With MMA in full swing since this summer, you can expect to see weekly betting articles from us here at Line Movement, as I’ll be providing you with everything from fight analysis to the potential plays I like for UFC’s offering in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
The main event:
UFC Fight Island 4 will feature an important bantamweight battle between Holly Holm (-120) and Irene Aldana (+100).
The oddsmakers opened this fight dead even at -110 a piece, but public money has seemingly trickled in on the more popular fighter, making the line what it is now.
Although I officially picked Aldana to win by decision, I warn anyone who is looking to play any traditional betting angles involving the over. Whether it’s Aldana slipping into a rogue head kick or Holm getting hit with another counter right hand, both women aren’t beyond being hurt or getting finished.
Aldana may be the more likely party to earn a stoppage in later rounds, which is enough to keep me away from any decision props or over hedges. Ultimately, you’re best off looking to play a moneyline if want action on this fight (as I admittedly pulled the trigger on Aldana at +100).
If you agree with me, then you get a nice plus number next to Aldana’s name that covers all methods of victory. But if you think that Holm’s scoring sensibilities and newfound clinch game can edge out rounds in her favor, then -120 is more than a reasonable enough entry point to find out if you’re right.
Capturing the co-main event slot on Yas Island is a heavyweight matchup of little consequence between Yorgan de Castro (-245) and Carlos Felipe (+205).
I’m not gonna lie: giving this fight a second billing is a really strange choice (even in this era of pandemic MMA) for the UFC. Nevertheless, this should be a classic case of sloppy, lower-level heavyweight MMA for as long as it lasts.
Despite opening even higher at -270, de Castro still sits at a somewhat uncomfortably high line as of this writing. As I always say when it comes to heavyweight fights—the favorite needs to have solid, proven skills to justify anything north of -200 odds.
Even though I’m still going to officially side with de Castro to chop his counterpart down with leg kicks, I would not be surprised to see Felipe dust off his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills (as he is a state champion). But even at the fruitful price of +205, I can’t honestly say that I recommend sprinkling on the underdog.
In fact, outside of a degenerate sprinkle on the over 1.5 at -120, you’re probably better just passing altogether for other opportunities on this card.
As per usual with my content, I’ll offer my honest analysis as I try to explain my angles and attempt to add to your insight when it comes to both breaking down and betting on fights.
This article is for entertainment purposes only, as I stress to anyone, that gambles to do so legally and responsibly.
Potential straight play: Court McGee -135
As a fan of Carlos Condit since he upset Frank Trigg back at Rumble On The Rock 9, I feel like a traitor to my own kind in writing up this bet. But as an analyst whose job it is to be unbias, I can’t help but call out one of the more clearer dynamics on a card that is somewhat sparse for betting spots.
Although Condit appears to be making the proper training rounds as he looks to be in great shape, the body language that the 36-year-old has shown in his 5-fight losing skid has been troubling, to say the least. I don’t want to over-speculate (as I’m typically the last person to accuse a fighter of showing up for ulterior motives like a paycheck), but I do worry about the classic tale of a fighter who doesn’t know when enough is enough.
Sure, McGee is no spring chicken himself, but the 35-year-old is a year younger with about 15 fewer fights, and has been active this entire time. Furthermore, McGee’s style of grinding is an approach that ages much better than opportunistic finishing, at least for my money.
Add in the fact that grinding pressure-fighters who can score takedowns have arguably always been problematic for even a prime Condit, and I see McGee being able to roll to a decision win should he not get caught speeding with something from left field.
I don’t blame anyone who jumped on McGee early as a dog, as the Utah native initially opened at +120.
That said, the current asking price for McGee is still at a low enough point of entry to jump on board if you agree with me. But if you’re either betting with your heart or just fading the public (which I don’t blame you there), then Condit at the current odds of +115 isn’t something I’d call you crazy for.
Playable chalk: Casey Kenney -320
It’s hard to get behind big chalk or recommend parlays in MMA with a straight face, but, nonetheless, people play these numbers week in and week out in this game.
So, with that in mind, I try my best to cater to all bettors – including casual and degenerate. And with little opportunities that I would classify as ‘sharp’ on this card, I will say that I do like Casey Kenney at -320 if you’re looking for more dependable chalk.
A deceptively strong fighter who surprisingly used to make the flyweight limit, Kenney – like many of LFA’s lighter weight fighters – has experienced some solid success since moving up to the UFC stage. The 29-year-old American faces Heili Alateng, who is quietly one of the stronger fighters to come out of China, as he hails from a background in both freestyle and Mongolian belt wrestling.
Despite seeming much stronger than his frame leads on and possessing solid takedowns to boot, Alateng’s freestyle schooling doesn’t seem to offer him a lot of control options to flow to in MMA, as his opponents often find their way back upright.
Against a seasoned judo black belt who has experience in both freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling like Kenney does, I suspect that Alateng will be the one who is drawing the short stick when it comes to grappling with the American. The 28-year-old Chinese fighter does have a powerful right hand that will be potent in an open-stance matchup, but I still suspect that Kenney dictates terms regardless.
For that reason, I don’t hate anyone using Kenney as a potential parlay piece. If you like to live dangerously (as the risk of quoting Austin Powers), then feel free to parlay the American fighter with Dusko Tordovic (-320) and Charles Jourdain (-460) for some plus money – just don’t come crying to me once you find out that playing parlays in MMA are usually more trouble than they’re worth.
Regardless of what you’re betting, bet responsibly, my friends!