The UFC is back on PPV for the first time this year from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, headlined by the all-action matchup of Sean Strickland -130 taking on Dricus Du Plessis +115 for the Middleweight title. I went over every fight on this stacked card and gave my picks and best bets, so let's get into it.
Odds provided by Stake.com accurate as of 1/16/2024 6:00 PM EST
The main event is the highly anticipated Middleweight title matchup between two of the most exciting names in the sport right now. Sean Strickland is a tall-standing boxer who will not slow down and push the pace on opponents; his ground game is rarely discussed, but he is a black belt with real skills. Dricus Du Plessis is a wild-style finisher with heavy power in his strikes and a ground game that can cause damage and result in submissions.
I'll take Strickland, as I see him being a cleaner striker and using his jab to control the blitzing of Du Plessis and his cardio to take over late in the fight.
Pick: Strickland O/U: Over 1.5 -227
The vacant Bantamweight title will be on the line in this one. Raquel Pennington has earned her way back to another title opportunity behind a five-fight win streak that has seen her turn back many of the other contenders in the division using her solid boxing and grappling attack. Mayra Bueno Silva is a dangerous finisher, which is rarely seen in this division, with a nasty submission game and real power in every strike she throws.
I like Pennington as the underdog as I believe she can use her grappling to control Silva and take her late into the fight, where Pennington will dominate.
Pick: Pennington O/U: Over 4.5 -123
This is a big step up in competition here for the hometown prospect at Welterweight. Neil Magny is a gritty veteran who has used his tricky grappling attack and length to win as much as any Welterweight ever and remain in the rankings for a long time. Mike Malott is a red-hot prospect fighting in his home province, looking to get another finish here using either his powerful punching combinations or his nasty submission game.
This is a great spot for Malott to prove he belongs in top contention, and I believe he will be here. I like his knockout prop, as I see him having a large striking edge here and landing some big shots.
Pick: Malott O/U: Under 2.5 -213
Middleweight veterans look to establish themselves here in this great matchup. Chris Curtis is a very clean boxer with a tremendous ability to defend the takedown, but he can sometimes be a slow starter. Marc-Andre Barriault is a pressure fighter with a grinding style; he is known to wear on his opponents and go for a finish when they are tired out.
My favorite bet for this matchup would be the over, but I'll pick Curtis to win, as I give him a slight edge everywhere over Barriault.
Pick: Curtis O/U: Over 2.5 -161
Up-and-coming featherweight contenders open the main card in this fantastic matchup. Arnold Allen is a tough striker with a high pace brawling style that has established him as a tough out for anyone. Movsar Evolev is a phenomenal talent, especially in his grappling, although he has shown a powerful striking attack as well in performances like his showing against Dan Ige, where he dominated for three rounds.
I've got Evloev here as I see him keeping this close in the striking and mixing in his grappling to take home a clear decision win.
Pick: Evolev O/U: Over 2.5 -370
Well-rounded Bantamweights matchups here in the featured prelim. Brad Katona is back after winning The Ultimate Fighter with his incredible showing against Cody Gibson in the finale, where he showed his toughness after having displayed his well-rounded skills on the show. Garrett Armfield comes into this off his first UFC win, where he dominated Toshiomi Kazama, showing his striking to finish the fight and his grappling skills by keeping it standing.
I'm going with Katona here, as he has proven more than capable anywhere the fight may go.
Pick: Katona O/U: Over 2.5 -192
High pace Featherweight strikers square off here. Charles Jourdain is the definition of an action fighter with a fast-paced striking style and a nasty choke game that he can also use to finish fights. Sean Woodson is a very tall fighter for the weight class and uses his length well on the feet, mixing in a decent grappling attack at times.
I've got Jourdain to get a knockout here, as I don't see Woodson having much success grappling, and I don't trust him to take a punch.
Pick: Jourdain O/U: Under 2.5 +114
A rematch here of a Bantamweight matchup that initially took place on Dana White's Contender Series but was stopped prematurely, resulting in a rebooking. Serhiy Sidey was able to land the big shot that ended the first fight, but he also has a good ground game that he wasn't quite able to get going in their first clash. Ramon Taveras returned to the contender series shortly after the first matchup between these two, and he scored his sixth first-round finish to earn his way into the promotion.
Even with the early stoppage, I feel Sidey did enough to justify his role as the favorite, so I will pick him to win again, likely with another knockout.
Pick: Sidey O/U: Under 1.5 -115
Strawweight submission artists will go head-to-head in this one. Gillian Robertson is a skilled grappler with nine submission victories in her career. Polyana Viana has shown a good ability to find the submission with several armbar wins in her UFC run and a knockout over Jinh Yu Frey, although she has struggled when facing higher caliber opposition.
I like Robertson to be the minute winner here, and she is also more likely to find a finish, which is enough to justify this big price tag in my eyes.
Pick: Robertson O/U: Over 2.5 +111
Fast finishers face off in this Welterweight battle. Yohan Lainesse is a big puncher who has had some good moments in his UFC run, although he has also shown some clear holes in his game, particularly with his grappling. Sam Patterson will look to bounce back from a rough debut here; he is a good finisher with both submission skills and knockout power.
I'll take Patterson here as, despite his durability concerns, he should have a grappling edge here, which I see him using to get a submission victory.
Pick: Patterson O/U: Under 1.5 -179
Flyweight veterans clash here in what should be an action-packed matchup. Jasmine Jasudavicius gets the hometown matchup she was looking for here, and she will look to win using her solid wrestling game and developing striking attack. Priscila Cachoeira is a big puncher with an impressive three knockouts in the UFC, although her grappling and gas tank have not been her strongest asset.
I've got Jasudavicius here as I give her every advantage aside from power, and Jasudavicius has never been knocked out.
Pick: Jasudavicius O/U: Over 2.5 -172
Flyweight grapplers kick off the card in this one. Malcolm Gordon is a decent grappler who has flashed some skill, like in his bout against Muhammad Mokaev, where he gained some solid positioning against the top prospect before being finished. Jimmy Flick is a tricky submission artist who holds a crazy flying triangle win over Cody Durden, although he took some time off and since has returned to two straight knockout losses.
I lean with Gordon here as he is a good enough grappler to avoid the submission, and I believe he can win with striking or positional grappling, although it's hard to trust him with my money.
Pick: Gordon O/U: Under 1.5 -125
Mike Malott by TKO/KO
Charles Jourdain by TKO/KO
Jasmine Jasudavicius + Brad Katona