UFC 256 — the last pay-per-view of the year — features a familiar headliner in Deiveson Figueiredo. He just main evented the previous UFC 255 and now has a 21-day turnaround in his next title defense. Tony Ferguson is also in action in the semi-main event. We preview both fights, plus offer betting advance in advance of the December 12 card!
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UFC 236 Betting Odds & Picks
The UFC has been a part of the news cycle plenty lately. Some for good reasons, like it's new megadeal with ESPN+ streaming service, which will be the only way to watch pay per views in the United States starting with UFC 236 and through the year 2025. Other reasons less good like Conor McGregor announcing his "retirement" via Twitter — which most aren't buying as real.
Regardless, April 13 will be a return to the norm as the promotion hosts UFC 236 in Atlanta, Georgia. Ahead of the fight card, here's all the UFC 236 odds (main card only), per Bovada:
- Max Holloway (-250) vs. Dustin Poirier (+195)
- Kelvin Gastelum (+165) vs. Israel Adesanya (-205)
- Eryk Anders (-160) vs. Khalil Roundtree Jr. (+130)
- Ovince Saint Preux (-135) vs. Nikita Krylov (+105)
These UFC betting odds will fluctuate as the fights inch closer, so pay close attention. But as you can tell by the close lines, the bouts are expected to be evenly matched. Here's what to expect and who to wager on come bell time at UFC 236.
Main Event Preview & Pick
Both main-even fighters, Holloway & Poirier, are nearly unrecognizable from their first fight on the UFC 143 prelims. Back then, Poirier spoiled Halloway's UFC debut, making the newcomer submit to a triangle armbar only three minutes and 23 seconds into the first round.
This second go-around will be fought at 155 pounds and the interim UFC lightweight championship will be on the line. The winner is all but guaranteed a title unification match against the real title-holder Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is suspended until September after the fallout from his controversial ending against McGregor.
Speaking of McGregor, that's a common denominator between both Holloway and Poirier. Both have fallen victim to the Irishman. First, it was Holloway, losing a decision to McGregor in 2013 — it's one of only three times McGregor hasn't won by knockout in 21 career victories. Poirier lost one year later to McGregor via TKO in the first round.
In hindsight, those defeats were career-altering moments for Holloway and Poirier because neither fighter has been the same since, and we mean that in a good way. Halloway hasn't lost again, stringing together 13-straight wins against the likes of Anthony Pettis and Jose Aldo (twice). Meanwhile, Poirier has gone 8-1-1 post-McGregor with signature victories over Pettis and Eddie Alvarez.
It's interesting to note UFC odds are against Poirier. He's been fighting at the lightweight since 2015 and even began his career in the weight class. It's Halloway, the reigning UFC featherweight champion, that's making the ten-pound jump to compete at lightweight. Oddsmakers typically penalize fighters moving up divisions, but not this time.
Perhaps that's because Holloway, despite being a natural featherweight, actually has a two-inch height advantage over Poirier. However, that's canceled out by Poirier's longer-than-expected 72-inch reach — three inches better than Holloway.
The similarities don't end there, either. Both fighters fancy themselves after their stand-up game. Neither is afraid to dish out and receive punishment in return. Holloway has claimed four victories in a row via referee stoppage. Each has come in the third or fourth round, showing the longer a fight wages on, the more Holloway wears an opponent down. Poirier's killer instinct isn't as profound as Holloway's, but he's much more of a submission specialist, as shown in the first meeting.
Fights are often called "wars" but this one should really live up to it. There are so many similarities and momentum on both ends, but Holloway has an extra edge to him right now. Outside of Khabib and Daniel Cormier, Holloway has been the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC for years.
This bout will likely last far longer than the first did. In the end, we expect Holloway to systemically wear down Poirier like he seemingly always does. During his 13-fight win streak, ten of those wins have come after the second round. Holloway seems to find an extra gear late in fights and that will be the difference-maker at UFC 236.
Pick: Holloway (-250)
Semi-Main Event Preview & Pick
In another interim title fight, this one at middleweight, oddsmakers are giving Adesanya the slight upper hand. The 29-year-old is undefeated (16-0) in MMA with 13 of those wins coming by knockout. On the surface that's impressive, but who has Adesanya really beaten?
His UFC wins have come against middling fighters like Rob Wilkinson, Marvin Vettori Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson. Most famously, he beat his idol, Anderson Silva, two months ago. Even then, the 43-year-old Silva took Adesanya to the distance. We're not buying Adesanya's stock.
Gastelum, despite being two years younger, is a grizzled veteran in the UFC by comparison. Since winning Ultimate Fighter 17, he's gone 10-3 in the octagon. In that run, he's gone toe to toe with UFC stalwarts like Tyron Woodley, Chris Weidman, and Michael Bisping.
If fighting is about styles, this will be a clash of opposing attacks. Adesanya is a striking artist, while Gastelum is the far better grappler. This time around, we're picking the grappler to prevail. Gastelum will make Adesanya pay if he goes for the one-punch knockout, which he surely will. Go ahead and book Gastelum vs. Robert Whittaker for the unification title fight now!
Pick: Gastelum (+165)
Check out one of the sportsbooks below to lock in your UFC 236 bets before April 13!
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