UFC Fight Island 3: Whittaker vs Till Main Card Betting Guide

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UFC Whittaker vs Till

On Saturday, July 25th, the UFC will wrap up their Fight Island series of shows with UFC on ESPN 14: Whittaker vs Till, also known as UFC Fight Island 3. The main event of the night is a Top 5 middleweight battle between former champ Robert Whittaker and Darren Till.

The co-main event is a legends battle between Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Mauricio Rua. Also on the main card are notable fighters like Fabricio Werdum, Alexander Gustafsson, Carla Esparza, Paul Craig, and Alex Oliveira.

The main card features seven fights, which is unheard of in the UFC. It’s set to begin at 8 PM ET on ESPN and ESPN+. The preliminary card for UFC Fight Island 3 has eight scheduled bouts and will begin at 5 PM ET.

UFC betting sites have released odds for the entire main card. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine the latest UFC odds and props for this event courtesy of 5Dimes, identify betting value, and score the unanimous decision victory on these predictions.

Khamzat Chimaev vs Rhys McKee

  • Khamzat Chimaev (-1250)
  • Rhys McKee (+800)
  • Over (+165)/Under (-190) 1.5 rounds

The opening bout of the main card features the largest betting odds for the entire event. Khamzat Chimaev is a massive betting favorite with odds listed between -1200 and -1400. Rhys McKee is a huge underdog with odds listed at +675 to +900.

As it stands, there’s no betting value with the moneylines. In fact there’s very little value on most of the primary prop bets. However, we do have one wager that could make us a nice profit. Before I get to that, let’s look at this matchup.

Rhys McKee is making his UFC debut and comes in on a three fight win streak. He turned heads in Cage Warriors over the last 1 ½ years as he showed off some solid striking skills in those fights. Seven of his 10 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s only gone the distance twice in his career.

Khamzat Chimaev is making a historic 10-day turnaround from his UFC debut on July 15th. He dominated John Phillips and won via 2nd round submission. All seven of his pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of TKO/KO.

Chimaev’s debut was exciting as he created a lot of buzz. He has the striking skills to stand and fight while also possessing vicious wrestling skills and submission holds. In short, he’s going to maul McKee on Saturday.

I fully expect Chimaev to get this fight to the mat and finish off McKee via submission (+110). McKee has enough striking skills to land some shots that could hurt Chimaev. The Swedish fighter has such a huge advantage on the mat that I don’t see him wasting time with standing up and striking.

All seven of Chimaev’s fights have ended under 1.5 rounds. I expect that to happen on Saturday as well. Chimaev will make UFC history with two wins in 10 days.

Khamzat Chimaev vs Rhys McKee –Chimaev (-1250)

Under 1.5 rounds (-190)

Fight ends inside the distance (-565)

Chimaev wins inside the distance (-395)

Chimaev wins via submission (+110)

Alex Oliveira vs Peter Sobotta

  • Alex Oliveira (-165)
  • Peter Sobotta (+145)
  • Over (-105)/Under (-115) 2.5 rounds

Peter Sobotta makes his return after a 28 month hiatus. He last fought in March 2018 and lost to Leon Edwards. The German fighter spent the off-time focusing on his personal life, some business ventures and healing from an injury. He feels great now and is excited to be back.

Sobotta has a 4-2 record inside the octagon and has gone 2-1 in his last three fights. 15 of his 17 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of submission. This is the last fight of his UFC contract and he’s hoping get a new deal following the weekend’s show.

Speaking about his opponent, Sobotta had the following praise for Oliveira while also predicting a win in his return:

“He was very active in the time I wasn’t fighting, and for sure he’s a very exciting fighter. A cool guy. All of his fights are always with a lot of action, and that’s what I expect: A fast fight with a lot of action, but I think I’m the better fighter and I think I will win.”

In the time that Sobotta was away from the UFC, Oliveira has had six trips inside the octagon. He went 3-3 in those fights. Oliveira last competed in March and defeated Max Griffin via split decision. The win snapped a three fight losing streak.

17 of his 21 pro wins have come via stoppage with 12 by way of TKO/KO. His last three fights have all gone to a decision. However, oddsmakers feel that this fight won’t go the full three rounds (-155). I have to agree with them.

Oliveira pushes the action, is an aggressive striker and will mix in some takedowns. Sobotta will try to keep up in the striking pace, defend takedowns, and hope to land some big shots of his own. This should provide for plenty of fireworks and a fight that ends inside the distance.

With that said, I am also going with the Under 2.5 rounds (-115). I think these two men will be aggressive from the start of the fight and someone’s bound to find an early stoppage. However, both are tough fighters, so there’s a decent chance they can go the distance as well.

