Conor McGregor, right, kicks Dustin Poirier
Conor McGregor, right, kicks Dustin Poirier during a UFC 264 lightweight mixed martial arts bout Saturday, July 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)


Patrick Werkmeister

From the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, 11 action-packed fights will take place as the UFC hosts it’s 269th event. This card is absolutely loaded with thrilling action featuring two championship bouts in the women’s bantamweight division and the lightweight division. While these championship fights will be electrifying, this entire card should be another classic for the history books. It will once again be another volatile night in the UFC for this slate, and here’s what I like.

Ryan Hall by Submission (+150)
The initial line for this match was a little wider for Hall at -215, but his odds have since decreased to -200. In this one, he will be going up against journeyman featherweight Darrick Minner. Last time out, Hall suffered his first defeat in the UFC in July against undefeated fighter Ilia Topuria whereas Minner was also defeated by KO in the second round. While his aura of invincibility has faded away, Ryan Hall’s expert grappling work and his patented Imanari roll will be a problem for Minner, who has been submitted 8 times in his pro MMA career. Contrarily, the 31-year-old Minner has stayed the course in the UFC as a journeyman striker. However, he has been sketchy in his last four fights where he has a record of 2-2. The line for this bout to end inside the distance is heavily favored at -200, where just two of Hall’s wins have gone to the judges. In his 8-2 record, six of his wins have ended either via leg lock or heel hook, which is attributed to his funky style that most fighters can’t seem to control. Although he hasn’t been too active during his tenure in the UFC, I fully expect Ryan Hall to put up a magical performance. Against a guy who has been beaten a dozen times and has visibly lost steam, Hall has a real shot at making quick work of his opponent. Take him to get it done by submission in this prelim.   

Draft Kings Promo

Sean O’Malley by KO/TKO (+110)
For this bantamweight match, 27-year-old phenom “Sugar” Sean O’Malley looks to overcome his ranked opponent out of Brazil, Raulian Paiva. The Sugar Show opened up as a -300 ML favorite and is currently favored at odds of -330. Last time out O’Malley brutalized stand-in fighter Kris Moutinho by TKO in the 3rd round. Similarly, Paiva is coming off of a convincing decision victory over Kyler Phillips. Both fighters come into this one very young for the division and with high potential. In-between each fight, O’Malley has shown vast improvement in every area from grappling to striking. At +110, these odds have exceptional value since O’Malley always pushes the pace of the fight and goes for the knockout. However, if Paiva knows the blueprint to defeat O’Malley then he could be a live dog. Still, O’Malley is the more imposing and well-rounded fighter and should have a field day and pepper Paiva. Take him to win by knockout in stylistic fashion.

Charles Oliveira ML (+120)
In the main event of the evening, current lightweight champion Charles Oliveira looks to defend his title versus Dustin Poirier. The opening line initially favored Dustin Poirier at -155 odds, but that gap has shrunk, and he is now a -130 favorite. This will be the first meeting between these two fighters and last time out for them was quite different. Oliveira won the vacant lightweight title versus Michael Chandler, whereas Poirier won in odd fashion over the Notorious Conor McGregor by doctor stoppage. With the experience edge in championship fights going to Oliveira, it will be difficult for Poirier as the challenger to gain the momentum necessary to win the title. These odds of +120 for a straight up Oliveira victory have tremendous value, whereas the contender is the heavy favorite. After seeing their stare downs, it was evident that this will be a highly intense bout. Both fighters have the ability to end it early but also the durability to make this a full five round fight. Therefore, play it safe and take this juicy moneyline for Charles Oliveira to defend his title.

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