UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Pettis Betting Preview, Odds and Predictions

by Rick Rockwell
on March 21, 2019
15

Minute Read

On Saturday, March 23rd, the UFC will be live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, for UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Pettis also known as UFC Fight Night 148 or UFC on ESPN+ 6. The main event of the night is a welterweight battle between Stephen Thompson and Anthony Pettis. The co-headliner is a heavyweight contest between Curtis Blaydes and Justin Willis.

In total, UFC Fight Night 148 has 12 scheduled fights with three women’s fights and zero championship bouts. This event can be seen live on ESPN+ and begins at 5 PM ET with the prelims. The main card is set to begin at 8 PM ET.

Let’s step inside the betting octagon and examine the current MMA odds available from UFC betting sites. We’ll look for some betting value and try to KO our picks.

UFC Fight Night 148 Preliminary Card

The preliminary card is scheduled to showcase six fights and begin at 5 PM ET on ESPN+. All MMA betting odds are courtesy of BetOnline.

Eric Shelton (12-5) vs Jordan Espinosa (13-5)

  • Eric Shelton (-185)
  • Jordan Espinosa (+160)

Eric Shelton (12-5) comes into this flyweight bout having dropped 3 of his last 5 fights, which puts his record inside the octagon at 3-5. He last fought in November and won via Split Decision. His overall UFC record is disappointing considering how well he did on TUF 24. Shelton is giving up at least an inch in height and reach to his opponent.

Jordan Espinosa (13-5) will be making his debut inside the octagon this weekend after two appearances on the DWTNC. His first appearance was in August 2017, and then again in July 2018. Espinosa has won 4 straight fights and has competed in numerous different promotions over the last 5 years.

Both fighters have similar strike first mentalities and will try to take out their opponent via KO/TKO. However, this fight will most likely go the distance. 10 of Shelton’s 17 fights have gone to the scorecards. He has a record of 5-5 in those fights. Espinosa has 7 fights go the distance out of 19 pro contests and has gone 4-3 in those bouts.

I expect Shelton to come away with the Decision victory in this contest. Look for Shelton to survive the early attacks and score enough points the rest of the way to take the win.

UFC Bet: Eric Shelton (-185)

Ryan MacDonald (10-0) vs Chris Gutierrez (12-4-1)

  • Ryan MacDonald (+154)
  • Chris Gutierrez (-179)

In this bantamweight battle, Chris Gutierrez is the betting favorite despite having 4 losses on his resume. He lost in his UFC debut last November via submission, which snapped a 3 fight win streak. Gutierrez has gone 3-3 in his last 6 contests across 5 different MMA promotions.

At 10-0 Ryan MacDonald has only been a pro for 4 years. However, he’s fought in numerous regional promotions and earned his way into the UFC. At just 25 years old, Ryan still has time to evolve as a fighter and improve on his fighting skills. MacDonald took this fight on short notice and I don’t think it’s going to end well for him.

Gutierrez is a better striker and Ryan hasn’t really fought anyone of Chris’ caliber. I expect Gutierrez to get the better of MacDonald in the stand-up department and take this fight. I’m just not sure if Gutierrez will stop MacDonald or win via UD.

UFC Bet: Chris Gutierrez (-179)

Randa Markos (8-6-1) vs Angela Hill (8-5)

  • Randa Markos (+140)
  • Angela Hill (-160)

Angela Hill (8-5) comes in as the favorite, but neither fighter instills betting confidence. Hill has gone 2-3 in her last 5 fights, all within the octagon. She last competed in August 2018, and lost via Split Decision. This latest run with the UFC is her second stint with the company. She first debuted with the UFC in 2014, but went 1-2 before getting the let go from the company.

Randa Markos (8-6-1) also debuted in the UFC during late 2014. Since then, she’s gone 4-5-1. It’s hard to imagine that Markos will still be around after another loss or two. Her last fight was in September 2018, and it ended in a Draw. However, she’s been alternating between wins and losses prior to that fight.