I have a hard time putting my confidence in Sobotta due to the long layoff. Plus, we know how good Oliveira is. I’m taking “Cowboy” to finish off Sobotta by the early 3rd round.

Of all the wagers for this fight, taking Oliveira to win is the safe play. Too much uncertainty over how and when the fight will end.

Alex Oliveira vs Peter Sobotta –Oliveira (-165)

Under 2.5 rounds (-115)

Fight ends inside the distance (-155)

Oliveira wins inside the distance (+157)

Paul Craig vs Gadzhimurad Antigulov

  • Paul Craig (-135)
  • Gadzhimurad Antigulov (+115)
  • Over (+120)/Under (-140) 1.5 rounds

Antigulov hasn’t fought in 15 months and is coming into this contest on a two fight losing streak. He’s also 2-2 in the octagon and looking to snap this skid. The Russian has top notch wrestling skills, which has led to 15 submission wins in his career.

I enjoy watching Paul Craig fight. I expect him to put on another solid performance just like he did last November when he fought Rua to a draw. He’s 2-1-1 in his last four contests and 4-4-1 in his UFC tenure.

11 of his 12 wins have come via submission. He has great jiu-jitsu skills and is a very accomplished grappler.

UFC betting sites heavily favor this fight finishing inside the distance (-425). That’s largely due to the fact these two men have gone the distance just twice in a combined total of 43 pro fights.

With that said, I believe these two grapplers will take this fight Over 1.5 rounds (-135). But, I do expect one of them to get the stoppage, which will most likely come via submission. Yet, there is potential for a TKO/KO as both men have been knocked out at least three times apiece.

Antigulov has only gone to the 3rd round one time. There are some questions about his gas tank. Craig has shown an ability to not fade in fights even when he loses to the better man.

However, I don’t see Antigulov being the better man. I think Craig is the better striker and his grappling game is at least as good as the Russian’s. With that said, there are more paths to victory for Craig and I expect him to get the stoppage victory most likely via submission.

Paul Craig vs Gadzhimurad Antigulov –Craig (-135)

Over 1.5 rounds (+120),

Fight ends inside the distance (-425)

Craig wins inside the distance (+115)

Craig wins via submission (+220)

Marina Rodriguez vs Carla Esparza

  • Marina Rodriguez (-175)
  • Carla Esparza (+155)
  • Over (-410)/Under (+330) 2.5 rounds

This is the second of two women’s fights on the night. This is also a Top 9 battle in the women’s strawweight division.

The 7th ranked Carla Esparza is a UFC veteran having been with the promotion since 2014. She has a 7-4 record inside the octagon and is riding a three fight win streak into this contest. Her last bout was in May and she defeated Waterson via split decision.

The #9 Rodriguez is undefeated in her career and has gone 2-0-2 inside the octagon. She last competed in December and fought to a draw against Cynthia Calvillo. Rodriguez will have a six inch height and two inch reach advantage.

This fight is a stylistic matchup between the striker Rodriguez and the grinder Esparza. However, Rodriguez is fully prepared for Esparza’s grappling strategy:

“She’s a former UFC champion. I believe that she will look to grapple me, as did all my UFC opponents to date. If she, however, chooses to strike with me, the fans will be the real winners. It would be electrifying. But we know that’s not her game. She’ll look to take me down. And we’re training for that since my first fight in the UFC.”

With that said, it’s clear that this fight is going over 2.5 rounds (-410) and it will go the distance (-365). These two women have gone the distance in 20 of their combined 36 total fights.

I’m really surprised at how much of an underdog Esparza is. Rodriguez had some problems against Calvillo in her last fight, mostly getting taken down three times in just four attempts.

Esparza will go for takedowns every chance she gets. Furthermore, she will be content with maintaining top control for as long as possible.

There’s a small chance that Esparza could eat a TKO/KO if she’s reckless. With that said, she’s shown an improvement since her TKO loss to Suarez two years ago and I expect that trend to continue in this fight.

The safe play would be taking Rodriguez, but I like Esparza to pull off the upset with a decision win (+185).

Marina Rodriguez vs Carla Esparza –Esparza (+155)

Over 2.5 rounds (-410)

Fight goes the distance (-365)

Esparza wins via decision (+185)

Alexander Gustafsson vs Fabricio Werdum

  • Alexander Gustafsson (-330)
  • Fabricio Werdum (+270)
  • Over (-105)/Under (-115) 2.5 rounds

This heavyweight battle has some interesting subplots heading into the event. First, these two men sparred 10 years ago, and depending on who you are talking to, they had a tough sparring session that led to Werdum getting his nose broken.

