UFC 289 Picks: Betting Advice and Analysis
The first UFC pay-per-view event in four weeks takes places Saturday as the best-ever female fighter, Amanda Nunes, headlines the card against Irene Aldana in another title defense.
Also, former lightweight king Charles Oliveir returns to action against Beneil Dariush in other UFC/MMA action.
Here are our UFC 289 picks for this weekend.
Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana
After almost a year out of action, Nunes is back, aiming to defend her bantamweight title for the sixth time. Previously, this fight was meant to see Nunes battle Julianna Pena for the third time with the score sitting at 1-1 between those two fighters. However, a broken rib has brought in Aldana, with odds of -350 for the champion to win.
Nunes did see her record-breaking 12-fight win streak come to an end when Pena scored a shocking second-round submission almost two years ago. It remains arguably the biggest upset in UFC history, but the Brazilian did regain her title with a win on points in their second matchup.
In reality, these fights are where Nunes tends to make easy work of things. On the other hand, she has only managed to finish Megan Anderson in the past four years, as Nunes has gone the distance and won against Germaine de Randamie, Felicia Spencer and Pena.
Aldana does, however, have eight of her 14 wins coming via KO/TKO, which will concern Nunes. What's more, at 5-foot-9 and with weight struggles in the past, Nunes is finally set to clash with someone of a similar size.
None of this really matters when you're as good as the champion is, and we think she’ll take the action to a fellow knockout artist and get the win.
Amanda Nunes to win by KO/TKO is +140 at BetMGM Sportsbook.
Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush
The co-main event will no doubt have more eyes on it than the headliner because of the addition of a cult hero like Oliveira.
As a former champion, the Brazilian lost his title to Islam Makhachev but his memorable run to the title and subsequent defenses will go down in history. Oliveira put together an eight-fight win streak during his time and eventually defeated Michael Chandler to win the vacant title.
In fact, that TKO in round two also broke the UFC record for most finishes (17). He would go on to put together two more finishes by submitting Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje in his two title defenses.
If Oliveira can turn back the clock to those famous days, he no doubt gets the win. However, he faces an incredibly durable and skilled fighter in Dariush. The Iraqi has managed to win 22 of 27 fights. He is on an eight-fight win streak and recently defeated the impressive Mateusz Gamrot in a comfortable decision win.
In terms of pure mixed martial arts skill, Dariush lacks Oliveira's ability. The 34-year-old is, however, as durable as it gets and boasts of a fantastic gas tank. On the other hand, all four of Dariush's defeats have come via a finish, so we think the same happens here.
Charles Oliveira by KO/TKO or submission is +170 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Mike Malott vs. Adam Fugitt
Adam Fugitt has been promoted from the prelims to a third spot on the main card in the past week, and although nothing changes but a bigger platform for him, we anticipate a tough fight against Mike Mallot.
As a Canadian fighting in British Columbia, Mallet is also should have the support of the home crowd. The Ontario native has put together a five-fight winning streak in the past six years.
Mallot's only defeat in his MMA career came nine years ago against Hakeem Dawodu, and despite fighting as a professional since 2011, Mallot is still just 31 years old with only 11 fights in 12 years. This makes him one of the least active fighters on the UFC roster.
Fugitt has had only 12 fights and is three years older than his opponent here. As a professional for the past seven years, the American has one loss and one win in the UFC after a TKO defeat to Michael Morales before he did the same to Yuaku Kinoshita.
The longer this fight goes on, the more it favors Mallot, as he has seen all 11 of his fights end inside the distance. Fugitt does have incredible knockout power and is very big for a welterweight fighter. When all is considered, we expect the fight to end before the judges’ scorecards.
Fight to end by a KO/TKO is +115 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Dan Ige vs. Nate Landwehr
Dan Ige and Nate Landwehr are aiming to make it two wins from two fights in 2023 after two sensational displays earlier this year.
Ige managed to knock out Damon Jackson in the second round in what was a clinic in boxing. The American barely took a shot in his Performance of the Night win over Jackson and stole the show in January with an excellent right hand to end the fight.
Landwehr’s victory against Austin Lingo also earned him a Performance of the Night bonus after a submission in the second round. It was the third bonus in a row for him, as he won the Fight of the Night bonus for a decision win over David Onama and another Performance of the Night bonus for submitting Ľudovít Klein with a rare anaconda choke.
This fight is the toughest one to call on the main card, but with 10 Ige wins and 10 Landwehr victories ending before the final bell, we expect the same here.
Fight to not go the distance is -148 at Caesars Sportsbook.
Marc-Andrew Barriault vs. Eryk Anders
Two knockout artists are set to kick off the main card with a total of 19 KO/TKO wins between Eryk Anders and Marc-André Barriault.
Both fighters also got a TKO win in their previous fights, as Anders beat Kyle Daukaus before Barriault beat Julian Marquez in March.
Once again, we expect another fight to end before the judges’ scorecards are announced.
Fight to not go the distance is +104 at Unibet.
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