UFC 264 Gambling Guide: Nick’s Picks
Saturday’s UFC card features the much-anticipated trilogy between Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier and “The Notorious” Conor McGregor. As with most trilogy contests, each fighter enters this bout with one win against the other. However, some will say Poirier holds the advantage considering his TKO victory against McGregor occurred six months ago compared to his knockout loss back in 2014. Betting steam has picked up for the American, as the fight opened up dead even at -115 a piece, with current odds pricing McGregor as a slight underdog at +110. In my opinion, McGregor will look much sharper this time around, although as you will see he is not included in my picks, so please do not hold that against me. Welcome to my first edition of “the wrong guy favored”.
Carlos Condit +165
When picking fighters and placing bets in the UFC, I think it is very important to not just consider the fighters, but also the betting value each fighter holds according to the oddsmaker’s price. Identifying underdog fighters who you believe should be favored automatically gives that fighter a significant potential value without needing to purchase juice on a large favorite. I am leading this article with “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit because he is my most confident pick on this card. His opponent Max Griffin is a well-rounded fighter, but his style fits Condit’s strengths perfectly. Condit has shown to struggle against fighters who want to constantly take him to the ground and attempt submission attacks (Michael Chiesa, Demian Maia). Yet Griffin does not have a submission victory in his 11-fight UFC career. The only reason I could think that Condit is +165 and not the other way around is his age, but Griffin is 35-years-old himself. Condit’s length and takedown defense will be enough to keep this fight standing and in his wheelhouse to earn his third straight victory.
Omari Akhmedov +145
The “Wolverine” returns to the Octagon after his most impressive win in the UFC against Tom Breese. I know I throw around the term “well-rounded” often, but that is because it is important to take into consideration fighters with both wrestling and striking skillsets. Akhmedov is the definition of well-rounded in the middleweight division. His upcoming opponent Brad Tavares is one of the most experienced middleweights to compete in the UFC with 19 total appearances. Despite that, his resume does not include many wins against current top talent. His recent victory against Brazil’s Antonio Carlos Junior in January of this year propelled him back into the conversation, but I do not expect similar success this weekend. Junior’s fight strategy completely relies on his wrestling ability, which allows opponents to fully focus on their takedown defense tactics. I expect Akhmedov to have much more success in the striking realm against Tavares, which should then open up opportunities for takedowns that Junior could not find. Grab Akhmedov at a great price to get the victory on Saturday.
Greg Hardy +110
Although this pick is not as big of an underdog, I still think there is tremendous value on the play. The former professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys possesses an extreme amount of raw fighting talent. His three career losses have been by DQ (inexperience), Alexander Volkov in Russia, and Marcin Tybura in December of 2020. But in the first round against Tybura, Hardy dominated, and I believe he learned some invaluable lessons through the losing experience. His opponent Tai Tuivasa has recently started working out with former HW champ Daniel Cormier at AKA in San Jose, California. We have yet to see Tuivasa showcase his new wrestling techniques, but I doubt this will be the fight we get to see it. Hardy also has formidable wrestling, which I believe will cancel out and this fight will stay standing. If that’s the case, Hardy should win by out-striking Tuivasa.