Speaking of Werdum, this is his last fight for the UFC. He has already confirmed that he will not re-sign with the company after this bout.

This is Gustafsson’s first fight as a heavyweight. He was a former light heavyweight contender. Additionally, Gustafsson is coming out of retirement as he had left the sport 13 months ago after losing to Anthony Smith.

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With all of these interesting storylines, this heavyweight fight has some intrigue: will Werdum go out a winner or will Gustafsson win in his UFC debut?

Despite making his debut, after coming out of retirement, Gustafsson is a large betting favorite. I am a bit perplexed by these odds considering he’s never competed at this weight class before. With that said, he is taller and will have a slight reach advantage over Werdum.

Gustafsson is 2-2 in his last four fights. 14 of his 18 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of TKO/KO.

At 42 years old, Werdum’s best days are behind him. He’s lost two fights in a row and is 2-3 in his last five contests. Although ranked 14th in the division, Werdum hasn’t been a contender for several years now. 17 of his 23 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of submission.

Werdum’s path to victory is taking down Gustafsson and getting the submission. The Swede’s path to victory is keeping the fight upright and using his striking skills, speed and technical boxing advantages.

The fight has an O/U of 2.5 rounds, but the odds are close because oddsmakers can’t decide on how the fight will end. They do have this contest favored to end inside the distance (-145). I agree with that sentiment, but I’m not sure when that stoppage will occur.

There’s no value with the moneylines and the O/U is too close to feel comfortable with. For me, I like the prop bet of the fight not going to a decision as the best wager for this contest. Either Werdum gets the submission or Gustafsson gets the TKO/KO.

I don’t like Gustafsson’s odds here as they’re too high and there’s just too much uncertainty over how he will look as a heavyweight. Yet, I can’t bet on a 42 year old Werdum who is well past his prime.

Take the safe play and go with Gustafsson, but only put a small wager on it. The best option for this fight is the prop that it ends inside the distance.

Alexander Gustafsson vs Fabricio Werdum –Gustafsson (-330)

Under 2.5 rounds (-115)

Fight ends inside the distance (-145)

Gustafsson wins inside the distance (+130)

Mauricio Shogun Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

  • Mauricio Shogun Rua (-185)
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+160)
  • Over (-115)/Under (-105) 1.5 rounds

This will be the third time these two men have fought against each other. Rua won their first meeting in Pride 15 years ago. In 2015, Nogueira got his revenge at UFC 190. Both men won via decisions. Nogueira is hoping to win this nostalgic battle and ride off into the sunset.

The 44 year old Nogueira last fought 14 months ago and lost via KO in the 1st round to Spann. He’s 2-4 in his last six UFC fights and has said he will retire after this weekend’s contest. 14 of his 23 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO.

Rua has seen a resurgence in his career having gone 4-1-1 in his last six contests. “Shogun” last competed in November 2019 and fought to a draw against Paul Craig in an exciting battle. 21 of his 26 pro wins have come via TKO/KO.

The O/U for this fight is 1.5 rounds with the odds very close. The Over is slightly favored at -115. The fight ending inside the distance is set at -245. I like both of these favorites to hit. I don’t see it going the full three rounds, but I do see it getting past the halfway mark of the fight.

With that said, I don’t see any way that “Little Nog” wins this contest. He’s six years older than Rua and was knocked out in his last bout. I believe he will put up an admirable effort in his final fight, but Rua’s knockout power is still there and it’s still scary especially for fighters over the age of 40.

I’m taking Rua to win this fight via TKO/KO (+135) probably in the late 2nd round. At a combined age of 82 years old, I don’t see these two men lasting a full three rounds like their first two fights.

Lastly, I’m not the least bit excited about this match. However, it’s a good change of pace before the main event which is what we’re all pumped up about.

Mauricio Shogun Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira –Rua (-185)

Over 1.5 rounds (-115)

Fight ends inside the distance (-245)

Rua wins inside the distance (+120)

Rua wins via TKO/KO (+130)

Robert Whittaker vs Darren Till

  • Robert Whittaker (-130)
  • Darren Till (+110)
  • Over (+110)/Under (-130) 4.5 rounds

Here’s a main event that has everyone buzzing as the #1 ranked middleweight Robert Whittaker takes on the rising Darren Till who is currently ranked 5th in the division.

Till is 1-2 in his last three bouts, but did snap a two fight losing streak by beating Kelvin Gastelum last November. He’s a powerful striker with 10 TKO/KO wins on his resume.

