The Best Bets for UFC 254: Nurmagomedov vs Gaethje

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UFC 254 Best Bets

Saturday’s UFC 254 PPV is going to be exciting with great fights and some great opportunities to place UFC bets. With that said, there are some opportunities that provide better value than others.

If you are looking to wager on this weekend’s UFC PPV from Fight Island then check out our list of the best bets for UFC 254 or head on over to our UFC 254 betting hub where you can find a complete breakdown of the event.

Maverick Wins Inside the Distance (-115)

In her upcoming octagon debut, Miranda Maverick is the largest betting favorite for UFC 254 with -420 odds. Her opponent Liana Jojua has a +335 line. Maverick has won three straight contests while Jojua is 1-1 inside the octagon.

Combined, these two women have gone the distance in just six of 20 pro fights. The Over/Under is set at 2.5 rounds with even lines at -115 apiece. However, UFC betting sites favor this fight to end inside the distance at -145.

Jojua prefers to grapple, but seems to win by capitalizing on her opponent’s mistakes. Six of her eight pro wins have come via submission. Maverick doesn’t need an opponent to make a mistake to win as she can force her foe into a submission. Five of her wins have come via tap out.

With 11 of their combined 15 pro wins coming from submission, it’s clear that these two women prefer to grapple. However, Maverick’s also a decent striker with a big advantage over Jojua.

Although I picked Maverick to win via submission in my UFC 254 preliminary card betting preview, she could just as well score a TKO/KO. A submission win pays out at +175 odds. However, the value is with a victory inside the distance at -115 odds as it covers all forms of stoppage victories.

Da Un Jung Wins Inside the Distance (-130)

Jung enters his contest against Sam Alvey as a large betting favorite with -345 odds. He’s 2-0 inside the octagon while his opponent has dropped four straight bouts.

The Over is set at 1.5 rounds, which means that oddsmakers feel this fight will not go the scorecards. In fact, that’s reflected with a -265 line for the fight to finish inside the distance.

Da un Jung

With that in mind, it’s a smart approach to go with this bout ending within the 15 minute timeframe. Between the two fighters, Jung is trending upwards while Alvey has one foot out the cage door.

Jung has scored 10 TKO/KO wins in his career including six of his last seven fights. Alvey has suffered knockout losses in two of his last four bouts.

Ankalaev Wins Inside the Distance (-130)

Other than the two featured fights, this PPV opener is probably the most interesting contest due to the backstory.

In February, Ankalaev won via TKO when the ref jumped in and stopped the fight. The problem was that Cutelaba was “pretending” to be hurt as he was trying to lull Magomed into his trap.

Since then, these two men have exchanged criticism and trash talk via the media. The rematch has been rescheduled at least three times as well, which has only added to the combustibility of the entire situation.

Magomed Ankalaev (-320) is a large betting favorite in the rematch over Ion Cutelaba (+260) and there are a few reasons why. First, Ankalaev is the more polished fighter. Second, he has the advantage at striking from the distance. Lastly, he can also takedown Cutelaba.

Cutelaba’s best hope is for a brawl where he can land a knockout shot. Unfortunately, for Ion, I don’t see that happening.

Combined, these two men have gone the distance in seven of 34 total fights. Furthermore, the Over/Under is set at 1.5 rounds and heavily favored to end inside the distance (-320).

With that said, I believe Ankalaev will pummel and frustrate Cutelaba from a distance before landing the finishing shots somewhere in the late 2nd round.

Lauren Murphy Wins via Decision (-135)

Lauren Murphy (-240) is a large betting favorite over Liliya Shakirova (+200) in this women’s flyweight bout. Additionally, Shakirova took this fight on short notice and it’s her UFC debut.

Yet, those aren’t the only factors working against her. Murphy is a better striker, has more experience, can hang in the grappling department, and is the #5 ranked flyweight. Shakirova will have her hands full on Saturday.

Online betting sites have this fight favored to go Over 2.5 rounds (-430) and to go the distance (-405). Combined, these two competitors have gone the distance in 14 of their 26 total fights.

With things clearly heading in the direction of a full three round contest, and with Murphy being the better overall fighter, taking the veteran to win via decision makes a lot of sense.

Robert Whittaker Defeats Jared Cannonier (-105)

This is probably my favorite UFC 254 main card wager. Whittaker is a former middleweight champion looking to get a rematch with Israel Adesanya. He comes into this co-main event as the slight underdog. Cannonier is the slight favorite at -115 odds.

Whittaker is clearly the better striker between the two. He’s quicker, has better footwork, and is a more technical striker compared to the power punching “Killa Gorilla” Jared Connonier.

When you look at Cannonier’s time in the light heavyweight division, his last three losses came against opponents who were better strikers similar to Whittaker.

Furthermore, I believe Whittaker will have the better cardio for this contest and that will help him implement his overall game plan which should be fighting from a distance.

With his footwork, combinations, jabs and cardio, Whittaker should be able to pick apart Cannonier from a distance, score more points with the judges, and win this fight via decision.

Nurmagomedov vs Gaethje Goes Over 2.5 Rounds (-132)

This main event is going to be filled with drama and suspense until Nurmagomdeov finds a way to win. With that said, I don’t see Khabib winning this fight until at least the 4th round, which makes the Over 2.5 rounds (-132) a juicy opportunity.

In Khabib’s last nine fights, he has gone Over 2.5 rounds in seven of them including four of the last five. His last bout against Dustin Poirier was 24 seconds shy of hitting the 2.5 round mark. In his 12 UFC fights, 10 of them have gone into the 3rd round and six have gone to a decision.

Gaethje’s last fight against Tony Ferguson went into the 5th round. Both of his UFC losses went above the 2.5 round mark as well.

I expect this fight to go into at least the 4th round and quite possibly the 5th. I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes the distance. With that in mind, take the Over 2.5 rounds and thank us later.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

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