On Saturday, May 11th, the UFC will be live from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for UFC 237: Namajunas vs Andrade. The main event of the night is a women’s strawweight championship fight as the champion Rose Namajunas will defend her title against Brazil’s Jessica Andrade. Namajunas showed no fear in heading to her opponent’s home country to defend the strawweight belt. This is rather unheard of as it’s typically the challenger heading to the champ’s home location.
This card also features some of Brazil’s greatest fighters like Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, Thiago Alves, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Other notable names fighting this night include B.J. Penn, Clay Guida, and Carlos Diego Ferreira. In total, there are 13 fights scheduled for the UFC event. The first portion of the prelims is set to begin at 6:15 PM ET. The main card will begin at 10 PM ET and air on PPV.
MMA betting sites have released odds for the full slate of fights. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these UFC odds, identify any potential betting value, and KO our picks.
UFC 237 Early Prelims
The first round of prelim fights is set to begin at 6:15 PM ET and will stream on UFC Fight Pass:
Talita Bernardo (6-3) vs Melissa Gatto (6-0-2)
Talita Bernardo (-525)
Melissa Gatto (+410)
Brazil’s Bernardo comes in as a massive betting favorite for this women’s fight. She last competed in October 2018 and won via UD. That win snapped a two-fight losing streak for Talita who is now 1-2 in the UFC. Four of her six wins have come via submission, with all of those happening in the first round.
Melissa Gatto is making her UFC debut on Saturday. She will also get to enjoy fighting in front of her fellow countrymen as she’s from Brazil as well. Gatto last fought in September 2018 and has yet to taste defeat in her pro career. Melissa also has four submission wins under her belt. Unfortunately, that will all change this weekend.
When you compare the two women, Bernardo is just better than Gatto in every way. Talita is a better striker and grappler. She can win this fight standing up or on the mat. I don’t see this one making it out of the first round.
UFC Bet: Talita Bernardo (-525)
Carlos Huachin (10-3-1) vs Raoni Barcelos (13-1)
Carlos Huachin (+420)
Raoni Barcelos (-550)
Peru’s Carlos Huachin comes into this contest as one of the biggest underdogs of the night. This is his UFC debut and he’s going up against a tough competitor. To his credit, Huachin has gone unbeaten in his last seven fights with a record of 6-0-1. He last fought in late March and won via TKO in the first round. Eight of his 10 career wins have come via KO/TKO.
Brazil’s Raoni Barcelos is the second largest betting favorite of the night. He’s won six straight fights including going 2-0 inside the octagon. Barcelos last fought in November 2018 and won via submission in the second round. Seven of his 13 career wins have come via KO/TKO and another two have come via submission.
This entire matchup is just bad for Huachin. For starters, he’s replacing Said Nurmagomedov on 10 days’ notice. And he’s going up against an opponent that’s suited for his style. Carlos will come out swinging and aggressively strike with Barcelos, but Raoni has the power advantage here. He’s also the better boxer between the two.
And if that’s not enough, the former RFA featherweight champ Barcelos can take this fight to the mat and grind out a win. Raoni is by far the better wrestler between the two. The only way Huachin wins is via a lucky haymaker that rocks Barcelos. I don’t see that happening. The smart bet is Raoni Barcelos to win this fight and move up the featherweight food chain.
UFC Bet: Raoni Barcelos (-550)
Warlley Alves (12-3) vs Sergio Moraes (14-4-1)
Warlley Alves (-147)
Sergio Moraes (+127)
Alves started off his UFC career with a four-fight win streak and looked like a rising prospect ready to move to the top of the division. Unfortunately, he was derailed by two losses in a row to Usman and Barberena. After that, he won two straight fights and got back on track. Last August, he was derailed once again after losing in upset fashion to James Krause. Although Alves has a 6-3 record inside the octagon, he seems destined to float in the middle of the pack.
Sergio Moraes is on his last legs as a relevant fighter in this weight class. He’s been with the UFC for seven years and had a nice run at first. After losing in his UFC debut, Moraes went 6-0-1 in his next seven fights. Unfortunately, he’s gone 2-2 in his last four fights and seems unable to beat the division’s upper echelon. Moraes lost via UD in March to Anthony Rocco Martin and I just don’t see him having enough firepower to take out Alves on Saturday.
