On Saturday, December 14th, the UFC will be live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC 245 also known as UFC 245: Usman vs Covington. This huge PPV event features three world title fights, two MMA legends, and a total of 13 exciting bouts.
The UFC 245 card is so stacked that we have to break it down into two betting previews: the prelims and the main card.
UFC 245’s prelim portion of the event has eight total fights including: a Top 10 women’s bantamweight battle, an explosive welterweight clash, a Top 14 middleweight matchup, a Top 5 women’s flyweight contest, a Top 6 men’s flyweight fight, and more.
UFC betting sites have released their odds for the full portion of UFC 245 prelim fights. Let’s step inside the betting octagon and examine the current betting lines courtesy of 5Dimes, identify possible betting value or upsets, and KO our picks.
The early portion of prelim fights features four bouts and is set to begin at 6:15 PM ET.
Punahele Soriano (6-0) vs Oskar Piechota (11-2-1)
Punahele Soriano (-110)
Oskar Piechota (-110)
This middleweight fight will kickoff UFC 245 and it consists of two evenly matched combatants looking to get a win on a huge stage.
Soriano comes into the fight with an undefeated record and some buzz following his run on the Contender Series. Although he went the distance in his Contender Series fight, Soriano still earned a contract. It was the first time that he didn’t win via stoppage.
Soriano has some holes in his game that need to be addressed, but he also has potential. Three of his six wins have come via TKO/KO.
Piechota will have a four inch reach advantage over Soriano. 10 of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage, split at five apiece. However, he’s dropped his last two fights both by submission. Piechota is 2-2 inside the octagon.
This fight will come down to each man’s punching power and ground game. Both fighters have the power to knockout their opponents, but the reach advantage for Piechota is key in this aspect of the matchup.
I see Soriano getting this fight to the mat where he has a better chance at winning due to his wrestling background. Although Piechota has solid submission skills, I believe Soriano’s grappling is stronger.
With that said, this fight will most likely go the distance. It will certainly hit the Over as online betting sites have the O/U set at 1.5 rounds. I’m not confident in the winner, since they’re evenly matched, but I am confident in the Over. Both men offer betting value and I’m taking Soriano to win.
UFC Bet: Punahele Soriano (-110), Over 1.5 rounds (-150)
Jessica Eye (14-7) vs Viviane Araujo (8-1)
Jessica Eye (+150)
Viviane Araujo (-170)
In the first example of a stacked preliminary card, we get a battle of two Top 5 women’s flyweights as the #2 ranked Jessica Eye goes against the 5th ranked Vivian Araujo.
Despite being higher ranked, Jessica Eye comes into this fight as a noticeable underdog. Her last fight was for the title against Shevchenko which she lost by a vicious knockout. This is her first fight since that scary KO and there are some questions as to how she bounces back.
10 of her 14 wins have come via decision. In fact, 15 of her 22 pro fights have gone the distance. She has a record of 10-5 in those contests. She gives up two inches in reach to Araujo.
Araujo is a former Pancrase strawweight champ and debuted with the UFC in May. She went up in weight to fight Talita Bernardo and KO’d her in the 3rd round. Her next fight was against Alexis Davis in July and she won that via unanimous decision.
Seven of her eight pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of submission. Her lone loss was via TKO/KO in April 2017.
This is going to be a tough fight for Jessica Eye. She doesn’t have the standup skills to strike it out with Araujo. Additionally, Araujo has a solid takedown defense which will make it harder for Eye to get any advantage on the mat.
The Over/Under for this fight is set at 2.5 rounds. I’m taking the Under (+225) for this fight as I believe Araujo’s power and striking skills will be too much for Eye to handle. I believe Araujo will finish this fight with a TKO before the halfway mark of round three.
UFC Bet: Viviane Araujo (-170), Under 2.5 rounds (+225)
Brandon Moreno (15-5-1) vs Kai Kara-France (20-7)
Brandon Moreno (+145)
Kai Kara-France (-165)
The third early prelim bout of the night is a matchup of two Top 6 flyweights as the 5th ranked Brandon Moreno takes on the 6th ranked Kai Kara-France. I like this matchup a lot as I feel it’s going to be exciting to see which man can impose his game plan.
