A middleweight title grudge match headlines the UFC’s return to the World’s Most Famous Arena when champion Israel Adesanya squares off with kickboxing rival Alex Pereira in the main event of UFC 281 on Saturday night. Read on for our UFC 281 top parlay picks.
Pereira owns two kickboxing victories over Adesanya, including a scintillating left-hook knockout at a Glory event back in 2017. That doesn’t necessarily translate to MMA success, but it might give “Poatan” a bit of a mental edge. Pereira punched his ticket to a title shot with a brutal decimation of top-10 middleweight Sean Strickland back at UFC 276 in July.
Adesanya is undefeated during his middleweight campaign, with his lone loss coming at light heavyweight. He's turned aside the very best the division can offer. “The Last Stylebender” outlasted Jared Cannonier during his last trip to the Octagon, retaining the 185-pound strap via unanimous decision.
Also on the card is a strawweight title bout pitting champion Carla Esparza against former champion Zhang Weili, and all-time great Frankie Edgar's retirement fight.
Here are our top parlay picks for UFC 281 (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook).
UFC 281 Card and Odds
(Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Israel Adesanya (-210) vs. Alex Pereira (+180)
- Carla Esparza (+270) vs. Zhang Weili (-325)
- Dustin Poirier (-215) vs. Michael Chandler (+185)
- Frankie Edgar (+195) vs. Chris Gutierrez (-230)
- Dan Hooker (-130) vs. Claudio Puelles (+150)
- Brad Riddell (+105) vs. Renato Moicano (-125)
- Dominick Reyes (-210) vs. Ryan Spann (+180)
- Erin Blanchfield (-390) vs. Molly McCann (+320)
- Andre Petroski (-195) vs. Wellington Turman (+165)
- Matt Frevola (+130) vs. Ottman Azaitar (-150)
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz (-110) vs. Silvana Gomez (-110)
- Michael Trizano (+145) vs. Seungwoo Choi (-170)
- Julio Arce (+170) vs. Montel Jackson (-200)
- Carlos Ulberg (-130) vs. Nicolae Negumereanu (+110)
Top UFC 281 Parlay Picks
Top UFC 281 Parlay Predictions
Zhang by KO/TKO (+125) ★★★★
This is a bit of a stylistic nightmare for Esparza. The champ is a good wrestler and is constantly hunting for takedowns. But she’s only successful on 35% of her attempts, and Zhang is going to make her pay.
A heavier, busier, and more accurate striker, Zhang is going to absolutely roast Esparza when “The Cookie Monster” closes in for a takedown. Expect Zhang to use her power and athleticism to overwhelm Esparza at times, eventually punishing a failed takedown attempt with a violent torrent of fists and elbows.
Esparza is tough and crafty enough to survive some early hellfire, but she’ll eventually fall to strikes at some point in the middle rounds.
Petroski by KO/TKO (+240) ★★★★
All of Petroski’s victories have come via stoppage, and I expect more of the same on Saturday night. He possesses some serious power and is a good wrestler, averaging more than four takedowns per 15 minutes. Turman is a quality grappler too, and he's never been submitted over his 23-fight career. So I don’t anticipate Petroski choking him out or snatching an arm.
Instead, Petroski will use his advantageous positions to pile up punishment, raining down a steady stream of ground-and-pound until the bout is finally waved off.
Other sportsbooks like Bet365 offer all the stoppages rolled into one bet, which might be a smart move. However, Turman will be tough to submit, so I’m backing the KO/TKO finish.
Gutierrez by KO/TKO (+195) ★★★★
This is one of the more depressing picks on the card. Edgar is among the greatest lighter-weight fighters to ever grace the Octagon, and it would be sublime if he could ride off into the sunset fresh off a stirring, career-capping victory. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’ll happen.
The once ultra-durable Edgar’s legendarily iron chin has completely crumbled at this point. Three of his past four bouts have ended with him counting the lights, including devastating knockout losses to Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen.
Gutierrez isn’t exactly a world-beater, and prime Edgar would roast him. But he possesses the requisite power to smash this current, husk-like iteration of “The Answer.” Expect “El Guapo” to blast Edgar with leg kicks before landing something devastating to close this one out.
Where to Bet on UFC 281 Parlay Picks
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UFC 281 parlay picks made on 11/12/2022 at 9:22 a.m. ET