On Saturday, May 4th, the UFC will be live from the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, for UFC Fight Night 151: Iaquinta vs Cerrone also known as UFC Fight Night: Iaquinta vs Cowboy. Officially, this is the second time the UFC has held an event in Ottawa. The first time was in June of 2016.
As you can guess by the name, the main event of the night is a lightweight battle between Al Iaquinta and one of UFC’s most popular fighters Donald “The Cowboy” Cerrone. The winner of this fight will be positioned near the front of the line for a lightweight title shot.
The main card begins at 8 PM ET and has several notable names looking to further their climb up their respective divisions like Derek Brunson and Cub Swanson. There’s also some rising prospects on this card, trying to make a name for themselves. Although there are no title fights, UFC Fight Night 151 is certainly shaping up to be action-packed. The event begins at 5 PM ET with the preliminary card. In total, there are 12 fights scheduled for UFC Fight Night 151: Iaquinta vs Cowboy.
MMA betting sites have released their odds for the event. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds, look for any betting value or potential upsets, and KO our picks.
The preliminary card features six fights that begin at 5 PM ET and will be streamed live on ESPN+. All betting odds are courtesy of 5Dimes.
Mitch Gagnon (12-4) vs Cole Smith (6-0)
Mitch Gagnon (-120)
Cole Smith (+100)
Brian Kelleher was originally set to face Gagnon, but Kelleher pulled out of the fight due to injury. Smith stepped in on three weeks’ notice.
Smith is undefeated in his pro career, but he’s making his UFC debut on short notice. Half of his wins have come via submission. Cole does have gold on his resume as he did win the BFL bantamweight title in 2017. He successfully defended it twice before coming to the UFC.
It’s been over two years since Gagnon last fought. He first joined the UFC nearly seven years ago and went 4-3 during his seven octagon fights. Gagnon does have 10 submission wins out of 12 career victories. At his peak, Gagnon was a scary grappler. However, he’s 34 years old now and coming off a long layoff.
So, this fight is a battle of two unknowns. Smith is four years younger, has a five-inch height advantage and has fought four times in the last two years. I believe he’s trending upwards while Gagnon has to prove that he still has some juice left. He did lose his last two fights before the layoff.
Smith is from Canada and will have the support from the fans. I’m taking Smith in the small betting upset.
UFC Bet: Cole Smith (+100)
Arjan Bhullar (8-1) vs Juan Adams (5-0)
Arjan Bhullar (+100)
Juan Adams (-120)
In another close fight according to the oddsmakers, Adams is the slight favorite over the Canadian Bhullar. Adams last fought in December 2018, and pulled off the upset against Chris de la Rocha in his octagon debut. He earned his shot by winning a fight on DWTNCS last July.
All five of Adams’ fights have ended with a KO/TKO victory. His UFC debut did go into the third round before he TKO’d Chris de la Rocha. That was the first time he went beyond the first round. Adams will have a 5.5-inch reach and a five-inch height advantage over his opponent.
Arjan Bhullar has gone 2-1 inside the Octagon since joining the UFC in the fall of 2017. Bhullar is a solid grappler and has punching power as well. He dominated Marcelo Golm in his last fight and won via UD. Bhullar has proved that he can go the distance in his fights with five decision wins out of eight career victories.
Bhullar’s endurance also appears to be far greater than Adams’. Furthermore, Arjan will be the best wrestler that Adams has faced in his short career. Juan’s cardio looked rather poor in his fight against de la Rocha. So, he will have to show a remarkable improvement in order to survive three rounds with Bhullar.
Bhullar has experience, stamina, and grappling on his side. I believe these three aspects will give him the advantage in this fight and the win. As long as he stays within a phone booth with Adams, he will win. If Adams can keep this fight upright and at a distance, then he will win via TKO with that reach and power advantage.
UFC Bet: Arjan Bhullar (+100)
Kyle Nelson (12-2) vs Matt Sayles (7-2)
Kyle Nelson (+190)
Matt Sayles (-230)
Kyle Nelson comes in as a sizeable underdog despite being the taller fighter by three inches and also having a 3.5-inch reach advantage. Nelson had a six-fight win streak snapped last December when he lost to Ferreira in his UFC debut. It was a tough matchup as Ferreira was a big step up in competition for Nelson at the time.
Matt Sayles also lost in his UFC debut, but that was last August. He’s had eight months off to think about the loss and better prepare for his next fight. Sayles has a lot of power in his right hand. Six of his seven career wins have come via KO/TKO. Both of his losses have come via decision, which is what happened last year when he lost to Sheymon Moraes via UD.
