UFC 274 is almost here and what a card we have in store. In the main event Charles Oliveira looks to defend his title for the second time when he faces fan favourite Justin Gaethje. In the co-main we have a title rematch between Rose Namajunus and Carla Esparza and two excitement juggernauts, Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson go head to head in a fight that will be high pace entertainment. We take a look at my three best bets on the UFC 274 pay-per-view card below.
UFC 274 Betting Tips
Charles Oliveira vs Justin Gaethje
At one point in time both of these men have been the market favourite but as of the time of writing this Oliveira is being well backed into favourite, something I don’t agree with. With any fight you have to analyse roads to victory and I only see two, a Gaethje knockout or an Oliveira submission.
Gaethje is an entertaining stand and bang type of fighter with underappreciated technical striking. He has no interest in going to the ground but has the wrestling to keep it standing against every man that is not named Khabib Nurmagomedov. If Oliveira can take him down or get his back, however, I do believe he submits Gaethje as he has limited jiu jitsu knowledge by the looks of all tape and training footage you can find, which I must admit is also limited.
However, if this fight stays standing I only see one winner. Gaethje hits like a truck and has relentless pressure and Oliveira was wobbled in both title fights. I just don’t see how he can stand and trade with Gathje and come out on top.
I am going to recommend a slightly different way to bet on this fight. I only see two outcomes as mentioned above, the most likely I believe is a Gaethje knockout. My second bet is a ‘saver’ bet which will be smaller and ensure I still win a little bit of money if the outcome gets up and that will be on Oliveira by submission.
I believe this should be an entertaining fight but I am favouring Justin Gathje to get his hand raised and give superstar coach Trevor Wittman his third UFC champion.
gaethje to win by KO/tko
Rose Namajunas vs Carla Esparza
A rematch seven and a half years in the making between Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas is finally here as the two who battled it out in the first-ever UFC Strawweight title fight will meet once again to fight for the Strawweight throne.
For the challenger Carla Esparza there is a clear gameplan, take Namajunas down, control her and land damage. However it will be much trickier for Esparza than the first time they met as Namajunas has grown exponentially as a fighter. In the original fight Namajunas gassed badly and ended up being submitted by Esparza by rear naked choke. Come this weekend don’t expect a similar result.
Despite clearly favouring Namajunas I believe it is a much closer fight than many believe. Esparza has continued to dismantle most of the division quietly under the radar. I just believe Namajunas will be able to land the more telling damage and over five rounds and expect the cumulative damage to be the deciding factor.
Namajunas has shored up her ground game as well since the pair first met to the stage where it now is a real weapon. However, it is Namajunas’ lateral movement that will win her this fight. Her almost seamless flow and direction changes will make it hard for Esparza to get a hold of her and I expect her to piece up the former champion on route to retaining the Strawweight throne.
Donald Cerrone vs Joe Lauzon
This is both a sad and entertaining fight at the same time as both these men in my opinion should have put down the gloves and this fight will almost certainly end by knockout.
Not that long ago Cowboy Cerrone looked to have found a new lease on life and was pushing for a title shot. Now he finds himself winless in his last six fights and taking a sharp step down in competition against Joe Lauzon. Lauzon is a knockout or bust fighter, as is Cerrone and that is why you can expect this to be over fairly quickly. Both men buckle to pressure and don’t have much of a chin left but are happy to throw down until someone drops.
While I favour Cerrone to get the win, I will go the safer option and pick the fight to end by knockout.