Are you ready for the BIGGEST FIGHT IN UFC HISTORY?! According to Dana White, who is definitely NOT a carnival barker full of hyperbole, UFC 254 is trending to be the biggest pay-per-view the company has ever put on. Whether this is true or not, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje this Saturday on UFC Fight Island, is a very exciting matchup. As well as all these UFC 254 picks.
So let’s get down to it and make some winning picks. Here are all the winners for all the fights at UFC 254.
All odds courtesy of MyBookie
UFC 254 Picks
Khabib Nurmagomedov (-345) vs Justin Gaethje
I’m going with the undefeated lightweight champion in the main event, but I’m not a fan of the size of that betting line. Justin Gaethje was an All-American wrestler in high school and has insane knockout power, so he is the perfect fighter to beat Khabib Nurmagomedov. But until I see someone actually do that, the Dagestani is the pick. However, splashing some coin on Gaethje – or better yet, Gaethje via KO – might be a profitable play.
Jared Cannonier (-115) vs Robert Whittaker
Our co-main event is a de facto #1 contender’s match in the middleweight division between former champ Robert Whittaker and surging knockout artist Jared Cannonier. This is a pick ’em on the board, and a hard one for me to choose, but I’m going with my research to guide my pick. Cannonier has the superior striking stats, which is the most important factor in predicting a winner in a fight, so Killa Gorilla is my pick.
Alexander Volkov (-180) vs Walt Harris
Two big heavyweights (Volkov is 6’7″, Harris 6’5″) who both dropped their last fight hook up in the third match from the top. ‘Drago’ has the size, youth, and superior striking skills in this matchup, so I’m looking for him to punch ‘The Big Ticket’ (get it?!).
Phil Hawes (-260) vs Jacob Malkoun
Two octagon newcomers get to fight on the PPV portion of this huge fight card, so the UFC must be high on both of them. I’m going with Hawes due to him being much bigger (four inches of reach, three inches taller) and seemingly a better athlete. But with both guys being inexperienced – and this being their first time on the big stage – the -260 number is probably worth avoiding.
Lauren Murphy (-220) vs Liliya Shakirova
Shakirova just got slotted into this fight a week ago after Cynthia Calvilo contracted COVID-19, so it’ll be a very short notice UFC debut for her. And short notice fighters have only won 37% of their fights this year, so I’m picking against her. Not to mention that Murphy seems to be really coming into her own as of late (despite being “old” at 37), winning her last three and four of five
Magomed Ankalaev (-315) vs Ion Cutelaba
This is one of those cursed matchups that keeps getting cancelled at the last minute. Here’s what I wrote about it a few months ago, which still applies:
These two squared off this past February, with Magomed Ankalaev winning via a controversial TKO that was considered an early stoppage by the referee. They’ve been scheduled to fight a couple of other times since before the fights fell through. Lots of bad blood between the two, and I’m expecting Anakalaev to win this time again, hopefully with less controversy.
Tai Tuivasa (-120) vs Stefan Struve
A very improbably matchup, as Stefan Struve “retired” last year, and Tai Tuivasa was cut by the UFC this past summer. Just goes to show how impermanent everything is in MMA. As for the fight, I’m going with the Aussie due to his superior striking, and the fact that ‘Skyscraper’ seems to have at least one foot out of the sport.
Nathaniel Wood (+150) vs Casey Kenney
Two exciting, young bantamweight prospects butt heads at a special “catchweight” of 140 pounds. Should be a real fun, Fight of the Night worthy scrap, in which I’m finally picking an underdog in ‘The Prospect’. He’s younger, has a slight reach advantage, and superior grappling skills.
Shavkat Rakhmonov (-115) vs Alex Oliveira
Newcomer Rakhmonov was a dog earlier in the week (it’s currently a pick ’em), so apparently there are lots of smarts out there. I’ve heard very good things about him, and his grappling seems to be the key factor in beating the Brazilian ‘Cowboy’ in this prelim fight.
Da Un Jung (-330) vs Sam Alvey
I’m tempted to pick the big underdog here, but Jung is bigger, younger and a knockout machine (10 of 13 pro wins), while Alvey’s remarkable chin has failed him in two of his last four fights (which he has lost all of – he’s on a four fight skid).
Miranda Maverick (-445) vs Liana Jojua
The 23-year-old Maverick enters the UFC with a lot of hype behind her after her strong run in Invicta FC. A very strong wrestler and grappler, she should have no trouble getting her first UFC win on Saturday against Jojua.
Joel Alvarez (-165) vs Alexander Yakovlev
I was considering Yakovlev, but Alvarez is 10 years his junior, has three inches of reach, and is on a nice roll, finishing his last two UFC fights. So chalk it is.
UFC Picks Overall Results
Return on Investment: -0.6%