The UFC returns to action on Saturday, March 27th, with an exciting PPV event UFC 260: Ngannou vs Miocic 2. However, before we can take a look at the PPV portion of the show, we must first examine the preliminary card.
As of this writing, there are six fights scheduled for the UFC 260 preliminary card. One of the previously booked matchups was recently cancelled due to pandemic related issues.
The first batch of prelim fights begins at 6:15pm ET on ESPN+. Following that portion of the event, the second batch of prelim fights will air on ESPN beginning at 8pm ET.
UFC betting sites have released their odds for the UFC 260 preliminary card. Let’s step inside the betting octagon to examine these odds, identify potential value, and put these predictions in an arm-triangle choke.
Shane Young vs Omar Morales Is Cancelled
The outbreak at City Kickboxing is wreaking havoc on the UFC 260 event. This outbreak first began impacting UFC shows last weekend at UFC on ESPN 21 as Brad Riddell was pulled from the co-main event against Gregor Gillespie.
Shane Young, teammate of COVID-19 positive Alex Volkanovski, also pulled from UFC 260 https://t.co/m1YPX5oJFy
During the broadcast of that show, it was announced that Alex Volkanovski was off the UFC 260 PPV and out of the co-main event against Brian Ortega due to testing positive.
Now, a third member of the team in Shane Young (16-7) has been pulled from his UFC 260 preliminary bout against Omar Morales (10-1) due to health protocols. It remains unclear as of this writing if Young tested positive or if this is more of a precautionary move.
It should be noted that Khama Worthy also trained and traveled with Volkanovski to the United States for this event. He could be the next fighter to be pulled from UFC 260 due to this outbreak.
Marc-Andre Barriault vs Abu Azaitar
In the opening bout of the UFC 260 event, we have an intriguing middleweight matchup between the Canadian Marc-Andre Barriault and Abu Azaitar from Morocco.
Azaitar might be the slight underdog, but he enters this contest on a 10 fight unbeaten streak with nine wins and one draw. He debuted in the UFC in July 2018 and won via unanimous decision over Vitor Miranda.
However, Abu hasn’t fought since then. He also failed a drug test which landed him a suspension and pulled out of two fights scheduled for last year.
Eight of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 6-0-1 when going the distance and does have one TKO/KO loss on his record.
Barriault went on an eight fight win streak in TKO, a Canadian MMA promotion, to earn a shot with the UFC. Unfortunately, he lost his first three fights all via decision to Andrew Sanchez, Krzysztof Jotko, and Jun Yong Park.
He returned to the octagon nine months ago and beat Oskar Piechota. However, Barraiult would end up failing a drug test and the fight result was changed to a no contest.
Barriault claimed that a supplement he took was tainted with ostarine which is what he was popped for. The Canadian is determined to overcome his early octagon adversity and have his hands raised again this weekend:
“I even more like having my arms in the air. I want to do the same thing in the cage as last time, and even better. It is an additional motivation. It’s very possible that this is the first fight on the map. I went down a bit in order. Right now, I have one foot outside the UFC and the other in (…) I expect him (Azaitar) to start off as a lion since it’s been a while since he did not fight. He’s going to want to break me quickly. But he will realize that it is I who will take the first bite. ”
Eight of his 11 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 3-4 when going the distance.
For Barriault, it’s important to restore his reputation as much as it is to prevent another octagon loss which would certainly result in a release.
I believe he will accomplish both this weekend and do so in emphatic fashion as he scores a TKO/KO (+350) win. Barriault is the better fighter, has slicker striking skills, and will eventually put Azaitar away with his relentless pounding.
I’m also taking this fight to end Under 2.5 rounds (+170) and inside the distance (+135). The disparity between the two men is too great for me to feel that Azaitar can survive the full 15 minutes. I like the value with the fight ending inside the distance.
Marc-Andre Barriault vs Abu Azaitar –Barriault (-115)
Under 2.5 rounds (+170)
Fight ends inside the distance (+135)
Barriault wins inside distance (+310)
Barriault wins via TKO/KO (+350)
Gillian Robertson vs Miranda Maverick
This matchup was originally scheduled for UFC 258 roughly one month ago, but the bout was cancelled the day of the event due to Gillian Robertson being sick. It was not a pandemic related illness. Once recovered, the UFC quickly rescheduled this fight.
