UFC 281 places some of the brightest stars in the sport under the lights at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. This massive card is headlined by Israel Adesanya -217, taking on his rival Alex Pereira +170. There will also be plenty of fireworks at Lightweight as we see a fight-of-the-year contender between Dustin Poirier -208 and Michael Chandler +180. This is the most Moneyline Bets I have ever picked for a card, so make sure to take advantage of it!
All Odds Provided by Stake.com Accurate as of 9:50 AM EST 11/10/2022
The Middleweight title is on the line in this massive matchup that has been years in the making. Israel Adesanya has held the title using his kickboxing background and developing an excellent counter-grappling style. Alex Pereira is a powerhouse who has come in with just three UFC fights, including two highlight knockouts and a hard-earned decision over Bruno Silva.
I'm betting on Adesanya here as this is not kickboxing and against a fighter, with the experience of Pereira he should be a massive favorite. Pereira is live for the knockout with his freakish power, but I believe it will be Adesanya finding the knockout in this matchup.
Pick: Adesanya O/U: Under 4.5 -103
Here we see a Strawweight title between the champion and former champion. Carla Esparza has used her wrestling game to neutralize the rest of the division for some time, although she has left much to be desired when it comes to striking. Weili Zhang is a destroyer of anything in her path and she has some serious power and displayed some impressive wrestling her last time out against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Zhang deserves to be a huge favorite in this spot, although betting against Carla Esparza has not been profitable and should be done with caution. If betting on Zhang, I recommend going with the inside-the-distance play, as I don't see Esparza lasting long if Zhang can get going.
Pick: Zhang O/U: Under 4.5 -135
Michael Chandler looks to produce another fight-of-the-year candidate from New York as he takes on former title challenger Dustin Poirier. Dustin Poirier is known for his powerful boxing combinations and durability. Michael Chandler is a beast who can use his powerful striking or strong wrestling to beat down an opponent, although he has been dropped in each of his last three fights, which is a huge concern.
I made an early play on Poirier at DougLasVegasBets.net to get a good price, and he has since been steamed down. It is risky to bet against a guy who has the power of Chandler at this price, but this matchup heavily favors Poirier, and there is a reason the number has gone this far.
Pick: Poirier O/U: Under 1.5 +104
The final fight in the historic career of Frankie Edgar takes place here at Bantamweight. Frankie Edgar has used his high pace and wrestling style to compete at the sport's top level for an absurd amount of time now, although he has shown some durability concerns. Chris Gutierrez has suffered from the depth of this division but gets his opportunity here after a massive spinning knockout in his last fight.
Although I hate betting on a fighter who knows it is their last fight, I will make an exception here as this is a good matchup at ridiculous odds for Edgar, and I believe he has enough left in the tank to get this one done.
Pick: Edgar O/U: Over 2.5 -179
Second of back-to-back grueling Lightweight battles. Dan Hooker is as battle-tested as they come; although his last few have not been going his way, he is still a dangerous fighter at Lightweight. Claudio Puelles has become an exciting name to watch as he has mastered the kneebar submission, which earned him several flashy wins and this big fight.
This is a tough fight to pick as Hooker has the skills to win if he fights as he has in the past, although after his last run, I can't bet Hooker at a favorite price. If you are betting on Puelles, I recommend a submission or inside the distance line, as I don't see him winning a decision.
Pick: Puelles O/U: Under 2.5 -161
This displays the depth in the Lightweight division here as these two engage in an entertaining clash of styles. Renato Moicano has rounded out his game by becoming a solid striker, along with his great grappling attack. Brad Riddell is a tough out for anyone as he has a tremendous striking attack, although he was submitted and hurt in round one of his last fight.
I'll take Riddell in this one as if he can avoid the submission threat; I believe he will win a decision or get a finish of his own.
Pick: Riddell O/U: Over 2.5 -108
Here we get the return of former title challenger Dominick Reyes after a long layoff. Dominick Reyes has tremendous striking that he uses at a very high pace and although he has suffered several knockout losses they were against the top of the division. Ryan Spann has traded wins and losses in the first round over his last four showing his explosiveness in both the striking and grappling game.
I'm going with Reyes here as I think his pace will overwhelm Spann; however, I can't back him with my money at this price against a dangerous knockout puncher like Spann.
Pick: Reyes O/U: Under 1.5 -122
Big matchup at Women's Flyweight here as we see a prospect vs. veteran clash. Erin Blanchfield has been considered a top prospect for some time now as she is very young yet has already gotten an impressive win over Miranda Maverick. Molly McCann has been on the rise recently with several huge knockout wins, although she still has not shown much skill in the grappling department.
I've got Blanchfield all day in this matchup as she is the much better grappler and should be able to dominate from start to finish.
Pick: Blanchfield O/U: Under 2.5 +155
A fun matchup between grapplers here at Middleweight. Andre Petrovski comes in as a former competitor on the Ultimate Fighter, where he stood out for his submission skills. Wellington Turman has had a mediocre UFC run where he has shown solid grappling, although his striking has not been there.
I'll go with Petrovski here, although not with much confidence, as I still have questions about his striking and cardio.
Pick: Petrovski O/U: Over 1.5 -152
This should be an all-out firefight at Lightweight until someone goes down. Ottman Azaitar is an unbeaten power puncher who has finished each of his UFC fights in the first round. Matt Frevola is coming off an electric knockout win and has proven to be a tough out; however, his durability is a major concern.
I was shocked when Azaitar opened as the underdog and now agree with him being the favorite going into this matchup; if this stays standing, I believe he will find the knockout.
Pick: Azaitar O/U: Under 1.5 -109
An intriguing matchup here. Karolina Kowalkiewicz had a huge win her last time out, which has given much hope that a career resurgence is on the rise. Silvana Gomez Juarez is an older fighter new to the UFC and has struggled with the submission defense, although she has crazy power for the division.
I'll bet Gomez Juarez here, as she has much more upside and should not be the underdog in this matchup.
Pick: Gomez Juarez O/U: Under 2.5 -103
This Featherweight matchup sees two men trying to break losing streaks and get on the right track. Mike Trizano is a former Ultimate Fighter winner; although his UFC run has had some bumps, he is still a very high pace fighter with many weapons on offense. Seung Woo Choi has earned some valuable experience over his time in the promotion, and he has seen some success, although it has not been sustained.
This is a very close fight, and I will lean toward Trizano because I think if he can avoid the big shot, his offense will be more effective over three rounds.
Pick: Trizano O/U: Over 2.5 -213
Fun matchup here early on the card at Bantamweight. Julio Arce is a flashy kickboxer with some good experience, including a win over Dan Ige and a fight with Song Yadong. Montel Jackson is a well-rounded guy with powerful striking and wrestling that he can lean on if necessary.
I've got Jackson here just because of his edge in the grappling although if this fight ends up being a striking match it is very close.
Pick: Jackson O/U: Over 2.5 -185
City Kickboxing opens the card with a Lightheavyweight matchup. Carlos Ulberg is a powerful kickboxer who has had a fun run in the UFC. Nicolae Negumereanu has put together four straight wins with two finishes in that run, although the competition could have been higher in those fights.
I'll go with Ulberg to start the night off right for CKB; as he has shown high-level striking, it's just a matter of finding the finish.
Pick: Ulberg O/U: Under 1.5 +119
Israel Adesanya -217
Dustin Poirier -207
Frankie Edgar +185
Erin Blanchfield -417
Ottman Azaitar -132
Silvana Gomez Juarez -106