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UFC 286 main card betting preview & best bets – Saturday 18/3/23

UFC 286 is set for a big showdown, with Leon Edwards taking on Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title. Putting the headline fight aside, the main card is stacked with talented fighters who are all trying to earn their spot for a title shot. BettingPlanet brings you top tips for the main card bouts, which are set to start at 9pm GMT this Saturday at the 02 Arena in London.

Leon Edwards (20-3-0) vs Kamaru Usman (20-2-0)

Read: Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman full betting preview and best bets

Justin Gaethje (24-4-0) vs Rafael Fiziev (12-1-0)

With 10 fight bonuses, Justin Gaethje (+188) is one of the most intriguing prospects to have competed in the UFC. With an 83% KO finish rate, you can almost promise he will put on a show for the crowd whether he wins or loses. After losing by submission to former champion Charles Oliveira, Gaethje will be looking to bounce back and prove why he deserves a chance at the title.

Rafael Fiziev (-238.1) has been tearing through the division; he is currently on a six-fight winning streak. Another powerhouse hitter who has a 67% KO finish will be looking to finish this fight earlier rather than later.

This is going to be a straight-up scrap battle between the two big hitters. Gaethje’s experience and ring control are going to make the difference in this fight; he will be able to pick away at Fiziev’s confidence and end this before the three rounds are up.

The top wager will be on Justin Gaethje to win by KO/TKO in Rounds 1 or 2 at (+410), but if you want to play it safe, bet on the fight not reaching the distance.

Justin Gaethje by KO/TKO in Round 1 or 2


Gunnar Nelson (18-5-1) vs Bryan Barberena (18-9-0)

With only six bouts in the last six years, Gunnar Nelson ($1.24) not been very active in the UFC. His most recent victory came a year ago when he defeated Takashi Sato by decision. Given his impressive record, which includes making it through three rounds against current welterweight champion Leon Edwards and current no.5 Gilbert Burns, it is clear that he can go the distance and take some damage. Gunnar has 12 submissions and has made it obvious that he enjoys the ground game, which will work to his advantage against his next opponent.

Bryan Barberena ($4.10) is coming off a loss to Rafael dos Anjos by submission in round two. In this battle, his stand-up fighting style will make it difficult for him to gain the upper hand. Ring control must be used, and his takedown defence must be much better than it has been for him to prevail.

The only way Barbarena can win this is by KO, and history shows Nelson isn’t an easy man to knock down. The odds are too low on Nelson in the head-to-head market, so you need to decide if he will win by submission or by decision. Looking at the previous fights, take the higher odds on offer and pick the favourite to win by decision.

Gunnar Nelson by decision


Jennifer Maia (20-9-1) vs Casey O’Neill (9-0-0)

Jennifer Maia ($2.43) goes into the fight as the underdog, and rightfully so. With 20 wins to her name and nine losses, there hasn’t been much excitement coming from this fighter with a 50% win average since joining the UFC 10 bouts ago. The odds here looks well unders.

Undefeated Australian fighter Casey O’Neill ($1.56) is looking to extend her win streak to 10. With three knockouts, two submissions, and four decision wins under her belt, O’Neill has repeatedly demonstrated her versatility. You never know what she will do on the night. Maia is undoubtedly the most difficult opponent Casey has faced on her journey; however, if she can triumph in London, a championship fight will undoubtedly be scheduled within the next few fights.

Although this will be a closer fight than it looks on paper, O’Neill will be the one to come out on top at the end of the fight. Maia is a very tough opponent, so we will not be seeing a KO come; however, O’Neill’s ground game will be the difference in the fight.

Casey O’Neill by decision


Marvin Vettori (18-6-1) vs Roman Dolidze (12-1-0)

Marvin Vettori ($1.36) is coming off a loss to no.2 middleweight Robert Whittaker, so there is a reason this man deserves the odds on offer. With nine wins coming by submission and two by KO, it is obvious he can mix it up with the ground game and the stand-up game.

Roman Dolidze ($3.25) steps into the octagon with a four-fight winning streak, looking to make his way into title contention. Having finished 10 out of the 12 fights, and seven of them before the end of round one, he doesn’t like to waste time when he fights. To stand a chance against Vettori, this fight will need to be finished quickly with a ton of pressure placed on him.

Marvin Vettori to win by decision is the best bet for this bout. He has never lost in his career by KO or by submission, so don’t be tempted by the $13 offered for Dolidze to win by KO in round one. Go with the sure thing and appreciate a good fight.

Marvin Vettori by decision


UFC 286 Main Card Parlay Bet

Put all these bets together plus Usman by decision and enjoy a nice pay day.

Vettori by decision / O’Neill by decision / Nelson by decision / Gaethje by KO/TKO Rd1 or 2 / Usman by decision


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