On Saturday, March 27th, one of the most highly anticipated rematches takes place as Francis Ngannou battles Stipe Miocic for the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 260 live on PPV.
Unfortunately, despite the buzz for the main event showdown, this PPV event has seen several fights cancelled or postponed due to pandemic issues. Most notably was the co-featured bout between Volkanovski and Ortega.
As of this writing, there are only four bouts scheduled for the main card which begins at 10PM ET on PPV.
UFC betting sites have released odds for the full UFC 260 main card. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds, identify any value, and knockout these predictions in the 1st round.
The ??????? ??????? ??????? is finally here!#UFC260: ? @StipeMiocic vs ?? @Francis_Ngannou pic.twitter.com/rsXozF5N4u
— UFC (@ufc) March 22, 2021
Volkanovski vs Ortega Cancelled
Over the weekend the UFC announced that Alexander Volkanovski tested positive and that he would not be competing at UFC 260 in the co-featured bout against Brian Ortega. Volkanovski was set to defend his featherweight belt.
The champ made the following comments via social media:
“We have worked so hard getting ready for this fight and I’m absolutely gutted this has happened. We followed every policy and process to remain virus free but it wasn’t meant to be this time.”
To his credit, Ortega replied with support for Volkanovski and expressed his respect for the champ.
Unfortunately for Volkanovski and the UFC, this issue wasn’t just an isolated one. In fact, there was an outbreak within Volkanovski’s fight team City Kickboxing that forced two of his teammates out of their fights as well.
Brad Riddell was set to fight at UFC Vegas 22 in the co-main event against Gregor Gillespie last weekend, but he was removed from the event due to the virus. And on March 22nd, teammate Shane Young was also pulled from the UFC 260 preliminary card due to this outbreak.
MMA pundits and fans are keeping an eye on Jamie Mullarkey who trained and traveled with Volkanovski to the United States. As of now, he is still scheduled to compete.
Jamie Mullakey vs Khama Worthy
Mullarkey made his UFC debut in the fall of 2019 and lost via unanimous decision to Brad Riddell. He followed that up with another unanimous decision loss in second trip inside the octagon against Fares Ziam in October 2020. Yet, there are some fans and pundits who felt he won his last fight.
Mullarkey is very confident heading into this weekend’s event and believes he will get his hand raised:
“I come to fight regardless of the situation and what’s going to come out of it. I think if anything, it’s going to make me dig that little bit deeper. I see fireworks, I see that it’s going to be an exciting fight” he predicted. Man, I’m getting my hand raised, I know that much. I don’t know how it’s going to be yet, but I’m getting my hand raised on March 28th.”
11 of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO. He’s 1-2 when going the distance.
Worthy is also coming off a loss and looking to get a big win on Saturday. He last fought in September and lost to Ottman Azaitar via 1st round TKO. The loss snapped a seven fight win streak.
Worthy had gone 2-0 in the octagon prior to the defeat. He debuted in August 2019 and beat Devonte Smith via 1st round TKO. He followed that up with a 3rd round submission win over Luis Pena in June 2020.
12 of his 16 pro wins have come via stoppage with nine by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-0 when going the distance. Six of his seven pro losses have come via TKO/KO.
Worthy shared the following comments about his UFC 260 opponent:
“He’s a tough guy. He’s 0-2 in the UFC, so he’s fighting for his job. I feel like if you’re 0-3 in the UFC you’re going to get cut, so he’s on his way out because I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. I know for sure he’s going to come out ready for and that’s exactly what we’re set for.”
I like Worthy to win this fight. I believe he’s the better overall fighter and will outgun Mullarkey in a striking matchup. Eventually, Khama will catch Mullarkey with something that puts him in danger and then will finish it off inside the distance.
Take the Over 1.5 rounds (-170), but for the fight to end inside the distance (-185). Worthy will hand Mullarkey the third TKO/KO loss of his career.
The best value is with each fighter’s moneyline.
Jamie Mullakey vs Khama Worthy –Worthy (-122)
Over 1.5 rounds (-170)
Fight ends inside the distance (-185)
Worthy wins inside the distance (+135)
Worthy wins via TKO (+215)
Thomas Almeida vs Sean O’Malley
This bout has the largest disparity in betting odds as Sean O’Malley is the biggest betting favorite and Thomas Almeida is the biggest underdog.
Almeida has been with the UFC for nearly 6 ½ years and started off winning his first four fights. That streak would come to an end when he lost to Cody Gabrandt in May 2016 and then would go 1-3 in his next four fights.
Almeida has lost three in a row starting with Jimmie Rivera four years ago, Rob Font three years ago, and Jonathan Martinez last October.
21 of his 22 pro wins have come via stoppage with 17 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 1-2 when going the distance. His other two losses were by TKO/KO.
The @SugaSeanMMA Show is back this Saturday at #UFC260! pic.twitter.com/wja4oV0H9i
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) March 22, 2021
O’Malley was 12-0 entering his fight against Marlon Vera last August. That ended up being an ugly outcome for “Sugar” as he lost via 1st round TKO. His two prior fights were 1st round TKO/KO wins.
Now, O’Malley turns his attention towards Almeida and getting back on track in a fight that he’s really excited for:
“I’m so excited for this fight. I think it’s going to be a badass kickboxing fight. I don’t think he will try and come out and wrestle me — he’ll gas himself out. He’s not going to be able to take me down. I think it’s going to be a good kickboxing fight and I just don’t see how I don’t put his lights out. I’m too fast. I’m sharp. I’m too focused. There’s just no way he beats me, but I can’t say that because you just never know what’s gonna happen, but I do feel good for this fight. I feel like it’s a good matchup for me.”
