UFC 143 Henry Cejudo vs T.J. Dillashaw Betting Preview, Odds, and Predictions
On Saturday, January 19th, the UFC will make its highly anticipated debut on ESPN+ with UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs Dillashaw also known as UFC Fight Night Brooklyn, UFC Fight Night 143, and UFC Fight Night ESPN+ 1.
This exciting event will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, which means the crowd will be electric as usual. The main event for the night is a super fight between the UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and the UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. This epic showdown will be for Cejudo’s flyweight title.
Also on the card is the controversial heavyweight Greg Hardy, fan favorite Donald Cerrone, and former divisional stalwarts Joseph Benavidez and Glover Teixeira. In total, there are 13 fights scheduled for ESPN’s first ever UFC event.
As always, let’s step inside the UFC betting octagon to see if there’s any betting value, make some MMA picks, and try to win our MMA bets. All betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline, unless noted otherwise.
UFC Fight Night Preliminary Card ESPN+
The first preliminary bouts of the night are scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM ET and will air on ESPN+.
Dennis Bermudez (+110) vs Te Edwards (-130)
Dennis Bermudez (16-9) comes into this bout having lost 4 straight fights and 6 of his last 8. It’s a wonder why the UFC still has Dennis fighting inside the octagon. With the likelihood of this being his last fight if he loses, Bermudez has entered “must win territory.”
Te Edwards (6-2) showed promise at his DWTNCS fight last June, but ended up losing via KO in his UFC debut last October. It was a surprising outcome considering his potential. Edwards has a 6 inch reach advantage and a 2 inch height advantage.
Unfortunately for Edwards, his reach and height advantages aren’t going to help him in this bout. Edwards showed a lack of defensive skills in his UFC debut and I’m not confident in his ground game. Bermudez might be on the downside of his “peak,” but he has the tools to defeat Edwards.
5 of Dennis’ last 6 fights have gone to decision and I expect this one to see the judges as well. Fortunately for Bermudez, the outcome will be in his favor. Dennis will win via unanimous decision and live to fight another day inside the octagon.
Belal Muhammad (+144) vs Geoff Neal (-164)
Belal Muhammad (14-2) has won 4 straight fights, all via decision. He’s improved his overall UFC record to 5-2, but comes into this bout as the underdog. If Muhammad can be successful in his takedowns then he increases his chances of winning this fight. To accomplish this, Belal will have to get inside Neal’s 3 inch reach advantage.
Geoff Neal (10-2) has been impressive in his two UFC fights and his DWTNCS fight, which he won via TKO in the 1st round. From there, Neal went on to defeat his next two opponents inside the octagon via submission and KO. His last fight was in September, and he knocked out Camacho with a sweet head kick.
Neal definitely has the striking advantage in this fight as 6 of his 10 wins have come via KO/TKO. 10 of Muhammad’s 14 wins have come via decision. For this bout to go to the judges, Muhammad is going to have to keep the fight on the mat and control Neal for 3 rounds. I don’t see that happening. I expect Belal to eat some nasty shots before suffering a TKO/KO loss in the 2nd round.
Chance Rencountre (+145) vs Kyle Stewart (-165)
Does anyone want to face Chance Rencountre? Originally, Randy Brown was supposed to fight Chance at UFC Fight Night. Unfortunately, Brown was pulled from the card without any clarification. Next up was Dwight Grant, but he wasn’t cleared by NY’s commission due to a previous eye issue. So, the UFC decided to give Kyle Stewart a debut fight on the prelims against Chance.
Chance Rencountre (12-3) will step inside the octagon for a second time in his career after losing his debut bout last June to Belal Muhammad. The loss broke a 4 fight win streak for Chance. Rencountre has a 2 inch height advantage, but does give up a 1 inch advantage to Stewart.
Kyle Stewart (11-1) was scheduled to headline LFA 59 in a few weeks, but the UFC called Stewart up to the big leagues. Kyle won his DWTNCS fight in July 2017, but didn’t get the UFC opportunity until 18 months later.
