Even with the loss of an Amanda Nunes title defense, the fight card for UFC 265 offers plenty of interesting betting angles. Nunes was already a -800 favorite before testing positive for COVID-19, so she didn’t offer much value. But the card features other experienced fighters, and several with title-bout experience, meaning we have a lot of data to pour through seeking a comfortable side.
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Light-heavyweights: Alonzo Menifield (-240) vs. Ed Herman (+ 200)
Some potential violence is brewing on the preliminary card between Alonzo Menifield and Ed Herman. Having moved up from middleweight, Herman enters the cage on the wrong side of 40 against a former heavyweight with about the same height and reach but seven years younger. That means Menifield is likely to be the more powerful and heavier fighter on fight night.
But traditional stats aside, the most glaring metric is Herman’s head-strike defense at just 58%. That’s quite bad for a veteran who has survived in the UFC for 25 career appearances, though it certainly speaks to his toughness. The problem is that he has taken plenty of damage over the years, and Menifield has demonstrated excellent power-strike accuracy.
The ground game is the wild card for Herman, who wins more often by submission than any other way. But with a takedown defense of 93% for Menifield, Herman is unlikely to get the fight to the ground.
There’s a lot of finishing potential on both sides of the cage here, and at light-heavyweight we can usually expect fight-ending power to surface early and often. The most likely outcome is a Menifield knockout, but at a minimum we’re still willing to lay the juice that he’ll win, even as a more than 2-1 favorite.
Moneyline play on Menifield.
Main event: Ciryl Gane (-325) vs. Derrick Lewis (+ 250)
We’re getting an interim title for the heavyweight division due to booking issues with current champ Francis Ngannou. Lewis has been here before, while Gane is the undefeated relative newcomer to MMA poised to make a run at the champ. While these two hover near the top of the division, it could be a glaring contrast in styles and abilities.
Gane, a former Muay Thai kickboxer, will be the far more technical distance striker, while Lewis remains one of the more one-dimensional fighters to see success in the UFC. Still, for having only one trick in his bag, Lewis wields it quite effectively. He has won four in a row, including two straight knockouts, and has amassed 20 knockouts among his 25 career victories.
But assuming Gane can avoid the haymakers, he should be able to pick apart Lewis from the outside and land takedowns to sap Lewis’ cardio. Gane is a dual-threat fighter and has five rounds to carefully diminish Lewis to the point of a finish. Surprisingly, early markets have Fight Does Not Go the Distance at just -175. Expect that to get steamed through the week, and if not — hit it.
Moneyline play on Gane and Fight Does Not Go the Distance. Gane inside the distance at plus money, and a small prop on Gane by submission at well over + 1000.