Welterweight: Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz

** Betting odds presented by Bovada Sportsbook **

  • Moneyline — Chimaev (-1100), Diaz (+700)
  • Prediction — Chimaev by KO/TKO in Round 2 (+500)
  • Best Bet — Chimaev by KO/TKO (-170)

It seems like just about everybody who follows the sport, including Nate Diaz, is well aware of what’s in store for the final scene of UFC 279 and his 15-year career in the company.

There’s no way around this one. Khamzat Chimaev is the nightmare matchup of all nightmare matchups for Diaz (or any fighter for that matter). Historically, Diaz has struggled with wrestlers of varying degrees. In Chimaev, not only is he facing one of the best there is at welterweight (170lbs), but one that has some serious size and strength to match.

Diaz reached cult hero status when he shocked the world by defeating Conor McGregor in March 2016. He pushed McGregor to the limit in the rematch five months later but lost in a controversial split decision. Since then, the popularity of “Stockton’s Badboy” has soared to unprecedented heights, although he’s found little consistency in the Octagon and has only fought three times since 2016. 

Our staff here at Under the Covers, and most MMA diehards, would love for the oddsmakers to be wrong. The spectacle and crowd atmosphere at T-Mobile Arena would be electric if Diaz could somehow get into Chimaev’s gas tank and get this fight into the “Championship Rounds” (4th & 5th rounds). But it’s far more likely to go exactly as everyone seems to expect… a couple of hard shots… things go to the mat… and Diaz being pummelled to a TKO victory for the undefeated Chimaev.

Featherweight: Hakeem Dawodu vs. Julian Erosa

** Betting odds presented by BetOnline **

  • Moneyline — Dawodu (-225), Erosa (+172)
  • Prediction — Dawodu by DEC (+125)
  • Best Bet — Dawodu ML (-225)

Erosa has been a bit of a feel-good story throughout his entire UFC saga. Between him and Dawodu, most in the MMA community would agree that he’s the more entertaining and dangerous of the two. Unfortunately for Erosa, that doesn’t mean this is a favorable pairing. 

Dawodu is one of the more well-rounded featherweight prospects out there. The “Mean” Canadian is a patient striker who attacks with crisp, tight shots that generally set up his wrestling to shut his opponents down. Against Erosa, he shouldn’t have any trouble finding ways to grind on and close the distance as he’ll need to do in order to find a win on the judge’s scorecard(s).

Light Heavyweight: Johnny Walker vs. Ion Cutelaba

** Betting odds presented by MyBookie **

  • Moneyline — Walker (+160), Cutelaba (-196)
  • Prediction — Walker by KO/TKO (+235)
  • Best Bet — Walker ML (+210)

There aren’t many underdogs we like on this card, but one spot we do like is Johnny Walker beating Ion Cutelaba in the pay-per-view opener.

Walker is coming off a brutal KO loss to Jamahal Hill in February, and before that, he lost to Thiago Santos. Although he is just 1-4 in his last five, he has fought better competition than Cutelaba, who has also struggled. As for Cutelaba, he is a kill-or-be-killed fighter and he’ll be there to hit, as he absorbs 3.39 significant strikes per minute while landing 4.81. Walker, on the other hand, lands slightly less at 3.45 but absorbs only 2.78. To us, this is a pick’em type of fight, as you are getting two very inconsistent fighters with significant KO power. So, we’ll take the plus-money shot on Walker.

Catchweight (180lbs): Kevin Holland vs. Daniel Rodriguez

** Betting odds presented by Bovada Sportsbook **

  • Moneyline — Holland (-205), Rodriguez (+164)
  • Prediction — Holland by DEC (+225)
  • Best Bet — Holland ML (-205)

Two fights into his run as a welterweight in the UFC and Holland has looked like a new man. Always entertaining and flashy on the feet, he’s also proven to be a threat with his submissions.

Holland’s best bet is to try and nullify Rodriguez’s superior boxing with his range, baiting Rodriguez in, working the jab, before mixing in some takedown or clinch attempts. From there, he can threaten with trips while adding in some sneaky shots. 

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