UFC 229 Betting Tips, Picks and Predictions

Overall we made a loss in September. I’m not happy with how the month has gone, so I want to talk a bit about where I think I went wrong.

Prefight betting was very frustrating for me because I felt like we bet on four great value underdogs in Andrei Arlovski, Leandro Higo, Rory MacDonald, and Eryk Anders. Unfortunately, all four of those guys lost and it was our bets on favorites that saved us from having a horrible month. The only losing bet on a favorite was our 2 unit stab on Mark Hunt at almost even money.

I’ve reflected on these losses over the last few days, and I feel like we’ve been pretty unlucky to see all four underdogs lose. There’s no question that all four guys were matched up against tough opponents, but I felt that all four of their opponents turned up and gave their absolute best. How many times have we seen Thiago Santos get too reckless standing and get caught with something big? Or rush in for a takedown and end up in a bad position on the ground? Against Eryk Anders we didn’t see any of this. He fought smart, he fought aggressively, and he dominated Anders for the majority of the fight. Sure there were some moments where Anders had success, but overall Santos didn’t really look like losing. If I’m being honest, I don’t regret our bet on Anders because it’s very rare that we see Santos fight smart for a solid 15 minutes. He almost always makes a mistake within that time that puts him in a position where he gets finished, usually on the ground. Anders put up a really good fight, but Santos kept things tight and didn’t give him any opportunities to steal the win. If they fought again I’d pass, but at underdog odds, I had to take Anders in this fight after Thiago’s capitulations against Spicely, Branch, and Mousasi and after the terrible fight IQ he showed against Anthony Smith. No regrets from me in betting Anders at underdog odds. It’s just a shame that Santos kept himself together and fought smart for 15 minutes.

The next bet I want to talk about is undoubtedly the bet I am most frustrated about losing last month. If you were listening to my Live Betting Commentary during UFC Fight Night 136 you can probably already tell that I am talking about Andrei Arlovski…

What the absolute hell Andrei?

When I researched the matchup between Andrei Arlovski and Shamil Abdurakhimov, I concluded that after Arlovski’s two extremely competitive standup fights against Junior Albini and Tai Tuivasa the only way Abdurakhimov would be able to beat him was if he could find a way to get the fight to the ground. After studying all of Abdurkahimov’s recent fights, I noticed that he has no offensive wrestling. All of his takedowns come from catching kicks. This means it’s pretty easy to avoid being taken down by Abdurkahimov. All you have to do is NOT throw kicks. If you don’t throw kicks, he can’t take you down. It really is that simple.

During fight week I saw a couple of interviews with Andrei Arlovski where he talked about how moving to American Top Team has elevated his game and how his coaches are great at helping him devise rock-solid gameplans for each of his opponents. I was sold. I am just a regular guy who sits at home in his pants watching fights all day and betting for a living. Surely if I can identify that the only way Abdurkahimov can get a fight to the ground is by catching kicks, then surely the ATT coaches can also recognize this and prep Arlovski not to throw kicks?

In the first round, Arlovski was taken down off the opening kick that he threw. He spent several minutes on the bottom, and it was enough for Abdurakhimov to win the round.

No problem. Don’t panic. There’s two rounds to go. Maybe Arlovski made a mistake? A momentary lapse in concentration. He forgot about throwing kicks and made a mistake. He won’t do it again…

Wrong.

Arlovski ended up throwing 3 more kicks in the second and third rounds and got taken down off 2 of them. Out of the 4 kicks Arlovski threw in the fight, Abdurakhimov was able to turn 3 of them into takedowns. How many takedowns do you think Abdurakhimov was able to get using other methods? You guessed it…

Zero.

When it comes to betting all you can do is conduct thorough research, put your money in a strong position and hope for the best. It doesn’t matter how hard you work or how much you know; fighters can still put in dumb performances. Arlovski just threw the fight away. He set fire to our money.

I don’t regret our bet on Arlovski, because you have to assume that fighters are fighting to win. You have to assume that their coaches have done their homework and you have to assume that they are going to stick to a solid gameplan that will make life difficult for their opponent. Arlovski could not have put in a worse performance. He gifted a win to Abdurakhimov on a silver platter. I don’t regret this bet, but it still stings a little when I think of it. Thank god it was only 1 unit.

The next bets we lost were just a couple of days ago on Bellator 206. The first was a 1 unit gamble on Leandro Higo. This is the kind of loss that you just have to take on the chin. Just over 12 months ago we saw Pico get rocked, dropped and submitted by a journeyman in Zach Freeman. Higo is a former RFA Champion with a pro-MMA record of 18-4. He hits hard, he’s a Black Belt in BJJ, and he trains with the Pitbull Brothers. Before last night Pico had never fought anyone anywhere near Higo’s level. Sometimes guys like Pico turn up, put in an incredible performance and live up to their hype and sometimes they completely fail to live up to expectations like Sage Northcutt or Gavin Tucker. It’s 50 / 50 which way it goes and the return on Higo was 335%. I’ll take those gambles all day long. Higo got starched, but you can’t be afraid to roll the dice in spots like that.