This fight is closer than what the MMA oddsmakers have it listed as. With that said, Randa Markos offers decent betting value and I actually think she can pull off the upset. I’m taking Markos to win via Split Decision due to her wrestling advantage.

UFC Bet: Randa Markos (+140)

Alexis Davis (19-8) vs Jennifer Maia (15-5-1)

  • Alexis Davis (-148)
  • Jennifer Maia (+128)

Alexis Davis (19-8) has been with the UFC since the summer of 2013. Since then, she’s gone 6-3 inside the octagon. Davis lost in her last fight, back in July 2018, to Chookagian via UD. However, she did win two in a row prior to that. Davis has some decent wins over Carmouche and Kaufman. She also has 8 wins via submission.

Jennifer Maia (15-5-1) went on a 6 fight win streak over a 2 ½ year period to earn a UFC fight last July. Unfortunately, she came up on the wrong end of a UD and lost her UFC debut. Maia has seen the judges in 5 straight fights and there’s a great chance that happens against this weekend.

One of two scenarios could play out in this fight, Davis either stops Maia via submission or she wins via Decision. When looking at the two combatants’ records, a Decision victory is the most likely outcome. Davis has gone to the scorecards in 13 of her 27 fights, with a record of 9-4. Maia has gone to the scorecards in 10 of her 21 pro fights, with a record of 7-3.

I think Davis is the better of these two fighters and I’m taking her to win via Unanimous Decision over Maia.

UFC Bet: Alexis Davis (-148)

Frankie Saenz (13-5) vs Marlon Vera (12-5-1)

  • Frankie Saenz (+128)
  • Marlon Vera (-148)

Frankie Saenz (13-5) comes in as the slight underdog, but has won two straight fights. However he hasn’t competed in 10 months. Saenz snapped a three fight skid with these two victories. Frankie has an overall record of 5-3 in the UFC and has fought some reputable foes like Faber and Wineland.

Marlon Vera (12-5-1) is the slight betting favorite and has won two straight fights. His last contest was November 2018, and he won via submission, which was the 7th time in 12 wins that he had his hand raised due to forcing someone to tap out. Vera has been in the UFC for 4 ½ years and has a record of 6-4 inside the octagon.

These two were originally supposed to face off at UFC 235, but the fight was rescheduled due to Vera being sick. This contest will come down to whether or not the other fighter can exploit their opponent’s weakness.

Vera isn’t a good wrestler and Saenz doesn’t defend wrestling well. Vera will try to keep the fight standing and at a distance, but Saenz could get inside if he’s patient. Additionally, Saenz might be able to get some takedowns and run out the clock while in top control.

I think Saenz has more paths to victory than Vera and I’m going with the betting upset in this fight.

UFC Bet: Frankie Saenz (+128)

Bryce Mitchell (10-0) vs Bobby Moffett (14-3)

  • Bryce Mitchell (+150)
  • Bobby Moffett (-175)

This featherweight contest is expected to headline the prelim portion of UFC Fight Night 148.

Bryce Mitchell (10-0) comes into the contest undefeated and winning his UFC debut last July. He had a strong showing on TUF 27, but came up short in the semifinals. In his 10 career victories, Mitchell has scored 8 wins via submission. 5 of those wins have come via rear naked choke and two via triangle choke.

Bobby Moffett (14-3) is on a 4 fight win streak and was victorious in his UFC debut last November. He earned that debut by winning on contract on DWTNCS last August. Moffett has fought in many different promotions, but never captured gold. 9 of his 14 career wins have been via submission with 5 of those coming via Brabo choke.

This fight could be very entertaining if both combatants decide to take it to the mat. If they stand up and strike, I’m not sure it will be as entertaining. Moffett is the favorite despite Mitchell being undefeated. Nevertheless, Moffett looks like a more complete fighter where Mitchell still has some concerns over endurance and durability. I’m taking Moffett to win via late round submission or a Unanimous Decision.

