Three Not For Me: The Fights To Pass On for UFC 254

We’re on the heels of UFC Fight Island 6 where we saw Brian Ortega pull a very nice upset over the Korean Zombie in the Main Event. We now turn to one of the more anticipated fights of the year as Justin Gaethje looks to dethrone the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov.

First time reading this piece? I go through 3 fights on the upcoming UFC card that you should avoid from a betting perspective and the reasoning why. As bettors, we’re constantly looking to find our betting opportunities but identifying those spots to stay away are just as important.

**NOTE: The perspective being given in this article is from where current odds sit at the time writing. Also, my analysis in regards to passing on these fights is from a STRAIGHT betting perspective.

Let’s jump into it!

Da Un Jung (-345) vs Sam Alvey (+285)

Da Un Jung is looking to keep his 12-fight winning streak alive and Sam Alvey may be fighting for his job.

This fights pretty cut and dry for me. Alvey has fought virtually the same throughout his entire career in that he’s willing to accept the back foot and look to counter strike. Now, he’s realized success in doing so but isn’t a guy I’d classify as a “minute winner”. Jung’s a pretty fluid striker and I like him to keep hands in the face of Alvey while also utilizing good shot selection. In doing so, he should be able to out-work Alvey over the course of 15 minutes if he can avoid the big counter shot.

Betting Alvey at this point in his UFC career straight is somewhat irresponsible in my opinion. He’s largely KO reliant so why not just back a prop? On the other side, I feel the line on Jung is roughly correct as I put him at 80%. With that, you’re not getting any value on your play and you’d be laying a pretty hefty price against a guy in Alvey who all things considered, is dangerous.
I’d sit back and see if Jung can fight smart and keep his 12-fight win streak intact.

Magomed Ankalaev (-320) vs Ion Cutelaba (+260)

This fight’s a rematch from back in February where Ankalaev scored a 1st round TKO over Cutelaba. However, there was a lot of controversy as the stoppage was considered premature by most.

With the first fight ending so quickly and no real indication that Cutelaba was “actually” hurt and in totality, there isn’t much to take away from it. I think Ankalaev is the much better fighter but when you’re fighting a guy like Cutelaba, you’ve got to mind your P’s & Q’s. While Cutelaba isn’t very technical, he can have opponents looking up at lights in the matter of moments. But, if Ankalaev uses his technical striking prowess and doesn’t engage in the firefight to mitigate risk, he wins this fight a good chunk of the time.

Interestingly enough, Ankalaev was all the way down –190 at one point in the original iteration of this matchup. He now sits over 75% indication so I don’t see any value on him at this price with how dangerous Cutelaba can be. I also don’t see value on Cutelaba straight for a few reasons. First, his most likely PTV is a KO and I don’t see him out-working Ankalaev so why not just play the KO prop? Secondly, he wrestled in his fight against Roundtree but I don’t think he’ll look to do that here, especially with all of the bad blood between the two.

This rematch has been booked 4 times now so hopefully there’s no funny business and we can enjoy the impending clash between the two.

Lauren Murphy (-240) vs Liliya Shakirova (+200)

Lauren Murphy is looking to extend her winning streak to 4 and Liliya Shakirova will be making her UFC debut on short notice.

I’ve got quite a few burning questions going into this matchup. First, will we see a more aggressive TD game from Shakirova? She’s historically been successful when landing TDs but isn’t attempting them in overt high volume. Secondly, when she shoots, how much success can Shakirova have? Murphy has struggled with her TDD historically but against really good wrestlers (Carmouche, McMann, Eubanks). So is the wrestling of Shakirova on that level? Lastly, assuming we’re seeing a more aggressive Murphy on the feet (as she’s shown in recent fights), how does Shakirova deal with striking pressure? Shakirova has faced largely low-level competition and girls who’ve been pretty non-committal in turn.

I put Murphy at 66% but not a super confident cap considering all of the questions mentioned above. If you’re laying the juice on Murphy, you’re assuming she’ll be able to stay upright for extended minutes. On the flip side if you’re backing the short-notice Shakirova, you’re assuming she’ll be able to get off on her wrestling core-competency against a massive step up in competition and a grizzled vet at that.

I really want my money nowhere near this fight straight. I would sit back and take in the game of Shakirova.


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Written by Luke Lampe - Sparring with Reality Betting

Writer/Fight Connoisseur
Contributor @mmaoddsbreaker
UFC Betting Advice

Follow on Twitter: @SWR_Betting

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