UFC Fight Island 3: Preliminary Card Betting Preview, Odds and Picks

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Whitaker vs Till UFC

On Saturday, July 25th, the UFC will be live for their third and final event from Fight Island with UFC on ESPN 14: Whittaker vs Till, also known as UFC Fight Island 3. This event will have an unprecedented number of fights with seven bouts on the main card and eight bouts on the preliminary card.

With such a large fight lineup, it only makes sense that we take an in-depth betting look at each portion of the card. For this article, it’s all about the prelims which features plenty of talented fighters like Nathaniel Wood, Movsar Evloev and more. The prelims begin at 5 PM ET on ESPN and ESPN+.

UFC betting sites have released odds and props for the full eight bout prelim card. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these UFC wagers, identify any potential value, and ground and pound these predictions.

Nathaniel Wood vs John Castaneda

  • Nathaniel Wood (-525)
  • John Castaneda (+415)
  • Over (+105)/Under (-125) 2.5 rounds

The opening bout of the UFC Fight Island preliminary card also features the biggest odds disparity for this portion of the event.

John Castaneda is the biggest underdog for the prelims as he makes his UFC debut on Saturday. Castaneda last fought in April 2019 and has taken this fight on a few weeks’ notice after replacing Uman Nurmagomedov.

Castaneda is 1-2 in his last three fights and has spent most of his career in Combate Estrellas. 12 of his 17 pro wins have come via stoppage, evenly split among knockouts and submissions. He’s 5-3 when going the distance.

Nathaniel Wood saw his eight fight win streak come to an end in February when he lost via 3rd round TKO to John Dodson. 14 of his 16 pro wins have come via stoppage with nine by way of TKO/KO. Wood has a strong striking arsenal, which he’s greatly improved throughout his career.

I don’t see this fight going the distance (-155). I believe Wood is just too good of a fighter for the overmatched Castaneda. I also don’t see this bout going deep into the time limit. Wood should be able to put away Castaneda Under 2.5 rounds (-125), most likely in the second.

Castaneda just has too many weaknesses to defeat Wood or even hold up for three full rounds. Wood should take this via TKO/KO in the 2nd.

Nathaniel Wood vs John Castaneda –Wood (-525)

Under 2.5 rounds (-125)

Under 2.5 rounds (-125)

Fight ends inside the distance (-155)

Wood wins via TKO/KO (+450)

Ramazan Emeev vs Niklas Stolze

  • Ramazan Emeev (-425)
  • Niklas Stolze (+340)
  • Over (-290)/Under (+245) 2.5 rounds

Here we have another matchup where the betting odds feature a large disparity. The value in this fight will be with some of the prop bets. Niklas Stolze replaces Shavkat Rakhmonov on two weeks’ notice due to an injury.

Stolze is making his UFC debut on Saturday riding in on a four fight win streak. He last competed in April 2019 and has decent striking skills. Nine of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission.

Emeev will be making his 5th trip inside the octagon and has a record of 3-1. He started off 3-0 in the UFC before losing via unanimous decision to Anthony Rocco Martin last November. 10 of his 18 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of submission. He’s fought one time in 22 months.

Emeev is a grinder who will slow down the pace of a fight and look to take his opponent down. He won’t put himself in reckless positions, but will methodically chip away at his opponent, outwork him and either find the finish or settle for the decision win.

This fight is heavily favored to go Over 2.5 rounds (-290) because of Emeev’s style. I expect it to go the distance (-270) as well. 10 of Emeev’s 22 pro fights have gone the distance and he’s 8-2 in those contests. He’s gone the distance in five straight fights including all four UFC contests.

I don’t see Stolze being able to outgrind Emeev in this bout or finish him off. Instead, this will be another Emeev grind fest for the decision win.

Ramazan Emeev vs Niklas Stolze –Emeev (-425)

Over 2.5 rounds (-290)

Fight goes the distance (-270)

Emeev wins via decision (-170)

Bethe Correia vs Pannie Kianzad

  • Bethe Correia (+135)
  • Pannie Kianzad (-155)
  • Over (-450)/Under (+360) 2.5 rounds

In the first of two women’s fights of the night, the #13 ranked Bethe Correia takes on Pannie Kianzad in this bantamweight bout.

