day. It is best to follow this trend on fight day, wait for the line movement to sort itself out, and get on the dog side. Just as expected, this coin flip fight has a paper thin edge between the two fighters. Grishin is a very slight dog at -102, while Tybura is a -105 favorite. At the end of the day, it’s a pick’em fight right now, so let the market decide who’s gonna end up being the outright favorite before getting involved. As for the total, odds have not yet been posted for round props for this bout just yet. The ‘Over’ prop has hit at a 54% rate for negative units over the last 18 months. However, since the start of 2020, the Over has gone 10-8 for +1.3 units. Based on these trends, and implied probability; the ‘Over’ in the UFC Men’s Heavyweight division is a value play at anything better than -118.

Tybura has had an up and down UFC career, he has lost 4 of his last 6 fights, but is coming off a win vs Sergey Spivak in February of this year. These guys are both in their mid 30’s, they have similar body types, with Tybura having a very slight reach advantage on Grishin. Grishin is undefeated in the last 4 years, going 7-0-2 in his last 9 professional MMA contests. Grishin is moving up to heavyweight from light heavyweight, so that may be a slight disadvantage for him here. Tybura may be a bit more prepared for a war, as he is the more experienced heavyweight, I lean Tybura, but will likely bet on whoever the +money ends up on at the end of the day, in these coin flip heavyweight fights. I don’t think either guy gets stopped here, Grisihin hasn’t been knocked out since 2016 and Tybura has improved significantly since getting knocked out at UFC Vancouver vs Sakai, so I put a line through that knock out altogether. I think this one goes the distance, or atleast into the later half of the third round. As far as the side goes, I’m just gonna sit back and wait until about 5pm and lay my 2.7% stake on whoever the underdog is because that’s what has been paying the bills in the heavyweight division. So sit back and wait for that to reveal itself folks. 


UFC Men’s Lightweight

Leonardo Santos (-157) vs Roman Bogatov (+150)

Division Trends – Since 2019:

Favorites: 73-28, +6.04u

Over: 62-40, +0.79u

The favorite has hit at a 72% rate in the past 18 months. Based on those numbers and implied probability, a favorite in the lightweight division at odds of -260 or better should be considered a value play. Leo Santos currently sits at -157, so although he isn’t a solid single bet to make, I wouldn’t mind adding him into another recreational parlay. The over in the lightweight division has also been a probable trend over the last year and a half, hitting at a 60.7% rate. The buy price on this prop, based on implied probability is about -155, which is around where the Over 2.5 sits in this fight currently.

Santos is a pretty infrequent fighter, having only fought twice in the last four years. Although he has some impressive finishes. Bogatov is making his UFC debut, so although there may be a slight ‘ring rust’ issue for Santos, he is definitely the more experienced fighter in this match up. Santos should win this match-up, although his age and lack of cage time over the last few years could be his own worst enemy, especially if this fight gets into the later parts of the third round.

I am always weary betting overs in this division, as it seems pretty risky, however, with this price staying north of -155, I might have to jump on it as a small solo bet. The trends point to the favorite and the over in this one. As a small recreational play, I am liking the pairing of Santos and Rosa at +122, I think that is a decent favorite parlay. I’m not crazy about the Over at -157, but I’ll take a small 1% shot at the over in this one, considering this division has been trending towards the Over for quite some time.


UFC Men’s Featherweight

Makwan Amirkhani (-192) vs. Danny Henry (+180)

Division Trends – Since 2019: 

Over: 51-27, +5.51u

In the UFC men’s featherweight division, the over has been a profitable trend to back throughout the last year and a half, hitting at a 65.3% rate for a total of +5.51 units profit. Based on those numbers, implied probability says that any ‘Over’ in this division at the price of -189 or better should be considered a value play. The over in this bout is currently sitting at a very nice plus money price at +100. I think this is a +EV play, and win or lose, it’s the right side to be on. Whenever the trend is in your favor, and you can get a plus money number, it is always a solid bet to make, regardless of the outcome. So give me the ‘Over 2.5’ rounds prop in this one. As far as a side, based on the numbers, both the favorite and the dog have been a losing side to straight bet over the last 18 months. The dog has hit at a 40.5% rating for -5.54 units, while the favorite has hit at a higher rate, going 46-32-1 for 58.2%, but has been even less profitable for -8.51 units since January of last year. As far as implied probability goes, based on the division trends, the dog has value at +147 or better, and Danny Henry is currently sitting at +180, so there is a decent chunk of value on Henry, if you’re going to subscribe to this angle.