Then we lost our 2 unit bet on Rory MacDonald to beat Gegard Mousasi. In my pre-fight breakdown, I mentioned that I didn’t think size would be a factor because they were roughly the same height and had roughly the same wingspan. There’s a whole chapter in the book Fightnomics where the author studies the data from hundreds of UFC fights. The data showed that weight didn’t have that big of an impact on the outcome of a fight and that height and reach were much more important. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like this data applied to this matchup. MacDonald and Mousasi were roughly the same height, and they had roughly the same wingspan, but the extra 10 – 15 pounds after rehydration that Mousasi weighed seem to be a big factor. I assumed that MacDonald would be able to use his strong grappling in a similar way that Weidman was able to use it against Mousasi but I was wrong. Mousasi big brothered MacDonald. I feel like Mousasi has put in a couple of poor performances in the last couple of years against Weidman and Shlemenko, but he was back to his best at Bellator 206. Based on these bad performances I felt Rory was a decent gamble on the chance that Mousasi showed up and had another bad night. It wasn’t to be, and MacDonald added to our list of disappointing losses in September.

On reflection, I may sound stubborn, but I think all 4 of those underdog bets were solid based on the information we had going into the fights. I do however badly regret one bet, and I’m still mad at myself for placing it…

When I researched the fight between Alexei Oleinik and Mark Hunt, Hunt was around a 1.50 | -200 | 1/2 favorite, but with all the drama surrounding his court case with the UFC, there’s no way I was going to touch him at those odds. I also didn’t like how in his last few fights he hasn’t let his hands go like he used to. These days he’s a little gunshy and doesn’t seem to have the same timing he used to have 3 or 4 years ago when he was able to score some big highlight reel knockouts.

After researching the fight, I did lean towards Mark Hunt but decided to pass. Then all week I watched the odds continue to improve until he eventually came close to even money at around 1.90 | -110 | 9/10. This massive change in odds forced me into taking a gamble on him, but in hindsight, a loss is still a loss. I knew that Hunt was not the same guy he was 3-4 years ago and yet I still bet him. I bet on a 44-year-old fighter, who is coming to the end of his UFC contract, who has a court case with the UFC, who is fighting a tough Russian in Russia, who has no ground game etc etc…

It was a bad bet. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. It won’t happen again. I got no problem taking gambles on young, hungry bulls like Leandro Higo, Rory MacDonald, and Eryk Anders, but I need to stop rolling the dice on these aging veterans who already have one foot out of the door. You won’t see me place any more of these lackluster bets. I’m definitely going to learn from this.

I also made a few mistakes in Live Betting throughout September. Recently I’ve noticed that I’m placing dumb bets during main events. I added more money to Mark Hunt when we already had money on him prefight, and then I did the same with Eryk Anders to beat Thiago Santos. Looking back neither guy was looking THAT great at the time we bet them. These Livebets were just totally unnecessary. Had I not recommended the Livebet on Hunt we would have made a profit on UFC Fight Night 136 and had I not recommended a Livebet on Anders we would only have made a small loss on UFC Fight Night 137.

If I am being truly honest, I put both of these bad bets down to impulsive behavior caused by being very tired. Most main events do not start in the UK [where I live] until 5 am. By the time Thiago Santos and Eryk Anders fought I was exhausted. This hasn’t been a problem in the past because we usually win all the time. When you win, you’re full of adrenaline which gives you energy, but when you have to deal with split decision losses and lousy fighter IQ, it starts to get grueling. If I’m completely honest I loved our 3 unit live bet on Randa Markos last week, and we were probably just 60 seconds against from hitting that big winner. When she gave up top position so close to the end of the fight it sucked the life out of me. Usually, these kinds of setbacks would not affect my ability to make good decisions, but over the last few months, I think all the split decision losses and losses caused by bad fight IQ had started to take its toll on me. Randa was just the final straw, and then out of tiredness and frustration, I Livebet Eryk Anders. It’s unacceptable, and I’m sorry. I’m taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s time to shake off the bad luck we’ve had and get back to winning. It’s time to get back to being ruthless every week.

Over the last 4 years, we have absolutely crushed it in the final quarter of the year and this year will be no different. I am super focused, I’m working hard and I’m totally ready to bet smart, bet sharp and make an absolute boatload of money over the next few months. Thank you so much for sticking with me. I promise you that it’s going to pay off.

UFC 229 gives us a fantastic opportunity to jump right back on the horse. This honestly looks like one of the best events in the last few years for prefight betting. I know that I’ve said this a few times in the past, and the card has under-delivered, but I feel really positive about this one.