UFC Bet: Bobby Moffett (-175)

UFC Fight Night 148 Main Card

The main card of the night features six fights and is set to begin at 8PM ET on ESPN+. All UFC betting odds are courtesy of 5Dimes.

Maycee Barber (6-0) vs JJ Aldrich (7-2)

  • Maycee Barber (-220)
  • JJ Aldrich (+185)

JJ Aldrich (7-2) comes into this fight as a sizeable underdog despite being more experienced, having more fights and 6 years older than her opponent. Additionally, JJ has won three straight fights and 6 of her last 7. Aldrich’s last 5 fights have all gone to the scorecards and there’s a chance that could happen again this weekend.

The 20 year old Maycee Barber (6-0) is nicknamed “the future,” and rightfully so. She’s undefeated in her short career and won her UFC debut last November via TKO in the 2nd round over Hanna Cifers. She fought four times in 2018, winning 3 via TKO and the 4th via submission. Barber is a talented prospect with a bright future especially if she keeps winning.

They’re both the same height, but JJ has a 2.5 inch reach advantage on Barber. But, will she be able to use her reach advantage and score the win?

This fight is being contested in the flyweight division as Barber decided to move up in weight due to the difficulty of cutting down to strawweight. Aldrich is also stepping up in weight because she feels it’s a more natural fit for her. Which competitor will benefit from going up a division?

Barber is a great striker and will give JJ a run for her money in the standup department. However, Barber is also great at Taekwondo and grappling, which will give her an advantage over Aldrich. So, if Barber isn’t succeeding in the striking game then I expect her to close the gap and take JJ to the mat.

Either way, Barber has more paths to victory and the brighter future. I’m taking Maycee Barber to win via Unanimous Decision over a tough opponent.

UFC Bet: Maycee Barber (-220)

Luis Pena (5-1) vs Steven Peterson (17-7)

  • Luis Pena (-280)
  • Steven Peterson (+240)

This flyweight battle is between two fighters looking to gain some traction in this competitive division.

Luis Pena (5-1) has my favorite nickname of all athletes – “violent Bob Ross.” If you don’t know who Bob Ross is then you should be ashamed of yourself. He’s one of the greatest pop culture figures of the last few generations. Nevertheless, Pena hasn’t quite lived up to that mantel yet. Pena lost his last fight in November 2018, by a Split Decision. He’s now 1-1 inside the octagon.

Steven Peterson (17-7) won in his last outing which was at the TUF 27 Finale in July. However, he lost his UFC debut 13 months ago and has alternated between wins and losses over the last two years. Peterson is a big underdog and it’s still debatable whether or not he can remain in the UFC. He does provide excitement inside the cage, but he’s not really a contender.

Pena, on the other hand, is still a prospect that the UFC believes in despite his controversial loss last November. He has a 6 inch height and 6 inch reach advantage over Peterson, which will definitely come into play.

I expect Pena to eventually get his hands on Peterson and take him down to the mat. Once there, Pena will use his grappling skills to eventually lock in a submission hold. 4 of Pena’s 5 wins have come via submission. I see #5 happening on Saturday. I’m taking Pena to win by tap out in the 2nd round.

UFC Bet: Luis Pena (-280)

Jussier da Silva (22-5) vs Deiveson Figueiredo (15-0)

  • Jussier da Silva (+121)
  • Deiveson Figueiredo (-141)

In another flyweight battle, Jussier da Silva (22-5) looks to move into the title picture with a win on Saturday. Nicknamed “Formiga,” Jussier has been with the UFC for 6 ½ years. Over that span, Formiga has gone 8-4 and is on a 3 fight winning streak. He’s lost to some of the division’s top starts like Joseph Benavidez, John Dodson and Henry Cejudo. However, the Cejudo loss came via Split Decision and some thought Formiga had won. Nevertheless, a win this weekend and da Silva is at the front of the line for a title shot.