Despite being ranked, Correia is a sizable underdog for this fight. She started off her career 3-0 in the UFC, but then went 1-4-1 in her next handful of fights with losses to Rousey, Pennington, Holm and Aldana.

Correia last fought 10 months ago and won via unanimous decision over Eubanks. 11 of her 16 pro fights have gone the distance. She’s 9-1-1 in those 11 bouts.

Kianzad is 3-2 in her last five fights, but did pick up a victory in her last trip inside the octagon. She defeated Clark via unanimous decision. Kianzad has gone the distance in 11 of 17 fights with a record of 9-2. She will have a two inch height and four inch reach advantage over Correia.

With these two ladies combining for 22 decision bouts in 33 total fights, it’s easy to see why the Over 2.5 rounds (-450) and the fight going the distance (-405) are so heavily favored. There’s no reason to bet against either of the favored options for this contest.

Really, this fight will come down to which athlete will win via decision. That will be predicated on which fighter can implement her game plan the best. Correia likes to get inside and slug it out while Kianzad likes to strike from a distance.

Since she has the height and reach advantages, and showed that she can produce a high volume of strikes, I like Kianzad to win via decision. Neither woman will be in danger of a knockout, so it comes down to who lands the most strikes and I believe that will be Kianzad.

Bethe Correia vs Pannie Kianzad –Kianzad (-155)

Over 2.5 rounds (-450)

Fight goes the distance (-405)

Kianzad wins via decision (+110)

Tanner Boser vs Raphael Pessoa

  • Tanner Boser (-265)
  • Raphael Pessoa (+225)
  • Over (-155)/Under (+135) 2.5 rounds

Pessoa started off 9-0 in his career and earned a shot at the UFC. He lost in his debut via 1st round submission to Gane. He bounced back in his next fight by defeating Hughes via unanimous decision, which took place in October 2019. This will be Pessoa’s first fight since then.

Seven of his 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of TKO/KO. Six of those stoppages have also come in the first round.

Boser is stepping in two weeks’ notice to replace Justin Tafa. Additionally, Boser is making a four week turnaround. He last fought Philippe Lins and won via 1st round knockout. It was a surprise outcome as Boser showed some improvement along with his power.

Boser is now 2-1 inside the UFC. 11 of his 18 pro wins have come via stoppage. The Canadian has nine TKO/KOs in his career.

The Over 2.5 rounds (-155) and the fight going the distance (-140) are favored for this fight. It’s a tough call in deciding on these props or not. 13 of Boser’s 25 pro fights have gone the distance, but Pessoa has only done that three times.

Additionally, Pessoa has never been knocked out and Boser isn’t known for being a submission artist. More than likely, this fight will come down to which combatant can land the most power punches and strikes overall.

I’m going to say that Pessoa’s chin holds up and he goes the distance. But, after what Boser did in his last fight, I think he will be too much for Pessoa to handle. Boser appears to be trending upward with his footwork, power, distance striking and cardio. Take the Canadian to win via decision.

Tanner Boser vs Raphael Pessoa –Boser (-265)

Over 2.5 rounds (-155)

Fight goes the distance (-140)

Boser to win via decision (+105)

Mike Grundy vs Movsar Evloev

  • Mike Grundy (+170)
  • Movsar Evloev (-200)
  • Over (-255)/Under (+215) 2.5 rounds

Here we have another prelim fight that heavily favors going the distance (-245) and Over 2.5 rounds (-255). This is largely based on each fighter’s recent contests and the matchup itself.

Grundy has only gone the distance in three of his 13 pro fights. However, two of them have come in his last four bouts. Grundy last competed in March 2019 and won his UFC debut via 2nd round TKO over Narimani.

He is a highly successful wrestler with multiple accolades on his amateur resume. It’s not a surprise that eight of his 12 wins have come via submission because Grundy prefers to grapple. Yet, he does have some pop in his punches.

