Good Card & Some Great Betting Value at UFC 218: Holloway-Aldo 2

Andreas Hale

Thursday, November 30, 2017 2:56 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 2:56 PM UTC

On Saturday, the UFC puts together one of the most stacked cards of the year with UFC 218 in the Motor City, headlined by a championship rematch between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo.

Free UFC Pick: Jose Aldo +260Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Although the main event of Saturday's UFC 218 card in Detroit underwent a last-minute change, fight fans are looking at a fully loaded event with major implications for a number of weight classes. Not to mention, there is some significant value on quite a few of these fights.

Max Holloway was expected to defend his featherweight title against Frankie Edgar in the main event. However, an injury to Edgar just three weeks before the fight forced him to pull out. In his place is former champion Jose Aldo, whom Holloway defeated by TKO in June. Although the fight was competitive early, Holloway’s aggression took over as he overpowered Aldo to stop him in the third round. With that being the last time we saw both of them in the Octagon, oddsmakers have made Holloway a -320 favorite, while Aldo is a +260 underdog. While it is true that their careers are going in opposite directions, Aldo is a very live underdog. In their initial bout, Aldo got off to a fast start and looked like the sharper and faster striker.

Considering Aldo’s greatness, the line is disrespecting him quite a bit and you may find some value in him being such a significant underdog. Holloway has won 11 fights in a row and has looked downright spectacular in each of his victories, but there’s not enough value to bet on him against one of the best pound for pound fighters in MMA history. Aldo should pace himself better in the rematch, but his cardio has always been an issue. That’s not true for the champion, who has proven to be relentless for all five rounds, if necessary. Holloway should be the favorite but there’s some pretty significant value that has a possibility to cash out with Aldo.

In a No. 1 contender fight in the heavyweight division, Francis Ngannou will look to add another knockout to his resume when he faces one of the most decorated heavyweights in MMA history in Alistair Overeem. Ngannou has run roughshod over the heavyweight division ever since he made his debut back in 2015. He has nine straight finishes and is being pushed as the next big thing in the division. Oddsmakers have bought into the hype as Ngannou has gone from opening at -190 to now sitting at -280. Meanwhile, Overeem is a +240 after opening at +165. Once again, we have another live dog with a lot of value.

The issue with Ngannou is that the biggest name on his resume is Andrei Arlovski, which isn’t saying much. His finishes have been impressive, but the line is too wide for the favorite. Overeem, despite a historically questionable chin, has faced elite competition that far exceeds Ngannou’s portfolio. There’s a lot to like about Ngannou, and he should be the favorite. But in a heavyweight division where one punch can change everything in the blink of an eye, taking the value pick in Overeem is the right way to go.

The lightweight clash between former WSOF champion Justin Gaethje and former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez is certainly to be violent exhibition. The undefeated Gaethje impressed with a fight of the year candidate against Michael Johnson where he survived a couple of scares to earn a 2nd-round TKO in his UFC debut. Alvarez is coming off a No Contest in a scintillating battle with Dustin Poirier after dropping his title to Conor McGregor last November. Gaethje is a -185 favorite and there’s a lot to like here. Although Alvarez is the former champion, he’s on the wrong side of his career and was hurt against Poirier and knocked out in devastating fashion by McGregor. Gaethje pushes a frightening pace and is a devastating finisher. Although the +140 line for the fight ending in under a round and a half is tasty, you’re better off with Gaethje winning this one outright. His physical attributes and high-octane pace could eventually wear down Alvarez and should find him with his hand raised in victory.

Also of note is Michelle Waterson being a +205 underdog against Tecia Torres (-245). Torres is 9-1 overall despite an unsuccessful run in The Ultimate Fighter that saw her lose twice to Carla Esparza and Randa Markos. The Tiny Tornado’s only pro loss was a split decision loss to Rose Namajunas. As for Waterson, she also lost to Namajunas but was finished in the 2nd round. Torres is a more effective striker and fights at a higher pace than Waterson. Waterson’s best chance is to get the fight to the mat, where she’ll have an advantage. But it’s certainly going to be challenging as Torres could win be being the better-conditioned athlete who pushes the pace. That being said, you could make worse bets than taking the former Invicta Atomweight champion. The line is favorable and worth a swing.

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