No matter who the opponent was, Rencountre has been listed as an underdog. Prior to being paired with Stewart, Chance was an even bigger underdog at +230 odds. Now, he’s down to +145, but still a noticeable underdog.
Neither fighter instills confidence, but Stewart could have the edge in this one as he appears to be a more well-rounded fighter. I’m taking Stewart to win via decision.
UFC Fight Night Preliminary Card ESPN
The second group of preliminary fights will air on ESPN’s flagship network and begin at 8PM ET.
Alonzo Menifield (-260) vs Vinicius Moreira (+220)
Alonzo Menifield (7-0) comes into this contest undefeated and has two DWTNCS wins under his belt. The first one came in July 2017, but it ended with his opponent suffering an eye injury.
Alonzo didn’t get a contract offer after that, so he went back to the LFA and earned two more wins to pad his record. Once again, Menifield appeared on DWTNCS in June and won his fight in 8 seconds. With that victory, Alonzo earned this UFC fight.
Vinicius Moreira (9-1) has won 5 straight fights and earned this opportunity by winning his DWTNCS contest last August. All 5 of Moreira’s wins have come via submission, which puts his total up to 8. Vinicius has a 4 inch height advantage, but he prefers to take the fights to the mat because he lacks in the striking department.
So, this bout will be a clash of strengths vs weaknesses. Menifield has been impressive in his striking game, but needs more work when it comes to the ground game. Moreira has shown a high proficiency on the ground, but looks absolutely abysmal standing up.
I think Menifield is going to come out aggressive and unleash a high volume of punches early. This should keep Moreira going backwards instead of trying to go in for a takedown. Eventually, Alonzo will catch his opponent with something nasty and end the fight early. I have a hard time seeing this make it to the second round.
Mario Bautista (+385) vs Cory Sandhagen (-500)
Mario Bautista (6-0) is a promising prospect, but he is stepping in for John Lineker on short notice and he is facing an experienced fighter looking to move up in the division. Mario has a good balance of striking skills and take downs, but he’s never fought anyone the caliber of Sandhagen.
Cory Sandhagen (9-1) has won 4 straight fights, all by TKO, including both of his UFC fights last year. Sandhagen has proven that he can hang with solid fighters like Arnett and Alcantara. Cory has shown the capability of setting up his opponents nicely, and then taking them out.
Bautista has a two inch reach advantage, but gives up 2 inches in height. Despite having the longer reach, I don’t see Bautista hanging with Sandhagen on their feet. His best chance is to take Cory down and work his way into some kind of submission or outwork him on the mat to score a decision victory.
I don’t see either scenario playing out. More than likely, Cory will get another TKO victory. The only question is whether or not Bautista can even make it to the final round of the fight.
Joanne Calderwood (+175) vs Ariane Lipski (-205)
In the first of two women’s fights on the night, Joanne Calderwood (12-3) comes into this bout having lost two of her last three fights, which drops her overall UFC record to 4-3. Calderwood had a nice submission victory last August over Faria to stop her two fight skid. Unfortunately, that might prove to be more difficult this weekend.
Ariane Lipski (11-3) has won 9 straight fights and will step inside the octagon for the first time in her career. 5 of those 9 wins have come via KO/TKO. Lipski is the former KSW flyweight champion and has a great blend of power and speed. The question is whether or not she’s ready for the step up in competition.
Despite the odds being far apart, I actually expect this to be a close fight. Calderwood will try to keep this fight standing up as she’s struggled in the past with opponents who had a better ground game. Lipski has shown to be an effective fighter on the ground, but I see her being more than willing to stand up and exchange strikes for as long as the fight lasts.
Calderwood has been in the UFC for 4 years and has faced tougher competition. She looks comfortable in the flyweight division and could possibly go on a run. For that to happen, she will need to pull off the upset this weekend. I really like her betting value because I believe she has a solid shot at winning despite what the MMA oddsmakers think.
If this was a beauty contest, Lipski would win easily. However, this isn’t a beauty contest and I think the 33-year old Calderwood will use her experience to her advantage and edge out the 24-year old prospect.