Because this looks like such a good card for prefight betting, I want to get the majority of these fights researched by Wednesday, because after that we may start to see the odds on some of these fighters start to decline significantly. For that reason, I am going to spend my time focusing on researching these fights before I write breakdowns. I will then go back and write breakdowns for each bet later on in the week after I am done with my research. I hope you don’t mind, but I think on cards like this it’s just better if I do things this way. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me in the Chat Room if you’d like to discuss any bets. I’m online 8 to 10 hours a day so you can usually get a response quite quickly.

I also want to let you know that this is a huge week for Football Betting. We are now entering the third month of my Football Betting Challenge and so far things are going great. I made around £400 profit in August and £1600 profit in September for a total profit of just under £2000 in just 2 months. This week we have the Champions League, Europa League and then on the weekend we have the Premier League. We made huge profits a couple of weeks back on the Champions League and Europa League so I am hoping we can follow that up with some more big wins. I hope to see you in the Live Betting Football Chatroom throughout the week. I will have Live Betting on Football pretty much every night this week.

I will also be sending an email out to Elite Members in the next few days about how the new UFC broadcasting deal with Eleven Sports may affect our ability to Livebet in December. Be sure to look out for it.

Fight Betting Tip Pick
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor No bet McGregor to win
Tony Ferguson vs Anthony Pettis No bet Ferguson to win
Dominick Reyes vs Ovince St-Preux 3 units on Dominick Reyes to win at odds of 1.49 | -204 | 49/100 Reyes to win
Alexander Volkov vs Derrick Lewis No bet Volkov to win
Felice Herrig vs Michelle Waterson 2 units on Felice Herrig to win at odds of 1.88 | -114 | 22/25 Herrig to win
Jussier Formiga vs Sergio Pettis No bet Formiga to win
Jalin Turner vs Vicente Luque No bet Luque to win
Aspen Ladd vs Tonya Evinger No bet Ladd to win
Lina Lansberg vs Yana Kunitskaya No bet Lansberg to win
Alan Patrick vs Scott Holtzman No bet Patrick to win
Gray Maynard vs Nik Lentz No bet Maynard to win
Ryan LaFlare vs Tony Martin No bet Martin to win

Dominick Reyes vs Ovince St-Preux Betting Tip and Prediction

Dominick Reyes is one of the most exciting up and coming prospects in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division. He has excellent technical striking, vicious KO power, strong wrestling and a high-level ground game. Up until this point in his career, he hasn’t shown any weaknesses. It’s possible that Reyes could be a top 5 Light Heavyweight right now and that’s why he’s a favorite in this matchup against a tough veteran like Ovince St-Preux.

Ovince St-Preux is a tough test for Reyes, but skill for skill he doesn’t bring anything to the table that could cause Reyes too many problems. If the fight stays standing, I expect Reyes to pick him apart and easily outstrike him over 3 rounds. If it goes to the ground, Reyes has the wrestling to either scramble back to his feet or work for a dominant position.

This is one of those “coming out” fights where a prospect that looks great is facing their first real test. So far, from what we have seen Reyes has shown the skills to dominate St-Preux completely, but we also know that St-Preux is very dangerous. He can finish the fight standing up or on the ground at any time. This fight is going to come down to whether Reyes can avoid eating a big shot standing and avoid getting caught in a bad position on the ground.

I hate to use this expression, but I only give Ovince St-Preux a puncher’s chance of winning, because if it stays standing, he doesn’t have the volume or technique to outstrike Reyes and if it goes to the ground Reyes should be able to hold his own. St-Preux’s threat of a KO is significant, but if Reyes can avoid eating a big bomb, he should win this fight relatively comfortably.

I have been very high on Dominick Reyes since he came into the UFC and we’ve made good money betting on him up until this point in his career. I’m hoping that he can now make the step up against a higher level of opponent and justify his hype. From a technical perspective, he looks like one of the best fighters in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division.

Reasons for betting on Dominick Reyes

  • Dominick Reyes is a significantly better striker than Ovince St-Preux.
  • Dominick Reyes has vicious KO power in every strike.
  • Ovince St-Preux has been rocked or dropped in his last two fights. He’s suffered a lot of head trauma in the last 10 months. Reyes hits very hard and OSP’s striking defense isn’t great.
  • OSP doesn’t have the cardio to compete at a high pace for 15 minutes. This means he has to pace himself, which leads to long periods of inactivity. In these long periods of inactivity Reyes can rack up points by outstriking him.
  • Dominick Reyes is a strong wrestler, with a high level ground game.
  • Dominick Reyes is huge. This will be one of the few fights where OSP will not have a size advantage.
  • Ovince St-Preux has low output. He relies on finishing his opponents to win fights. His output is rarely high enough to win 2 out of 3 rounds.
  • Dominick Reyes does a good job of chipping away at his opponents with leg kicks. OSP stands very heavy and flat footed on his lead leg.

