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UFC 236 Holloway vs Poirier 2: Betting Preview, Odds, and Predictions

On Saturday, April 13th, the UFC will be live from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, for UFC 236: Holloway vs Poirier 2. This PPV event will feature a rematch between Max Holloway vs Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title. Additionally, the co-main event is also an interim title fight as Israel Adesanya takes on Gastelum for the interim middleweight belt.

In total, there are 13 fights scheduled for this PPV event. The first round of prelim fights will begin at 6:15 PM ET and stream live on ESPN+. The second round of prelims will begin at 8 PM ET and air on ESPN. As usual, the main card will be on PPV and begin at 10 PM ET. This will be the first PPV event on the new, exclusive deal between ESPN and the UFC.

MMA betting sites have odds listed for every fight. So, let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds, look for betting value, and KO our picks.

Early Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass/ ESPN+)

The first round of prelims are scheduled to begin at 6:15 PM ET and stream on ESPN+ or UFC Fight Pass. These UFC betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

Brandon Davis (9-5) vs Randy Costa (4-0)

  • Brandon Davis (-160)
  • Randy Costa (+140)

Costa hasn’t tasted defeat inside the cage whether it be as a pro or an amateur. He will be making his UFC debut on Saturday against Davis. All 4 of Costa’s wins have come via KO/TKO, with his fastest KO coming 11 seconds into a fight. Costa fought 3 months ago and won in 42 seconds.

Davis has had a rough go of things as of late. Since his UFC debut 15 months ago, he’s gone 1-3 inside the octagon. Two of those losses came to Kyle Bochniak and Zabit Magomedsharipov. So, they’re not bad losses, but Brandon will need to fight for his UFC contract as another loss would most likely send him packing from the promotion.

It’s hard to take Costa in this one because he hasn’t fought anyone the level of Brandon’s recent opposition. Furthermore, we just don’t know if Randy has an all-around game to defeat Davis on Saturday. The safe bet is taking Davis to win, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. He has the better resume and is a more known commodity.

UFC Bet: Brandon Davis (-160)

Lauren Mueller (5-1) vs Poliana Botelho (7-2)

  • Lauren Mueller (+141)
  • Poliana Botelho (-161)

This is the only women’s fight of the night and it will be competed in the flyweight division.

Poliana comes into this fight as the betting favorite despite both fighters having almost the same amount of success in the UFC. Botelho won her first two UFC fights before losing last November via submission to Cynthia Calvillo. Botelho packs some power in her strikes as she has 6 KO/TKO wins out of 7. She also has the potential to be a legit title contender. Unfortunately, she had her momentum derailed with a poor performance against Cavillo last year. Can she get back on track this weekend?

Mueller also lost last November via submission. She had earned a UFC contract in August 2017, then fought twice in 2018, going 1-1. Four of her five wins have come via decision. Her lack of overall experience led to getting caught in an armbar in her last fight, which she had been winning up until that point.

Botelho has the experience and size advantage in this fight. She also has the advantage in knockout power. I believe Poliana is going to win this fight because of that power. I don’t see this one going the distance. I’m taking Botelho to win via TKO in the 2nd.

UFC Bet: Poliana Botelho (-161)

Montel Jackson (7-1) vs Andre Soukhamthath (13-6)

  • Montel Jackson (-500)
  • Andre Soukhamthath (+385)

Soukhamthath has gone 2-3 inside the octagon for his career, but did win his last fight which was against Jonathan Martinez last October. Andre has flashed potential, but seems to be his own worst enemy at times with either poor game planning or poor execution. He does have the punching power to hang in a striking contest, but he will be giving up 6 inches in reach to Jackson.

Montel has gone 1-1 in the UFC after securing his contract last June on DWTNCS. He fell short in his octagon debut last August, but bounced back with a win over Brian Kelleher in December. Jackson has shown a proficiency for takedowns, but also has some power in his punches.

This is a bad matchup for Soukhamthath as he will get picked apart from a distance. If he tries to get inside Montel’s reach, then Jackson can take him down at-will. Oddsmakers have listed Jackson as the biggest betting favorite of the night and it’s because of these huge advantages over his opponent. I’m taking Jackson to win this fight via UD, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he TKO’d Soukhamthath in this contest.

