On Saturday, October 3rd, the UFC returns to action with a second straight event on Fight Island featuring a main event fight of Holly Holm vs Irene Aldana. However, prior to the main card, UFC on ESPN 16 will showcase plenty of talent in a seven fight preliminary card.
Notable fighters scheduled for the prelims include Casey Kenney, Loma Lookboonmee, Kyler Phillips, Charles Jourdain, Casey Kenney vs Heili Alateng, and Carlos Condit vs Court McGee.
The UFC on ESPN 16 preliminary card is set to begin at 7:30PM ET on ESPN. UFC betting sites have released their odds for the entire preliminary portion of this event. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds and KO our predictions.
In the opening fight of the night, we have a close contest featuring two lightweights hoping for a big win.
Luigi Vendramine will make his second trip into the octagon and hopes to bounce back from a debut loss two years ago. He was unbeaten prior to joining the UFC. All eight of his wins have come via stoppage, evenly split between TKO/KO and submission.
Jessin Ayari is 1-2 inside the octagon and comes into this contest on a two fight losing streak. He also hasn’t fought in two years. 11 of his 16 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of submission. He’s 5-2 when going the distance.
This fight is really hard to predict since both men haven’t competed in two years. We have no idea how much either fighter has improved since the last time they were in the octagon.
With that said, take the Over 2.5 rounds (-150) and for the fight to go the distance (-135) as we don’t know if either man can score the stoppage. Ayari has gone to a decision in four straight fights.
After flipping a coin, I’m taking Ayari to win this bout via decision. You can flip a coin or throw a dart, whatever makes it easier for you to make a betting decision.
Over 2.5 rounds (-150)
Fight goes the distance (-135)
Ayari wins via decision (+195)
Heili Alateng entered the UFC on an 8-1-1 streak and he didn’t disappoint. Alateng has gone 2-0 inside the octagon, but hasn’t fought in 10 months. Seven of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of TKO/KO. He’s 7-3-1 when going the distance.
Casey Kenney is 3-1 inside the octagon and has already fought twice this year. His last bout came in May and he won via 1st round submission against Louis Smolka. Seven of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission. He’s 7-2-1 when going the distance.
This fight has “going the distance” written all over it. Combined, these two men have gone the distance in 21 of their 39 pro fights. Both of Alateng’s UFC fights went the full three rounds. Eight of Kenney’s last 10 fights have gone to a decision. Take the Over 2.5 rounds (-200) as well.
As for the winner, I like Kenney in this bout. He’s the bigger fighter with a height and reach advantage. Furthermore, he’s a better grappler and can hang in the striking battle. Alateng is more of a one punch striker who can grapple, but not at the level of Kenney. Take Kenney to win via unanimous decision.
Over 2.5 rounds (-200)
Fight goes the distance (-175)
Kenney wins via decision (+105)
This strawweight bout is the first of three women’s fights on the night.
Jinh Yu Frey comes in as the slight underdog and 11 years older than her opponent. She’s a former Invicta FC champ, but lost in her UFC debut three months ago. She suffered a submission defeat to Kay Hansen in the 3rd round.
Fortunately for Frey, she doesn’t have to worry about a grappling matchup as this fight will be a standup war. Eight of her 14 pro fights have gone the distance and she’s 6-2 in those contests.
Loma Lookboonmee is 1-1 in the octagon after losing via decision to Angela Hill in February. It was a slug fest that Loma was edged out in. However, Lookboonmee is a very talented striker with a Muay Thai background.
The knock against Loma is that she’s typically much smaller than her opponents at 5’1” and 105 pounds. Four of her six pro fights have gone the distance. She’s 3-1 in those contests.
As you can see, these two women tend to go the full three rounds. Combined, they’ve gone the distance in 12 of their 20 pro contests. So, take the Over 2.5 rounds (-370) and for the fight to go the distance (-335).
I like Lookboonmee to win this bout. I believe she will outstrike her opponent and eventually land a higher volume of punches and kicks by time it’s all said and done.
Loma winning via decision (+120) has solid betting value at UFC bettings sites considering these two fighters go the distance a combined 60% of the time.
Over 2.5 rounds (-370)
Fight goes the distance (-335)
Lookboonmee wins via decision (+120)
Nassourdine Imavov is on a five fight win streak as he enters the UFC. He last fought 10 months ago and won via 1st round TKO. He has three straight 1st round victories. Seven of his eight pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of submission.