Robertson is the underdog as her odds increased from +120 to +140 from UFC 258 to now. She hopes to bounce back from a loss a few months ago via unanimous decision to Taila Santos. Gillian is 6-3 in the octagon having won four of her last six contests.
Seven of her nine pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of submission. She’s 2-3 when going the distance.
Maverick made her UFC debut in October 2020 scored a TKO win over beat Liana Jojua due to a doctor’s stoppage. Miranda has won four straight fights and was a former standout for Invicta FC.
Seven of her eight pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of submission. Maverick is 2-2 when going the distance.
These two women both have strengths and weakness that could be exploited by the other in this contest. Yet, I like them to battle it out for the full 15 minutes (-160) and go Over 2.5 rounds (-185) as I believe they are too durable to lose via stoppage. Maverick has never been stopped in a fight.
Maverick is a strong wrestler who can survive the takedowns and get back to her feet where she has the edge in technical striking and power. Take Maverick to win via decision at (+130) which is the best value for this contest.
Gillian Robertson vs Miranda Maverick –Maverick (-160)
Over 2.5 rounds (-185)
Fight goes the distance (-160)
Maverick to win via decision (+130)
Modestas Bukauskas vs Michal Oleksiejczuk
Modestas Bukauskas rode a six fight win streak into the UFC where he also had captured the CW light heavyweight title along the way.
He was successful in his octagon debut in July 2020 where he beat Andreas Michailidis via 1st round TKO. Unfortunately, he fell victim to a 1st round KO loss to Jimmy Crute in October 2020.
10 of his 11 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO. He’s 1-0 when going the distance. All three of his losses have come via stoppage with two by way of TKO/KO.
Michal Oleksiejczuk made his UFC debut in December 2017 where he beat Khalil Rountree. Unfortunately, a failed drug test changed that win to a no contest.
Oleksiejczuk would bounce back in February 2019 when he beat Gian Villante via 1st round TKO. He followed that up with another 1st round TKO in April 2019 when he beat Gadzhimurad Antigulov.
A third fight in 2019 stopped his winning streak when he lost to Ovince St. Preux via 2nd round submission. His last fight was 13 months ago where he lost via 1st round submission to Jimmy Crute.
11 of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with 10 by way of TKO/KO. He’s 3-0 when going the distance. Three of his four pro losses have come via submission. Fortunately, he won’t have to worry about that in this fight.
This weekend’s light heavyweight matchup will be a striking battle until one man drops. For me, I like Oleksiejczuk to win the fight despite giving up four inches in reach and three inches in height.
Oleksiejczuk will pressure Modestas and eventually corner him before landing numerous power shots that will end this fight via TKO (+215) in Under 2.5 rounds (-135) and inside the distance (-145). This is the best value for this fight that you’ll find on UFC betting sites as these two men have gone the distance just four times in their 32 pro fights.
Bukauskas has been knocked out twice in his career. This weekend will mark the third time.
Bukauskas vs Oleksiejczuk –Oleksiejczuk (-150)
Under 2.5 rounds (-135)
Fight ends inside the distance (-145)
Oleksiejczuk wins inside distance (+165)
Oleksiejczuk wins via TKO/KO (+215)
Jared Gooden vs Abubakar Nurmagomedov
This welterweight clash pits two fighters looking to get their first win inside the octagon.
Gooden bounced around different promotions including LFA and Titan FC before scoring a UFC contract last November. Unfortunately, he lost to Alan Jouban via unanimous decision. The loss snapped a three fight win streak.
13 of his 17 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-4 when going the distance and does have one TKO/KO loss on his record.
Nurmagomedov is the cousin Khabib who thinks that Abubakar could be next in line to excel inside the octagon. Yet, like Gooden, he failed to capture the victory in his UFC debut in November 2019 which was his last fight. Prior to the UFC, Nurmagomedov had competed in PFL and WSOF.
10 of his 15 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of TKO/KO. He’s 5-0 when going the distance and does have three stoppage losses on his record. Two of those losses came via submission.