Evloev is the former M-1 bantamweight champion and remains undefeated in his career. He’s 2-0 inside the octagon with his last UFC fight coming in October 2019 where he defeated Barzola via unanimous decision. Seven of his 12 wins have come via stoppage.

Evloev is 5-0 when going the distance and has gone the full three rounds in both of his UFC fights, which oddsmakers feel that he will do it in a third straight contest.

Both men can grapple, but Evloev has a better submission game. As for the standup, I like Evloev’s jab to do some damage against Grundy. My only concern for Evloev is his gas tank and whether or not he will fade late in the fight like he did in his last contest.

With that said, I’m leaning towards Evloev to squeak out a decision victory over the tough Mike Grundy. Yet, of all the fights on the prelim card, I have the least confidence in this one.

I think there’s value in Evloev winning via decision, but I also think that Grundy is worthy of a small flier.

Mike Grundy vs Movsar Evloev –Evloev (-200)

Over 2.5 rounds (-255)

Fight goes the distance (-245)

Evloev wins via decision (+105)

Tom Aspinall vs Jake Collier

  • Tom Aspinall (-235)
  • Jake Collier (+195)
  • Over (-145)/Under (+125) 1.5 rounds

This heavyweight fight was originally scheduled to take place in March, but was scrapped when UFC had to go on hiatus.

Jake Collier is a sizable underdog having alternated between wins and losses since joining the UFC in 2015. He’s 3-3 inside the octagon, but hasn’t fought since November 2017 due to injuries. Eight of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO.

Tom Aspinall will make his UFC debut this weekend and enters the promotion on a three fight win streak. His last loss came in 2016 where he was disqualified. His only stoppage defeat came in 2015 via submission.

All seven of Aspinall’s wins have come via stoppage. Even more impressive is that all seven of his stoppage victories have come in the 1st round.

Any way you look at this matchup, it’s bad news for Collier. First, Aspinall will weigh probably 30 pounds more that Collier, making him the heaviest opponent that Jake’s faced. Additionally, Aspinall is taller and has a slight reach advantage.

Second, Collier has been out of action for three years and it’s hard to imagine that there won’t be rustiness in addition to concerns over his stamina.

Collier’s best chance at winning is taking down Aspinall and looking for the submission or ground and pound. Unfortunately, Aspinall has a decent takedown defense and is probably too big for Collier to successfully wrestle down to the mat.

It’s clear this fight won’t be going the distance (-210), but the Over/Under of 1.5 rounds is a bit tricky. This is a step up in competition for Aspinall, so it could take longer to put away Collier. Yet, if we look at the trends, we see that Collier has been stopped three times in under 1.5 rounds. So, go with the Under.

My favorite wager for this fight is taking Aspinall to win inside the distance (115). I really like this value for a fighter who’s never even gone into the 2rd round and has only gone to the second half of the 2nd round on two occasions.

Aspinall’s last three fights totaled 3:33 seconds in time. And, the English fighter won all three of those fights via 1st round TKO/KO.

Tom Aspinall vs Jake Collier –Aspinall (-235)

Under 1.5 rounds (-145)

Fight ends inside the distance (-210)

Aspinall wins inside the distance (-115)

Jesse Ronson vs Nicolas Dalby

  • Jesse Ronson (+220)
  • Nicolas Dalby (-260)
  • Over (-220)/Under (+180) 2.5 rounds

The Canadian Jess Ronson is a large underdog for his second stint in the UFC. He first competed in the octagon in 2013-2014, but went 0-3 and was cut. Ronson is 1-2 in his last three fights, but did pick up a win in February.

Ronson is stepping in on short notice for Danny Roberts who pulled out due to an injury.  17 of his 21 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of TKO/KO. He is 4-7 in fights that go the distance.

Dalby is also making a return to the UFC after his first stint took place in 2015-16 where he went 1-2-1. He returned to the UFC last September after going unbeaten in four fights. Dalby defeated Oliveira via unanimous decision.

10 of his 18 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of TKO/KO. He’s 8-3-1 in fights that have gone the distance.