Both fighters looked good in their respective UFC debuts, but they went up against opponents that had the slight advantage. Now, these two combatants will step inside the Octagon to take on each other in a matchup that’s closer than what the oddsmakers have it as.
The smart money is on Sayles to win this fight. He has the power advantage and is great in defending the takedown. He also has a solid grappling defense as well. I’m taking Sayles to win via UD unless he can score a TKO in the latter portion of the fight.
UFC Bet: Matt Sayles (-230)
Kyle Prepolec (12-5) vs Nordine Taleb (14-6)
Kyle Prepolec (+275)
Nordine Taleb (-335)
Siyar Bahadurzada was originally set to face Taleb at this event but pulled out two weeks prior to the fight night due to injury. Prepolec will replace Siyar in his UFC debut. Because Kyle Prepolec is from Canada, he will have the crowd behind him. Seven of his twelve professional wins have come via KO/TKO, so Prepolec does have some pop in his strikes. He also won the BTC super lightweight belt last summer.
Nordine Taleb has been with the UFC for five years now and has seen his octagon career go up and down. Over that span, Taleb is 6-4 and riding a two-fight losing streak into this weekend’s bout. Half of Nordine’s wins have come via TKO/KO and the other half have come via Decision.
Taleb has both the UFC and professional experience. He’s also eight years older and four inches taller. But the biggest advantage that Taleb has over Prepolec is his grappling skills, and that will be the deciding factor in this contest. I expect Nordine Taleb to take this fight to the mat and grind his opponent for three rounds. I’m taking Taleb to get the eighth decision victory of his career this weekend.
UFC Bet: Nordine Taleb (-335)
Aiemann Zahabi (7-1) vs Vince Morales (8-3)
Aiemann Zahabi (-155)
Vince Morales (+135)
Vince Morales comes into this contest having lost two of his last three fights. He’s a solid striker with five KO/TKO wins out of eight career victories. Morales lost his DWTNCS fight last July via submission and then went back to Bellator where he fought once before. Morales looked good in that fight as he won via UD. The UFC decided to give him a chance in the octagon, but he lost that via UD last November.
Zahabi is a Canadian fighter making his return to the octagon for the first time since November 2017, when he lost to Ramos via KO in the third round. That loss snapped a seven-fight win streak including his UFC debut over two years ago.
Morales is a decent striker, but he lacks a ground game. Zahabi is a decent striker with an even better ground game. There are concerns over how Zahabi will look after a long layoff. But if u take away the layoff, this matchup favors Zahabi in many ways. Most notably, Zahabi should easily control the fight from the ground.
I believe Zahabi will look to take the fight to the ground and score the submission win in front of his fellow Canadian countrymen. Two of his seven pro wins have come via submission, while two of Morales’ three losses have come via submission.
UFC Bet: Aiemann Zahabi (-155)
Macy Chiasson (4-0) vs Sarah Moras (5-4)
Macy Chiasson (-700)
Sarah Moras (+500)
Macy Chiasson replaces the originally scheduled Leah Letson due to unspecified medical issues. Unfortunately for Moras, her chances at winning went from slightly possible to no chance at all. That’s also reflected in the betting odds as Macy Chiasson is the biggest favorite of the night and Moras is the biggest underdog on the card.
The one thing that Sarah has going for her is the creative nickname of “Cheesecake.” Otherwise, she has struggled in the UFC. Moras joined the promotion five years ago, but has only fought five times during that span. She has a 2-3 record overall inside the octagon. Moras has lost her last two fights both via UD. All four of her losses have come via decision.
Macy Chiasson is making a quick turnaround as she fought at UFC 235 on March 2. She won via TKO in less than two minutes of the first round. It was an impressive performance. Chiasson is 2-0 with the UFC and has shown a solid balance in skills. Let’s also not forget her great run on TUF 28 as she ran the table.
This is a bad matchup for Moras as she gives up two inches in height and five inches in reach as well as being an inferior striker to her opponent. I think this fight could get ugly in a hurry. Chiasson can out-grapple Moras on the ground and easily dispatch her in the stand-up department.
Chiasson is easily the bet to take in this fight. The only question is whether she will KO or tap out Moras. I think the odds slightly favor a TKO victory for Chiasson.
UFC Bet: Macy Chiasson (-700)
UFC Fight Night 151 Main Card
The main card is scheduled to begin at 8 PM ET and will feature six fights that can be seen live on ESPN+. All betting odds are courtesy of 5Dimes.
