UFC on FOX 31 Betting Odds, Tips & Picks: Lee vs Iaquinta

UFC on FOX 31 Betting Odds, Tips & Picks: Lee vs Iaquinta

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Saturday night will mark the end of an era. After seven years and over 150 events, the UFC’s television deal with FOX is coming to an end, and they are going out the way they came in, with a marquee fight on FOX.

The main event of UFC on FOX 31 is a rematch between two top-10 ranked lightweights -- Kevin Lee and Al Iaquinta -- with title implications on the line. It’s not just the main event that is interesting though. The rest of the main card is full of attractive options for fans of MMA betting, so here is a breakdown of the best bets on the board for Saturday night.

Kevin Lee vs Al Iaquinta Betting Preview

Lee and Iaquinta have fought once before, in a 2014 fight that saw Iaquinta scrape out a narrow unanimous decision win. But while having a win over Lee is certainly a confidence booster, Iaquinta reading too much into their first outing would be a mistake.

At the time, Lee was only two years into his MMA career and was making his promotional debut, and even then, he had his moments but faded down the stretch.

Four years later and Lee has come into his own as a fighter, dominating most opponents with some of the most violent and effective ground-and-pound in the division, which has led to Lee being installed as a -305 favorite over “Ragin’ Al” per 888Sport.

That isn’t to say that Iaquinta is helpless. The New York fighter has himself excelled since their first meeting, racking up five wins and even a short-notice title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov in the complete fiasco that was UFC 233.

Iaquinta came up short that evening but impressed many by his ability to stymie the grappling game of the best lightweight on Earth on less than a day’s notice. He will need to be able to do the same against Lee if he wants to cash in on his +215 underdog price tag.

Lee vs Iaquinta Best Bet

This fight is closer than the odds indicate. Lee has looked like a force in his most recent outings and may be the best pure athlete in the division but he also is prone to lapses and has a history of struggling with his cardio.

While Iaquinta may only be a part-time fighter, he fought five rounds against Khabib Nurmagomedov and has the defensive wrestling to make Lee work hard early on. If Iaquinta can weather the early storm, he has the chance to take advantage of the fading Lee in the championship rounds.

I still favor Lee to win early but being nearly a 3-1 favorite is far too much. A small bet on Iaquinta at those odds is well worth the gamble with 888Sport.

UFC on FOX 31 Best Undercard Bets

Edson Barboza vs. Dan Hooker

Edson Barboza is getting short shrift here. Though he is on a two-fight losing skid, his two losses were to arguably the two best grapplers in the division in the aforementioned Lee and Nurmagomedov.

Hooker has been surging of late but his success has mostly been the result of his striking prowess. That is a recipe for disaster against Barboza. “Junior” is still one of the best strikers in MMA when allowed to operate at his preferred distance and pace and Hooker is often content to fight at exactly those ranges that will put him in a world of hurt against Barboza.

Unless Barboza has fallen off dramatically or Hooker has made a huge leap, getting Barboza at -112 with SugarHouse is a Christmas come early.

Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira

Like in the main event, this is a rematch of a previous lightweight contest, this time from 2010. In that bout, Miller pulled of a surprising kneebar, submitting Oliveira in the first round. Since then, both men have been staples of the UFC, with Miller becoming the winningest fighter in lightweight history and also becoming the first fighter to eclipse 30 fights in the UFC.

Those records are a testament to Miller’s toughness, adaptability and well-rounded skill set, traits which should serve him well in this rematch as Oliveira is still substantially the same fighter as when they met the first time.

Flashy and athletic on the feet, Oliveira primarily butters his bread with a dynamic grappling style. Unfortunately for “Do Bronx,” Miller isn’t likely to fall prey to those stylings and Oliveira will instead find himself on the wrong end of a top-position based decision.

Miller may be faded but he should in no way be +200 underdog at 888Sport, so I suggest you get in at that juicy price.

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