The infamous and wildly disappointing Fight Island comes to an end this weekend when Robert Whittaker takes on Darren Till In the main event of UFC on ESPN 14. Despite the full Fight Island plans not panning out, the events in Abu Dhabi this past month have produced some of the best fights of all time and I expect this one to be no different. In this edition of Best Bets of the Week, we will be switching it up and picking three confident picks, one prop bet, and one parlay.
Confident UFC Picks
Robert Whittaker -115
Whittaker returns to the octagon for the first time since losing his title to Israel Adesanya to take on Darren Till in one of the most anticipated fights of the year. Odds are nearly dead even for this one which I believe is a bit off. The narrative on social media this week has been that Whittaker is shot and his performance against Adesyana showed he doesn’t have what it takes to contend with the elite anymore. And that is ridiculous. Whittaker is still only 29 years old and one loss to elite competition in six years doesn’t mean you are shot. Till is a fine distance striker but if you can break his rhythm and pacing on the feet or take the fight to the ground, he doesn’t have many answers. I think Whittaker’s ability to creatively close distance forces Till to work on the counter more where he is not as comfortable.
Pannie Kianzad -170
This was the easiest pick of the week. Kianzad takes on longtime UFC veteran Bethe Correia and this fight has all the makings of the UFC trying to build up a young fighter while burying the aging vet. Kianzad is a decent striker with a nice lead hand, particularly her lead check hook. But she shines in the clinch and on the ground and has shown she can grind out wins with her grappling and hold her own on the feet.
Movsar Evloev -185
This was a tough one as I’ve seen many betters taking Grundy as the underdog of the night but after watching tape, I think the bookies are right on this one. The 26-year-old Russian is 2-0 since joining the UFC last year and is surprisingly well rounded for a SAMBO based fighter. On the feet, he is nothing special and doesn’t offer much other than a big right hand but his timing and ability to use his striking to set up takedowns is fantastic. Grundy is also a grappler with multiple Freestyle wrestling accomplishments so we could be in for a stalemate on the ground. But I think Evloev’s cardio holds up and his relentless pressure on the ground is enough to break Grundy.
Prop of the Week
Gustafsson Inside Distance +110
This one might be risky since we haven’t seen the supposedly retired Alexander Gustafsson fight at heavyweight yet, but I imagine a 42-year-old Werdum will have a tough time getting the rangy Gustafsson to the ground. And if he can’t get it to the ground, Gus should be able to take advantage of his horrible striking defense and get a finish.
Parlay of the Week
Nicholas Dalby and Pannie Kianzad +135
I love the pairing of Dalby and Kianzad for just over plus odds. Kianzad should be able to run away with an easy decision and Dalby has looked great the last few years since being cut by the UFC and now he is back to prove a point to the UFC fans!
Kevin Wilson is a freelance MMA writer who specializes in pre-fight breakdowns and analysis. He has been an MMA fan since 2007 and has been writing about combat sports since he was 17 years old. His work can be found on Sherdog, MMA Today, and now MyMMANews!