Two title fights — for the middleweight and light heavyweight gold — headline the UFC 253 card on September 26. We have an in-depth betting preview to the co-headling bouts right here. Before you even think about wagering on the event, read this for valuable advice!
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UFC 243 Betting Picks To Make
"It's time" (imagine those words coming from Bruce Buffer himself) for another UFC fight card and we have the latest UFC 243 odds! For starters, online sportsbooks are virtually split when it comes to the main event of the evening:
- Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is the ever-so-slight favorite at -130
- Interim middleweight title-holder Israel Adesanya is barely an underdog at +110
In this betting guide, we'll preview that championship fight, plus others on the card, before offering our UFC 243 picks for bettors. So in the words of UFC commentator Mike Goldberg, "here we go" with our UFC picks and tips!
Robert Whittaker (-130) vs. Israel Adesanya (+110)
When these two middleweights clash, more will on the line than just UFC gold. Both fighters have roots in either New Zealand or Australia, the latter of which will be hosting UFC 243. The winner of this bout will not only claim middleweight supremacy but also reign over Oceania!
Here's what lead to this all-Oceanic showdown. Whittaker was atop the middleweight division after consecutive wins against Yoel Romero. Then hours before a scheduled title defense against Kelvin Gastelum in February, Whittaker was forced out due to emergency surgery. He hasn't sniffed the UFC octagon since.
In stepped in Adesanya to fight Gastelum two months later at UFC 236 for the interim title. A unanimous decision victory — to improve 17-0 in his career — vaulted Adesanya into this matchup. And now, there can only be one true champion.
Not that Whittaker was impressed by Adesanya's victory, though. He was quoted afterward as saying Adesanya's "holes were exposed bigger" despite the win. The holes Whittaker is referring to is Adesanya trying to avoid punishment — then again, who doesn't?
Unlike Gastelum, Whittaker has the size and reach advantage to make Adesanya pay if he leaves himself exposed ever so slightly.
Plus, we know that Whittaker can hand out a beating, and even take one (e.g. his second bout vs. Romero). During his ongoing nine-fight-win streak, he's claimed four victories by KO, while the rest have gone to decision.
He's proven he can maintain his gas tank over the course of a five-round championship clash.
If you haven't figured it out, we're giving the edge to Whittaker. Yes, he's been out of the ring for a year and Adesanya has the momentum, nonetheless, we haven't forgotten just how dangerous Whittaker is — those victories over Romero were things of beauty.
Adesanya has had the UFC hype train behind him for some time now, but he's just not at Whittaker's level quite yet (nor is anyone else in the middleweight class).
Pick: Whittaker (-130)
Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker
We'd be stunned if this slugfest doesn't end up being the fight of the night. Neither one of these two has boring fights. Ever.
Hooker — a teammate of Adesanya and a Kiwi in his own right — is as skilled of a finisher as there is in the lightweight division. Just one of his 18 career wins has come via decision (ten knockouts and seven submission wins). Iaquinta, on the other hand, hasn't been stopped in over seven years. Something's got to give, right?
Last time we saw Iaquinta was in May, losing to Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone via unanimous decision. In that bout, Cerrone's long 6-foot-1 frame was a mismatch for the smaller Iaquinta.
Unfortunately for him, Hooker poses the same very problems, having a five-inch reach advantage over Iaquinta. That could very well be the difference-maker in this bout.
We like Hooker to continue his hot streak. He's won five of the last six fights and with a partisan crowd, he'll be tough to overcome.
Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington
A win over Ronda Rousey almost four years ago changed Holm's career forever. It might've made her an overnight star, but UFC career has taken a steep nosedive. Since the Rousey victory, Holm is 2-5.
Her last time out back in July, she was manhandled by Amanda Nunes in the opening round (which isn't uncommon for opponents of Nunes).
We point that out because, despite her name, she hasn't backed it up in the octagon whatsoever. Betting on old reputation is always a trap in betting, one we don't want you to succumb to in this matchup.
Take Pennington's UFC odds here. Yes, she lost the first meeting to Holm over four years ago. But things have changed. Her career is trending upward with a win over Irene Aldana, and even taking Nunes to five rounds in a loss (yes, morale victories exist against the all-time best like Nunes).
How To Watch UFC 243
UFC 243 comes to you from Marvel Stadium in Melbourne — the fourth time a UFC card has taken place in the land down under. If you're stateside, the event takes place on Saturday, October 5 (though in Australia, it's actually happening Sunday the 6th).
Despite the time-zone differences, the main card will kick off at the usual 10 pm EST start time. As usual, the ESPN+ streaming service will be the exclusive place to watch from.
For more UFC Vegas odds, head over to one of our partners below. Whether it's UFC 243 or another fight card, they'll have up-to-the-minute betting lines and unbeatable bonus offers for first-time bettors!
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