To be candid (as if I have any other choice here), my UFC betting guides and predictions have not gone well on this website so far in 2021.
First, there was the UFC 257 debacle that was headlined by Conor McGregor suffering his first career knockout loss against Dustin Poirier. Next, after a long layoff (for both her and I), UFC women’s bantamweight (featherweight?) Aspen Ladd laid up a monster egg for me on a play I really had confidence in. Well, we’ll have to charge those ones to the game, as they say.
My partner on this site, Daniel Cunningham, has been far more apt at picking winners so far in 2021 than I have even though he focuses very little on the gambling aspect of the UFC — figure that one out.
Nevertheless, I’m going to look to get my 2021 UFC gambling prediction success on par with my NFL 3-pack of picks I’ve released weekly and this is a fantastic card to get started with that. With back-to-back terrific cards on the horizon, there is plenty of opportunity for us to get back into the green and finish up this year strong.
(This week’s 3-pack is off to a hot start this week, below)
Let’s start with the main event.
My major issue when failing to consistently pick winners when it comes to UFC is that I become way too personally invested in certain fighters and tend to be biased with where I throw my units around. So, we’re going to do the same thing here, of course. My affinity for Glover Teixeira (32-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) is no secret, but I truly feel the sharp money is, in fact, on the 42-year-old fan favorite.
I wrote about a potential path to victory in more detail earlier this week, but in short, the clearest path to victory for Teixeira here is to make this ugly and get things to the mat. From there, he should have a leg up on Jan Blachowicz (28-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC) in the grappling department. Blachowicz is no slouch there, to be sure, but Teixeira has shown a remarkable ability to control opponents on the mat as of late.
While the defending champion surely deserves to be the favorite here, Glover at +270 is just far too much value for me here as I look to make up some ground from our two prior disasters. In a display of how versatile he truly is, Teixeira has just about an even chance to win the fight via KO (+700), as he does both by submission (+750), or by points (+1000). Teixeira by decision is worth a sprinkle here, as there is a chance he’s able to clinch up and hold onto Blachowicz for a long period of time.
We’re gonna back him straight up, though.
The play: Glover Teixeira +270 for 2U
(Max bets are 5 units, all odds through Fanduel Sportsbook)
The rest of the UFC 267 card
This card is jam-packed with wall-to-wall action, as there is no shortages of opportunities to make some profit.
Off the prelims, I’m going to go ahead and parlay two favorites that I love, as my intent here is and will always be to focus more on underdogs for the average bettor to take advantage of and make a lot of a small investment. Andre Petroski (6-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) (-235) and Amanda Ribas (10-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) (-154) are both very solid plays in their own right, but when parlayed together we end up with +135 value. That’s too good to pass up as, in my mind, there is a better chance that they both win than there is of one of them losing.
Ribas dogged me back on that UFC 257 debacle, but we’ll back her here in a big-time get-right spot against Virna Jandiroba (17-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) who is lacking legitimate UFC cache’ and wins.
The play: Andre Petroski (-235) / Amanda Ribas (-154) parlayed at +135 for 1.5U
Further up the card, we’re going to hop on an underdog that is in my favorite type of spot — one that is being massively undervalued due to public perception. Khamzat Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) no doubt deserves most of the hype he has gotten aftet setting the promotion on fire at Fight Island last summer, but, he has no business being a 5.5-to-1 favorite against an established UFC commodity such as Li ‘The Leech’ Jingliang (17-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC).
The Leech rightfully deserves the #11 ranking next to his name in one of the toughest divisions in the sport and should be much closer to a 50-50 bet here. While I wouldn’t touch him at a -110 number, this is far too much value (+410) to pass up. Also, there is no indication that Chimaev has made a full recovery from COVID-19 last year that blew up potential fights against Leon Edwards and supposedly almost derailed his entire career.
The play: Li Jingliang +410 for 1U
Next, while Dan Hooker (21-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC) is a favorite of mine to watch, and his number (+450) is certainly attractive, we’re going to stay away in a bad style matchup with Islam Makhachev (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC). That leave us with just one more bout, which is the co-main event in the bantamweight division before former (but rightful) 135-pound champion, Petr Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and Cory Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC).
This fight will be an absolute treat for onlookers of the diehard, or the wet behind the ear variety. While Sandhagen always comes with a chance to finish the fight through a flashy strike, Yan has not shown that he is susceptible to even really be hurt yet, let alone finished. What he has shown is an ability to absolutely wear on fighters over the course of 15-25 minutes, which I expect to happen here.
With -230 straight up being a bit too heavy for my taste, we’ll play Yan by decision at +165 here to round out our card.
The play: Petr Yan by decision at +165 for 1U
Let’s get back in the green.
Official UFC 267 plays:
Glover Teixeira +270 for 2U to win 5.4U
Petr Yan by decision +165 for 1U to win 1.65U
Li Jingliang +410 for 1U to win 4.1U
Amanda Ribas -154 parlayed with Andre Petroski +135 for 1.5U to win 2U
2021 YTD: -7.2U
(All plays have a maximum of 5 units and all odds are through Fanduel Sportsbook)