UFC Vegas 23 betting preview: Will Kevin Holland upset Marvin Vettori?
LAS VEGAS - Less than a month ago, Kevin Holland was a -175 favorite over the fifth middleweight division in the UFC. Today at BetMGM, Holland is an underdog of +250 against the sixth-placed middleweight division in the UFC.
The momentum in these numbers shows how difficult sports betting is, especially with a Mercury personality like Holland.
Holland has everything a fighter could ask for to fight for a championship. He's in great shape, he's fast, he's athletic, he hits hard, he's fearless, and he has great jiu-jitsu.
These and other traits led him to a breakout year in 2020, where he went 5-0 and earned him a shot against the then No. 1. 5 Derek Brunson on March 20.
Brunson won the fight on a walk, but not because he outdid Holland. Rather, it was because Holland didn't seem to care and seemed more interested in a stand-up comedy act than fighting.
On Saturday (3:00 p.m. ET, ABC), Holland will step in for fifth Darren Till, who broke a collarbone in training, and face Marvin Vettori # 6 at Apex.
Vettori, who goes into the fight with four wins, is a -320 favorite at BetMGM. This is an amazing turnaround for Holland after the Brunson fight and speaks for the bizarre performance Holland showed that night.
If Holland were to fight Vettori and I didn't know anything about the Brunson fight, I would go with Holland to win. He has the varied play and explosiveness to cause a lot of trouble for Vettori.
But I don't know what to expect from Holland. Do I get the guy who wiped out Jacare Souza with a fierce knockout, or do I get the Chris Rock wannabe who didn't show up against Brunson?
Kevin Holland was full of fun and games during his last fight. (Photo by Chris Unger / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
To be fair to Holland (and Brunson), Brunson's wrestling was a big factor in this fight, and it's easy to overlook that Holland did. But based on how easily Brunson beat Holland, and how unable Holland is to deal with it, Brunson could have dominated this fight even if Holland had been fully focused.
Vettori's wrestling is nowhere near Brunson's level, however. And so it's easy to find a way that Holland can win.
It would be a remarkable win if he could do it, but Vettori is in great shape, has a full game and is as focused as anyone else in the sport.
I'll make up my mind with Vettori and lay the -320, although a large part of me is pushing me to take Holland. Vettori is the sure bet, however, and that seems like the smart game here when hunches don't necessarily make it.
Bellator 256 main event selection, preview
In the past eight years or more, Ryan Bader has lost four times, all knocked out. He was surprisingly Kajo driven by Vadim Nemkov and lost his light heavyweight title at Bellator 244 on August 21.
His other KOs during this period were against Rumble Johnson in 2016, against Glover Teixeira in 2013 and against Lyoto Machida in 2012. These three fights all took place in the UFC.
Almost nine years later, Bader gets another bang in Machida when they headline Bellator 256 on Friday (9:00 p.m. ET / Showtime) at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. This time around, Bader is a healthy -300 favorite at BetMGM, Machida at +240.
Machida has lost two games to Gegard Mousasi and Phil Davis and desperately needs a win.
He's going to have a tough time with Bader's wrestling, however, and I expect Bader to beat him up. I see Bader defeating Machida, who is nowhere near as fast and athletic as he was in 2012, repeatedly and beating him on the floor.
Eventually a referee will step in to stop it while Bader drops his elbows on Machida. BetMGM haven't made any prop bets yet, but I would play Bader by KO in that case.
Other MMA games
I'll put the -250 and play against Eddie Alvarez to win Iuri Lapicus in ONE Championship on his TNT debut on Wednesday.
I'm going to play Mackenzie Dern against Nina Ansaroff at UFC on ABC 2. Ansaroff is a favorite of -135 to win. Dern is +110.
I like Julian Marquez at -190 to take down Sam Alvey who is +160.
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