UFC 226 is the promotion’s big July event that happens every year. This year is no different and is packed with a bunch of fun fights. Topped off by two title fights on pay-per-view. Max Holloway is looking to continue his incredible win streak as he defends his strap against the submission specialist Brian Ortega. Stipe Miocic is hoping to replicate his continued dominant run as the heavyweight kingpin when he defends the gold against Daniel Cormier who is making his return to heavyweight.
Usually you can find good value in props if a certain side is too juiced. These prop lines may not always be huge dog numbers, they might be favorited lines but still good enough value to bet. For example, Thiago Santos vs David Branch to end ‘Inside The Distance’ opened at (-170) and got as low as (-150). That is incredible value and should’ve been at least -250. Santos was either finishing Branch or Branch was finishing Santos due to his glass chin. I have a few props in mind for this card that I think have a much better chance of hitting than the odds indicate so let’s have a look.
Daniel Cormier wins by Submission (+880) and wins by Decision (+485)
I think this is insane first off. Daniel Cormier is really a fantastic fighter who has the ability to make either of these props hit. Miocic in his own right is a good fighter too but definitely has wholes in his game that Cormier can take advantage of. Cormier will need to weather the early storm from a fresh Miocic and most likely have to eat several big shots. If he can do that and implement some clinch work, dirty boxing, and wrestling to tire out Miocic then I can see a gassed out Miocic getting submitted in the later rounds or even just losing a unanimous decision. Of course, I won’t be surprised if Miocic comes out and is able to just knockout Cormier because Miocic does pack power behind his hands but, Cormier has shown in the past to be a very tough and durable fighter. Cormier is 39 now so he will eventually have to regress in fighting and durability. I’m not sure if it will be this fight or the next but it will happen. Miocic is not a young fighter either as he turns 36 in August, but I think we can all agree he is in peak fighting form currently.
Another good prop to look at for this fight is the ‘Fight doesn’t go to decision’ prop at (-140). I have a feeling Miocic either knocks out Cormier or Cormier wears his down and grabs a rear naked choke in the later rounds as indicated above.
Michael Chiesa wins by Decision (+230)
I favor Chiesa outright in this fight and if his money line gets better I may bet that too but, him to win by decision is the most likely outcome for him and probably for this fight altogether. Chiesa was riding a great three fight win streak before having it choked out from him last summer at the hands of the ever-improving Kevin Lee. Only 30 years old and the winner of TUF: Live from in 2012 Chiesa may be coming into his prime and I’m confident he has improved more since his last fight. He has a dog mentality and very pressure heavy with his wrestling-based game. On the other side for his opponent Anthony Pettis, I don’t see him showing anything new or becoming a better fighter. I see him on a decline like most have for the past several years now ever since his one-sided beating from Rafael dos Anjos that lost him the title. Pettis has shown the same fight IQ problems that he has since that fight and many others which is getting pressured by his opponent and keeping his back to the cage. He never tries to circle out or even fight out of being pressured anymore. He just now lets it happen and tries to rely on his really weak boxing techniques and flashy kicks that don’t really do anything. I won’t rule out Pettis throwing a head kick out of left field to hurt Chiesa and finish him, but I don’t really see that happening. The blueprint has been laid out for both Pettis brothers and that is just heavy pressure and strong, relentless wrestling en route to a unanimous decision victory. Not to mention Pettis has pretty awful cardio but I expect it to be a bit better since he is at lightweight now. However, I don’t think it holds up for a full fifteen minutes with Chiesa’s constant pressure that he should initiate from start to finish.
Paul Felder wins by Decision (+205) OR wins inside the distance (+280)
First off, I still wish this was Perry vs. Medeiros because I was prepared to put a nice amount of cash on that fight going U2.5 at (-135) and the fight not going to decision at (-180). Injury bugs hit just about every card now and hurts the event but somehow Perry vs. Felder is just way better. To keep it short and sweet I think this ends in a brutal (T)KO from a hellacious elbow or it goes to decision. Felder could control which one happens depending how he fights. He can throw caution to the wind and put his consciousness up as a coin flip or he can use the blueprint that several fighters before have (Max Griffin, Santiago Ponzinibbio) and that is circle around and pick apart Perry to win a decision. Perry is a very tough fighter himself and Felder has the tools win the rounds and win the fight on the judges’ scorecards. Felder is on a three-fight win streak currently with all three coming by brutal (T)KO finishes. I’ve put more thought into this and I actually think Felder can land an elbow or combo and somehow hurt Perry to put him away. That isn’t really out of the realm of possibility in my opinion.
If you’d rather feel take the safer route just picking Felder outright then his money line is a good price currently at (-140).
A few other props to possibly consider is Brian Ortega by submission (+285) as this is his best route to winning the title or Max Holloway by decision (+191) as I think he circles around and plays it safe picking apart Ortega for the better part of five rounds.