Risk Factors with betting on Dominick Reyes

  • OSP is extremely dangerous standing up or on the ground. He has the skills to finish a fight in a split second.
  • Ovince St-Preux has KO power in every strike.
  • This is a big step up in competition for Dominick Reyes.
  • UFC 229 is a huge event. Fighters are more likely to underperform on big PPVs.

My Betting Tip

Dominick Reyes to win

Recommended Stake

3 Units

[3% of your bankroll]

Odds

Decimal = 1.49
Moneyline = -204
Fractional = 49/100

67%

Implied Probability

The bookies believe that Dominick Reyes has a 67% chance of beating Ovince St-Preux based on their current odds.

70%

Our Probability

We believe that Dominick Reyes has a 70% chance of beating Ovince St-Preux based on our extensive research and analysis.

Felice Herrig vs Michelle Waterson Betting Tip and Prediction

Michelle Waterson and Felice Herrig are two fighters on opposite trajectories. Like many fighters coming out of the Jackson’s MMA stable, Waterson has declined in recent years while we have seen Herrig make some significant improvements.

Waterson has struggled in almost all of her fights in the UFC. We even saw her caught in a deep armbar by Angela Magana! Waterson’s biggest issue is her size. She competed at Atomweight in Invicta, and she’s very small for the UFC’s Strawweight division. She struggles with the physicality of her opponents, and Felice Herrig is one of the most physically imposing girls in the division.

We saw in Waterson’s fight against Cortney Casey that she starts strong using a lot of footwork to stay on the outside, but she lacks the power in her hands to gain respect. She just doesn’t have the power to hurt her opponents or back them up. We then eventually see her footwork start to fizzle out as she starts to get tired and then she fades.

Waterson has relied on her grappling in a few of her past fights, but Herrig is a strong grappler who should have a decent sized advantage if this fight goes to the ground.

If this fight stays standing, I think Waterson will have a good amount of success early, but by the midway point of the second round, she will start to slow down and not use as much footwork. From there I think we’ll start to see Herrig walk her down and land big shots.

If the fight goes to the ground, Herrig will have a big physical advantage. I feel like this fight comes down to physicality. Waterson has struggled with being the smaller fighter in many of her recent fights and Herrig is probably the most imposing girl that she has fought in the UFC. Herrig has the striking to land the bigger, more meaningful shots on the feet and on the ground she has the strength and technique to control Waterson.

We know by now that you can never fully trust someone like Herrig to show up and perform to her full potential, but the current implied probability on her to win is just 52%. This is NOT a 50 / 50 fight. Herrig definitely has a few significant advantages here. I cap Herrig at around 60%, which makes her a decent bet in this matchup. This bet isn’t rock solid, but there’s a good amount of value on Herrig betting Herrig to win.

Reasons for betting on Felice Herrig

  • Michelle Waterson is working on opening her own gym. Historically this has been the kiss of death for many fighters. When fighters open their own gym, they tend to lose their total focus on MMA and inevitably start to decline. They don’t think that there new business venture will impact their MMA career, but it almost always does.
  • Michelle Waterson trains at Jackson Wink MMA. This is a gym which appears to be on the decline. Many of their fighters have declined heavily over the last couple of years.
  • Michelle Waterson appears to be on a decline. She hasn’t looked great since coming into the UFC from Invicta.
  • Michelle Waterson is undersized for the division. She struggles against larger opponents.
  • Felice Herrig is still improving. She has improved a lot over the last couple of years.
  • Michelle Waterson doesn’t have the power in her strikes to back Herrig up. Herrig’s shots will be more meaningful. They will look more significant and do more damage.
  • Felice Herrig is a strong grappler. If the fight goes to the ground she should be able to gain dominant position over her smaller opponent and control Waterson on the ground.

Risk Factors with betting on Felice Herrig

  • Female fighters tend to be much more inconsistent than male fighters.
  • Felice Herrig has buckled under the pressure of competing on big events in the past.
  • UFC 229 is a huge event. Fighters are more likely to underperform on big PPVs.

My Betting Tip

Felice Herrig to win

Recommended Stake

2 Units

[2% of your bankroll]

Odds

Decimal = 1.88
Moneyline = -114
Fractional = 22/25

53%

Implied Probability

The bookies believe that Felice Herrig has a 53% chance of beating Michelle Waterson based on their current odds.

60%

Our Probability

We believe that Felice Herrig has a 60% chance of beating Michelle Waterson based on our extensive research and analysis.

Allsopp
I'm a Professional Gambler from the UK. I specialize in betting on MMA. I've got 1 kid, a Shih Tzu and I've been making money from gambling for around 8 years now.

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