Donald Cerrone (+150) vs Alexander Hernandez (-175)
This fight should be the main event for the ESPN televised portion of the Fight Night preliminary bouts. And, it will be an exciting one. Actually, it should really be on the main card of the night, but I digress.
Donald Cerrone (34-11) is not only a fan favorite, but also one of my favorites. He’s never afraid to fight anyone and is always ready for a battle. Cerrone has fought a staggering 10 times in the last 3 years, going 6-4. “The Cowboy” has won two of his last three fights and looks to get a solid win over the favored, younger prospect in Hernandez. Cerrone hopes to parlay a victory this weekend with a potential showdown against Conor McGregor or a title fight in the near future.
Alexander Hernandez (10-1) was very impressive in his UFC debut last March, as he defeated Dariush via KO in 42 seconds. His next fight in July, saw Hernandez go the distance against Mercier and easily score the unanimous decision victory. There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Hernandez and the thinks that Cerrone is overlooking him this weekend.
This bout will be contested at the 155 pound limit, which Cerrone returned to in his last fight and has gone 11-2 at since 2013. This fight is going to be a physical one where both men will look to impose their will on the other.
Hernandez is the favorite with online betting sites, but Cerrone is the favorite with the fans and I believe he still has plenty left in the gas tank to take out the 26-year old.
I’m hoping for at least a 2-round war that sees Cerrone prove his worth and earn the TKO win.
UFC Fight Night Main Card ESPN+
The main card of the night will begin at 10 PM ET and air on ESPN+.
Glover Teixeira (-123) vs Karl Roberson (+103)
Glover Teixeira (27-7) was originally supposed to face Ion Cutelaba this weekend, but Ion pulled out a few days ago due to an injury. No details were released about the injury. However, in an effort to keep Glover on the card, the UFC was able to sign Roberson for this fight.
Karl Roberson (7-1) last fought two and half months ago on the undercard of UFC 230: Cormier vs Lewis. I had picked Roberson to lose against Marshman, but Karl showed toughness and grinded out a victory. He’s now 2-1 inside the octagon, 3-1 if you include his DWTNCS victory in November 2017.
This really is a tough spot for Roberson to be in. He has 8 days to make weight and prepare for a veteran that’s 11 years older and has 26 more professional fights. That’s not to say that it’s impossible for Roberson to win. Rather, it’s highly unlikely that Roberson would stroll into this fight with just a 1 week notice and defeat Teixeira.
Glover has alternated wins and losses over the last 2 ½ years, so he can be beaten. The problem is that Roberson isn’t at the level to defeat Teixeira as of yet. Glover has the height and reach advantage, along with the experience and skill set to win this fight. I think Roberson will do an admirable job, but I’m going with the vet in this one.
Paige VanZant (-150) vs Rachael Ostovich (+130)
Paige VanZant (7-4) is just 24 years old, but she has lost two straight fights and three of her last four. The former prospect is in need of a win against a solid competitor this weekend. Although Paige is 4-3 inside the octagon, she’s been struggling with the tougher competition.
Rachael Ostovich (4-4) has been in the news for her public criticism over heavyweight Greg Hardy and rightfully so. Her backlash toward the UFC employing Hardy has drawn interest in her fight this weekend. It’s also seen her social media accounts increase in followers.
With that said, she’s a solid fighter who has gone 1-1 inside the octagon. Rachael won her UFC debut 13 months ago, but lost her last fight in July 2018. There’s still some chatter that Rachael came back too early from a broken orbital.
Paige is the rightful favorite for this bout, but she really needs to prove that she’s not completely shot after some tough losses. Ostovich is just the right opponent for VanZant to get back in the win column and reestablish some confidence.
Personally, I would rather see Ostovich fight a blindfolded, one-armed Greg Hardy than VanZant. The UFC has done a good job giving Paige a beatable opponent and I think she will succeed on Saturday night. Paige wins via TKO in the 2nd.