It should be noted that Till came up from welterweight last November in that fight against Gastelum. This will be his second fight within the division. Let’s also not forget, Till was 17-0-1 in his MMA career before suffering that two fight losing streak.

As for the upcoming fight, Till had the following comments about the potential result:

“Me knocking him out hopefully. I don’t ever imagine him knocking me out. That’s it. I imagine myself knocking him out hopefully.”

Whittaker is the former middleweight champ having lost the title nine months ago to Adesanya. This is his first fight since then and he’s looking to get back into the title scene with a big win this weekend.

Whittaker had won nine in a row before his title loss and was the top middleweight in the promotion. However, some health issues and a poor performance knocked Whittaker out of the title picture for now. Yet, I don’t expect that to last for too long.

Like Till, Whittaker also shared his thoughts on the upcoming middleweight clash:

“I have such an arsenal of weapons at my disposal I can take it where I want it. If I want to take it to the ground, I can take it to the ground. If I want to knock him out, I can try. This fight is huge. A lot of questions and answers should arise from this fight.”

This fight is going to be explosive. We have two strikers who are fearless and will go in for the knockout. You can’t ask for much more than that in a main event fight.

This bout will come down to Whittaker’s conditioning and mindset after taking time off from the sport due to burn out. If he’s on top of his game then I believe he will finish off Till. If not, then Till will get the biggest win of his career.

The Over/Under is set at 4.5 rounds. However, I really like William Hill’s O/U of 3.5 rounds better. The Over is -125 odds. I would take that instead of 5Dimes’ listed O/U.

Also, there’s some value with the fight going to a decision at +115 odds. For Till, five of his last eight fights have gone the distance. Whittaker has gone the distance in two of his last three contests and four of his last seven.

I don’t want to see either of these talented fighters lose, but one will. With that said, I think the difference in this fight will be Whittaker’s ability to get Till down to the mat. These takedowns will change up the flow and momentum while putting Whittaker in a position to control the outcome.

Furthermore, the takedowns could give Whittaker the edge in scoring for the round since both men are expected to be pretty even in the stand up.

With that said, I am taking Whittaker to win via decision. He can rack up more points through takedowns and maintaining top control than Till will in the standup. Yet, keep in mind, both men can finish off the other, which makes this fight even more dangerous to bet on.

Both moneylines have appeal, but this fight could go either way which means Till has more value. He’s worth a small flier. I’m not a fan of the O/U, but William Hill offers a better chance at hitting if the fight doesn’t go the distance.

Even if the fight finishes inside the distance, I still believe it will go at least into the 3rd round (-240). Lastly, since I’m taking Whittaker to win the fight, a wager on the former champ to win via decision is at +310 odds.

Robert Whittaker vs Darren Till –Whittaker (-130)

Over 4.5 rounds (+110)

Fight goes the distance (+115)

Whittaker wins via decision (+310)

Fight starts round 3 (-240)

Favorite UFC Fight Island 3 Value Plays

The following wagers are my favorite value plays for the main card UFC Fight Island 3:

Chimaev Wins Via Submission (+110)

Chimaev is the biggest betting favorite for the weekend at -1250 odds against the debuting Rhys Mckee. Although he’s making a 10-day turnaround, Chimaev is so impressive that I believe he will dominate McKee.

The Over/Under is set at 1.5 rounds with the Under favored. All seven of Chimaev’s wins have come via stoppage under 1.5 rounds.

McKee has solid striking skills especially from a distance. I expect Chimaev to close the distance and take down McKee early in the fight. From there, he will maul McKee until finding a submission hold for the win.

Craig Wins Inside the Distance (+115)

The Over/Under for this fight is set at 1.5 rounds with the Under favored (-140). Even more of a favorite is the prop wager that this fight will end inside the distance (-425). Combined, these two men have gone the distance in just two fights out of a combined 43 contests.

There’s no debating that this fight will end inside the distance. So, it comes down to which fighter you think will win.

For me, I believe Craig is a better striker and is just as good of a grappler as Antigulov. I’m taking Craig to wins this fight via stoppage inside the distance with it being in the late 2nd round.

Rua Wins via TKO/KO (+130)

At a combined age of 82 years old, I don’t see Rua and Nogueira going the full three rounds like they did in their first two close fights. Although the O/U of 1.5 rounds is listed with tight odds, MMA betting sites heavily favor this bout ending inside the distance (-245) and I completely agree.

With that said, Rua has been knocking out people even in his late 30s. His last two wins have come via TKO/KO. Furthermore, “Little Nog” has four TKO/KO losses in his career including his last two defeats. Take “Shogun” to add another knockout win to his legendary career.

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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