UFC 264 Fight Card Preview, Predictions and Best Bets

Stephen Thompson of the United States throws a kick. Steven Ryan/Getty Images/AFP

Stephen Thompson of the United States throws a kick. Steven Ryan/Getty Images/AFP

 

The UFC 264 main card Odds are now available. Read on for our complete betting guide and preview on this weekend’s UFC Championship matchups, including updated odds and our free expert betting predictions.

 

Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson

UFC Welterweight Bout

Saturday, July 10, 2021 – 10:04 PM EDT at T-Mobile Arena

We’ll witness zero title fights this weekend, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. In the co-main event of the evening, one of the welterweight divisions most talented strikers in Stephen Thompson, will square up against one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in Gilbert Burns.

Following his title fight loss to Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns wasted no time competing – signing up to a Flo Grappling contest versus Rafael Lovato that led to a successful unanimous decision. So mentally, Burn’s isn’t entering the octagon of a loss, which should assist the Brazilians psychology in Las Vegas this weekend.

Besides his 2nd-degree black belt under legendary BJJ champion winning coach Rafael Barros, Burns has slowly evolved his striking offense training out of Sanford MMA. With that said, fighting flat-footed fighters such as Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman has certainly heightened his striking offense. Wonderboy isn’t going to offer Burns the same opportunity.

Lifelong martial artist Stephen Thompson is gifted with a multitude of skills, from Karate, Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu – Wonderboy owns multiple high-level gradings through various martial arts disciplines.

His striking offense is a standout factor, beautiful jabs and spinning attacks accompanied by a light-footed karate stance makes Wonderboy extremely difficult to hit. When comparing the styles, this fight suits the American and his impressive takedown defense.

However, it could be a sticky split decision, and MMA judges don’t have the best reputation. Having handed Wonderboy a couple of decision losses critics disagreed with, we should tread carefully with our betting stakes.

I believe that Burns will fail to keep Thompson grounded, if at all – this will allow the fight to play out at kickboxing range, where the fighting favorite will prove why he’s the superior striker.

UFC 264 Best Bet: Stephen Thompson to Win (-154) with Fan Duel

 

Irene Aldana vs. Yana Kunitskaya

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Bout

Saturday, July 10, 2021 – 09:00 PM EDT at T-Mobile Arena

Two gritty female bantamweights will deliver an intriguing matchup on the UFC 264 main card when Mexico’s Irene Aldana looks to punch her way to victory against Russia’s own Yana Kunitskaya.

Mexican born Aldana will want to avoid grappling at all costs, and should she do so this fight can be very winnable. Her main path to victory is undoubtedly forcing her boxing technique upon the Russian ; she has excellent boxing fundamentals both offensively and defensively. She slips nicely and can work well from her back foot, allowing her opponents to pressure and then counter with fight-ending power, as seen in the Ketlen Viera matchup.

Yana Kunitskaya is no slouch on the feet, but she doesn’t own the same output and aggressiveness that her opponent does. She’ll want to focus on her Taekwondo background that can present some great kicks to keep the distance. Yana can undoubtedly own the striking distance, but she could be in trouble inside of boxing range.

Yana loves to work the clinch, an area where she has excelled on occasions. We should also note that Aldana’s downfalls stem from her inability to grapple. Holly Holm worked hard to avoid Aldana’s boxing range by clinching up and removing that striking output.

We’re presented with a boxer versus a well-rounded martial artist and I have to side with Yana, who owns more tools – wrestling, jiu-jitsu, clinch work, and fight IQ are all favoring the Russian.

UFC 264 Best Bet: Yana Kunitskaya to Win (+100) with William Hill

Speak Your Mind

*