Both men need a big win to put them on a better path in the division. Neither fighter has accomplished much in the last few years. Alves hasn’t lived up to his early hype. Moraes is 36 years old and seems more like a gatekeeper than anything else.
For this bet, I’m taking Alves to win. Both men like to make their opponents tap out, but I don’t see either man being able to get the advantage on the mat. If someone doesn’t connect with a lucky TKO, then this will go the full distance. With that said, I’m taking Alves to win via UD.
UFC Bet: Warlley Alves (-147)
Luana Carolina (5-1) vs Priscila Cachoeira (8-2)
Luana Carolina (-170)
Priscila Cachoeira (+145)
This women’s flyweight battle was originally supposed to be Luana Carolina against Wu Yanan. Unfortunately, Yanan had to withdraw due to an injury. Priscila Cachoeira, from Brazil, is replacing Yanan on less than three weeks’ notice.
Priscila last fought in March and lost via UD to Molly McCann. That loss dropped her record to 0-2 inside the octagon. Her UFC debut came 15 months ago and she was thoroughly dominated by Valentina Shevchenko. Priscila will need to get a win to prevent the possibility of being released from the company. Cachoeira is a capable striker with half of her career wins coming via KO/TKO.
Luana Carolina is on a five-fight win streak and earned her UFC shot by winning on DWTNCS last August. Luana has solid striking skills, but she’s unproven inside the octagon. Fortunately, she’s going up against an opponent that will stand and exchange strikes.
Neither woman is a threat to win this fight from the mat. So, we can expect a striking contest for as long as the fight lasts. Cachoeira proved that she can take a beating and continue to come back. I see that happening again in this fight. Carolina has the reach advantage and the strikes to keep Priscila at a desired distance. Additionally, she throws better combos than her opponent.
I see this fight going the distance. Three of Luana’s six pro fights have gone to the judges, while five of Cachoiera’s 10 pro fights have gone the distance. I’m taking Carolina to win this fight via UD as she scores more points based on volume of strikes and power shots landed. I also wouldn’t be surprised if she got the TKO.
UFC Bet: Luana Carolina (-170)
UFC 237 Prelim Card
The second round of prelim fights is scheduled to begin at 8 PM ET and will air live on ESPN.
B.J. Penn (16-13-2) vs Clay Guida (34-18)
J. Penn (+445)
Clay Guida (-575)
This fight makes me sad to see. B.J. Penn shouldn’t be fighting anymore. He’s lost six straight fights and hasn’t won an MMA bout in eight years. His last fight was in December, and he lost via submission to Ryan Hall. It was the first submission loss of his once great career.
Clay Guida was one of the most exciting fighters during his UFC prime and a personal favorite of mine to watch. Age has caught up to him as well. Although he isn’t as explosive as he once was, Guida still has enough stamina and energy to outwork Penn in this fight. Guida last fought 11 months ago and lost via submission. Prior to that, he had won two straight fights in 2017.
They have a combined age of 77 years old as B.J. Penn is 40 years old and Clay Guida is 37. It’s not a surprise that Penn is the biggest betting underdog on the card. He’s way past his prime and shouldn’t be fighting at this level anymore. In fact, the UFC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing Penn to continue fighting. With that said, I don’t see any way that Penn wins this fight. I’m taking Guida to win via UD.
UFC Bet: Clay Guida (-575)
Irene Aldana (9-4) vs Bethe Correia (10-3-1)
Irene Aldana (-275)
Bethe Correia (+235)
Aldana was once one of the top bantamweights in Invicta. She went 4-1 in the promotion before heading to the UFC. Unfortunately, she lost her first two fights inside the octagon. Irene would right the ship in 2018 and win both of her fights via decision. Coming into this fight, she’s now 2-2 inside the octagon. She also has a win over Bernardo who’s on this card. And she had a solid win over Pudilova last September. For Aldana, five of her nine career wins have come via KO/TKO.
