PFL 3 Opening Odds Reactions

PFL 3 takes place Thursday, July 5 at Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C. The offshore sportsbooks recently released the opening odds for the card, and here they are.

PFL 3 Opening Odds

Jake Shields -600
Ray Cooper III +400

Abubakar Nurmagomedov -750
Pavel Kusch +450

Rick Story -350
Yuri Villefort +250

Shamil Gamzatov -420
Eddie Gordon +300

Gasan Umalatov -120
John Howard -120

Joao Zeferino -185
Paul Bradley +145

And here are my initial thoughts on the PFL 3 opening odds:

– The main event is a mismatch as it pits one of the most experienced and successful welterweights in MMA history in Shields against an up-and-comer in Cooper. Shields (32-9-1, 1 NC) is 3-2 in WSOF/PFL since being let go by the UFC and in his last bout picked up a decision win over Danny Davis Jr. Cooper (13-5) is making his PFL debut and he’s coming off of a loss on the regional circuit. He did pick up a win over Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett last year, but that’s his best win. This is a huge mismatch and Shields should be able to easily grind out a decision or get a submission and continue on in the welterweight tournament.

– The co-main event is also a bit of a mismatch as Nurmagomedov takes on Kusch. Nurmagomedov (14-1) won five-straight fights in WSOF and is following in the footsteps of his cousin Khabib. Kusch (22-5) is coming off of a decision loss against Hayder Hassan but prior to that had won nine-straight bouts. He does have quite a bit of experience, however he tends to lose when he fights good fighters and he beats lesser fighters. Nurmagomedov should be able to win this fight and the steep juice doesn’t surprise me.

– I was surprised to see Umalatov vs. Howard open as a Pick ’em. Umalatov (17-5-1) is coming off of two-straight knockout wins in Russia and has bounced back nicely after getting cut by the UFC. Howard (25-13) is coming off of a decision win over Roger Carroll in CES but you can’t forget he’s a guy who retired multiple times in the last few years only to return. I like Howard but I don’t understand why he keeps coming back. I think Umalatov wins this fight and I like these odds on him.

– Another mismatch on the card sees Gamzatov take on Gordon. Gamzatov (11-0) is undefeated in his career and in his last bout he beat UFC veteran Rodney Wallace by decision in ACB. That was the first decision win of his career. Gordon (8-4) is coming off of a decision win over Chris Lozano but prior to that had lost three-straight fights in the UFC. Gordon has too many holes in his game and Gamzatov should be able to exploit them and likely get a finish in this fight.

– Arguably the most intriguing bout on the card is Story vs. Villefort. Story (19-9) was one of the top welterweights in the UFC but after being stopped by Donald Cerrone was released and temporarily retired. Villefort (11-5) has won five-straight fights since a nasty five-fight losing streak. I favor Story due to his experience but the two-year layoff does scare me and I would probably pass on this one.

– Finally, Zeferino takes on Bradley on the prelims. Zeferino (21-9) lost to Herman Terrado by decision in his last fight but had knocked out Jason High before that. Bradley (23-8, 2 NC) is coming off of two-straight losses, albeit to Alexander Shlemenko and Yushin Okami. I think this could be a spot to take the dog as Bradley is a very solid wrestler who has shown some knockout power in the past. If he can use his wrestling to dictate where the fight takes place, he’ll have a good chance to pull off the upset.

Written by Adam Martin.

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