The first UFC pay-per-view of 2024 is jam-packed with betting opportunities. However, we’ve hand-picked the best bets from the UFC 297 card in this article. You’ll want to keep reading if you want to make money off this show!
- What: UFC 297
- When: January 20, 2024
- Where: Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada
Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis Betting Pick
For years, we’ve seen Robert Whittaker and Izzy Adesanya own the middleweight division. That’s why it’s crazy to see a title match not involving the two AND featuring fighters that beat the snot out of them last time out. Strickland is the champion, but Du Plessis is the betting favorite. Per UFC’s best betting sites, here’s how the Strickland-Du Plessis odds shake out:
|Dricus Du Plessis
Strickland beat Adesanya and Du Plessis smoked Whittaker in the prior fights, both big upsets. So it’s no surprise the moneyline odds are practically at pick 'em. Bookies and bettors are still questioning how “for real” each fighter is — and so are we. But here’s what we know: both fighters are superb strikers, albeit different ones.
Du Plessis is the far more dangerous fighter. In 20 career wins, all ended early except one. Not only does he have striking power, but he also has under-the-radar grappling to fall back on. Nine wins for Du Plessis have been via submission and he averages 2.72 takedowns per fight.
Strickland isn’t all that powerful. Only two of his last fights ended in a knockout win for him. Instead, Strickland wins on volume. The champ has a gas tank like no other — and one higher than Du Plessis. Strickland can also wrestle but hardly relies on it. His 5.82 strikes landed per minute shows you just how high his motor is on the feet.
Betting-wise, we do favor Du Plessis just slightly. Our hunch is his finishing power will be the X-factor. He’ll have to leverage it early because the longer this fight goes, the more advantageous it is to the high-energy Strickland. Our money says Du Plessis gets him out by round three though.
Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Raquel Pennington Betting Pick
This women’s showdown will be for the bantamweight championship, which was vacated by Amanda Nunes over the summer. Here again, we have a pretty even fight on the moneyline. Have a look-see at the current Pennington-Silva odds:
|Mayra Bueno Silva
You can see clear paths to victory for each fighter. For Silva, she’s a better finisher. No surprise here, the Brazilian is a damn good grappler. While she’s not all that skillful at actually getting takedowns (averages only 0.35 per fight), Silva is deadly if she’s on the ground. Seven of her 10 career wins have been via submission, including the last three. The 32-year-old is also three years younger.
Pennington, however, has the big-fight experience. She’s been in the UFC for a decade now and fought against a who’s-who list of greats — Nunes, Jessica Andrade, Holly Holm, and more. Problem is, she’s lost all those fights. Pennington is 15-8 over her career but lacks that signature win or moment. At this stage of her career, there’s probably little that can throw her off her game, which is also grappling-heavy.
We’re picking Silva to become the champion. The history of coming up short for Pennington worries us. That, plus she became a mom for the first time over the summer (her partner carried the child, not Pennington). Juggling a newborn and a fight camp feels like a tall order so Silva is the bet to make here.
Arnold Allen vs. Mosvar Evloev
Again, we have a razor-close betting line between Allen and Evloev. Here you have a pair of 29-year-old featherweights that aren’t that far away from competing for a championship. Whoever wins certainly gets closer to that. As it stands, Evloev is the betting favorite over Allen, as seen below:
It's strength vs. strength in this clash. On one side, you have a takedown specialist in Evloev, who is averaging almost five takedowns per fight. Evloev is a perfect 17-0 over his career. Then you have Allen, who is excellent at defending takedowns with defense hovering at 76 percent. A crazy but true stat is Allen hasn’t been taken to the ground since 2018.
Out money says that streak ends at UFC 297. We sense that Allen has met his wrestling match in Evloev, who will be our pick to win here. This fight likely ends in a decision win for Evloev.
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