Deiveson Figueiredo (15-0) comes into this contest undefeated and looking for a statement win in the UFC. He’s 4-0 inside the octagon with 3 of those wins coming via TKO. Nicknamed “Deico,” Deiveson is on track for a title shot as well. In fact, if he wins, he will be next in line for a shot. That makes this flyweight fight an unofficial #1 contender’s match.

If they stay upright, then Daico will get the win. He’s a better striker and has the power to KO Formiga. But, if the fight goes to the ground then Formiga is very capable of forcing Daico to tap out. Yet, Daico is also a solid grappler so it will be easier said than done for da Silva to get that tap out.

This fight has decent betting odds with Formiga offering more value. With that said, I think Daico has the skills to keep the fight upright and win or grapple on the ground for the victory. I’m taking Deiveson to win via late round TKO.

UFC Bet: Deiveson Figueiredo (-141)

John Makdessi (16-6) vs Jesus Pinedo (16-4-1)

  • John Makdessi (-300)
  • Jesus Pinedo (+250)

This lightweight contest was put together after both fighters saw their previous opponents pull out from the event.

Jesus Pinedo (16-4-1) comes into this fight as one of the biggest underdogs on the card. This is his second fight in the UFC as he won his debut last November via UD. Pinedo has won 7 straight fights and looks for the biggest win of his career this weekend.

John Makdessi (16-6) is a big betting favorite on Saturday and rightfully so. He has more experience inside the UFC having fought there for over 8 years. His career record inside the octagon is 9-6 and he’s on a two fight win streak. Makdessi has fought some tough competition like Yancy Mederios and Donnald Cerrone.

In my opinion, Pinedo is biting off more than he can chew here. It’s a big step up from Devin Powell to John Makdessi. Additionally, Makdessi has the power to end this fight with one strike. Makdessi will systematically pick apart Pinedo in this fight and eventually get the stoppage.

Look for Makdessi to either KO Pinedo outright or get a TKO due to a fight changing punch. Either way, John “The Bull” Makdessi will come away the winner.

UFC Bet: John Makdessi (-300)

Curtis Blaydes (10-2) vs Justin Willis (8-1)

  • Curtis Blaydes (-280)
  • Justin Willis (+240)

This heavyweight showdown is between two fighters looking to prove their value in the division.

Justin Willis (8-1) is on an 8 fight win streak including all 4 of his UFC contests. He last fought in December and defeated Mark Hunt via UD. Nicknamed “Big Pretty,” Willis has some power that’s seen him win half of his fights via KO/TKO. He will either knock out an opponent or go the distance.

Curtis Blaydes (10-2) was a rising prospect looking to get into the title hunt. Unfortunately, he was destroyed by Francis Ngannou last November. Blaydes suffered a TKO defeat 45 seconds into the 1st round. That ended his 4 fight win streak. It was also the second time that Blaydes has lost to Francis in the UFC.

Fortunately, for Curtis “Razor” Blaydes, Willis isn’t on the same level as Ngannou and I don’t see him hitting as hard either. Blaydes has a 3 inch height and 2 inch reach advantage. And, he will use every inch of that reach to get his desired outcome a KO/TKO. In his 10 career wins, 8 of them have come via KO/TKO.

The winner of this fight will be positioned for a bigger opportunity. However, the winner will still be at least two fights away from a title shot. Nevertheless, I believe the winner will be Blaydes. Curtis was caught by an angry Ngannou who is a scary heavyweight poised for a title shot and a possible title run. Blaydes needs to get back on track and get that train rolling along again. I believe he will. This fight is going to end via TKO/KO probably in the 2nd round, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended in the 1st round.

With that said, I do feel that Willis is worthy of a flyer for you risk takers out there. He does have enough punching power to get the TKO against Blaydes. And, in a slug fest, that power gives Willis a puncher’s chance.