UFC Bet: Montel Jackson (-500)

Curtis Millender (17-4) vs Belal Muhammad (14-3)

  • Curtis Millender (+117)
  • Belal Muhammad (-137)

This is a close matchup on paper and with online betting sites as well. Belal Muhammad had his 4 fight win streak snapped in January when he lost to Geoff Neal via UD. It dropped his overall UFC record to 5-3. Muhammad had some solid wins during that streak as he defeated Tim Means and Chance Rencountre. 10 of Muhammad’s 14 wins have come via Decision. He’s proven that he has the stamina to go the full distance and keep up a solid pace.

Millender joined the UFC in February 2018 and upset Thiago Alves in his debut. He also defeated Max Griffin as well. Millender won his first three fights in the octagon before losing via submission to EZ dos Santos in March. Curtis will have the height and reach advantage, which he has used to his success in the past.

Muhammad is a tough fighter with solid wrestling skills. If he can control the fight from the ground then he will win via UD. But, I like Millender’s potential for landing kicks or knees on a charging Muhammad. I think the potential for a TKO is too much to overlook. I’m going with the upset here and taking Millender to win via TKO.

UFC Bet: Curtis Millender (+117)

UFC 236 Prelims (ESPN)

The second round of prelim fights will move over to ESPN and begin at 8PM ET. These MMA betting odds are also provided by BetOnline.

Boston Salmon (6-1) vs Khalid Taha (12-2)

  • Boston Salmon (-125)
  • Khalid Taha (+105)

Just like with Millender and Muhammad, the rest of these prelim fights are all close ones on paper and with the sports betting sites.

Boston Salmon is the small betting favorite in this 135 pound clash. Nicknamed “boom boom,” Salmon won his DWTNCS fight to earn a contract with the UFC. However, that was July 2017, and Salmon had to wait a long time due to suffering injuries and previous opponents pulling out with their own injuries.

Taha debuted in the UFC last July, but lost via UD. Overall, he’s lost two of his last three fights, which dates back to his time in Rizin. 7 of Taha’s 12 wins have come via TKO/KO and he’s a very powerful bantamweight.

Salmon is also powerful as 4 of his 6 wins have come via KO/TKO. When you put two fighters against each other who like to throw bombs and not have to worry about takedowns, that’s a recipe for “Knockout of the Night.” This fight has potential to be the best of the prelims if these two guys go to war.

This really is a flip of the coin here. I’m more partial to the nickname “boom boom” over “the warrior,” so I’m taking Salmon to win this fight. Both men offer betting value based on the close MMA odds.

UFC Bet:  Boston Salmon (-125)

Max Griffin (14-6) vs Zelim Imadaev (8-0)

  • Max Griffin (-107)
  • Zelim Imadaev (-113)

Max Griffin comes into this fight having lost two straight and 3 of his last 4 bouts, which all of them have gone the distance. He did get a solid win over Mike Perry 14 months ago, but he went on to lose to Millender and Thiago Alves in his next two fights. 7 of Griffin’s 14 wins have come via KO/TKO and another 5 have come via decision.

Imadaev is undefeated in his pro career with all 8 of his victories coming via KO/TKO. However, this will be his first fight in the UFC. He’s been out for over a year due to injuries, but is healthy and ready for this battle. Zelim is 9 years younger than his counterpart.

It’s hard to put all of your confidence in either fighter. Griffin has struggled and Imadaev is unproven. But, since I have to choose a winner, I’m going with Griffin because he’s from my hometown of Sacramento. His experience in the UFC and tougher competition should give him the edge in a close fight. If Max can turn things around in his career, he could gain some traction in his division. Griffin to win via Decision.

UFC Bet: Max Griffin (-107)

Wilson Reis (23-9) vs Alexandre Pantoja (20-3)

  • Wilson Reis (+135)
  • Alexandre Pantoja (-155)

Wilson Reis has been with the UFC since September 2013. He’s amassed a career record of 7-5 inside the octagon and is coming off a win last December against Ben Nguyen. That win snapped a 3 fight losing streak which saw defeats to Cejudo and Johnson. 10 of Reis’ 23 wins have come via submission while the other 13 have come via decision.

