The lightweight matchup between Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush is without a doubt the most intriguing and possibly most exciting Saturday’s UFC 289 card of a pair. Oliveira lost his first fight to Islam Makhachev in October in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He’s a world-class fighter with elite hitting ability. Dariush is also a world-class fighter, and his hitting has improved so much that he’s become a legitimate title contender.
This game should tear off the roof of Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia. Oliveira’s fights are almost never fought from afar. He is 33-9 without a game. He has 30 of his 33 victories, including 21 by submission and nine by knockout. He only won by three decisions. Of his nine losses, he has been eliminated four times, submitted four times and lost once by decision.
Dariush is also a finisher, though not as good as Oliveira. He’s 22-4-1 and has 13 of his 22 victories, including eight by submission and five by knockout. He has ended up with all his failures, being kayoed three times and submitting once.
This is why “no” is such a hit in “Will the Fight Last?” bet. No is -330 and Yes is +225.
Oliveira’s experience against elite opponents gives him the slightest edge, which is why I like him to win. Dariush is the favorite at -145, so I’ll go with Oliveira at +125. Getting a former champion who recently ended his 11-game winning streak with a boost feels like a steal.
This is the fight of Dariush’s life, and he’ll undoubtedly be ready. They’re both good at submitting defenses, so it might be a smart fight to go the other way. Everyone and his brother are expecting submissions, and while it’s likely their record, you’ve got to pay for it.
But it’s three rounds and not five which is important. Over 2.5 rounds is +170, and while I think it will last a long time, I’ll fight for a better plus. I’d give Oliveira the +700 decision win. I don’t want anyone to have their way and bet on so many outcomes, including a potential title.
So, I think Oliveira’s +125 win and Oliveira’s +700 decision is the way to go here.
Chris “Action Man” Curtis is +135 behind Nassourdine Imavov in the qualifiers. Imavov is -155, which seems too high.
Curtis lost a good night fight to Kelvin Gastelum in a fight he could have won. Imavov was shaking off Curtis teammate Sean Strickland.
Curtis is a more versatile and dynamic forward, while Imavov has been disappointing of late. I’ll take the extra money and let Curtis win by +135.
Belbita has the edge in crucial game against Oliveira
week Six, Diana Belbita and Maria Oliveira open in the women’s strawweight bout, a bout that will be crucial to both boxers’ futures. Neither of them has been impressive in their UFC fights, and the loser could be knocked out. Oliveira is 1-2 in the UFC and lost by unanimous decision to Vanessa Demopoulos. Belbita has lost three of her four UFC fights, only to Hannah Goldy, along with Gloria de Paula, Liana Jojua and Molly McCann.
Prior to her 1-3 stint at the UFC, Belbita was 5-1 in her past six regional circuit bouts, and she faces better competition.
Belbita is the favorite at -120, with Oliveira at the same odds. I’ll roll 120 and let Belbita win. I’d love to play Belbita to win by submitting at +900, but she’s too inconsistent and I’d avoid that. But that’s what to look for in this round.
Nunes should retain the title with Aldana
In the main event, Amanda Nunes is absolutely The favorite defeated challenger Erin Aldana. Nunes has a -320 win rate and Aldana has a +265 win rate.
While there is a growing sense that Nunes is comfortable with her massive success, I don’t get that feeling from her. I think she’s eager to make a statement and will win this fight from a distance.
The easiest option is to KO Nunes, where you can get her for +110. But Aldana also has an excellent batting game and could force the fight down. I think Nunes is the better fighter on the ground, and while she’s not really chasing submissions, it’s not out of the question that she finds herself able to submit Aldana.
Nunes finish is -500, so I’ll play half a unit on it and let her win at the end.