MMA betting sites favor this fight to go Over 2.5 rounds (-220) and to go the distance (-185). It’s hard to argue against either line. Neither fighter inspires confidence. But, Dalby will be the bigger man in this contest and has looked better inside the octagon than Ronson.

I’m honestly surprised that Ronson was even on UFC’s radar having lost two of his last three fights and looking inferior in his two PFL bouts. With that said, the promotion was desperate for replacement fighters during this pandemic.

Unfortunately, I just don’t see many paths to victory for Ronson. Dalby is bigger, stronger, and the better kickboxer. As long as he’s not reckless in the beginning of the fight, I see Dalby earning a unanimous decision victory on Saturday.

Jesse Ronson vs Nicolas Dalby –Dalby (-260)

Over 2.5 rounds (-220)

Fight goes to decision (-185)

Dalby wins via decision (+110)

Francisco Trinaldo vs Jai Herbert

  • Francisco Trinaldo (-145)
  • Jai Herbert (+125)
  • Over (-165)/Under (+145) 2.5 rounds

Jai Herbert will make his UFC debut this weekend and enters the promotion on a six fight win streak, which included Herbert winning and defending the Cage Warriors lightweight title. Nine of his 10 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO.

Herbert has only gone the distance in one fight. He will have a four inch height advantage and a couple inch reach advantage as well.

The 41 year old Trinaldo is a longtime UFC veteran having first joined the promotion in 2012. For his career, Trinaldo has a 15-6 record inside the octagon. He’s won two straight contests, including his last fight which came in March. He defeated Makdessi via unanimous decision.

13 of his 25 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO. 16 of his 32 pro fights have gone the distance. He’s 12-4 in those contests.

I do not like this matchup in regards to betting on it. The Over 2.5 rounds (-165) and fight goes to a decision (-150) are favored and rightfully so. However, neither option offers any betting value.

Furthermore, Herbert has the height and reach advantage which will give Trinaldo problems. Yet, Herbert also has a subpar takedown defense and isn’t great in the clinch against the fence, which are two areas that Trinaldo performs well at.

I’m not excited about taking a 41 year old in this matchup, but his experience is too much to overlook. Additionally, he’s never been knocked out and Herbert isn’t a grappler with submission skills.

This fight will go the full three rounds and I expect Trinaldo to outpoint Herbert through controlling the action either along the fence or on the mat. Trinaldo’s ability to close the distance and smother Herbert will be the difference in the main event of the prelims.

Francisco Trinaldo vs Jai Herbert –Trinaldo (-145)

Over 2.5 rounds (-165)

Fight goes the distance (-150)

Trinaldo wins via decision (+195)

Favorite UFC Fight Island 3 Value Bets for the Prelims

The following is a list of my favorite value plays for this UFC event:

Wood Wins Inside the Distance (-120)

Nathaniel Wood is a -525 betting favorite over John Castaneda. He’s the second biggest favorite for the entire UFC Fight Island 3 show and the biggest for the preliminary card.

Wood has only gone the distance in two of his 20 pro fights and is a step above Castaneda in talent. I expect Wood to finish this fight in the 2nd round.

Kianzad Wins via Decision (+110)

Pannie Kianzad is the favorite (-155) over Bethe Correia (+135) in this bout. Combined, these two women have gone the distance in 22 of 33 total fights. The Over 2.5 rounds (-450) and the fight going the distance (-405) are heavily favored.

Since neither fighter is in danger of being knocked out, this fight will go the distance. Kianzad has the height and reach advantages and will outstrike Correia to win on points.

Aspinall Wins Inside the Distance (-115)

Online sportsbooks favor this fight to end inside the distance (-210) and have an O/U of 1.5 rounds. Three of Collier’s four losses have all come in Under 1.5 rounds. Furthermore, Collier hasn’t fought in three years.

For Aspinall, all seven of his wins have come via stoppage in the 1st round. He’s never even gone to the 3rd round of a fight. I like the British fighter to win this contest inside the distance via TKO/KO.

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. ...

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