Pantoja has won 4 of his last 5 fights, which all were inside the octagon. His last loss was 15 months ago when he lost via UD to Dustin Ortiz. Alexandre is proficient in striking and submission. Pantoja has 6 wins via KO/TKO and 8 wins via submission. In 6 of those 8 submission victories, Pantoja won via rear naked choke.

This fight comes down to Pantoja being able to crack Reis on the chin, which he’s susceptible of or Wilson getting the takedowns and grinding out the victory. It’s a tough call, but I like Reis’ chances of takedowns. Pantoja has been taken down by inferior wrestlers to Reis and I think that will be the difference in this fight, provided Reis doesn’t eat a massive punch. You can’t go wrong by choosing either fighter as they’re both worthy of consideration especially in a tight matchup. But, I do like Reis’ chances to come away with a decision victory.

UFC Bet: Wilson Reis (+135)

Jalin Turner (8-4) vs Matt Frevola (6-1-1)

  • Jalin Turner (-120)
  • Matt Frevola (+100)

Jalin Turner is 1-1 inside the octagon after earning a contract last July on DWTNCS. Unfortunately, he lost his UFC debut via KO before bouncing back this February and winning via TKO just 53 seconds into the fight. 7 of Turner’s 8 wins have come via KO/TKO.

Matt Frevola hasn’t had much success in the UFC since winning his DWTNCS fight in August of 2017. He had his debut UFC bout in January 2018, but lost via KO just 1 minute into the fight. Then, he fought again in November and went to a Draw. 3 of Frevola’s 6 wins have come via submission.

When you dissect this matchup, it’s really all bad news for Frevola as he gives up 6 inches in reach and height to turner. Furthermore, Turner has a lot of power in his punches and can exploit Frevola from a distance. It’s hard to imagine Frevola closing the distance unscathed and getting Turner to the mat. And, I don’t see Frevola getting a lucky haymaker on an opponent that’s a half foot taller.

I would be surprised if this fight makes it out of the first round. Either way, Turner wins via TKO.

UFC Bet: Jalin Turner (-120)

UFC 236 Main Card on PPV

The main card for UFC 236 will air on PPV and begin at 10 PM ET. The UFC odds are courtesy of BetOnline.

Ovince Saint Preux (23-12) vs Nikita Krylov (24-6)

  • Ovince Saint Preux (-107)
  • Nikita Krylov (-113)

Of the 5 main card fights, this one is the closest according to MMA betting sites. However, many of the main card fights have close betting odds and solid betting value.

OSP has been with UFC for 6 years now. He started off with a 4 fight win streak before losing to Ryan Bader. He then bounced back with two wins in a row over Rua and Cummins. Alternating wins and losses in 2015 and 2016 led him to a fight with Jon Jones, which he lost and it sparked a 3 fight losing streak. Since then, OSP has gone 4-2 overall. But, he’s coming into this contest on a loss having succumbed to defeat via UD last October to Dominick Reyes.

This is Krylov’s second stint with UFC and he’s looking to bounce back from a loss inside the octagon last September. Nikita suffered a submission loss to Blachowicz. Krylov has a tendency to charge ahead and put himself in unfavorable situations. Sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses. His last fight was a case where he lost due to his straight forward style. And, I believe that will be the case in this one as well.

I like OSP to win this fight. I believe he has the striking skills to take advantage of Krylov’s aggressive style. Furthermore, OSP is strong enough on the ground to win the fight there if needed. 18 of OSP’s 23 wins have come via stoppage. All 6 of Krylov’s losses have come via stoppage. I think OSP will get the victory most likely via submission, but I wouldn’t rule out a TKO halfway through the fight.

UFC Bet: Ovince Saint Preux (-107)

Alan Jouban (16-6) vs Dwight Grant (9-2)

  • Alan Jouban (-115)
  • Dwight Grant (-105)

Jouban has been with the UFC since August 2014, but is coming off a 14 month layoff. So, it will be interesting to see how he looks after this prolonged hiatus. Jouban did win his last bout, which stopped a two fight losing streak. He also holds some decent wins over Muhammad and Mike Perry.

Dwight Grant is another DWTNCS contender having won his contract last June. Unfortunately, his UFC debut didn’t go well as he lost via Split Decision. But, Grant bounced back and won two months ago via TKO in the 1st round. For Grant, 7 of his 9 career wins have come via KO/TKO.