If I was O’Malley, I would be excited for this fight as well. It’s clearly a rebound fight for Shane and a gift from the UFC as they want to get their popular fighter back in the win column and to reignite the hype train.
With that said, I don’t see how this fight goes any other way than O’Malley getting the TKO win (+150). Take the Under 1.5 rounds (+105) and for this fight to end inside the distance (-185). Sugar is going to make quick work of Almeida this Saturday.
The best value for this fight, and possibly for the entire main card, is O’Malley winning inside the distance.
Thomas Almeida vs Sean O’Malley –O’Malley (-320)
Under 1.5 rounds (+105)
Fight ends inside the distance (-185)
O’Malley wins inside the distance (-125)
O’Malley wins via TKO (+150)
Tyron Woodley vs Vicente Luque
Other than the main event, this is the one fight I am the most excited for. It’s a battle of two Top 10 welterweights looking to climb up the divisional ladder.
Woodley is ranked 7th, but in a career worse slump as he’s lost three in a row to Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington which was his last fight taking place in September 2020. He’s looking to snap out of this funk and march back towards the title scene.
12 of his 19 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 7-4-1 when going the distance and does have two TKO/KO losses.
The big question is whether or not the former champ still has what it takes to hang with the sport’s top welterweights.
One of those top fighters is Luque who’s 10th in the division and is one of the most feared strikers at 170 pounds.
After his loss via decision to Leon Edwards four years ago, Luque would go on to win six fights in a row before dropping a decision to Stephen Thompson in November 2019.
He would bounce back from that loss to win his next two fights via TKO/KO. He last competed in August against Randy Brown and won via 2nd round KO.
17 of his 19 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 2-5-1 when going the distance and also has two submission losses.
One more tweet to signal it’s Vicente Luque fight week. #UFC260
V I O L E N C E pic.twitter.com/cXrFC3udc9
— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) March 21, 2021
Luque commented on how big this fight with Woodley is:
“I’ve been working and showing my talent, showing what I’m able to do in the division. I feel like now it’s a time to get a big name and really prove myself and show that I can handle those top guys and eventually fight for the title.”
If Luque can win this fight, he will take a huge step towards the Top 5 and another big matchup in his next contest. But, it won’t be easy.
Vicente is definitely the better striker between the two, but Woodley is desperate and will take this fight to the mat where he can nullify Luque’s dangerous striking arsenal. I can see long stretches of this fight being on the mat.
Before picking a winner, let’s take care of the other options first. Take the Over 2.5 rounds (-175) and for the fight to go the distance (-155). Woodley has gone to a decision in five of his last seven fights and two of his last three.
The only way the fight ends inside the distance is if Luque can put Woodley away which some pundits think will happen. I love watching Luque fights and root for him when he’s competing, but I have a hard time thinking Woodley is done. I could be in denial or he could have one last run in him.
Ultimately, I am taking Luque to win this fight via split decision (+155) due to his striking advantage. Yet, it could easily go the other way due to Woodley’s grappling. Woodley is a live dog in this fight.
Tyron Woodley vs Vicente Luque –Luque (-250)
Over 2.5 rounds (-175)
Fight goes the distance (-155)
Luque wins via decision (+155)
Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou
I am a bit surprised that Miocic is the underdog in this rematch. He’s coming off a series of three fights against Daniel Cormier for which he went 2-1. He won six fights in a row before facing Cormier for the first time in July 2019.
In their first contest, Miocic beat Ngannou via unanimous decision in January 2018. It was a five round fight just like this one, so I question those who think things will go differently in this weekend’s main event fight.
15 of his 20 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 5-1 when going the distance.
Ngannou followed up the lost in the first fight against Miocic with a boring decision loss to Derrick Lewis in what had to be one of the most disappointing heavyweight fights in recent memory.
Yet, “The Predator” seemed to wake up from sleepwalking in that July 2018 fight to go on a tear unlike anything we’ve seen in this division.
Ngannou would tally four 1st round knockouts over Blaydes, Velasquez, dos Santos, and Rozentruik. In fact, the combined time it took for Ngannou to win those fights was two minutes and 42 seconds.
All 15 of his pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of TKO/KO. He’s never been stopped in a fight, but is 0-3 when going the distance.
However, he knows that looking for the KO against Miocic would be a dangerous thing to do. In fact, Ngannou says that was a huge mistake he made in their first fight:
“Last time, I went in there, and this was one of the biggest mistakes that I did back there. I went there to knock him out, which is something that I never did, even though almost all my fights has been a knockout. But it always came by itself. I never (looked for it). And for once I (looked for it), it didn’t go well.”
With that said, I can’t pick against the champ no matter who he’s fighting. Miocic had the blueprint for beating Ngannou in the first fight and he will follow that again. I see Stipe going for takedowns to keep this brutal knockout artist off his feet.
I also see this bout going over 1.5 rounds (-135). In fact, I can see it going the full five rounds (+325). Miocic isn’t going to allow Ngannou to bull rush him like he has to his previous four opponents.
Instead, I see movement, takedown attempts, and a smart fighter who shows patience and brilliant execution of the game plan. Miocic is the champ for a reason and it’s fights like these that prove just how great he really is.
I’m taking Miocic to win via decision. The value is with Miocic’s moneyline at +110 odds.
Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou –Miocic (+110)
Over 1.5 rounds (-135)
Fight goes the distance (+325)
Miocic wins via decision (+445)
For a more complete analysis of this fight, check out the link below for a detailed Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou 2 betting pick.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …
View all posts by Rick Rockwell