Best bets for UFC 255: Figueiredo vs. Perez


UFC 255 in Las Vegas features title fights in both the men's and women's flyweight divisions.

Early prelims start at 6:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2/ESPN+, and prelims are at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2/ESPN+. The main card begins at 10 p.m. ET on PPV.

Odds are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.

Men's flyweight title: Champion Deiveson Figueired
(-300) vs. No. 4 Alex Perez (+250)

Tale Of The Tape

Last fight weight class Flyweight Flyweight
Age 32 28
Height 65 66
Reach 68 65
Stance Orthodox Orthodox
Analyzed minutes 88 52
Stand-up striking offense
Total knockdown ratio (scored:received) 8:0 3:0
Distance knockdown rate 12.7% 2.7%
Head jab accuracy 37% 15%
Head power accuracy 40% 35%
Total stand-up strike ratio 0.7 1.0
Striking defense
Total head strike defense 66% 73%
Distance knockdown defense ("Chin") 100% 100%
Wrestling and grappling
TD attempts per min standing/clinch 0.37 0.69
Takedown accuracy 50% 50%
Advances per takedown/top control 1.3 0.4
Opponent takedown attempts 34 6
Takedown defense 62% 83%
Share of total ground time in control 57% 95%
Submission attempts per trip to ground 0.74 0.33
The final fight of the night sees the incumbent champion as a clear betting favorite, but this time the odds are more reasonably priced. The market is likely to be swayed by the violent run from defending champion Figueiredo. Two straight finishes over frequent title contender and division gatekeeper Joseph Benavidez make Figueiredo seem like a world-beater.

While standing, Figueiredo is the most dangerous power striker in the division. He's unusually precise, and his knockdown rate puts him near the top of the UFC, regardless of weight class. But he's also hesitant. He averages a low pace of output and tends to let opponents outwork him.

In comparison, Perez has good accuracy and maintains it with a much higher pace. Perez actually throws more than twice the rate of strikes of Figueiredo -- and keeps a tighter defense in doing so. He has knockdowns, just not at the same rate as Figueiredo. Yet Perez is capable of doing damage with his leg kicks, and he mixes in twice as much as the typical striker.

On the ground is a contrast of styles. Perez is a wrestler and has dominated opponents on the mat. Figueiredo has average takedown defense, but he does have a submission game that should make Perez think twice about utilizing anything but very conservative offensive wrestling.

Perez is unproven on the biggest stage of the game, and his strength of schedule doesn't match that of the champ. But he does have the combination of striking skills and wrestling that could make him a champion, now or down the road. The numbers definitely lean Figueiredo, just not to the extent of current prices or where he's expected to land after limits go up.

E+ recommends: At current prices, this is a pass. If Figueiredo is steamed further due to parlays, a small stab at Perez could become worthwhile. Otherwise, take over 1.5 rounds and assume Perez should put up a decent fight.

Women's flyweight title: Champion 'valentina Shevchenko (-1350) vs. No. 3 Jennifer Maia (+800)

Tale Of The Tape

Last fight weight class Women's flyweight Women's flyweight
Age 32 32
Height 64 65
Reach 64 66.5
Stance Orthodox Southpaw
Analyzed minutes 64 165
Stand-up striking offense
Total knockdown ratio (scored:received) 0:0 1:0
Distance knockdown rate 0.0% 0.8%
Head jab accuracy 22% 22%
Head power accuracy 34% 31%
Total stand-up strike ratio 1.3 0.9
Striking defense
Total head strike defense 71% 89%
Distance knockdown defense ("Chin") 100% 100%
Wrestling and grappling
TD attempts per min standing/clinch 0.04 0.36
Takedown accuracy 50% 55%
Advances per takedown/top control 1.0 0.8
Opponent takedown attempts 17 27
Takedown defense 71% 78%
Share of total ground time in control 12% 77%
Submission attempts per trip to ground 0.17 0.14
There's a title on the line, technically, but when Shevchenko welcomes Maia to the Octagon, the odds say the outcome is almost a foregone conclusion. Shevchenko has spent her career in the UFC taking on the A-list of two separate women's divisions, including dominant wins against two opponents who have wins over Maia. It's an odd pairing and suggests this is a filler fight for "The Bullet" while she awaits a more dangerous contender.

While standing, Shevchenko looks to be a little more technical, with excellent defense despite having faced much better striking opposition. Maia's higher pace and aggression could work against her when trying to stalk someone who has evaded and overcome some of the best strikers across multiple divisions, including former champions Holly Holm and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

And if Maia's aggressive striking somehow causes problems, Shevchenko is perfectly willing to take the fight to the ground, where she has finished more fights than with strikes. Shevchenko has spent the majority of her ground minutes in control, while Maia has been dominated there by less formidable opponents.

The question for this matchup, and therefore the betting angle, is not a question of if, but when. The limit is currently 2.5 rounds, which is tight for a women's matchup. But the "inside the distance" prop for this five-rounder is still affordable even as a straight play.

E+ recommends: Shevchenko wins this, but the line is so steep it's only worth using as a booster for parlays. Inside the distance at -225 is a more reasonable straight bet.

Best bets elsewhere on the card

When Paul Craig (-170) and Mauricio Rua (+150) first faced each other in 2019, the former champ Rua was a clear betting favorite. The back-and-forth fight resulted in a split draw, despite Craig looking like the more effective stand-up striker. Having learned from his experience against "Shogun," expect Craig to return with more confidence and a better game plan.

E+ recommends: Money line lean on Craig, as long as he's just a mild favorite or better.

If you're hunting for an underdog, consider the preliminary match between Ariane Lipski (+135) and Antonina Shevchenko (-155). Both women have a Muay Thai background, but Shevchenko has the better pedigree and performance metrics. But Lipski has also been effective on the ground and could use her grappling to neutralize the stand-up threat. Those factors and a 10-year youth advantage for Lipski make an upset possible.

E+ recommends: Money line lean on Lipski. Over 2.5 rounds for parlays.