Amirkahni is definitely the more tested fighter, with a far better list of opponents then Danny Henry, he’s also fought far more frequently than Henry as of late as well. I think the odds are not very indicative of how close this fight might actually be. I have a little bit more faith in Danny Henry than the market seems to have, but overall, I would be shocked if Henry wins this one by decision, he’s just not that type of fighter. If Henry wins, I think he does it by KO and early. Otherwise, I think this one stretches into the later rounds, with Amirikhani either getting a late stoppage or winning by decision. As far as a side goes in this fight, I’m staying away.


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UFC Men’s Welterweight

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (+123) vs. Muslim Salikhov (-130)

Division Trends – Since 2019:

Dogs: 44-57, +16.88u

Over: 67-34, +14.79u

Coin Flip Dogs: 16-16, +1.01u

The underdog has won 43.5% of fights in the UFC Men’s Welterweight division going back to January of 2019, going 44-57 for +16.88 units. This is one of those divisions where the knock out power starts to come into play, and almost anyone has a punchers chance to win a bout, regardless of their odds. Zaleski is currently sitting as the underdog at +123. As far as the total goes, the Over has been an incredibly profitable and probable trend in the last 18 months, hitting at a 66.3% rate, going 67-34 for +14.79 units profit. The over in this one is currently at a very affordable price of -112, this is a very good price for a prop that has hit in this division at a rate of 2/3 fights. The trends point to the underdog and the over in this one.

Salikhov has been the more successful fighter of the two as of late, as he is currently riding a three fight win streak, while Zaleski has had a few setbacks after a decent start in the UFC. This is one of those fights where it is far too close to be on the side of the favorite, it is a classic ‘dog or pass’ type situation in my opinion. In this weight class, it takes alot for me to be on the favorite, unless there is a strong case to be made for the favorite at welterweight, I am almost always on the underdog, and while that has hurt me a few times; the data and the evidence is there that it has been a successful run, riding the underdog at welterweight. Although Zaleski isn’t as juicy of an underdog as you would want, I still think if you combine the underdog trend, with the overall value that Zaleski alone brings to the table, you almost have to take Zaleski if you’re betting this fight.


UFC Men’s Light Heavyweight

Volkan Oezdemir (-142) vs. Jiří Procházka (+133)

Division Trends:

Dogs: 22-33-1, +1.87u

Over: 29-26-1, +0.27u

The underdog hasn’t exactly been a probable outcome, but it has been somewhat profitable over the last 18 months, going 22-33-1 for +1.87 units profit. At 39%, implied probability says that an underdog in this division at +155 or better is a value play. As far as the total goes, the Over has hit at a rate just better than a coin flip, at 51.7%, going 29-26-1 for +0.27 units profit. The total is currently sitting at 1.5 rounds at odds of about -152, which is kind of surprising. These are both pretty durable fighters, I think this one goes a lot further than what the odds indicate. So I like the Over 1.5 rounds prop here, and to go further, even if you can get an Over 2.5 rounds prop somewhere at plus money, I don’t mind getting involved with that either.

Volkan Oezdemir is definitely the type of fighter that should be higher ranked than he is, I think that has to do with the fact that he doesn’t have that man finishes. Nonetheless, Oezdemir is a very durable fighter, which makes for a lot of entertaining fights. As far as Prochazka goes, he is on a ten fight win streak, and I think this is a really good test for Oezdemir. Prochazka has had a lot of significant finishes in that ten fight win streak, so although he hasn’t fought the caliber of fighter that Oezdemir has leading up to this fight, he has alot of very decisive finishes, which shows he has been above the entire fleet of fighters that he has faced along this undefeated streak he is on. As previously mentioned, these are two very durable fighters, so I think the Over 1.5 rounds at the price it is at now has a lot of value. As far as the side goes, again, I think the value is without a doubt on Prochazka here. It is another one of those fights, the odds are just not as indicative of how close this fight might actually be. So it’s definitely another dog or pass type situation, and without a doubt, the Over is a solid player.



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UFC Women’s Flyweight

Amanda Ribas (-550) vs. Paige VanZant (+676)

Division Trends – Since 2020:

Dogs: 7-7, +7.59u

Since 2019: 

Coin Flip Favs: 9-5, +1.7u

Dogs: 19-32, +1.72u

Over: 37-14, +0.72u

The underdog has faired extremely well in this division over the last 18 months, and more specifically since the start of this year. The underdog was on a serious roll, winning 7 of the first 10 UFC women’s flyweight bouts of 2020, but the underdog has since dropped 4 in a row, and is currently sitting at 7-7 for +7.59 units profit. VanZant is probably outclassed in this one, but the odds are a little bit too lopsided towards Amanda Ribas. As far as the total goes, the Over in this division has hit at a solid 72.5% clip over the last 18 months. Based on those numbers, implied probability says that any Over in the UFC Women’s Flyweight division at -264 or better is a value play. With Ribas being such a huge favorite in this one, there is a ton of value on the Over 2.5 rounds prop at -122.