Marc-Andre Barriault (11-1) vs Andrew Sanchez (10-4)
Marc-Andre Barriault (+140)
Andrew Sanchez (-160)
Andrew Sanchez is a solid UFC fighter, but one that hasn’t lived up to his full potential according to some pundits. He swept through TUF 23 and showed that he was the best. However, he only has an official UFC record of 3-2 and has lost two of his last three fights. Five of Sanchez’s ten career wins have come via KO/TKO and another two have come via submission. He will be going into hostile territory this weekend and taking on Canadian cult hero.
Ironically, these two men sparred against each other right before the UFC made this fight. So, the two combatants have experience with each other inside the cage. Sanchez is taking this fight very seriously and states that Barriault has his full attention:
“It’s kind of crazy. He’s from Canada, obviously, and he comes to Tristar sometimes and he came and sparred me. He sparred me on Friday, the matchmakers called on Saturday and offered me the fight. What are the chances? It was hellacious sparring. We did so many rounds. It was a bit of a tape measuring competition because he wanted to test himself against a UFC guy because he’s a newcomer. I knew he wanted to test himself and he’s not from the gym technically so we’re just trying to murder each other. I know him very well. I felt everything he has to offer and vice versa. You can’t sleep on the kid. He’s got my full attention. I’m not underestimating this guy.”
Marc-Andre Barriault has won eight straight fights and championship belts in two different weight classes for one of Canada’s top MMA promotions. He’s a very dangerous striker with eight KO/TKO wins out of eleven career victories. This is a highly anticipated UFC debut and it’s going to be crazy as he fights in front of his fellow countrymen.
I like Sanchez as a fighter, but I think he’s walking into a hornet’s nest. I believe Barriault is going to get a storybook ending to his UFC debut and win via TKO. Three of Sanchez’s four career losses have come via KO/TKO and I believe this will be the fifth one. I’m taking Barriault to win the fight in a betting upset.
UFC Bet: Marc-Andre Barriault (+140)
Walt Harris (11-7) vs Sergey Spivak (9-0)
Walt Harris (-155)
Sergey Spivak (+135)
Walt Harris was originally scheduled to face Aleksei Oleinik, but the Russian heavyweight was removed from the card to replace Alexander Volkov at UFC Fight Night 149. So, the UFC put Sergey Spivak in Oleinik’s place on one month’s notice.
Spivak has stopped all nine of his opponents with four KO/TKO wins and five submission victories in his career. The 24-year-old prospect has also captured a regional title as he’s displayed striking power, takedown skills, and a solid ground and pound attack. But that was all done on a regional level. So, the biggest question mark for Spivak is whether he can do this in the UFC or not.
For Harris, his last fight was overturned following his win over Andrei Arlovski. He ended up failing a post-fight drug test, but it was later proven that he took a contaminated supplement and had his suspension reduced to four months. Harris has been with the UFC for over four years and has a record of 4-4 with one NC inside the Octagon.
All 11 of Harris’ wins have come via KO/TKO as he’s shown incredible knockout power. However, he has also been prone to takedowns and being out-grappled. But that was against world class grapplers like Werdum, which Spivak is not. According to MMA Weekly, Harris commented on his debuting opponent and feels that this is a favorable match-up for him:
“I think it’s a favorable match-up for me for sure. Sergey is a tough guy, but he’s a newcomer to the organization. To win the fight, I just have to be myself. I’m prepared to go whether the fight goes. If it goes one round, two rounds, or three rounds, I’m prepared. Be ready for a brand new Walt come May 4 for sure.”
Harris has lofty goals set for 2019, which includes getting into the Top 5 and eventually becoming a champion. For that to happen, he will need to put away Spivak on Saturday. I do believe Harris can accomplish that. I agree with “The Big Ticket” that he does have a favorable matchup. I believe Harris is the better striker and has more power. He also has solid enough takedown skills to prevent Spivak from taking this fight to the mat. Harris should win this fight via TKO since these two sluggers won’t allow the fight to go the full three rounds.
UFC Bet: Walt Harris (-155)
Brad Katona (8-0) vs Merab Dvalishvili (8-4)
Brad Katona (+135)
Merab Dvalishvili (-155)
For Merab, this is his fourth fight with the UFC, but he has a 1-2 record. However, Merab did win his last fight, which took place last December. Five of his eight wins have come via decision. Merab also has a three-inch reach advantage.
Brad Katona comes in as the superhero in more ways than one. For starters, he’s dubbed “Superman.” He’s also from Canada, which means he will get all of the crowd support. Katona won the TUF 27 and also scored a UD win over Lopez last December. Brad took a few months off to rest and recover after fighting numerous times in 2018. Now, he’s back and facing a tough challenge.