UFC Bet: Curtis Blaydes (-280)

Stephen Thompson (14-3-1) vs Anthony Pettis (21-8)

  • Stephen Thompson (-460)
  • Anthony Pettis (+360)

Do you remember when Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (21-8) was one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world?  Unfortunately, that was over 4 years ago and since his loss to Rafael dos Anjos in March 2015, Pettis is 3-6 inside the octagon. He’s lost to just about every top fighter in the lightweight division including Poirier, Alvarez, Barboza, Holloway and Tony Ferguson, which was his las fight. In fact, his corner stopped the fight after breaking his hand. Regardless, Ferguson was the better fighter prior to the injury.

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson lost his last fight, which was 10 months ago to Darren Till. It was a UD loss, but it set him back in the welterweight division. However, Till just lost to Masvidal this past weekend, and Thompson defeated Masvidal in November 2017 via UD. It was a big win for Wonderboy after he unsuccessfully fought Tyron Woodley twice. The first fight ended in a Draw and the second was a Majority Decision win for Woodley.

With Woodley losing the welterweight title to Usman earlier this month, Thompson could get back in the title hunt again with a win this weekend. Nobody would’ve wanted to see a trilogy fight between Woodley and Thompson. But, now that Woodley is out of the way, it could open up an opportunity for Thompson.

If I was booking the welterweight division, I would put Thompson vs Till in a rematch and Askren vs Masvidal. Then I would have Woodley in a rematch against Usman. The winner of the two other fights would take on each other before facing the winner of a rematch between Usman and Woodley. That’s some free advice for Dana White who just signed a 7 year contract extension with the UFC.

For this fight, it’s really Thompson’s to lose. And, I don’t see that happening. However, I also don’t believe that the odds should be this high. Pettis has enough juice left in those legs to stop the fight if he gets lucky or Thompson gets complacent. With that said, Thompson will get the UD victory and look for a bigger fight his next time out.

UFC Bet: Stephen Thompson (-460)

UFC Fight Night 148 Betting Value

The following fighters offer betting value based on their UFC Fight Night 148 matchups, previous fights and current UFC betting odds:

  • Randa Markos (+140) is the underdog in her fight against Hill. However, she has the ability to win this fight if she can get it to the ground. Markos not only offers solid betting value, but I also believe she will come out victorious.
  • Frankie Saenz (+128) appears to have more paths to victory. He can hang in the striking department and is a better offensive wrestler. Although his takedown defense is weak, Vera isn’t known as a successful offensive wrestler. If Saenz can avoid a KO or being drawn into a submission while Vera is on his back then Frankie should come away with at least a UD win.
  • Jussier da Silva (+121) is the underdog heading into his big fight against Figueiredo. Jussier is a very skilled grappler and submission artist. However, he will have to avoid the power punches and respectable grappling skills of Daico. I have picked Figueiredo to win, but I like the value with Jussier and I think Formiga has a chance at pulling off the upset.
  • Justin Willis (+240) is one of the biggest underdogs on the card. However, he’s going into a fight where fists will be flying and a knockout is the likely outcome. With that said, Willis has power and if he catches Blaydes it could be lights out. I’m picking Blaydes to win, but I feel that Willis offers value as a risky flyer.

Final Thoughts on UFC Fight Night 148

This UFC Fight Night event has more intriguing matchups than the previous one (UFC Fight Night 147: Till vs Masvidal). In fact, almost the entire main card is interesting and there are some high stakes for the winners. I don’t see many underdogs winning on Saturday, but there’s still enough possibilities to offer solid betting value. Additionally, I believe the entertainment value will be a step up from last weekend’s UFC event. With UFC, Bellator and multiple boxing cards this weekend, fight fans will have plenty of options to choose from.

UFC Fight Night 148 Betting Recap

  • Eric Shelton (-185)
  • Chris Gutierrez (-179)
  • Randa Markos (+140)
  • Alexis Davis (-148)
  • Frankie Saenz (+128)
  • Bobby Moffett (-175)
  • Luis Pena (-280)
  • Deiveson Figueiredo (-141)
  • John Makdessi (-300)
  • Curtis Blaydes (-280)
  • Stephen Thompson (-460)
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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