Moreno is the higher ranked fighter, but comes into the matchup as the underdog. He’s 4-2-1 inside the octagon after debuting 38 months ago. Moreno started off 3-0 in the UFC, but then dropped two straight fights before going 1-0-1 in his last two.
Moreno last stepped inside the octagon in September against Askar Askarov and fought to a split draw. It was a tough fight and a solid performance. 10 of his 15 pro wins have come via submission. Moreno has never been stopped in his pro career. All five of his losses have been via decision.
Kai Kara-France has won eight straight fights including going 3-0 inside the octagon. He’s impressed me over the last year with his skills. France has gone the distance in five of his last six fights and I believe he will do so in this one as well.
The keys to this fight are France keeping the battle upright and avoiding Moreno’s submission arsenal and Moreno trying for the takedowns. However, France has a solid takedown defense which could pose a problem for Moreno who will be slightly outgunned in the striking battle.
5Dimes has this fight at -195 odds to go the distance and -245 to go over 2 ½ rounds. I like for both to happen. As mentioned, Moreno has never been stopped and France has gone the distance in three straight bouts.
I’m taking Kai Kara-France to win this fight via split decision after three rounds of exciting action.
UFC Bet: Kai Kara-France (-165), Over 2 ½ rounds (-245), Goes the distance (-195)
Chase Hooper (8-0-1) vs Daniel Teymur (7-3)
Chase Hooper (-120)
Daniel Teymur (+100)
In another close battle on paper, we have the unbeaten Chase Hooper making his UFC debut this weekend in Las Vegas to take on a dangerous Daniel Teymur.
Hooper fought on the Contender Series in July 2018 and won via unanimous decision. However, he wasn’t immediately rewarded with a UFC contract. It took 17 months before the UFC finally decided to call his number and give him a fight.
Six of his eight pro wins have come via stoppage with four by way of submission. He will have an eight inch height advantage over his opponent.
Teymur debuted in July 2017 and proceeded to lose his first three UFC fights. With his job on the line, Teymur was able to defeat Sung Bin Jo six months ago and live to fight another day. Six of his seven pro wins have come via stoppage.
For Teymur to win, he will need to out-strike his opponent. Hooper has the advantage on the mat with his submission skills. In his career, Teymur has lost two fights via tapping out.
This fight has an Over/Under of 1.5 rounds and a prop of +135 (yes) and -175 (no) that the fight goes the distance. Both men offer betting value, but I have a hard time seeing Hooper winning this fight. Teymur will do just enough to prevent from falling into his opponent’s ground trap.
I expect Teymur to light up Hooper and finish this fight off via TKO. The O/U is a tough one as I can see it going either way. I believe this fight will finish inside the distance (-175) as both men will be going for the stoppage victory.
UFC Bet: Daniel Teymur (+100), Over 1.5 rounds (-155), Ends inside the distance (-175)
UFC 245 Main Prelims
The second batch of prelims features four fights and is set to begin at 8PM ET on ESPN+.
Matt Brown (21-16) vs Ben Saunders (22-12-2)
Matt Brown (-345)
Ben Saunders (+285)
Matt Brown is the second largest favorite of the entire event. However, he hasn’t fought in over two years after a brief retirement and recovery from a torn ACL. Nevertheless, the 38-year old still brings a vicious striking arsenal.
19 of his 21 pro wins have come via stoppage with 13 of them by way of TKO/KO. This will be Brown’s 25th trip inside the octagon and he has an overall record of 14-10 that features a seven fight win streak from February 2012 to May 2014.
Saunders has dropped five of his last six fights including three in a row. He last fought eight months ago and lost via TKO to Takashi Sato. Saunders continues to be matched up against heavy hitting opponents and it hasn’t turned out well for him over the last 2 ½ years.
17 of his 22 pro wins have come via stoppage with 11 by way of TKO/KO. Eight of his losses have come via TKO/KO. I believe he will pick up his 9th TKO/KO loss in devastating fashion.