Jordan Williams has three DWCS fights under his belt and two with Bellator since 2018. He had an impressive 1st round KO against Gregory Rodriguez on DWCS a few weeks ago, which earned him this UFC fight. Eight of his nine pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO.
With just four decisions between these two fighters, I like the Under 2.5 rounds (-135) and for this contest to end inside the distance (-170).
I give Imavov the slight edge in speed and technical striking skills, but Williams has the power. Additionally, I believe he has the chin and the physicality to win in a smothering striking battle.
I’m taking Williams to capture the octagon victory via TKO/KO. His overall power should be the difference in this bout.
Under (-135) 2.5 rounds
Fight ends inside the distance (-170)
Williams wins via TKO/KO (+400)
Culibao comes in as the biggest underdog for the entire event. Which is rather surprising considering he does have a lot of potential in the featherweight division. He lost in his UFC debut eight months ago via 2nd round TKO against Jalin Turner.
Five of his eight pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 3-0 when going the distance in a fight.
Jourdain is the largest betting favorite of the event despite going 1-2 inside the octagon. He lost his last fight to Andre Fili via split decision in June. All 10 of his pro wins have come via stoppage with seven wins via TKO/KO.
I see Culibao being a live underdog in this bout. Jourdain is overvalued in my opinion. However, it is risky to take Culibao in this event. The safe play is on Jourdain to outwork Culibao in an exciting matchup.
Despite both men having few bouts go the full distance, I believe this matchup will require a full three rounds to decide the winner. Take the Over 2.5 rounds as well (+120).
As for the winner, I’m playing it safe and going with Jourdain to win via unanimous decision.
Over 2.5 rounds (+120)
Fight to go the distance (+140)
Jourdain to win via distance (+240)
This is a battle of two longtime UFC veterans as both are looking to snap lengthy losing streaks and get one more taste of sweet octagon victory.
Carlos Condit used to be one of the top welterweights in the world, but he’s lost five straight contests and 8 of his last 10. In fact, it’s been five years since Condit last won a fight. 28 of his 30 pro wins have come via stoppage with 15 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 2-6 when going to a decision.
Like Condit, McGee has also lost numerous fights over the last seven years. During that span, McGee has gone 3-6 and enters this weekend having lost four of his last five. 10 of his 19 pro wins have come via stoppage, evenly split among TKO/KO and submission. He’s 9-8 when going the distance.
It’s easy to see why many fight fans and pundits are openly critical over this bout. Neither man should really be competing anymore in the UFC as they’re both well beyond their primes. Additionally, neither fighter will end up cracking the Top 15 again or contending for a title.
It’s almost uninspiring in picking this contest, but I am going with Court McGee to win. He’s at least won three times in the last five years whereas Condit has not won at all. Additionally, I see McGee turning this into a smothering battle either up against the cage or on the mat.
Go with McGee to win via decision as he’s gone the distance in 17 of his 28 pro fights. Although Condit has been stopped in three of his last five losses, McGee hasn’t finished off an opponent in the last decade.
Over 2.5 rounds (-245)
Fight goes the distance (-215)
McGee wins via decision (+135)
Cameron Else is the second biggest underdog for the entire UFC on ESPN 16 event. However, he does enter his UFC debut on a six fight winning streak.
All six of those victories have come in the 1st round. In fact, 12 of his 14 pro fights have ended in the 1st round. All 10 of his pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of TKO/KO. He’s 0-1 when going the distance.
Kyler “Matrix” Phillips is the second largest betting favorite and enters on a two fight win streak which includes his UFC debut in February when he defeated Gabriel Silva via unanimous decision.
Five of his seven pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of TKO/KO. He’s 2-1 when going the distance. Five of his eight pro bouts have ended in the 1st round.
As you can see, both men have finished the majority of their fights in the 1st round. So, it’s a good bet to wager on the Under 1.5 rounds (+105). Additionally, that means they won’t go the distance.
It’s hard to see a path to victory for Else in this bout. Phillips is a better dangerous striker with grappling skills. He will have the edge on the feet and should be able to stuff any takedown attempts. I like Phillips to win this fight via 1st round TKO/KO.
Under 1.5 rounds (+105)
Fight ends inside the distance (-245)
Phillips wins via TKO/KO (+150)
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