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UFC 283 main card preview & best bets – Saturday, January 21

UFC betting tips

The main card for UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro is packed with entertaining matchups featuring wildly contrasting fighting styles. Outcomes will be determined based on where the fights take place, either on the mat or on the feet. Read on for our predictions about how these bouts will unfold.


Gilbert Burns (20-5-0) vs Neil Magny (27-10-0)

Gilbert Burns (-454.55) has lost only two fights from his last nine trips to the UFC octagon. He was knocked out by then reigning welterweight champion Karama Usman in February 2021 and lost on points in a wild brawl with Khamzat Chimaev. Burns was arguably unlucky in these defeats and had both opponents in deep trouble at points during the battle. In the plus column, Burns boasts recent wins over big names in Stephen Thompson, Tyron Woodley, and Gunnar Nelson. The only negative is that Burns is now 36 years old and nearing the end of his MMA journey. The Brazilian will have the vocal support of the Rio crowd for this bout.

Neil Magny (+340) is a busy fighter who is among the most active athletes on the UFC roster. His long record contains wins over former champs and high-ranked contenders such as Robbie Lawler, Geoff Neal, and Carlos Condit. Magny’s career has been hampered by inopportune losses that have slowed his progress toward a possible title shot. Since 2015 his longest winning streak is three, with the inevitable loss cruelling his ambitions. Magny enjoys a whopping five-inch height and nine-inch reach advantage in this matchup and will be best served fighting from a long range where these assets can be leveraged. If he can maintain this preferred range, he is some chance of grinding out a points victory.

Gilbert Burns by submission


Lauren Murphy (16-5-0) vs Jessica Andrade (23-9-0)

Lauren Murphy (+375) is a 39-year-old veteran who is coming off an impressive decision victory over former champion Meisha Tate. Prior that win, Murphy was completely outclassed by dominant women’s flyweight title holder Valentina Shevchenko. The American is a tough and gritty combatant who may not posses the most natural physical talents but attempts to overwhelm her opponent with relentless forward pressure. Betting sites have offered Murphy little hope in this bout, and it does appear a difficult assignment based on her skillset.

Jessica Andrade (-526.32) has shared the octagon with the cream of women’s MMA talent and notably won the strawweight title in 2019 with a head-slam knockout win over Rose Namajunas. Her enormous physical strength makes her a scary proposition for any opponent. Andrade’s most recent win was a brutal standing choke of Amanda Lemos in the second minute of the fight. Such is her power that if Andrade gets a hold of you, bad things are about to happen. Given her short odds, that is the expected outcome of this matchup, and it is hard to disagree with that assessment.

Fight will not go the distance


Paul Craig (16-5-1) vs Johnny Walker (19-7-0)

Paul Craig (+155) is a Scottish warrior that boasts a win over Jamahal Hill, who is fighting for the light heavyweight title on this card. He last fought in London in June 2022 and recorded a disappointing loss against Volkan Oezdemir. Craig looked one-dimensional and obsessed with landing takedowns that were just not there for long portions of the fight. Some 13 of his wins have come via submission and it is fair to say that his stand-up game is vastly inferior to his prowess on the ground. The Scot’s winning chances rest solely on moving the fight to the mat. If he can complete the takedowns, Craig probably wins; but if he cannot, as was the case against Oezdemir, he will almost certainly get exposed.

Johnny Walker (-192.31) is a mercurial Brazilian knockout artist who either appears very good in the octagon, or utterly hopeless. He has little regard for defence and has been spectacularly knocked out by opponents such as the aforementioned Hill and Corey Anderson. His most recent outing was a solid submission win over Iota Cutelaba, suggesting that he may have tempered his wild-man ways. Walker has changed camps several times during his MMA career and is now under the tutelage of John Cavanagh, Conor McGregor’s long-time coach. Walker will have a big edge in the stand-up department, and if he can avoid Craig’s takedowns, he should find a knockout punch during proceedings.

Johnny Walker by KO/TKO


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