Finding Betting Value On UFC Fight Night On July 23rd

Monday, July 18, 2016 6:18 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 18, 2016 6:18 PM UTC

Holly Holm begins her comeback after losing her title in her first championship defense. Let’s look at the headliner and a few others in the main event, in order to cash in our UFC picks.

Holly Holm vs. Valentina Shevchenko
Holly Holm’s last venture into the Octagon saw her lose her championship belt upon getting choked out in the fifth and final round of her title tilt at UFC 196 to veteran grappler Miesha Tate. It was a stunning upset to most, though not to this handicapper, as Holm had rocked the MMA world in her previous match by defeating the seemingly invincible Ronda Rousey to claim the women’s bantamweight crown. She will try to get back on track with a win over Muay Thai sensation Valentina Shevchenko.

The UFC odds makers are leaning heavily towards a Holm victory but if you have tracked the line since its opener, you will find that the sharps have taken a bite out of the lofty line first dealt. Initially, Holm was tagged as a -430 favorite but if you shop around at the major sportsbooks you will find that line has tumbled to where you can now surf on over to and get a much more palatable price of -321.

Holm’s striking is beyond reproach and she does it better than anyone in the UFC women’s category (as Ronda Rousey found out). Her takedown defense has improved but she is not a mat technician by any stretch. Valentina Shevchenko may be renowned for her vicious brand of Muay Thai, incorporating leg whips, thunderous knees, and skull splitting elbows but she is also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Judo. Her mat skills have rendered five submission finishes and if she can get inside on Holm, chop her down and take her to the mat then her sixth submission could be in her future.

There is simply too much betting value to ignore which is why I am including Shevchenko in my UFC picks on Saturday night.

Free UFC Pick: Valentina Shevchenko +280 
Best Line Offered: at YouWager

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Edson Barboza vs. Gilbert Melendez
This should be a dandy. Edson Barboza (17-4) is a punishing striker with 10 KO’s to his credit while Gilbert Melendez (22-5) is a former Strikeforce champ whose wars with Josh Thompson are the stuff of legend. Barboza is four years younger and notched perhaps the biggest victory of his career with a win over former UFC lightweight champ Anthony “Showtime” Pettis in his last match.

Neither man is a mat tactician as evidenced by only one submission apiece. This will either be decided by the judges or via knockout. I recall Melendez’s post-fight interview, after dropping his last bout to current champ Eddie Alvarez, where he parenthetically stated that the game had gotten quicker and he felt like an old man at times during the fight. Melendez also tested positive for testosterone metabolites in a post-fight drug test. While I don’t believe Barboza could handle the Gilbert Melendez from five years ago, I do believe he has the edge against the 34-year-old version. Tread cautiously here.

Free UFC Pick: Edson Barboza 
Best Line Offered: Currently, no line has been reported for this bout


The Rest of the Card
Francis Ngannou vs. Bojan Mihajlovic
Felice Herrig vs. Kailin Curran
Eddie Wineland vs. Frankie Saenz
James Moontasri vs. Alex Oliveira
Darren Elkins vs. Godofredo Pepey
Kamaru Usman vs. Alexander Yakovlev
Hector Urbina vs. George Sullivan
Jim Alers vs. Jason Knight
Luiz Henrique vs. Dmitry Smolyakov
J.C. Cottrell vs. Michel Prazeres


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