- Mar 6, 2018
Best bets for UFC Fight Night: Uriah Hall vs. Sean StricklandESPN PLJUS ($ MATERIAL)
The rankings disagree with the oddsmakers and betting market this week when two top-15 middleweights face off in what will likely be a striking duel. Sean Strickland may be ranked three spots lower than Uriah Hall, but Strickland opened as the clear betting favorite, and his line has only gotten pricier.
We'll see if the rankings or the market is more accurate in predicting this, and we'll also look for some plays further down the card. And regardless of what happens this week, next week's UFC 265 card is set to be huge.
Prelims start at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+, and the main card begins at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+.
Odds are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.
Middleweight main event: No. 11 Sean Strickland (-210) vs. No. 8 Uriah Hall (+175)
Tale Of The Tape
|URIAH HALL||SEAN STRICKLAND|
|Last fight weight class||Middleweight||Middleweight|
|Stand-up striking offense|
|Total knockdown ratio (scored:received)||8:3||4:2|
|Distance knockdown rate||10.0%||1.4%|
|Head jab accuracy||38%||35%|
|Head power accuracy||32%||31%|
|Total stand-up strike ratio||0.9||1.1|
|Total head strike defense||76%||79%|
|Distance knockdown defense ("Chin")||98%||99%|
|Wrestling and grappling|
|TD attempts per min standing/clinch||0.14||0.17|
|Advances per takedown/top control||0.2||0.8|
|Opponent takedown attempts||43||38|
|Share of total ground time in control||23%||56%|
|Submission attempts per trip to ground||0.10||0.21|
EDITOR'S PICKSA five-rounder offers a long time to test pressure against power, so I don't believe this will go the distance one way or the other. But if Hall is hesitant without landing early damage, it will be the relentless point striking of Strickland that will be winning early rounds and potentially accumulating towards a finish. Strickland uses nearly twice the rate of distance strikes of Hall, and Strickland generally likes to outwork opponents in a barn-burner. Conversely, Hall hopes for a slow-paced counter attack, trying to pick one big shot to alter the outcome of the fight. He can certainly win with a KO, but he's unlikely to win without one.
While Strickland also gets edges on the ground statistically, neither man uses wrestling often. If it does come in to play, it could be a safety net for Strickland if he's clipped, or where Strickland pursues Hall after landing some big shots.
Overall, Strickland appears to be the better technical striker and one who can get it done at a blistering pace. But he's also only a recent middleweight, meaning he'll likely be much leaner than Hall. That adds some risk to the situation, but it might mean his cardio will have a longer timeline than previously. As long as he avoids a spot on Hall's highlight reel, Strickland is a worthy favorite to back.
E+ recommends: Money-line play on Strickland.
Best bets elsewhere on the cardFor another safe favorite, consider Ashley Yoder (-135) at women's strawweight against Jinh Yu Frey (+115). She'll enter the cage as a much larger fighter and with superior striking metrics in all categories compared to her opponent.
While her wrestling metrics are slightly below those of her opponent, Yoder has plenty of experience to help on the mat. Her price is affordable and worth a little juice.
E+ recommends: Money-line play on Yoder. Small prop on Yoder by decision at plus money, or fight goes the distance for parlays.
For an upset, consider veteran grappler Rani Yahya (+120) taking on Kyung Ho Kang (-140) on the main card. These two have a whopping 32 submission victories combined, so we should expect to see some high-level scrambles on the mat.
We loved Yahya at his opening price of +170, but the market has been behind him early. There's still some value left at even or plus money.
E+ recommends: Money-line lean on Yahya.