Odds courtesy: 5 Dimes
The UFC returns to Las Vegas for the first time since the “fight capital of the world” shut down amidst the coronavirus pandemic as they hold an event at the UFC Apex, the promotion’s world-class production facility.
The event also marks Tyron Woodley’s return to the Octagon for the first time since losing his title to Kamaru Usman in March of 2018 as he faces rising welterweight Gilbert Burns.
Dern and Roberts big favourites again
Mackenzie Dern (-400) vs. Hanna Cifers (+355)
Mackenzie Dern has never been an underdog in MMA. After experiencing her first career professional MMA loss late last year just months after giving birth to her first child, Dern makes her return to the cage in a familiar situation - as an enormous favourite.
Dern, who’s been as high as a 20-to-1 favourite, entered the sport as the most decorated jiu-jitsu practitioner in women’s mixed martial arts.
She is the biggest favourite on the card against the unassuming Cifers, who has been an underdog in three of her previous four UFC bouts, where she has amassed a 2-2 record.
Why?: Dern’s loss to Amanda Ribas looks much better now on paper following a recent dominant win for Ribas over Canadian Randa Markos.
Dern is able to capitalize on any situation and snap up a submission, which makes her dangerous at any point in a fight.
But don’t let appearance fool you, the undersized Cifers has huge heart and if she can keep this fight on the feet, her precise striking could give Dern some issues.
Dern is the rightfully large favourite, but don’t underestimate Cifers.
Roosevelt Roberts (-345) vs. Brok Weaver (-315)
On the men’s side, Roosevelt Roberts has been a highly touted prospect since earning a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series in the summer of 2018 and has been favoured in all of his UFC fights, going 3-1 in those spots.
He faces Brok Weaver, another Contender Series alum, who is 1-0 after a disqualification win over Kazula Vargas earlier this year.
Weaver fights with a lot of urgency, while Roberts is a versatile tactician, who has been known to catch his opponents in tricky submissions.
Weaver’s best path is to overwhelm Roberts, but to not get carried away in doing so. One little mistake could cost him the bout in an instant and that’s why Roberts is such a heavy favourite.
The old Woodley or an old Woodley
Tyron Woodley (-152) vs. Gilbert Burns (-142)
Realistically, based on history, Woodley should be a much larger favourite.
He is one of the greatest welterweights ever with a stellar resume against a former lightweight whose best win is over a 42-year-old Demian Maia.
The reason why this line is so close is because the biggest known is the biggest unknown. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, Woodley is 38-years-old and coming off of arguably the most lopsided loss of his career, while Burns is undefeated since moving up to welterweight.
On paper, this should be Woodley’s fight to win. Burns will not be able to take Woodley down and he may not even try. While Burns has made massive leaps on the feet, Woodley has game-changing power that Burns simply has not felt outside of a training session.
That being said, Burns should be the faster fighter who is more active and has fought four times since Woodley last competed.
Odds and Ends:
- Burns was an underdog in two of the bouts he has had on his current five-fight win streak.
- Woodley was a favourite in only two of his last six fights and went 5-1 in those bouts.
- Blagoi Ivanov has been an underdog in all four of his UFC bouts and is 2-2 in those fights. His opponent Augusto Sakai has been favoured in his three UFC bouts and won all of them.
- Katlyn Chookagian is coming off a loss to Valentina Shevchenko and faces her older sister Antonina. She has been an underdog in both of those fights.
- Antonina Shevchenko has been a favourite in all of her UFC fights and is 2-1 in said bouts.
- This is the first time that Louis Smolka has been an underdog since returning to the UFC in 2018.
- Role reversal: Daniel Rodriguez was a more than 3-to-1 underdog in his UFC debut as a short notice fill-in, which he won over Tim Means. He is a 3-to-1 favourite in his return to the Octagon against short notice fill-in Gabriel Green.