It’s very clear that the UFC is just trying to bury Paige VanZant and send her on her way. It’s the last fight of her contract and we know this wouldn’t be the opponent she would have in mind on the brink of having to negotiate a new professional-MMA deal with another organization. The UFC thinks there is no possible way that VanZant is going to be able to defeat Amanda Ribas, as it is clear that the oddsmakers feel the exact same way. There is no question that Paige VanZant is a capable top flight female pro-MMA fighter, but when it comes to that elite high caliber talent, she just isn’t at that level, and that’s likely why the UFC is trying to push her out. Amanda Ribas has looked very good as of late, coming off a handful of wins, the only knock on Ribas in this matchup is that PVZ has definitely had a tougher schedule in comparison to Ribas.

I think VanZant will be able to survive the initial wave of Ribas and this fight will more than likely go the distance. Any 70% division trend is worth betting when you’re getting anything close to that kind of price. The trends point to taking a flyer on PVZ here, as well as a shot that juicy Over. 


UFC Women’s Strawweight

Jéssica Andrade (+190) vs Rose Namajunas (-191)

Division Trends – Since 2019: 

Favorites: 28-10-1, +4.3u

Overs: 29-10, +0.37u

The favorite in the UFC Women’s Featherweight division has done exceptionally well over the last 18 months, going 28-10-1 for +4.3 units profit. Based on those numbers, implied probability says there is value on the favorite in this division at -254 or better. Rose Namajunas is currently sitting as a -191 favorite, so there is a decent chunk of value still remaining on the former UFC champion.

The Over in this division has also done very well, going 29-10 over the last year and a half, for a profit of just +0.37 units. At 74.36%, based on this trend, implied probability has the value on the Over at -290 or better, and the ‘Over 2.5 rounds’ prop in this fight is currently sitting at a juicy -152, although I anticipate some money to come in on the under before fight week is through. The trends point towards Rose and the Over in this one.

Rose Namajunas hasn’t fought since of May of 2019 when she took that devastating knockout loss to Jessica Andrade. It was a fight in which Rose looked like she was in control, until her ground game ended up converting into Andrade slamming her onto the canvas and knocking her out. Since then, Jessica Andrade defended the title she won against Namajunas against Weili Zhang and ended up getting starched in about 42 seconds. So both fighters are coming into this fight with a big chip on their shoulders, and will be looking for a redemption type performance. I think in this rematch Namajunas is going to fight much smarter and get back to what she was doing well against Andrade in that first round, and that is utilizing her height and reach advantage and staying away from the takedown. While I think there is still a small possibility that Andrade can repeat the performance she had against Namajunas back in May of 2019 and potentially set herself up for a rematch against Weili Zhang. However, overall it seems to me that Namajunas will be her own worst enemy in this fight, and with all the tools needed to come out with a victory here, it will be her downfalls and mistakes that dictate if she’s able to live up to those -190 odds. I don’t have the type of confidence that I once had in her, but Rose should be able to get the job done against Andrade, so I wouldn’t mind throwing her in another recreational parlay. 
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UFC Men’s Bantamweight Championship (Vacant)

Petr Yan (-205) vs. José Aldo (+195)

Division Trends – Since 2019:

Over: 54-31, +1.4u

Favorites: 55-28-2, +0.25

Petr Yan and Jose Aldo square off for the vacant UFC Men’s Bantamweight Championship on Saturday night. The over in this division has hit at a 78.5% clip over the last 18 months, and the Over 3.5 rounds prop in this fight is currently sitting at -112. While I think Yan ultimately wins this bout, I have a feeling that Aldo will be able to last longer than what the betting public is anticipating, so I see value in this one, on the Over. The favorite has won at a 71.4% rate over the last 18 months in the UFC men’s bantamweight division. With a buy price based on implied probability at -250, there is a decent amount of value on Petr Yan currently sitting at -205.

The oddsmakers look like they’re not really giving Jose Aldo a good shot, and I think the odds are a lot further apart than what the fight is going to be. I see this fight being a lot closer than the odds indicate.

This is the type of bet that might be worth taking a shot at solo, but pairing it with another high probability favorite would be a good recreational parlay. The trends point towards the Over and Yan in this one. 