There is some concern over Jouban as he’s almost 37 and coming off an injury to his neck. But, the veteran has proven to be a tough fighter with a decent resume. 11 of his 16 wins have come via KO/TKO, while the other 5 have come via decision.

For this fight, I think Jouban is going to snag a UD win in his return. He’s more of a proven commodity than Grant and the experience advantage is too much for bettors to ignore.

UFC Bet: Alan Jouban (-115)

Eryk Anders (11-3) vs Khalil Rountree (7-3)

  • Eryk Anders (-190)
  • Khalil Rountree (+165)

I’m surprised by these betting odds. I think the betting disparity is too large considering the level of talent between these two fighters.

Eryk Anders is a significant betting favorite. However, he has lost two straight fights and three of his last four. He’s now 3-3 inside the UFC. Anders is a tough fighter who can take a beating. He also has the strength, stamina and cardio to grind out wins with his wrestling skills. But, he’s not capable of hanging with Rountree in the standup game.

For Rountree, he is a fun fighter with crazy KO power. 5 of his 7 wins have come via KO/TKO, but he has terrible wrestling skills which could lead to trouble in this matchup. Khalil is very athletic as well, but needs to become a more balanced fighter. He will also need to ensure that his stamina is on par with the best in the division. Otherwise, he will run out of gas and end up losing late. With that said, I do believe Rountree has a chance in this contest.

Anders is going to leave himself open for some big shots. If Rountree can be patient and defend the takedown, he has a decent chance at winning. All it takes is one of those nasty knockout punches from Rountree to win this fight.

Anders might be the favorite and the smart bet, but I’m taking the upset here. I’m going with Rountree to win via TKO.

UFC Bet: Khalil Rountree (+165)

Kelvin Gastelum (15-3) vs Israel Adesanya (16-0)

  • Kelvin Gastelum (+145)
  • Israel Adesanya (-170)

These two fighters will compete for the interim middleweight title and, on paper, it looks like a very entertaining fight.

Gastelum is a solid fighter that can grind out wins or score the KO/TKO when needed. He was scheduled to fight Whittaker to the championship belt, but that bout didn’t happen due to Whittaker having emergency health issues. Gastelum has seen his share of veteran fighters come his way, but none like the talented Adesanya. He will need to outwrestle Israel in this fight and score takedowns to have a legit chance at winning this bout.

Adesanya has become one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC. Israel is 16-0 and has fought 5 times in the last 14 months. He last competed in February and defeated the legendary Anderson Silva via UD. It was a dominating performance where Israel showed the MMA world just how talented he really is. Adesanya has improved his defensive takedown and wrestling skills, which has also made him an even more dangerous fighter. Furthermore, his striking skills are better than most other fighters in his weight class. They’re certainly better than his opponent this weekend.

Gastelum is a really good fighter, but I don’t see how he’s going to survive the striking barrage from Adesanya. Israel is going to throw combinations that Gastelum won’t be able to counter or defend. And, after a few stuffs of Kevin’s takedown attempts, Adesanya will end up picking apart Gastelum from a distance. However, I believe Gastelum is tough enough to finish the fight and not succumb to a knockout.

I’m taking Israel to win via UD in an entertaining fight. Adesanya vs Whittaker will be a great matchup later this year, if Israel wins this fight.

UFC Bet: Israel Adesanya (-170)

Max Holloway (20-3) vs Dustin Poirier (24-5)

  • Max Holloway (-220)
  • Dustin Poirier (+185)

With Nurmagomedov suspended, the UFC has decided to make this fight for the interim lightweight title belt and will most likely have a super fight later on this year between Khabib and the winner of this contest.

For Poirier, he’s finally getting the title shot that he’s deserved. Dustin has a 5 fight unbeaten streak that has put him in the position to fight for the interim belt. Additionally, he’s defeated Eddie Alvarez, Gaethje, Pettis and Jim Miller over that span. Poirier is a longtime vet of the UFC, but went to lightweight in 2015. Since then, he’s been a much better overall fighter and is a tough out for anyone.

Max Holloway has won 13 straight fights and looks like one of the best P4P fighters in the UFC. His last three fights alone have been great. Max defeated Jose Aldo via TKO twice in 2017 and then beat Brian Ortega last December in a main event fight for UFC 231, which was a great battle. Max cleared out the featherweight division and has gone up to the lightweight division after proving he was the king. If he wins this belt then Holloway becomes a champ in two weight classes. In other words, he will be “champ champ.”

