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  • How to bet UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Dos Santos 👊

    How to bet UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Dos Santos

    ESPN PLUS ($ MATERIAL)


    The UFC is headed to Wichita, Kansas, this week, and they're bringing a heavy roster along with them. Former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos and recent title challenger Derrick Lewis headline the card, in one of three heavyweight matchups on a night that will certainly have implications in how the future of the division shakes out.

    The big guys have a reputation for knockouts, and this card -- from top to bottom -- is expected to return a higher than average rate of finishes. In terms of balance, this is also one of the most evenly matched cards ever put together in the UFC, with no big betting favorites and nearly all matchup favorites running at -200 or less.

    Odds are from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, as of Thursday afternoon. Heavyweights: No. 8 Junior Dos Santos (-210) vs. No. 3 Derrick Lewis (+175)

    Junior Dos Santos (20-5) isn't your typical "top 10" heavyweight. He's the division's former champion, with wins over five other former champions. And although he is currently ranked just eighth among heavyweights, no one would argue his skillset lags behind the No. 3-ranked heavyweight in the UFC, Derrick Lewis (21-

    For his part, the "Black Beast" is not known for his fighting finesse, but Lewis' brute strength and durability have confounded more polished opponents throughout his career. His style of fighting is feast or famine, and even in fights where it has seemed Lewis had no hope of a comeback, he's been able to pull a rabbit out of the hat.

    On closer inspection, Lewis' resume lags far behind that of Dos Santos. Lewis earned a title shot against Daniel Cormier (and got submitted in the second round) after winning a strange fight with zero engagement against Francis Ngannou, followed by a Hail Mary knockout of Alexander Volkov in the closing seconds of a fight in which Lewis was losing soundly. That does not bode well against a seasoned veteran like Dos Santos, who has shown excellent fight IQ when facing dangerous opponents in the past.

    On paper, the standup metrics are heavily skewed toward the Brazilian striker. He is more accurate, more active and defensively more evasive. He and Lewis both get knocked down at similar rates, but neither is especially prone for the heaviest division. It is worth noting, however, Dos Santos does have more cumulative damage, so we can't count on his resiliency for much longer.

    The ground is a wild card, and normally wouldn't be considered an advantage for this particular Brazilian. Dos Santos holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu, and would likely be more of a threat on the ground than Lewis. But again, Lewis's power can turn even a simple full guard top position into a ground TKO in short order.

    Lewis is a knockout threat in every fight he's in. The fighters who fare best against him must be able to strike from the outside, which is something Dos Santos excels at. If he's wise, JDS will employ plenty of kicks, especially to the body of Lewis, to keep him moving in reverse. Round to round, Dos Santos will win, barring him getting hit with a big shot from Lewis. If Dos Santos tires Lewis out, he could run away with the final rounds or even force a ground finish.

    E+ recommends: The puncher's chance for Lewis is still very real, but at current odds Junior Dos Santos is a small, favorable play. The total, set at 2.5 rounds, is based on the fact that Lewis tends to absorb a lot of damage before either folding or making his move. We'd lean toward the over, which sits at -105.

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