“Man, it’s hard to really imagine a finish on Merab, because he is so gritty. Now [saying that] I have the best possibility I think of anybody he’s fought to finish him anywhere. I think with the hands, especially how everything has been going. I’ve been finding other tools to compliment my striking. So I could catch him on the feet. But he is gritty, so it would be hard to say it will be quick. If I do, it will be a small error he made. So that would be on him. Like I said, he pushes a hard pace, but I think it has potential to be “Fight of the Night” just because of what type of fighter he is.”
Katona has the striking advantage in my opinion, just as Dvalishvili has the ground advantage. I can see why the oddsmakers made Merab the favorite as he also has a solid stand-up game. With that said, I’m taking the betting upset here and going with Katona to win in front of his fellow countrymen.
I believe Katona is good at defending the takedown and should be able to make it difficult for Merab to get this fight to the ground. Ultimately, I see this going the distance. Five of Katona’s eight fights have gone to the scorecards. He’s 5-0 in those fights. For Merab, he’s gone to the judges in eight of his twelve fights and posted a 5-3 record during those bouts.
I’m taking Brad “Superman” Katona to pull off the upset and win via UD.
UFC Bet: Brad Katona (+135)
Cub Swanson (25-10) vs Shane Burgos (11-1)
Cub Swanson (+150)
Shane Burgos (-170)
Longtime UFC vet Cub Swanson returns to the octagon for the first time in eight months. He took extra time off to get rejuvenated and to deal with personal challenges outside of MMA. Swanson says he’s in a much better place now which includes finding peace and balance with life. He’s also excited to return to Canada for the third time in his career. Unfortunately, he’s going up against a very tough opponent.
Swanson has been with the UFC since November 2011. During that span, he has fought numerous big names including Edgar, Holloway, Ortega, Carneiro, and Poirier. He’s 10-6 overall during his UFC career, but he comes into this contest on a three-fight losing streak which saw him drop two fights via submission and one via UD.
Burgos has spent the last two and a half years with the UFC and has a record of 4-1 inside the octagon. He suffered his first career loss over a year ago but bounced back last November and won via first-round submission. It was the first submission win for Burgos in four years. Shane has a four-inch height and 5.5-inch reach advantage over Swanson.
This fight is going to come down to whether or not Burgos can use his reach advantage to out-strike Swanson or if Burgos can out-maneuver Cub on the mat. It’s a tough proposition for Burgos either way. I’m a bit surprised by the odds for this fight as it should be a lot closer due to the stylistic matchup. You have two fighters who like to KO their opponents and aren’t afraid to brawl. Neither is a world class fighter on the mat.
With that said, I’m giving the slight advantage to Burgos in this fight. I think the 28-year-old has enough power and counter striking skills to rock Swanson. I also think that Burgos’ reach advantage will come into play. Personally, I’m rooting for Swanson to win and think he’s worthy of a flyer, but the safe bet is on Burgos.
UFC Bet: Shane Burgos (-170)
Derek Brunson (18-7) vs Elias Theodorou (16-2)
Derek Brunson (-110)
Elias Theodorou (-110)
Theodorou comes into this weekend’s contest on a three-fight win streak, which improves his overall UFC record to 8-2. Elias is also from Canada which will definitely get the fans on his side. His last seven fights have all gone to the scorecards and he’s finished 5-2 during those fights. For his career, Theodorou has gone to the score cards on 11 of 18 fights and finished 9-2 during those contests.
Brunson has been with the UFC for over six years and has compiled a 9-5 record inside the octagon. Unfortunately, he’s only 2-4 in his last six fights. However, those losses have come to the division’s elite fighters like: the current interim champ Adesanya, one of the all-time greats Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, the legend Anderson Silva, and the full champ Whittaker. Prior to that stretch, one of his first UFC losses was to Yoel Romero. If you are going to lose, then those aren’t bad names to lose to.
Brunson needs a win badly. He needs to get back on track in the division and prove that he’s still worthy of a spot and attention. Fortunately, his knockout power keeps him in the spotlight with the fans, but will that be enough this weekend? Can Brunson put away the difficult Theodorou in his home country?
Elias will try to control the tempo of the fight and make it difficult for Brunson to get clean shots. Derek will continue to push forward and try to take off his opponent’s head. I don’t see Theodorou having the counter punching skills to prevent Brunson from closing the distance and taking this fight inside the proverbial phone booth.
I actually like Brunson’s chances here. Oddsmakers feel that this is an even matchup. And it’s hard to argue against that. However, Brunson has the knockout power to change this fight with one punch. I believe he’s going to get a TKO win. I don’t see it going the distance as Brunson has only seen the judges one time in his last 10 fights.