This fight is almost certainly to remain standing up for as long as the two men can last or for the full 5 rounds. With that said, I believe Holloway has the advantage in striking skills including diversity, power and endurance. He also has the tougher chin.

I’m excited for this fight as I believe these two combatants will go to war and put on a great show for the fans. I think Holloway is really shaping up to be the best fighter in the UFC. If he can make a run through the lightweight division like he did with the featherweights, then we are looking at an all-time great.

For now, Holloway needs to bring his A-game because Poirier is a tough out. I see this fight most likely going the full 5 rounds and Holloway getting the UD win. But, Poirier will get his moments in as well. Don’t miss this fight.

UFC Bet: Max Holloway (-220)

UFC 236 Betting Value

The following fighters offer betting value based on their current UFC betting odds and their matchups for UFC 236:

  • Curtis Millender (+117) has the height and reach advantage, but is susceptible to takedowns which is a strength of his opponent’s. But, I’m not sold on Muhammad being able to keep this fight on the ground for 3 rounds. So, I’m going with the upset pick and taking Millender to add another highlight to his career.
  • In the Boston Salmon (-125) vs Khalid Taha (+105) fight, both men offer betting value because the odds are close and they match up well with each other. Whichever fighter you choose, will provide a good return on your UFC wager. It’s going to be a slugfest and there’s a good chance it could win some fight night honors.
  • Max Griffin (-107) vs Zelim Imadaev (-113) is another fight with close odds and a tough matchup to pick a winner. Both men are capable of winning, which means that both betting options offer betting value. But, I’m going with my hometown fighter and taking Griffin who has the experience advantage.
  • Wilson Reis (+135) is the underdog in this fight, but his strengths matchup really well against his opponent’s weaknesses. If Reis can get the takedowns then he will be able to control the fight on the ground and win this fight via decision. His +135 odds provide a solid return on any UFC 236 wager.
  • Jalin Turner (-120) is only a slight favorite despite the huge mismatch on paper. Turner is a half foot taller than his opponent and has a 6 inch reach advantage as well. Furthermore, Turner has knockout power and is a very skilled striker. This fight has the potential to turn ugly real fast for Frevola.
  • Ovince Saint Preux (-107) vs Nikita Krylov (-113) is another close fight where UFC bettors can find value on either combatant. I believe OSP will edge out Krylov for a victory. But, it could end up going either way.
  • Alan Jouban (-115) vs Dwight Grant (-105) is another main card fight with very close betting odds. Once again, both combatants offer betting value as either man could win and the odds are very close to even on your return. I think Jouban is the better fight, but his health and rustiness are why his odds are low.
  • Khalil Rountree (+165) is a risky bet, but he offers great betting value and matches up well against Anders. I believe Rountree has a puncher’s chance at winning this fight and I’m taking the upset. Anders has a tough chin and gets hit a lot. Rountree has the power to test just how tough that chin is.

Final Thoughts on UFC 236

With two interim titles on the line, UFC 236 is shaping up to be an exciting PPV event. Holloway is a superstar and one of the P4P best fighters in MMA. Israel Adesanya is an exciting fighter who can become the face of the middleweight division with a win this weekend and a win over Whittaker later this year.

In addition to those two fights, there are numerous close matchups that provide UFC bettors with plenty of opportunities and betting value. Additionally, this PPV offers plenty of entertainment value and not just with the main card. There are some intriguing prelim matchups that will also satiate both the diehard and the average MMA fans.

For me, the biggest fight of the weekend is the Holloway fight. I’m more excited for that interim title contest than any boxing match or other MMA fights.

UFC 236 Betting Recap

  • Brandon Davis (-160)
  • Poliana Botelho (-161)
  • Montel Jackson (-500)
  • Curtis Millender (+117)
  • Boston Salmon (-125)
  • Max Griffin (-107)
  • Wilson Reis (+135)
  • Jalin Turner (-120)
  • Ovince Saint Preux (-107)
  • Alan Jouban (-115)
  • Khalil Rountree (+165)
  • Israel Adesanya (-170)
  • Max Holloway (-220)
Rick Rockwell :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.