UFC 255: Breaking Down the Best Value Picks for Gamblers
Saturday's UFC 255 at UFC APEX in Las Vegas features two fantastic flyweight champions in big fights against top contenders.
Men's flyweight champ Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Alex Perez in the main event, while the co-main event features women's flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko vs. former Invicta FC champ Jennifer Maia.
There are plenty of other important fights scheduled, too.
Below, Bleacher Report breaks down its best value picks for gamblers. Be sure to read our best guesses at how you should bet on UFC 255 this weekend, and make sure to leave your own takes in the comments.
Similar to the betting tips for UFC 254, the main event for UFC 255 features a heavy favorite taking on a trendy upstart.
Deiveson Figueiredo, 32, from Brazil, is a heavy-handed and dominant champion who is just as adept at knocking his opponents out as he is at cranking them into tight submissions.
Meanwhile, Alex Perez, 28, from Lemore, California, is a tough, veteran contender hoping to mimic his training partner Marlon Vera, who shockingly defeated rising bantamweight star Shawn O'Malley in August, in making a big splash as a huge underdog on a massive stage. Can Perez pull off something similar against Figueiredo?
It's not likely. While Perez is a tough and well-rounded fighter, Figueiredo is an absurdly talented finisher who seems to be operating a level or two above just about any other fighter in the division right now.
You can back Figueiredo all day at -300 and feel solid about it, or you can add a little more risk by backing him for the finish to get a bigger return. We'll stick with the former here.
Back Figueiredo by any method at -300 (Bet $100 to win $33.33).
Mike Perry, 29, has become one of the most fascinating storylines in MMA. Whether he's bringing his girlfriend Latory Gonzalez cageside to work his corner on fight night or letting his fans bid for the chance to do the same for his next fight, Perry's innovative approach to his UFC career has paid off in a big way.
The problem, at least as far as backing him on the betting market goes, is that Perry's turbulent lifestyle—he was charged with assault in July—would seem to be the type that will eventually catch up with him. Where other fighters are potentially keeping their heads down low and putting in constant work at their local gyms to grow into better fighters, Perry might be giving himself too much other stuff to do besides focusing on training.
At UFC 255, Tim Means, 36, is exactly the type of fighter who can give Perry real trouble. He's a dangerous and experienced contender who can win fights in a multitude of ways. Moreover, Means is more of a precise striker than Perry, and that technical mastery of his craft will probably help him outdo Perry's more aggressive, therefore more risky, approach.
Back Means by any method at +120 (Bet $100 to win $120).
According to MMA Fighting's Danny Segura, this is the first time two sisters will compete on the same UFC card. While most of the world is familiar by now with the exploits of the UFC's women's flyweight champion, Shevchenko's older sister, Antonina, is also making an appearance on the card this weekend.
So here's the part where I tell you not to bet on either Shevchenko sister at UFC 255. Don't get me wrong, Valentina Shevchenko, 32, from Kyrgyzstan, will most assuredly defeat her opponent, 32-year-old Brazilian Jennifer Maia. The problem with backing her on the betting market is that she's such a heavy favorite at -1430 that you might as well look for something else.
Antonina, 35, is also a favorite over her opponent this weekend. But Ariane Lipski, 26, from Brazil, is dangerous. She's won two straight fights after dropping back-to-back decisions to top contenders Joanne Calderwood and Molly McCann.
On top of that, Antonina Shevchenko didn't exactly look sharp in her last fight. She's just 1-2 in her UFC career, and the price on her against Lipski seems all kinds of wrong.
Back Ariane Lipski by any method at +140 (Bet $100 to win $140).
Bonus Big-Money Pick
One of the biggest underdogs this weekend is Valentina Shevchenko's opponent, Jennifer Maia. If you allow yourself to envision the huge take on backing Maia at +790, you might find yourself considering it.
While it's never a bad idea to try your hand at big scores, it's akin to buying a $1 lottery ticket and hoping to get lucky. Do it if you want, but know that the most likely outcome is you losing that dollar.
Instead, if you're looking for a potentially valuable play on an underdog this weekend, women's flyweight contender Katlyn Chookagian deserves a look.
Chookagian, 31, employs a clunky style that is hard for most people to time. So long as she can keep her opponent, Cynthia Calvillo, 33, from dragging her to the ground to make it a grappling match, she should be able to outpoint her with karate strikes.
Back Chookagian by any method at +195 (Bet $100 to win $195).
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