Fortunately, I don’t expect Nurmagomedov to get into any real trouble on the mat against Gooden. However, if he’s lazy or inconsistent on the feet then Abubakar could eat one too many punches that lands him on the mat and in the loss column.
With that said, I do think that after nearly a year and a half out of the cage, Nurmagomedov will be more focused and polished. I see him making a run in this division and that starts with a decision win (+125) against Gooden this weekend.
Take the Over 2.5 rounds (-185) and for the fight to go the distance (-160). Nurmagomedov has gone the distance in six of his nine last fights.
Gooden vs Nurmagomedov –Nurmagomedov (-235)
Over 2.5 rounds (-185)
Fight goes the distance (-160)
Nurmagomedov wins via decision (+125)
Jessica Penne vs Hannah Goldy
Penne hasn’t competed inside the octagon since April 2017. She failed drug tests in April 2019 and was suspended for 20 months. This will be her first UFC fight in nearly four years.
Prior to her suspension, the former Invicta FC champ Penne had lost three straight fights which dropped her UFC record down to 1-3. Some of those losses were to Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade.
Nine of her 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of submission. She’s 3-2 when going the distance.
Goldy earned a UFC contract with a unanimous decision win on DWCS in June 2019 and then made her octagon debut in August 2019 where she lost to Miranda Granger via unanimous decision. It was the first loss of her pro career.
Goldy only has one stoppage win. Five of her six pro fights have gone the distance where she’s 4-1 in those contests.
With that in mind, I am taking the Over 2.5 rounds (-320) and the fight to go the distance (-265). Although Penne has numerous stoppage victories, it’s hard to see either woman getting finished in this fight.
As for the winner, I’m also having a hard time putting my confidence in either right now. Goldy is the slight favorite, but she hasn’t fought anyone to the caliber of Penne as of yet.
Penne is a former Invicta FC champ, but lost three in a row and has been out of the octagon for nearly four years. She’s also eight years older than Goldy.
For me, I just can’t go with a fighter who’s been out of the cage for so long and wasn’t even performing well prior to the long hiatus. Almost by default I am taking Goldy. The best value for this fight is with either woman’s moneyline.
Jessica Penne vs Hannah Goldy –Goldy (-120)
Over 2.5 rounds (-320)
Fight goes the distance (-265)
Gold wins via decision (+130)
William Knight vs Alonzo Menifield
This fight was first scheduled for UFC fight Night 186 at the end of February. Unfortunately, the fight was postponed due to Menifield testing positive.
It was the second straight fight for Menifield where a postponement was involved. In August 2020, Menifield was supposed to fight Ovince St. Preux but OSP tested positive and the fight was postponed.
Menifield appeared twice on DWCS and picked up two victories, but it was his 1st round TKO win in eight seconds over Dashawn Boatright that earned “Atomic” a UFC contract.
Alonzo would go 2-0 inside the octagon where he defeated Vinicius Moreira and Paul Craig via 1st round knockouts.
Unfortunately, Menifeld suffered losses in his next two fights against Devin Clark and a TKO/KO loss to OSP last September.
All nine of his pro wins have come via stoppage with eight by way of TKO/KO. He’s 0-1 when going the distance.
Knight has won three straight contests which includes going 1-0 inside the octagon. He competed on DWCS last September and won via 1st round TKO over Cody Brundage.
Knight would make his UFC debut three weeks later where he defeated Aleksa Camur via unanimous decision. That was the first time that Knight has gone the distance in a fight. Eight of his nine pro wins have come via TKO/KO. His lone loss came via TKO/KO.
Combined, these two fighters have gone to a decision just two times in 21 total pro fights. They’ve also combined to go to the 3rd round just four times in 21 pro bouts.
With that said, take the Under 1.5 rounds (+125) and for this bout to end inside the distance (-285).
I’m looking forward to this fight as it pits two heavy hitters with plenty of knockout power. I believe someone will be put to sleep before the halfway point of this contest. For more, I am taking Menifield to pick up the win. I see Alonzo evolving and improving from those two losses.
The best betting value is clearly with each fighter’s moneyline.
William Knight vs Alonzo Menifield –Menifield (-110)
Under 1.5 rounds (+125)
Fight ends inside the distance (-260)
Menifield wins inside the distance (+155)
Menifield wins via TKO/KO (+150)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …