With the historic UFC in NYC at MSG card just a few days away, one article examining the potential fun bets at UFC 205 would simply not be right. For this epic card, we will do two separate pieces. In this installment, we will focus on the stacked prelims while part 2 will examine the incredible main card.
We will kick things off with the opening bout of the UFC Fight Pass Prelims between former women's bantamweight title contender Liz Carmouche and prospect Katlyn Chookagian.
Liz has only competed twice in the past two years and hasn’t graced the octagon since April of 2015. On the flip side, Katlyn has competed three times this year and has been consistently fighting, going undefeated since she made her pro debut in June of 2014. She 8-0 now, but will have her work cut out for her vs. the wily vet that is Carmouche.
Despite Chookagian being a -170 favorite, I’m giving a tad more credit to her opponent here. The +150 on Carmouche is tempting but not as much as Liz winning via decision, which pays +300. My head says Katlyn but my gut says Carmouche via a 15 minute war.
Moving on to the other Fight Pass Prelim, which sees lightweight Jim Miller take on Thiago Alves … yes, he who once ran through a boat load of contenders at 170 lbs.
Thiago is favored at -160, but I’m wondering what that weight cut will be like for him. I’m thinking it won’t be a pleasant experience and so am leaning towards a fatigued “Pitbull” if this bout goes past the midway portion of round two. If he starts to fade, look for Miller to capitalize with a finish, be it via T/KO at +750 or via submission at +555.
Moving on to the televised prelims, we have Belal Muhammad (-140) taking on Vicente Luque (+120). The odds are showing this bout should be a closely contested affair, but I think Muhammad’s non-stop pace and constant pressure will be the difference. At +325 to win inside the distance, I’m liking Belal to pull off a finish.
Next up is a middleweight affair with Rafal Natal (-155) taking on Tim Boetsch (+135). While this is a tilt many of us would have much rather have seen about four years ago, nonetheless, it will take place this Saturday night and has barn burner written all over it. It’s one of those scraps where anything can happen, and likely could mean lights out for someone. If you favour the Brazilian, a T/KO pays +325 but if you think “The Barbarian” will earn back to back T/KO’s, +300 looks real good … and it’s a number that’s been dropping all week.
The second to last bout has title implications at 155 lbs, as perennial number one contender Khabib Nurmagomedov (-290) will take on Michael Johnson (+245). While Khabib has only fought once in over two years, he is still widely considered “the man” in this division. With all due respect to champion Eddie Alvarez, the public has been screaming for the Dagestani to get a title shot and with a win over Johnson, it’s hard to argue that he won’t get it (Tony Ferguson aside).
Johnson is coming off that incredible finish of Dustin Poirier but can he pull something similar off vs. Khabib? Maybe, but I’m leaning towards likely not. I’m of the opinion that Nurmagomedov will work his clinch and takedown game, while doing his best to try and earn a T/KO (+360) or win via decision (+130).
The final bout of the prelim card is one which should have title implications at 145 lbs, as Frankie Edgar (-340) will face off against Jeremy Stephens (+280). These numbers scream finish for “The Answer”, and if you buy into that theory, you’ll get the Jersey native at +440 for T/KO.
I’m always interested to read your thoughts on various fun bets, so feel free to hit me up on social media: @ShowdownJoe. And don’t forget, this is just part one of a two part series looking at the epic card that is UFC 205. Next up … the fun bets from every bout on the main card, at this link!