Coming off a whirlwind Pay-Per-View last week, the UFC is back to the Fight Nights with an event headlined by Middleweights Derek Brunson and Kevin Holland. Holland was on a hot streak in 2020 and is looking to keep it going this year. Brunson, meanwhile, is looking to halt the quick-talking, eager contender and make his mark. Here are the event’s gambling odds and our picks for the winners!
All odds are via Draftkings Sportsbook. Please Gamble Responsibly.
Records from the previous event:
Sean: 2-2, -0.23 units
Drew: 1-3, -1.98 units
Kirien: 0-4, -4 units
Current totals for 2021:
Drew: 24-19, +2.39 units
Mike: 22-17, -5.21 units
Sean: 16-22, -9.74 units
Kirien: 16-27, -16.74 units
Derek Brunson (+145) vs. Kevin Holland (-175)
O/U 2.5 rounds (-118/-113)
Drew’s Pick: Holland/Under
Kevin Holland is on a run that is not seen in modern-day MMA. Holland won five fights in 2020 alone. Five. I don’t think he is slowing down any time soon. His tenacity and trash-talking charisma is backed up by fists of fury and crazy results. Plus, three of those five fights ended in the first round, so I have Holland coming out hot and fast and securing a quick win.
Kirien’s Pick: Brunson/Under
This pick makes no sense. Holland is on a roll, winning five in a row, and Brunson can’t seem to gain any traction. Holland also has a reach, size, and age advantage over Brunson. There is no reason to expect Brunson to get the job done, let alone early. For Brunson to come out on top, he’ll have to look for Holland’s attempts at an early KO and use those opportunities for counter strikes, but it just doesn’t seem likely. Either way, this fight is ending early, so the under is the lock. Brunson is the value play.
Mike’s Pick: Holland/Over
Holland had about as good of a 2020 as anyone could ask for. He went a whopping 5-0 and beat some very impressive opponents in the said run. Brunson has some momentum himself, winning three straight fights, including a recent knockout victory over big prospect Edmen Shahbazyan. This is a good matchup at 185, but I think Holland’s length and striking will pose problems for Brunson if he can’t consistently score takedowns.
Sean’s Pick: Holland/Under
Kevin Holland has really put the Middleweight Division on notice with his five consecutive wins in 2020, four of which were either by knockout or submission. Brunson knows how to get it done, with his recent win over Edmen Shahbazyan showing that he can still finish anyone. This is a fight that can go one of two ways; either Holland picks apart Brunson to a KO finish, or Brunson uses his wrestling to take Holland down on route to a decision or submission. I feel Holland is a reliable pick in the final leg of a parlay, but Brunson isn’t giving that much as an underdog. Holland by early KO/Submission is my play.
Gillespie (-240) vs. Brad Riddell (+175)
Drew’s Pick: Gillespie
This fight is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, both fighters have only one loss and continue to strive forward at 155 pounds. Gillespie has not fought in over a year and has not won in just over two years. Riddell, meanwhile, is on a six-fight win streak and has been far more active. This means that Riddell should be the obvious pick, but I’m betting that the hungrier dog runs faster. Gillespie is looking to get his career back on track, and this may be the fight that does it for him.
Kirien’s Pick: Gillespie
It takes a special type of person to get back into the octagon after the KO that Gregor Gillespie suffered in this last bout. He would not put himself into this position if he wasn’t ready to reclaim his status as a dominant fighter. Riddell is a world-class boxer, and his transition into MMA was seamless. Still, he hasn’t fought a fighter like Gillespie yet. Gillespie proves he is back with a convincing win.
Mike’s Pick: Riddell
This is a very close fight in my opinion. Both men are extremely talented and more than capable of winning this fight. I am leaning towards Riddell not only because he is a slight underdog, but also because of the uncertainty surrounding Gillespie. This is Gillespie’s first octagon appearance since being on the receiving end of a devastating knockout in November 2019, and I don’t think he’ll be back with the same confidence as before. Riddell will have the confidence and the skills needed to clinch this fight.
Sean’s Pick: Riddell
Most hardcore UFC fans have been impressed by Gillespie’s performances in the octagon. Ridell has made it clear that he’s looking to move up rankings fast after going 3-0 in the UFC lightweight division so far. Gillespie was knocked out in his previous fight, but I believe that time has renewed his determination to have a victorious return. Ridell is going to have his hands full, so I’m picking Gillespie by submission in the 2nd round.
Adrian Yanez (-200) vs. Gustavo Lopez (+160)
Drew’s Pick: Yanez
Adrian Yanez is the real deal. His knockout power is complemented by his black belt in jiu-jitsu, a skill set that the UFC audience has yet to see. His multi-faceted threats are going to be too much for Lopez to handle. I am HAMMERING Yanez to win this.
Kirien’s Pick: Yanez
Lopez is an aggressive fighter and will look to dictate the entire fight. Yanez will have his hands full,but if he stays composed and lets his skill take control he will cruise to victory. This is a huge moment for Yanez, I expect him to rise to the occasion.
Mike’s Pick: Yanez
Yanez has looked sensational since joining the promotion. He has power and speed in spades, and there is a reason for all the hype that is behind him. Lopez is 1-1 in the UFC and while he looked solid in his two showings, he has not shown the same potential I see in Yanez.
Sean’s Pick: Yanez
Yanez literally started his UFC career off with a bang after landing a huge head kick knockout. However, the former LFA Bantamweight Champion has a test on his hands. Lopez is skilled and won his last fight in the UFC by submission in the 1st round. Still, when the two are stacked against one another, I see Yanez being the one who holds up. I see Yanez winning this fight no matter where it goes; I'm leaning towards a prop bet for KO, but a safer one would be a Decision win.
Kenan Song (+140) vs. Max Griffin (-177)
Drew’s Pick: Song
Despite facing some big names over the years, Max Griffin has not found consistent success in the UFC. He is just 4-6 and has yet to win two in a row. On the other hand, Song is coming off a win and has won four of his last five. This is a nightmare to pick. Normally, I’d go with the fighter who needs a bounce-back win, but Griffin has lost too many to follow that trend. I will go with Song.
Kirien’s Pick: Griffin
Griffin’s window of opportunity is closing quickly. He has high expectations of himself, but his performances have yet to match those expectations. Griffin will need to use his massive reach advantage to secure a victory.
Mike’s Pick: Song
I think Song as an underdog here has a ton of value. Griffin is a very talented fighter capable of doing great things, but you never know which version of him you are going to get, and he ends up losing a lot of fights. Song on the other hand is younger, fresher, and riding some momentum. I see Song getting his hand raised.
Sean’s Pick: Song
Griffin vs. Song is a good fight to bet on because the underdog here has much value. Song has gone 4-1 in his UFC career so far. Griffin won his last fight, but his prior 2 losses show evidence of a decline. Song has the opportunity to make a name for himself, so a prop bet for Knockout is recommended.