Bethe Correia has the hometown support from the fans, but that might not be enough. She hasn’t fought in almost two years. Additionally, she went 1-3-1 in her last five fights before the layoff. Correia may be best known for her 34-second loss to Ronda Rousey at UFC 190. With that said, at age 35, Bethe has a huge uphill battle to climb in this fight. And I just don’t see that happening.
Aldana has at least four inches in height and reach over Correia. Additionally, she’s the better striker in this matchup and should be able to stop this fight from going the distance. If Correia makes it out of the first round, that would be a win. I’m taking Aldana to win via TKO. The only question is if it happens in the first or second round.
UFC Bet: Irene Aldana (-275)
Thiago Moises (11-3) vs Kurt Holobaugh (17-6)
Thiago Moises (-127)
Kurt Holobaugh (+107)
Holobaugh comes in as the slight underdog. But both men offer betting value due to their low betting odds.
Kurt Holobaugh hasn’t fared well in his second stint with the UFC. At least not as well as his team thought he would have. Holobaugh was a former lightweight champ for Titan FC, but has struggled inside the octagon. He fought twice last year and lost both contests. One of those losses was to Raoni Barcelos, who’s also on this fight card. Holobaugh has 14 stoppage wins out of 17 career victories, with nine of them coming via submission.
Thiago Moises is also a former lightweight champ in the RFA and LFA promotions. He earned his UFC contract last August by winning on DWTNCS via first round TKO. Unfortunately, he went up against Dariush in his UFC debut last November and lost via UD. Beneil was able to overpower Moises and get him to the mat where he controlled the fight.
I’m not sure that Holobaugh can duplicate what Dariush said, but if he’s mentally rebounded from his last two fights, then I think he can win this contest. We’ll find out early in the fight if Kurt is ready for a battle. With that said, I’m taking Holobaugh to win this contest via UD. I believe he bounces back and gets his first UFC victory. He has an aggressive striking style that should give him the advantage in this bout.
UFC Bet: Kurt Holobaugh (+107)
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (23-8) vs Ryan Spann (15-5)
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+119)
Ryan Spann (-139)
In what should be the main event for the prelim fights, the 42-year-old Antonio Rogerio Nogueira looks to conquer the 27-year-old Ryan Spann in front of his fellow countrymen. Despite the age difference, and only fighting one time in the last two and a half years, “Minotouro” is only a slight underdog. His betting odds surprised me considering his age and opponent. Over the last five years, Nogueira has gone 2-3 inside the octagon.
Spann has looked good since making it to the main roster. He first tried out on the DWTNCS in July 2017 and lost via KO in 15 seconds. That sent him packing for another one year before he could punch his ticket to the UFC. Spann would win an LFA title before a second shot at DWTNCS in June 2018, which he won via submission in 26 seconds. He then stepped inside the octagon for the first time and defeated Oliveira via UD in September 2018.
I just don’t see how Nogueira is going to be able to hang with the younger fighter for all three rounds. I expect Spann to come out very explosive in the first round and look to finish off the veteran quickly. All 13 of Spann’s stoppage victories have come in the opening round. There’s a great chance that can happen again on Saturday.
After watching Cain Velasquez come back from a long layoff and getting crushed by a younger fighter, I just don’t see Minotouro having any success in this fight. I will actually be surprised if he makes it out of the first round. I don’t think that Spann will get a submission win on Nogueira, but I certainly see the possibility of a TKO. With that said, I’m taking Spann to win this fight.
UFC Bet: Ryan Spann (-139)
UFC 237 Main Card
The main card of the night is set to begin at 10 PM ET and will air live on PPV.
Francisco Trinaldo (23-6) vs Carlos Diego Ferreira (15-2)
Francisco Trinaldo (+140)
Carlos Diego Ferreira (-160)
In the opening bout of the main card, we have another 40-year-old fighter looking to defy Father Time as he takes on a talented divisional contender.
Francisco Trinaldo will be 41 in about three months, but don’t let that age fool you. Unlike Nogueira, Trinaldo has been active and winning. In the last three years, Francisco has gone 4-2 during that span. He last fought in September and defeated Evan Dunham via KO in the second round. He still has a physical, aggressive style to his offense that age hasn’t slowed down. He’s also improved on his stamina issues from earlier in his career. Saturday’s showdown will be Trinaldo’s 19th UFC fight. For his career, Francisco is 13-5 inside the octagon.
It’s been nearly five years since Ferreira debuted in the UFC. Since then, he’s compiled a 6-2 record inside the octagon. Ferreira won his first two UFC fights and was on his way to becoming one of the division’s top prospects, but consecutive losses to Dariush in 2014 and Poirier in 2015 knocked Carlos back down the ladder. Since then, Ferreira has fought four times and has won all four fights.
This fight is going to be tough for either man to win. First, Trinaldo has excellent Muay Thai skills and can keep this fight upright at a distance if needed. Or he can let Ferreira get in close and then pummel him in the clinch. With that said, Ferreira has solid striking skills and the stamina to pour on a high volume, which could help him with the judges. Additionally, Ferreira’s best chance at winning would be to get Trinaldo down to the mat where he has superior grappling skills.
I have a hard time going with a soon to be 41-year-old despite how good he looked in his last fight. The time is now for Ferreira to really put things together and make a run at some big money fights. He needs to get past the gatekeeper here and I think he will. I’m taking Carlos to win via TKO. I do give Trinaldo a puncher’s chance in this one. So, if you are looking for a high risk upset wager, this could be an option.
UFC Bet: Carlos Diego Ferreira (-160)
Thiago Alves (23-13) vs Laureano Staropoli (8-1)
Thiago Alves (-115)
Laureano Staropoli (-105)
According to MMA betting sites, fans and critics, this is the closest fight on the card.
Thiago Alves last fought in February and won via Split Decision over Max Griffin. It snapped a two-fight win streak and was the second win in his last five fights. The 35-year-old has been with the UFC since October 2005. Let that sink in for a moment. From 2006 to 2008, Alves looked unstoppable having won seven straight fights. Unfortunately, he then was dominated by GSP and followed that up with a loss to John Fitch in 2010. Alves would alternate between wins and losses the next few years and then lost two straight in 2015 and 2016. Critics thought he was done. But, since then, he’s gone 2-2 in the UFC and continues to hang around.
Staropoli made his UFC debut last November when the UFC was in Argentina. He defeated Hector Aldana via UD in a brawl. It also earned both men a “fight of the night” bonus. His style is a controlled blitz attack where he tries to light up his opponent. Aldana was able to withstand the early onslaughts and hung around for three rounds.
In this fight, Staropoli isn’t taking on a guy the caliber of Aldana. He’s taking on a knockout artist with 13 KOs on his resume. Alves has the knockout power to end this fight in one punch. He might need a little time to get going, but I see Thiago sending his fellow countrymen home happy with a TKO win on Saturday. Alves at -115 odds offer great betting value. With that said, longtime UFC fans have to wonder how many more fights the “Pitbull” has left before he retires and becomes a police officer.
UFC Bet: Thiago Alves (-115)
Jose Aldo (28-4) vs Alexander Volkanovski (19-1)
Jose Aldo (-130)
Alexander Volkanovski (+110)
I’m more excited for this fight than any other bout on the card. I’m still a huge believer in Jose Aldo. And, with his resurgence over the last 10 months, I believe Aldo is going to make one more run at a title. That run starts this weekend against a fighter who has been lighting the division on fire.
For Aldo, he’s a modest betting favorite in what should be a tremendous fight. Aldo has won two straight fights after going 1-3 in a four-fight span from December 2015 to December 2017. However, those losses came to Conor McGregor and Max Holloway twice. Despite Volkanovksi’s success, he’s not on the same level as McGregor or Holloway. And, after Saturday, Aldo should prove that Alexander isn’t on the same level as “Scarface.” With that said, we are getting a motivated Aldo on Saturday. UFC reports that he’s excited to fight in his home country of Brazil and in front of his people:
“There is a different flavor fighting in Rio. I have the support of everyone here and I’m very excited, very positive that it’s going to be a good outcome. We’re really going in there to win. Hopefully, I can get out with a knockout, but I’m going to do whatever I need to do to get the victory.”
I’m not taking anything away from Volkanovski, but he’s going up against a UFC legend in his home country. That’s a lot to overcome. Not to mention, Alexander hasn’t fought anyone the caliber of Aldo. Many fans and pundits talk about how Volkanovski is a rising prospect. However, he’s only two years younger than Aldo. Alexander does boast of knockout power as 11 of his 19 career wins have come via KO/TKO.
Alexander also doesn’t lack for confidence. According to the Daily Telegraph, his game plan is to go into Brazil and defeat Aldo, then beat Holloway later this year:
“So things are really about to change for me. And I say that with no disrespect to Jose Aldo. He’s one of the best to ever compete in the UFC and I’m definitely expecting a tough fight from him. But that’s also what will make this win so much better. If I win, I’ve beaten a legend. And then later in the year, to go win a world title against Max Holloway, which is what I plan on doing … don’t be surprised if in six months time, people are looking at me as one of the greatest ever.”
I love his confidence and he’s definitely an exciting fighter that’s rising up the divisional ranks. With that said, until he defeats a legend like Aldo, I have to go with that legend to win. I’m taking Jose Aldo to win via SD in a great fight.
UFC Bet: Jose Aldo (-130)
Jared Cannonier (11-4) vs Anderson Silva (34-9)
Jared Cannonier (-137)
Anderson Silva (+117)
Jared Cannonier is heading into “enemy territory” against one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. But you wouldn’t know that by looking or talking to him, as Cannonier is excited for this huge opportunity:
“I’m actually excited to be doing this, going into enemy territory, in a place that’s infamous for their undying support for their heroes. But that’s fine. I’m interested to see how they receive me, to be honest. Are they going to be like, ‘Anderson’s going to kick your a$$,’ are they going to be like ‘We hate you, get the hell out of Brazil, we want to see you get your a$$ kicked.’
Whether they love me, whether they hate or whether they’re neutral, it’s going to be a really good fight. After the fact, they’re going to cheer for both of us.”
When looking at the odds, you wouldn’t know that Cannonier was heading into enemy territory as UFC betting sites have Cannonier listed as the betting favorite. Nicknamed “The Killa Gorilla,” Cannonier is 4-4 in the UFC and has gone 1-2 over his last three fights. He defeated David Branch last November, which snapped a two-fight skid that saw him lose to Blachowicz and Reyes. Seven of his 11 wins have come via KO/TKO.
It’s been nearly seven years since Anderson Silva has won a fight. And, at age 44, Silva is the oldest fighter on the card. With that said, he has held up well over the years and is fighting in front of his fellow countrymen. Silva lost his last fight, which was in February 2019 to Israel Adesanya who is one of the best in the sport. So, that loss isn’t that bad when you put it into proper perspective. I could write a 10-page essay on Silva and all of his accomplishments in his career, but this is a betting preview and not a biography.
With that said, I’m not sold on Cannonier. And I believe Silva will get the win for Brazil and give the UFC one of those “feel good” moments. I’m taking the legendary “Spider” to pull off the betting upset and win via UD.
I must admit, I was surprised to see that champion Namajunas was the underdog in her title fight against Andrade. We’re talking about a fighter who has some solid wins under her belt including consecutive victories over Joanna Jedrzejczyk to capture the title and retain it. She’s gone 6-2 inside the octagon and has scored five submission wins out of eight career victories. It’s been 13 months since she last fought and Rose will be well rested for this fight.
Jessica Andrade has won three straight fights since losing to Joanna Jedrzejczyk roughly two years ago. This will be her 15th fight in the UFC and she has a career record of 10-4 inside the octagon. She last fought in September, and defeated Karolina Kowalkiewicz via KO in the first round. Jessica has 13 stoppages in 19 victories, but has also been stopped four times herself.
One of the things I respect about Namajunas, besides her skills, is her willingness to fight anyone. Especially when that fight takes place in her opponent’s home country:
“I didn’t have to take this fight, I didn’t have to come to Brazil and leave my home to fight this girl, but at the same time it’s a huge opportunity and it’s a great way to reach my potential and give it a shot. And if that doesn’t happen, then you know that’s meant to be and that’s really all there is to it. But I just have to do my best.”
To me, that’s what a champion is all about. Someone who’s not afraid of the challenge and is willing to push beyond their previous limits. With that said, this won’t be an easy fight by any means, which is why MMA betting sites have Andrade as the favorite.
Andrade has an aggressive attacking style where she overwhelms her opponents with heavy-handed strikes. She has the power to KO an opponent and the top game on the mat to ground and pound her foes. That makes her dangerous in this fight and against anyone else in the division.
However, I believe Namajunas has the skills to counter Andrade’s strengths. For starters, Rose can fight from a distance and pick apart Jessica just like Joanna Jedrzejczyk did. Second, Namajunas has a great ground game and can capitalize on any mistakes that Andrade makes if this fight goes to the ground. Furthermore, Rose has the patience and the intelligence to pick her spots and to win this fight.
I’m taking the champ to win this fight. However, Andrade is definitely worthy of a wager as well. My pick is Namajunas to win via UD.
The following fighters offer betting value based on their UFC odds, current UFC 237 matchups, and career success:
Both Kurt Holobaugh (+107) and Thiago Moises (-127) offer solid betting value. Whichever fighter you choose to win this fight will bring a good return on investment. For me, I believe Holobaugh’s aggressive striking attack will be the difference in this contest and earn him the UD win.
Ryan Spann (-139) is taking on the 42-year-old Nogueira in a light heavyweight bout. Spann is more athletic, more explosive, and the better striker at this stage of their respective careers. Antonio has only fought once in the last two and a half years. I just don’t see him keeping up with Spann who is 15 years younger. I’m surprised that Spann’s betting odds aren’t higher.
Thiago Alves (-115) is the slight favorite in his bout against Staropoli. These odds are close to even for both men. However, Alves is a knockout artist and Staropoli has never fought anyone the caliber of Thiago. I believe the Brazilian veteran will get this win via TKO.
Jose Aldo (-130) is the slight betting favorite over Alexander Volkanovksi (+110) and fighting in front of his fellow countrymen. I believe that Aldo still has plenty left in the tank to defeat the rising contender in what should be a great fight. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it steals the show.
Anderson Silva (+117) is the underdog in this fight and it makes sense. He is 44 years old and at the end of his career. However, he held up well against Israel Adesanya and didn’t get knocked out or stopped. Cannonier isn’t as good as Israel and he certainly won’t stop Silva. The Spider will get a huge win for his fellow countrymen and they will be celebrating on Saturday night.
Rose Namajunas (+104) is the underdog in her title defense against Andrade. She will have a tough time against Jessica, but I believe she can prevail and retain the title. Andrade is also worthy of a wager and provides good betting value, but I’m taking the champ to win via Decision.
Final Thoughts on UFC 237
UFC 237 has an intriguing blend of veterans taking on prospects and Brazilian legends taking on foreigners looking to spoil the party. I think the main card has some fights that could be really exciting. I’m looking forward to the Jose Aldo fight and the main event with Namajunas taking on Andrade.
On a side note, I’m not thrilled with the handful of “40-somethings” on this card. I believe B.J. Penn and Antonio Nogueira should retire. I’m also not thrilled with a 44-year-old Silva fighting, but hope for the fairy tale ending in Brazil.
UFC 237 should have plenty of action to satiate MMA fans. I lean towards Bellator 221: Chandler vs Pitbull as having the more exciting main card overall. Either way, we’re going to have a great weekend of MMA action.
UFC 237 Betting Recap
Talita Bernardo (-525)
Raoni Barcelos (-550)
Warlley Alves (-147)
Luana Carolina (-170)
Clay Guida (-575)
Irene Aldana (-275)
Kurt Holobaugh (+107)
Ryan Spann (-139)
Carlos Diego Ferreira (-160)
Thiago Alves (-115)
Jose Aldo (-130)
Anderson Silva (+117)
Rose Namajunas (+104)
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. ...
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