Saunders’ best hope at winning this fight is to get it to the mat as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening. The Over/Under is set at 1.5 rounds and I see it most likely ending with a Brown TKO victory in the 1st round. Take the Under (-190) and Brown for this fight.
If you don’t like the high odds for Brown then go with the prop bet of “The Immortal” winning this fight inside the distance at -180 odds.
UFC Bet: Matt Brown (-345), Under 1.5 rounds (-190), Brown wins inside the distance (-180)
Omari Akhmedov (19-4-1) vs Ian Heinisch (13-2)
Omari Akhmedov (+130)
Ian Heinisch (-150)
This fight features two Top 14 ranked middleweights as #14 Omari Akhmedov takes on the #10 Ian Heinisch.
Akhmedov is the underdog for this contest, but has a five fight unbeaten streak after going 4-0-1 over that span. He’s gone the distance in all five of those fights. However, 12 of his 19 pro wins have come via stoppage.
Akhmedov tried his hand in the welterweight division before moving up to the middleweight division where he’s had this unbeaten streak. Omari will have a one inch height and reach advantage.
Ian “The Hurricane” Heinisch earned his contract with a 1st round KO victory over Justin Sumter in July 2018. He then kicked off his UFC career with two straight upset wins over Cezar Ferreira and Antonio Carlos Jr. via unanimous decision in both.
However, his momentum was derailed via Derek Brunson in August as Heinisch lost via unanimous decision. Eight of his 15 pro fights have gone the distance. The Hurricane is 7-1 in those contests.
Heinisch is known for the furious pace he sets inside the octagon and an aggressive pursuit of his opponents. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out well for him against Brunson in his last fight because Derek controlled the fight from top control on the mat.
Heinisch has to be careful because Akhmedov can do the same in this contest, if Omari doesn’t gas out first. Akhmedov has been known to have cardio issues late in fights.
The Over/Under for this fight is set at 2.5 rounds and I believe it will go Over (-225). This fight has going the distance written all over it. Combined, these two men have gone the distance in eight straight fights and 15 overall.
5Dimes has a prop with odds of -175 for the fight going the distance. For me, I’m going with Heinisch to win the fight via decision (+140). I believe he’s the better overall fighter and certainly has the better stamina. Additionally, I really like his backstory and perseverance in life. He’s a fighter that I root for.
UFC Bet: Ian Heinisch (-150), Over 2.5 rounds (-225), Fight goes the distance (-175), Heinisch wins via Decision (+140)
Ketlen Vieira (10-0) vs Irene Aldana (11-5)
Ketlen Vieira (-165)
Irene Aldana (+145)
This women’s bantamweight fight is a battle of two Top 10 fighters who are most likely fighting to become the next challenger to the bantamweight title which happens to be on the line in the main event. Aldana is the #10 ranked fighter in the division while Vieira comes in at #2.
Irene Aldana is a sizable underdog despite being more active than her opponent over the last year. She’s fought three times this year and Vieira has yet to fight in 2019. In fact, she hasn’t been inside the octagon in roughly 21 months. Rustiness could improve Aldana’s chances.
Aldana has won four of her last five fights including a solid unanimous decision victory over Vanessa Melo in September. She’s 4-3 overall inside the octagon. Eight of her 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with five via TKO/KO. Six of her 16 pro fights have gone the distance and she’s 3-3 in those bouts.
Vieira is 4-0 in the UFC, but hasn’t fought since March 2018 when she defeated Cat Zingano via split decision. Four of her 10 pro wins have come via decision.
It’s hard to gauge where Vieira is at with her conditioning and overall skills. She had some deficiencies in her fight game, most notably with her striking skills. However, she’s a solid grappler and could land a submission hold on Aldana if the fight goes to the mat.
BetOnline has the Over/Under set a 2.5 rounds. There’s a pretty good chance that happens. For starters, Aldana has gone the distance in six of her last seven fights and Vieira has gone the distance in four of her last five fights. I expect this fight to go the distance as well (-320), which means take the Over.
