The top promotion in MMA thunders overseas to Melbourne, Australia for one of the most anticipated fights of the year. UFC 234 is headlined by a Middleweight Championship fight, but the co-main event is a mirror matchup between one of the greatest legends the sport has ever seen, and a fighter who is cut from an identical cloth. Overall, this card has some tough chalk to resist, but it’s one that will certainly be one to enjoy.
If you’re new to UFC betting, then get your bets in early because this card will start to peel off the sportsbook board early. The latest you want to submit your main card wagers is when the prelims start. Best of luck, and on to the picks.
Robert Whittaker -260 over Kevin Gastelum +185
Whittaker’s popularity has been simmering positively for a long time, and we’re already starting to bleed some flavor out of him as a champion. His back-to-back wins over Yoel Romero were well deserved and carried Whittaker to a 9-fight win streak. He last lost in February 2014 to Wonderboy, but has since been on a relatively quiet, undefeated run. A lot of that has to do with how uninteresting the middleweight division has become. The champ’s UFC 234 odds are steeper because he’s an Aussie native from Sydney, and will definitively have the home crowd behind him.
Gastelum is basically chum in the water, and remains a tough sell at +185 after a narrow split decision against Ronaldo Souza that followed a knockout of Michael Bisping (that was taken three weeks after GSP mauled The Count). He’s not even Whittaker will prove to be a fighting champion, and Gastelum
Anderson Silva +355 over Israel Adesanya -600
The real fight of interest is here, and the odds speak for themselves. So why back Silva? Simply for sentimental reasons. This is going to be a blockbuster of a fight that Adesanya could end very, very early. The young Nigerian is on an undefeated 15-0 rampage that has taken the scalps off of Derek Brunson, Brad Tavares, Marvin Vettori and Rob Wilkinson in the past 12 months. Adesanya is every bit as exciting as a young-Silva was in his prime. The scary part? Adesanya is taller, longer and just as talented. It’s impossible to fully back Silva with your entire bankroll given that age has been unkind to him. He is 1-4-1 SU in his last 6 efforts, but there’s always a chance that experience trumps youth in the fight game. This is more so a passing of the torch than anything else, and you’ll have to pay through the nose to make money on Adesanya at UFC 234. Instead, why not take a shot on The Spider? It might be the last time you can ever do it.
Ricky Simon -120 over Rani Yahya -115
All things being equal between the two, Simon is simply a fighter with much more upswing. The 5-foot-6 bantamweight is 14-1 SU in his professional career, and is looking to launch himself up the rankings while using the 34-year old Yahya as a stepping stone. This is a proving ground for both men, and a very close call. Simon hasn’t beaten anyone of significance, and will have to avoid the lethal ground game of Yahya in order to get the win, but he remains the more promising side to back in UFC 234 betting.
Montana De La Rosa -280 over Nadia Kassem +195
The undefeated Kassem is being thrown to the wolves here against De La Rosa, a veteran at 9-4 SU who has seriously upped her game since experiencing two back-to-back losses. She has since gone on a three-fight win streak which included her debut in the UFC. All three were by submission. Both fighters are 23 years old, and neither has a definitive physical advantage over the other. Normally I would encourage a take on the big dog from a value standpoint, but De La Rosa has experience that will keep her focused until she locks in that armbar at UFC 234.
Jim Crute -135 over Sam Alvey +100
Alvey is a nice, polished fighter…who got absolutely destroyed by Antonio Rogério Nogueira the last time he stepped in to the cage. The 32-year old’s time has come and gone since his upset over Rashad Evans back in 2017. Jim “The Brute” Crute is another Australian native, and is undefeated at 9-0 SU. He has a very refined style and should be able to keep Alvey at bay for the majority of the fight until he finds his opening to end it. The juice is a bit heavy on Crute, but he’s worth the gamble. He has way more to lose in this fight than the light-hearted Alvey.