UFC 251 | Last Chance Value Picks

UFC 251 | Last Chance Value Picks
Petr Yan - Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

He’s one of the bigger favorites on Saturday’s card, but Petr Yan still has enough value to earn a place in your MMA picks against former champ Jose Aldo.

Jose Aldo vs. Petr Yan

Saturday, July 11, 2020 – 11:05 PM EDT

Maybe I should have just listened to DaveBets. His excellent articles on the value of underdogs are well worth reading; alas, we put last week’s biggest favorite in our UFC picks, and sure enough, Sean Woodson (–475) ended up losing for the first time in his career, too late replacement Julian Erosa via third-round submission. What can I tell you. Things happen inside the Octagon.

Forgive us, Dave, but here at the ranch, we’re going chalk again for Saturday’s big UFC 251 card on Fight Island. Petr Yan is taking on Jose Aldo for the vacant Bantamweight title; you may remember Aldo from his six-year reign as WEC/UFC Featherweight champion, or the way it ended at the hands of Conor McGregor in just 13 seconds. Yan is a relatively unknown commodity, and the early betting action was leaning towards Aldo, but Yan is still the favorite, even if he’s dipped from –225 to as low as –210 on the UFC odds board at press time. We’ll buy that for a dollar.

Jose Aldo – Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

Yan Can Cook, So Can You

We’re not saying that Aldo (28-6 lifetime, 10-5 UFC) is washed up just yet. But he has lost back-to-back fights, including his most recent fight against Marlon Moraes – which also happened to be Aldo’s debut at 135 pounds. Yes, it was a split decision that could easily have gone either way. Yes, Aldo looked better than he has in a while. He’s still got plenty in the tank at age 33.

Now let’s give Yan (14-1 lifetime, 6-0 UFC) his due. He has yet to lose inside the Octagon, defeating the likes of John Dodson and Urijah Faber along the way. Yan is a versatile fighter, well-versed in multiple disciplines, and at age 27, he’ll have the cardio advantage in this title bout – that’s five rounds for Aldo to navigate, not three. Yan has also fought at Bantamweight his entire career, while Aldo is trying to extend his lifespan after fighting at 145 pounds for most of his 16 years as a pro.

Throw in Yan’s ability to switch sides, and he has a chance to cause Aldo some serious problems in this Saturday’s fight. Getting him at a better price than the open gives us even more value. And by the way, Yan was very close to opening within that magic range between –233 and –400 that DaveBets identified as being profitable for favorites. Styles make fights, of course, and we already like the way Yan matches up against Aldo, but it’s nice to know we’re not straying too far from what might be considered “game-theory optimal” with this pick.

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