As for who wins, I’m going with the betting upset in this contest. I believe Aldana has a solid takedown defense which will keep the fight upright for as long as it lasts. I also believe she has the striking skills to outpoint Vieira in this contest.
I’m taking Aldana to win via decision which has odds of +215 at 5Dimes.
UFC Bet: Irene Aldana (+145), Over 2.5 rounds (-370), Fight goes the distance (-320), Aldana wins via decision (+140)
Geoff Neal (12-2) vs Mike Perry (13-5)
Geoff Neal (-245)
Mike Perry (+205)
This is a fun way for the UFC to finish off the prelims as these two men will provide plenty of fireworks before the main card of UFC 245 even begins. Both fighters love to let their hands do the talking as they both want to knock out their opponents. Only Geoff Neal is ranked as a welterweight as he’s 14th in the division.
Mike Perry is one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC as he goes to war every time he steps inside the octagon. Nicknamed “Platinum,” Perry has 11 wins via TKO/KO and just two via decision. His 85% knockout rate in his victories is impressive.
Perry started off 4-1 in the UFC, but has gone 2-4 since then for an overall record of 6-5. He’s taken on many top strikers including Ponzinibbio, Felder, Cerrone, Oliveira and Luque. His last fight was in August against Vicente Luque and it was an absolute war. He came out on the losing end via split decision.
Geoff Neal rolls into this weekend’s fight having won six straight contests and has gone 4-0 in the UFC. His last bout came in July and he won via 2nd round TKO over Niko Price. Nine of his 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO.
Neal has a four inch reach advantage and is the more polished striker. However, I have a hard time counting out Perry. All he needs is one punch. And, he has one of the strongest chins in the sport.
BetOnline has the Over/Under set at 1.5 rounds and I believe this fight will hit the Over (-185). Also, 5Dimes has odds set at +140 for the fight to go to decision. Five of Perry’s last six fights have gone the distance.
Unless one of the fighters has a momentary lapse and eats a massive punch, I see this fight going the full three rounds. It could possibly end up as the best fight of the night due to the potential of these two strikers to exchange punches for 15 minutes. We could see another Luque vs Perry fight.
For me, I’m going with Perry to win the fight. He’s battle tested and has taken on tougher fighters than Neal. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Neal wins the fight as he’s a rising fighter in the division. With that said, I’m taking Perry to win via decision.
UFC Bet: Mike Perry (+205), Over 1.5 rounds (-185), Fight goes the distance (+140)
Betting Value for UFC 245 Prelims
The following UFC 245 prelim fighters offer betting value based on their odds and matchups:
Punahele Soriano (-110) and Oskar Piechota (-110) are evenly matched on paper and with oddsmakers. I give the edge to Soriano due to his wrestling background.
Daniel Teymur (+100) and Chase Hooper (-120) both offer betting value as each man has a clear path to victory. I’m going with Teymur’s octagon experience and striking advantage to win this fight.
Irene Aldana (+145) is the underdog to Ketlen Vieira (-165), but I like her chances to pull off the upset. I believe Aldana’s takedown defense and striking skills will lead her to a decision victory.
Mike Perry (+205) is my biggest upset pick of the prelims. I like his toughness, experience and power to upstage the rising Geoff Neal (-245) in what should be a serious contender for the best fight of the night.
Final Thoughts on UFC 245’s Prelim Card
UFC 245 is one of the best cards on paper and it should deliver 10 times over. This prelim card is just as good, if not better than most UFC Fight Night events. It’s stacked with ranked fighters and potential title contenders along with rising prospects. Of the eight fights, I’m excited for at least five or six of them.
There’s also plenty of betting value with these preliminary bouts from moneylines to various prop bets. There’s no reason why you can’t make some money on UFC 245’s prelim card.
UFC 245 Prelims Betting Recap
Punahele Soriano (-110)
Viviane Araujo (-170)
Kai Kara France (-165)
Daniel Teymur (+100)
Matt Brown (-345)
Ian Heinisch (-150)
Irene Aldana (+145)
Mike Perry (+205)
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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