Joseph Benavidez (-230) vs Dustin Ortiz (+195)
Joseph Benavidez (26-5) was the second best flyweight for many years, behind Johnson who ruled the division. With Demetrious gone, Benavidez was pegged to rise back up to the top and enter the title scene. In his first fight after a lengthy absence, Joseph lost a split decision, which set his title aspirations back some.
However, the veteran proved he’s still got game by defeating Perez about 6 weeks ago via 1st round TKO. Benavidez is 25 months removed from defeating the current flyweight champ Henry Cejudo. And, if Cejudo can keep the belt, then I believe Benavidez could be his next competitor if he wins this weekend.
Dustin Ortiz (19-7) has won three straight fights and four of his last five overall. Ortiz is looking to get revenge against Benavidez for the loss he suffered to Joseph back in November 2014, when Benavidez was tearing up the division. Ortiz will have a tough time in the standup department against Benavidez, but he’ll have a better chance on the ground.
It’s now or never for Benavidez to get a flyweight title shot because the UFC has been rumored to want to get rid of this division sometime in 2019. With that said, if Benavidez wins then he could get a rematch against Cejudo or maybe convince Dillashaw to fight at flyweight again. Either way, I’m taking Benavidez to win this fight and enter the flyweight title conversation.
Gregor Gillespie (-525) vs Yancy Medeiros (+410)
Gregor Gillespie (12-0) sits undefeated in his career and is the biggest betting favorite on the night. Nicknamed “The Gift,” Gregor has gone 5-0 in the octagon and has answered every challenge along the way.
Gillespie is a former NCAA wrestling champ and has excellent takedown and grappling skills. He’s worked on his stand up game especially when it comes to setting up his opponents for a takedown. Gregor has enough power in his punches to end a fight, but it’s his ground game that seals the deal.
Yancy Medeiros (15-5) is returning to the lightweight division after losing his last fight at welterweight 11 months ago. He had won three straight before meeting Cerrone in February 2018, and losing via 1st round TKO.
So, Medeiros decided to come down to the lightweight division where he fought at before going up to welterweight. It’s a questionable move considering the lightweight division is filled with elite fighters that are a step or two above Yancy.
The only way Yancy can win this fight is by catching Gregor with a massive shot as Gillespie is coming in for a takedown. Unfortunately for Medeiros, I don’t see that happening. Gillespie will be able to get Yancy to the mat and grind out either a submission victory or a ground and pound stoppage. Either way, this should be The Gift’s last test before getting a big fight in the lightweight division.
Greg Hardy (-515) vs Allen Crowder (+400)
This fight has rubbed a lot of fans, fighters and pundits the wrong way. Many of the critics don’t feel that Greg Hardy (3-0) should be employed by the UFC, let alone fighting on the main card of an event.
Putting that aside for now, Hardy really hasn’t done anything to deserve a main card fight. He’s only 3-0 and has fought nobody. They’ve all been lumps, which Hardy has easily beaten due to his advantages in strength, speed and athleticism.
Allen Crowder (9-3) lost his UFC debut fight 13 months ago and hasn’t beaten anyone of noteworthiness. In fact, Crowder can easily be considered another lump challenger that the UFC throws out to the wolves.
The only reason Hardy is even in this position is due to his notoriety. He lacks any real fighting skills. The only positive thing about him is that he unites everyone in rooting against him. With that said, Hardy is going to KO Crowder in the 1st round. Controversy creates cash and Hardy is living proof of that.
Henry Cejudo (+175) vs T.J. Dillashaw (-205)
Before we break down this fight, you have to love that these two fighters are willing to have a super fight and not shy away like many have before them. This is great for the fans and for the sport. With that said, I’m really surprised that Henry Cejudo (13-2) is this big of an underdog. I would’ve thought that the MMA betting odds would’ve been closer, but oddsmakers felt otherwise.
Cejudo’s only two losses came against the division’s best fighters of all-time: Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez. However, Cejudo avenged his loss to Johnson by beating him last August and sending Demetrious to another MMA promotion. If Cejudo can win this fight, and Benavidez wins his bout on the main card, then we could see another rematch and another chance for Cejudo to avenge a loss.