UFC Men’s Featherweight Championship

Alexander Volkanovski (c) (-196) vs. Max Holloway (+190)

Division Trends – Since 2019: 

Over: 51-27, +5.51u

Alexander Volkanovski takes on Max Holloway in a rematch from UFC 245 for the UFC Men’s Featherweight title. Volkanovski picked up the victory in their first meeting, and now is a strong favorite to win the rematch. The Over has been a great trend to follow at men’s featherweight over the last year and a half. Hitting at a 65.3% rate, the Over at featherweight is a value play at -189 or better. However, the Over 4.5 rounds prop is currently sitting as high as -240. With that in mind, although it is likely that this fight does go over, betting this fight to go the distance is almost un-bettable at this current price. However, the ‘Under 4.5 rounds’ prop might have value and might be worth a shot at +200.

As previously mentioned, both the favorite and underdog have been negative trends to follow over the last 18 months at featherweight, with the underdog being slightly more productive than the favorite. At 40.5%, the underdog has value based on implied probability at about +147 or better. The former UFC champ, Max Holloway is currently sitting at +190, well above the suggested buy price. 

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UFC Men’s Welterweight Championship

Kamaru Usman (c) (-200) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+209)

Division Trends – Since 2019:

Dogs: 44-57, +16.88u

Over: 67-34, +14.79u

Coin Flip Dogs: 16-16, +1.01u

‘Gamebred’ Jorge Masvidal is stepping in to face Kamaru Usman on just six days notice in Abu Dhabi, for the UFC Men’s Welterweight Championship. Masvidal opened as a heavy underdog at +250, but the dog has done very well over the last year and a half in the welterweight division, winning at a 43.5% clip, for +16.8 units profit. Masvidal is far too overpriced, even if he is coming in on short notice, the line is not indicative of how close this fight could become if Jorge plays his cards right. The Over has hit at a 66.3% rate since January of last year, and at that percentage, any ‘Over’ prop better than -195 is worth a shot. The trends point towards the underdog and the over in this one.

Based on Kamaru Usman’s first title defense against Colby Covington, it can be said that Usman is not afraid to stand up and bang and not have to rely on his wrestling. However, if Usman decides to do the same thing he did against Covington here, it may go much differently. Masvidal has much heavier hands than Covington and if Usman decides to stand and box with Masvidal, we could see a new champion crowned on Saturday night. Say what you will about a lack of training camp or a tough weight cut in six days, I think this entire fight depends on Usman’s willingness to take it to the mat. While Masvidal is not known for his knock out power, I think he’s going to be able to do a lot more damage to Usman than Covington was able to do. Again, it all comes down to the ground game and Usman’s decision to go to mat or not. Whether it’s a bad match-up stylistically for Jorge Masvidal, is definitely worth bringing up here, but at the end of the day, I don’t think we’ve seen everything from the ‘resurrected’ Jorge Masvidal when it comes to his entire game. He wanted to show his wrestling against Ben Askren but it ended up ending with a knee, and he put on a beautiful striking performance against Nate Diaz, in his last fight. I think Masvidal has a lot more to bring to the table than what the experts and bettors are anticipating, so I really think there is a decent amount of value on riding with the dog in Masvidal, as well as the Over. This is one of those fights where some more digging into their records will need to be done before making a final call on bets, but I lean heavily towards Jorge Masvidal to pull off the upset.


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SparkSportsBestBets

UFC 251
1.1% – Melo/Rosa o2.5, Martin Day (Parlay) +101
1.1% – Zhumagulov/Paiva u2.5 (+225)
1% – Grant/Day u2.5 (+177)
1% – Tybura/Grishin o2.5 (-130)
1% – Karol Rosa, Leo Santos (Parlay) +122
1% – Santos/Bogatov o2.5 (-157)
1% – Amirkhani/Henry o2.5 (-102)
1% – Elizeau Zaleski +113
1% – Zaleski/Salikhov o2.5 (-112)
1% – Jiri Prochazka +130
1% – Prochazka/Oezdemir o1.5 (-152)
1% – Paige VanZant +590
1% – VanZant/Ribas o2.5 (-122)
1% – Petr Yan, Rose Namajunas (Parlay) +113
1% – Namajunas/Andrade o2.5 (-152)
1% – Aldo/Yan o3.5 (-110)
1% – Max Holloway +196
1% – Holloway/Volkanovski u4.5 (+200)
1% – Jorge Masvidal +207
1% – Masvidal/Usman o3.5 (-130)


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