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UFC Fight Night: Thompson v Holland main card preview & best bets

UFC betting

UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Holland from Orlando features a solid main card that promises early finishes and heavy striking action. Let’s take a look at Saturday’s matchups leading into the main event.


Bryan Barbarena vs Rafael Dos Anjos

Bryan Barbarena (18-8-0) is a gritty, throw-em-down type brawler who never takes a backward step. He is on a three-fight win streak that includes a last-start victory over former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. His other recent victories were over Matt Brown and Darian Weeks, so he is on an upward trajectory. While Barbarena’s style may lack the finesse of fellow UFC fighters, he is tough, game, and is unafraid of wearing a punch. His style does leave him open to being knocked out, though.

Rafael dos Anjos (31-14-0) is an MMA veteran who has been throwing fists in the UFC since 2008. He claimed the lightweight title in 2015 with a win over Anthony Pettis and fought for the interim welterweight strap in 2018, losing to Colby Covington. Dos Anjos has gone 3-4 since that bout, albeit against the top talent in his weight class — including a loss to the current title holder, Leon Edwards. The Brazilian has been involved in some wars over the years, and at 38 he is nearing the end of his prize-fighting journey.

With this clash of styles, we are tipping this fight to end before the final bell, so we’ll be backing under 2.5 rounds in the total rounds market at +145 with Bovada.

Under 2.5 total rounds

+145
@
Bovada

Matheus Nicolau vs Matt Schnell

Matheus Nicolau (17-2-1) is an exciting prospect boasting a near-flawless record. His only career losses occurred back in 2018 and 2012, and he has won his last five appearances on the trot — including a comfortable last-start decision victory over David Dvořák. He has been brought on slowly by the UFC matchmakers but is now ranked sixth in the flyweight division and is ready to press for a title shot. Nicolau is very adept in the submission department and so will try and slip the shots of his opponent and take him to the ground, where his advantage lies.

Matt Schnell (16-6-0) has hovered around the top 10 in the flyweight rankings for some time and currently sits seventh in the division. His last five fights have yielded two wins, two losses, and one no contest, so the 32-year-old needs to improve his focus if he hopes to penetrate the top five. Schnell’s last appearance was a Fight of the Night win over Su Mudaerji that ended when the Louisiana native secured a triangle choke in the second round. Prior to that he was submitted himself by the respected Brandao Royval.

It is hard to tip against Nicolau, and we expect him to complete the job at the short odds.

Matheus Nicolau to win

-400
@
Bovada

Sergei Pavlovich vs Tai Tuivasa

It is fair to say that Sergei Pavlovich (16-1-0) does not trust the MMA judging system. The Russian powerhouse has gone to a decision only thrice throughout his 17 professional fights and prefers to wrap up proceedings before the judges can get involved. Pavlovich announced himself as a heavyweight contender with a first-round knockout of Derrick Lewis at his last outing, catapulting him to a top-five ranking. He had previously fought much lower competition with wins over Shamil Abdurakhimov and Maurice Greene.

Tai Tuivasa (15-4-0) is the second-hardest hitting heavyweight on the UFC roster. Like Pavlovich, he is also fond of an early finish and has troubled the scorers only twice in 18 pro appearances. Tuivasa last fought Ciryl Gane, the no.1-ranked contender, and came within an inch of scoring the upset knockout in Paris. Prior to that he also scored a KO win over Derrick Lewis. Tuivasa might not have the chiselled physique of Pavlovich, but he knows how to close the distance and throw a devastating punch or elbow. We are shocked at the odds for the Aussie here and will be happy to accept them. Expect him to back the Russian up against the fence and land some heavy artillery.

Tai Tuivasa to win

+170
@
Bovada

Jack Hermansson vs Roman Dolidze

Jack Hermansson (23-7-0) is a hard-working Norwegian fighter who has never quite cracked the top echelon of his division. His last six fights have gone win, loss, win, loss, win, loss, so motivation and consistency are his major handicaps. Hermansson has fought a range of title contenders, including a loss to Sean Strickland, a win over Kelvin Gastelum, and a loss to Marvin Vettori. If he is to press for a shot at the belt someday, the Norwegian will need to get on a winning run soon.

Roman Dolidze (11-1-0) made his UFC debut in 2020 and has shown solid form winning five fights out of six fights in the premier promotion, the loss coming via decision to Trevin Giles. The Georgian is coming off two first-round knockouts against Kyle Duakaus and Phil Hawes and looks ready for a step up in competition. He has fought at multiple weight classes, including heavyweight and light heavyweight, so his power at middleweight should give him an edge over many fellow combatants — including Hermansson — at 185 pounds.

Roman Dolidze to win

+150
@
Bovada

Kyle Daukaus vs Eryk Anders

Kyle Daukaus (11-3-0) is a tall, rangy middleweight with a solid BJJ and Muay Thai background in search of a much-needed win. Since joining the UFC in 2020, his record stands at two wins, three losses, and one no contest. His skill set appears solid enough, so it is just a matter of improved application and fighter IQ. Daukaus was most recently knocked out by Roman Dolidze, who also fights on this card, but the Philly native is expected to get back on the winning track and prevail here. He appears to have a big advantage on the mat, so we can expect him to attempt repeated takedowns.

Eryk Anders (14-7-0) is another fighter in need of a win after dropping his most recent bouts to Park Jun-yong and Andre Muniz. Anders will face a height and reach disadvantage, so he’ll need to effectively close the distance to get his offense away. He also boasts a BJJ and kickboxing background, but at lower levels than Daukaus. Anders may be slightly more athletic than his opponent, having played numerous sports including American football at a high level, but appears to be otherwise outgunned in this matchup.

Kyle Daukaus to win

-208.33
@
Bovada

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