The UFC’s return to the Sunshine State features a relatively deep card headlined by a welterweight showdown between Stephen Thompson and Kevin Holland. Read on for our UFC picks and predictions for Saturday's card.
“Wonderboy” Thompson is simply a high-level gatekeeper at this point. Although Thompson has the requisite skills to separate the wheat from the chaff at welterweight, a future title shot is extremely unlikely. A stirring victory over Holland offers him a glimmer of hope, and a loss probably permanently tosses him out of the title picture.
Despite his recent loss to Khazmat Chimaev (a short-notice favor to the UFC), Holland is on the rise at welterweight. “Trailblazer” snatched consecutive stoppage wins over Tim Means and Alex Oliveira and could find himself in the top 10 at 170 pounds with a demonstrative win over Thompson.
UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Holland Card and Odds
(Odds via FanDuel)
- Stephen Thompson (+148) vs. Kevin Holland (-184)
- Bryan Barberena (+410) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (-590)
- Matheus Nicolau (-385) vs. Matt Schnell (+290)
- Sergei Pavlovich (-225) vs. Tai Tuivasa (+180)
- Jack Hermansson (-194) vs. Roman Dolidze (+156)
- Eryk Anders (+172) vs. Kyle Daukaus (-215)
- Niko Price (-128) vs. Phil Rowe (+104)
- Emily Ducote (-142) vs. Angela Hill (+116)
- Clay Guida (+136) vs. Scott Holtzman (-168)
- Michael Johnson (-325) vs. Marc Diakiese (+250)
- Darren Elkins (+360) vs. Jonathan Pearce (-500)
- Natan Levy (-194) vs. Genaro Valdez (+156)
- Francis Marshall (-158) vs. Marcelo Rojo (+128)
- Yazmin Jauregui (-320) vs. Istela Nunes (+245)
UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Holland Best Bets
- Fight line: Daukaus (-215 via FanDuel)
- Upset: Thompson (+155 via Caesars)
- Winning method: Dos Anjos by decision/technical decision (-125 via Bet365)
- Prop bet: Tuivasa by KO/TKO (+220 via FanDuel)
- Parlay: Daukaus (-215) + Thompson (+148) + dos Anjos by decision (-125) (+554 via FanDuel)
Top Picks for UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Holland
Fight line: Daukaus (-215) ★★★★
A more well-rounded fighter, I think Daukaus will outwork Anders over 15 minutes en route to an uninspiring decision win. Yes, there’s always a chance Anders uses his power to spark Daukaus, but “Ya Boi” hasn’t banished anyone to the shadow realm in over three years.
Daukaus should take this through sheer skill alone, and if it’s not a decision, he may pull off a submission. The fantastically nicknamed “D’arce Knight” has deployed his vaunted BJJ to rack up nine submissions in his 11 career victories.
Upset: Thompson (+155) ★★★★
As long as Thompson stays patient, he should be able to score the upset. A seasoned veteran who has tangled with the elite at welterweight, I expect “Wonderboy” to blast Holland with slick counters every time “Trailblazer” darts in to land a combination. Holland is on the rise, and has a shot to land something vicious or snatch a submission, but Thompson is still a bridge too far at this point.
If Thompson sticks to the game plan, we might witness long stretches of staring as he waits to pounce on a heavy counter.
Dos Anjos by decision/technical decision (-125) ★★★★
Dos Anjos’ return to welterweight features a winnable fight against all-action all-star Barberena. Flat out, dos Anjos is the better fighter, and he’ll prove it on Saturday night.
Unlike Barberena’s most recent foes, dos Anjos won’t necessarily engage in a firefight. That isn’t to say the Brazilian will shy away from a striking duel, but he’s more than capable of ripping “Bam Bam” down to the mat and putting on a grappling clinic.
With decisions in his last two victories, I don’t expect dos Anjos to have the juice to polish off the uber-durable Barberena inside the distance. That said, he’ll definitely be able to grind it out for 15 minutes for a relatively lopsided decision win.
Tuivasa by KO/TKO (+220) ★★★
The safest bet in this bout is that someone will go to sleep, and I’m leaning toward Pavlovich taking a trip to the land of wind and ghosts.
Tuivasa hits hard. The man’s fists are a terrifying combination of dynamite and loose matches just waiting to explode on someone’s chin. Of course, there’s some definite risk in backing “Bam Bam.” He absorbed some serious punishment at the hands of Cyril Gane, and Pavlovich has finished four straight bouts via KO/TKO.
That said, Tuivasa’s most likely path to victory involves crumbling a jaw (13 KOs/TKOs in 14 wins), and I think he finds a way to land a massive bomb on Saturday night.
Parlay: Daukaus (-215) + Thompson (+148) + Dos Anjos by decision (-125) = +554 ★★★★
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UFC Thompson-Holland best bets made 12/3/2022 at 10:20 a.m. ET.