UFC Bet: Derek Brunson (-110)
Al Iaquinta (14-4-1) vs Donald Cerrone (35-11)
Al Iaquinta (-125)
Donald Cerrone (+105)
For a Fight Night show, this is a great main event. The winner of this bout will most likely be next in line for a title shot later this year after Nurmagomedov returns to take on Poirier. Speaking of Khabib, Al Iaquinta lost to Nurmagomedov in April 2018. It snapped a five-fight win streak. The 32-year-old is 9-3 inside the octagon and believes that he can make it 10-3 after this weekend:
“I think that Cowboy’s last fight, he fought a guy who was young, hungry, but he wasn’t too experienced, and I think that showed as the fight wore on. That kid got into the second round and he melted. I think that I have that same hunger and that same drive right now on my way up, but I have the experience that he lacked. I think that’s going to be the difference in this fight, that I have both. I have that hunger, that drive, that youthfulness, and the experience is what’s going to do it for me. I’m going in there, I want to make it easy. I want to make it quick. I want to make it painless on my end. I just want to go out there and finish him in the first round. I think I have all the capabilities to do it.”
Seven of Al’s 14 wins have come via KO/TKO and six have come via Decision. I don’t see this fight ending in the first round as both men are veterans and tough out no matter who they face. Three of Iaquinta’s last 13 fights have ended in the first round. However, he’s only 1-2 in those bouts.
Donald Cerrone is one of the most respected fighters in all of MMA, not just the UFC. His longevity and willingness to take on anyone has endeared him to the fans and critics. It’s also earned respect with his contemporaries. Cerrone has 46 fights on his pro resume and he’s taken on every fighter that the UFC has put in front of him. He went through a rough patch in 2017 as he lost all three fights against Masvidal, Lawler, and Till. He bounced back to win three of his next four which included his final fight at welterweight in a submission win over Mike Perry last November. Cerrone fought in January and defeated Hernandez via TKO in the second round.
When looking at the two fighters, Cerrone has a two-inch height and three-inch reach advantage. He also has 16 UFC finishes compared to four for Iaquinta. This will be the seventh main event for “The Cowboy” and the third for Al.
If Iaquinta can rock Cerrone early in the fight, then he could finish this off in the opening frames. However, if Cerrone can dictate the pace and take it to the mat, then he will get the win. For me, being a big Cerrone fan, I actually like this matchup. They’re two fighters who like to brawl and push the action. But the difference is that Cerrone has a better ground game than Iaquinta.
Three of Iaquinta’s four losses have come via submission. Whereas, Cerrone has won 17 of his 35 career victories via submission. I’m taking “The Cowboy” to win this fight via submission in the latter rounds of the contest.
The following fighters offer betting value based on their UFC odds, current UFC Fight Night 151 matchup, and career success:
Cole Smith (+100) comes into his bout against Gagnon as the slight betting underdog. He’s younger, taller and has been more active than his opponent who has been out of action for the last two and a half years. I believe Cole will get this win in front of his fellow countrymen.
Arjan Bhullar (+100) is going up against a taller opponent with a reach and power advantage. With that said, Bhullar has more experience, better cardio, and is a superior grappler. Both fighters offer good value, but I’m taking Bhullar to win due to his grappling and cardio advantages.
Marc-Andre Barriault (+140) is the underdog in his UFC debut, largely due to his respectable opponent. With that said, Barriault has the power to put away anyone inside the octagon as evident by his eight TKO/KO wins in 12 pro fights. Barriault will have a hero’s welcome in front of his fellow Canadians, and I expect the Canadian knockout artist to win via TKO.
Brad Katona (+135) is fighting in front of his fellow countrymen and taking on a gritty opponent. However, he should have the striking advantage, and he possesses enough grappling skills to defend the takedown and protect himself on the mat. I like his odds and his chances in this one.
Derek Brunson (-110) and Elias Theodorou (-110) off the same betting odds, which means that both men offer betting value. For me, I like Brunson’s knockout power to prevail in this contest.
Donald Cerrone (+105) is arguably my favorite fighter in the UFC, and I believe he has the toughness to go toe-to-toe with Iaquinta. I think he also has the versatility and experience to capitalize on an Iaquinta mistake, which will be the difference in this fight.
UFC Fight Night 151 Final Thoughts
I am excited for this main event. It’s going to be a tough fight for each combatant, but fun for fight fans to watch. The rest of the card is hit or miss with different prospects and returning vets. I’m interested to see how Cub Swanson does in his return fight. I’m also intrigued by the debut of Marc-Andre Barriault. And, as always, I like to see how rowdy the fans get for their fellow countrymen. This weekend, I think the Canadian fans will make it a hostile environment for those combatants going up against Canadian fighters.
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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