T.J. Dillashaw (16-3) has won 4 straight fights and 8 of his last 9. His one loss during that span was to Dominick Cruz, and most people still feel that T.J. won that fight despite the controversial decision by the judges.
After that loss, Dillashaw eventually recaptured the bantamweight title for a second time and has ruled the division since then. Surprisingly, Dillashaw had no problem agreeing to come down to flyweight, which is a ten pound cut.
Cejudo is an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling and has shown improvement in each fight. He’s morphed his elite level wrestling skills into a dangerous ground game that has seen him grind his opponents into the mat. Dillashaw also has a solid wrestling background and mat skills, but he has never faced a wrestler of this caliber.
T.J’s best chance at becoming a “champ champ” is to keep the fight standing. He has superior striking skills and could pick apart Cejudo if they remain on their feet. However, that is a big “if.” Cejudo has tremendous takedown skills and I wouldn’t be surprised if Dillashaw tests Henry out on the mat.
I question how much sense it makes for Dillashaw to come down 10 pounds and fight against the division’s top fighter. Let alone, a former Olympic gold medalist in wrestling. I believe the weight cut will have a negative effect on Dillashaw’s performance and Cejudo will take advantage of it. I’m going with the upset here. Henry Cejudo to win via decision.
UFC Fight Night Cejudo vs Dillashaw Best Betting Value
The following fighters offer decent to great betting value on the night:
- Joanne Calderwood (+175) provides great betting value as she’s a significant underdog to newcomer Ariane Lipski (-205). Calderwood has the experience advantage and has faced tougher competition in her career. She looks smoother in the flyweight division and has a great shot at winning against a rising prospect who’s fighting in the UFC for the first time.
- Donald Cerrone (+150) is a big underdog to the younger Alexander Hernandez (-175). Despite the MMA betting sites thinking Hernandez will win, I believe Cerrone has the skills and the mentality to win a hard fought contest. Cerrone is making one last major run at a title and it begins with a win this weekend.
- Henry Cejudo (+175) has great betting odds considering he’s a champ and a former Olympic gold medalist in wrestling. Cejudo proved he belongs at the top of the flyweight division after he dethroned Demetrious Johnson last August. Dillashaw has to come down 10 pounds in weight and take on an elite wrestler. Not only do I think Cejudo has great betting value, but I also believe he will win the fight.
Final Thoughts on UFC Fight Night on ESPN
It’s going to be interesting to see how well ESPN broadcasts and streams their first UFC event. Will it feel like a major spectacle or will we get more of the same? Additionally, I think the main event fight is an awesome matchup of two great fighters who will bring the entertainment.
I’m looking forward to Cerrone putting on a show and hopefully snagging another win. The Greg Hardy booking is just greedy and selfish by the UFC. He shouldn’t be in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night. Hardy shouldn’t even be in the UFC, but that’s beating a dead horse now.
Lastly, we could be one step closer to seeing the UFC eliminate the flyweight division. It almost feels like Cejudo isn’t just fighting Dillashaw, but he’s also fighting to keep the division alive.
UFC Fight Night Cejudo vs Dillashaw Betting Recap
- Dennis Bermudez (+110)
- Geoff Neal (-164)
- Kyle Stewart (-165)
- Alonzo Menifield (-260)
- Cory Sandhagen (-500)
- Joanne Calderwood (+175)
- Donald Cerrone (+150)
- Glover Teixeira (-123)
- Paige VanZant (-150)
- Joseph Benavidez (-230)
- Gregor Gillespie (-525)
- Greg Hardy (-515)
- Henry Cejudo (+175)
UFC ESPN+ 1 Betting Tips for Beginners
- Only bet on UFC fighters that you know about and follow.
- Stick with the moneylines (fighter’s odds), as prop bets and O/U rounds are harder to understand at first. Fortunately, this betting preview only covers the fightlines.
- Choose an online betting site that is reputable, reliable and offers plenty of MMA betting options.
- Never wager more money than you can afford to lose.