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UFC predictions
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Israel Adesanya attempts to defend his middleweight crown against Sean Strickland in a five-round main event in Australia. Read on for our top UFC 293 best bets and look for value in the odds from our best sports betting apps.

After reclaiming the divisional strap with a second-round KO of nemesis Alex Pereira in April, Israel Adesanya now enters the first title defense of his second reign. The reigning champ had lost the title to Pereira by late TKO in November 2022, which marked the end of Adesanya's first reign, during which he successfully defended the title five times.  

The new middleweight king now meets Sean Strickland with a solid UFC record of 13-2.

As for the challenger, Strickland has won two straight, scoring a decision over Nassourdine Imavov and a second-round TKO of Abusupiyan Magomedov in 2023 to earn his first shot at UFC gold.

In the bill’s co-headliner, Sydney’s own Tai Tuivasa shares the cage with fellow heavyweight Alexander Volkov. "Bam Bam," the fan-favorite, aims to rebound from back-to-back KO losses to Cyril Gane and Sergei Pavlovich. Meanwhile, Volkov is coming off consecutive first-round TKO stoppages of Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexandr Romanov.

Here are our best bets for Saturday’s UFC 293 (odds via our best sports betting apps; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

UFC 293 schedule and odds

(Odds via DraftKings)

Main Card (10 p.m. ET):

Prelims (8 p.m. ET):

Early Prelims (6:30 p.m. ET):

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UFC 293 best bets

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UFC top picks for UFC 293Yeah 

Fight line: Jenkins ML vs. Mariscal (-205 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

Jenkins gets this week’s fight line pick based on his ability to thrive in a dog fight. In his February victory over Don Shainis, the 29-year-old claimed a three-round battle of attrition with clinch knees, takedowns, back control, and a relentless striking attack of low kicks and digs to both the dome and body. Jenkins’ versatility is reflected in his numbers, as he averages 4.34 significant strikes per minute, three takedowns per 15 minutes, and stuffs over 80% of takedown attempts.

With Mariscal aiming to scrap, look for Jenkins to replicate his performance against Shainis and score from the pocket, the clinch, and on the mat in equal measure to make it 10 in a row.

Upset: Makdessi ML vs. Mullarkey (+215 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

While Mullarkey is often game and not above pursuing victory via the takedown, Makdessi boasts the edge in striking output (5.52 to 4.20 significant strikes per minute) and stuffs a whopping 85% of takedown attempts. Furthermore, Makdessi’s rangy striking has befuddled many a man over his 13-year UFC stint, and Mullarkey has been outgunned more than once over a promotional run that’s seen him split eight bouts.

I expect Makdessi to control the pace of the fight, frustrate Mullarkey’s attempts to get inside with the jab and a varied arsenal of kicks, and remain the more mature duellist to earn a rebound win.

Winning method: Adesanya by KO/TKO vs. Strickland (+115 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

The reigning Adesanya takes Sydney for a favorable matchup that should see him thoroughly outclass his brash challenger. While Strickland’s improvements as a combination puncher are commendable, I doubt he’ll manage to put the champion on the back foot, much less keep him there, as Adesanya boasts exceptional footwork and knows how to keep his man honest with a variety of looks.

After taking the opening stanza to make his reads and draw Strickland out with feints, the defending titleholder should pad his average of 3.94 significant strikes per minute with kicks both high and low and stinging right straights before overwhelming Strickland with a furious combination for a 17th career win by KO/TKO.

Prop bet: Kape wins vs. dos Santos in Round 1 (+175 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

Between Kape’s continued improvement, his knack for finding a finish, and dos Santos’ comparatively weak resume, this flyweight clash should end swiftly and violently. In addition to two of his three UFC conquests, Kape has finished 16 of 18 career wins and earned eight of them in the opening stanza.

Dos Santos, by comparison, boasts seven career bouts to his name, has faced unheralded competition, and makes his maiden voyage to the Octagon on short notice. With Kape eyeing a fast start and dos Santos likely aiming to slow the fight down with his grappling, expect the former to stuff a takedown or two and claim the “0” on dos Santos’ record in the most brutal fashion before the second-round bell sounds.

Parlay: Jousset vs. Crosbie Under 2.5 rounds (-135) + Kape vs. dos Santos Under 1.5 rounds (+100) + Adesanya by KO/TKO (-105) = +580 via DraftKings ⭐⭐⭐

This week’s parlay includes our winning method pick, a play on our prop bet, and another round prop on the card’s curtain jerker. With half of Jousset’s career wins ending by KO/TKO and 10 of Crosbie’s 13 pro matchups ending inside the distance, these two welterweights shouldn’t need the full 15 to settle their opening preliminary clash.

UFC best bets made 8/9/2023 at 12:04 a.m. ET.

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