Stockton Stand-up! UFC 266 features the return of UFC legend Nick Diaz. He will go in there against Robbie Lawler in a rematch 17 years in the making. As always when discussing UFC fights, we will discuss the betting side and who is showing value. UFC 266 betting picks take a bit of a different format this time out.
For this massive PPV card featuring Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler, I will be picking every fight on the main card pick. UFC 266 is one of the most loaded cards of the calendar year. The return of Nick Diaz at middleweight feels like a fantasyland; no one expected him to return.
UFC 266 Best Bets And Analysis
Alexander Volkanovski (-175) vs. Brian “T-City” Ortega
Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski is incredibly 22-1. The former rugby player is a strong grappler and has the best leg kicks in the division. His high volume striking is extremely impressive and has won him close decisions during his career.
There are only two ways to bet this fight. Alexander Volkanovski to win by a decision because of his incredible striking technique and grappling. The other is to take Brian Ortega to win by finish (likely submission).
I think submission is absolutely on the table here. As a jiu-jitsu practitioner myself, I would love to see Volkanovski leave his neck in danger for Brian Ortega to land his famous triangle choke or a front headlock. If you want to bet Ortega in this fight, he is +500 to win by submission and +235 to win inside the distance.
Unfortunately, Volkanovski is such a great leg kicker and striker I see him out-pointing Ortega. The much more technical striker, Volkanovski is likely smart enough to not put himself in danger.
UFC 266 Betting Pick: Alexander Volkanovski by decision +135 (FanDuel)
Valentina Shevchenko (-1667) vs. Lauren Murphy
Not a whole lot to say about this fight but I have plenty of bets on it! Valentina is a dominant champion who has never really been tested against fighters at her weight class.
Her opponent, Lauren Murphy is just next on the list. Murphy has never been finished in her career, so I’ll predict a bit of a longer fight. Valentina won’t have much of a size advantage and seemingly never gets hit. The worry for Murphy is that she is vulnerable to be hit in the striking.
Valentina KO is possible but the value is going to be scorecards for me. Tail at your own risk!
UFC 266 Betting Picks: Over 1.5 rounds -218, Over 2.5 Rounds -124, Over 3.5 Rounds +122, Fight goes the distance +155, Shevchenko by unanimous decision +280 (PointsBet)
- I know that’s a lot, oftentimes it is a strategy of mine when a fight to go the distance is plus money like this to bet on each round prop. This acts as a sort of hedge in case it doesn’t go to decision but isn’t finished in round 1.
Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler (-176)
Anyone that says they know what is going to happen in this fight is crazy. Unfortunately, I think Robbie Lawler gets it done here but I would be lying if I said knew what we were getting out of Nick Diaz. He is a legend and dangerously entertaining to watch. A truly fascinating person.
Overall Nick has not fought since 2013 and hates fighting. He doesn’t look like he’s in shape. He also had an odd interview for ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
I don’t love Lawler but anyone backing Diaz is just a fanboy. Be careful where you place this bet, some books have the lines for Lawler ITD (inside the distance) at dangerously low odds. BetMGM is offering a ton of value here at +280.
UFC 266 Betting Picks: Robbie Lawler by KO/TKO or Submission +280 (BetMGM)
Curtis Blaydes (-325) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Curtis “Razor” Blaydes is an incredible wrestler. He is a massive favorite in every one of his fights. Rozenstruik is not my favorite fighter by any means but he does have knockout power.
The Blaydes losses to Derrick Lewis and multiple to Francis Ngannou have me afraid to trust him. Blaydes is unlikely to be a parlay builder for me. This fight is mostly a betting pick pass.
If I had to make a pick I would say Blaydes under 2.5 on DraftKings at +160. The confidence level isn’t the highest there.
UFC 266 Betting Pick: Blaydes Under 2.5 Rounds +160 (DraftKings)
Jessica Andrade (-260) vs. Cynthia Calvillo
Women’s fights and decisions go together like spaghetti and meatballs. At the women’s flyweight division, Andrade faces off against Cynthia Calvillo. Andrade is extremely talented despite her 3 losses in 4 tries. It is impressive to see her take the best levels of competition and titleholders.
Calvillo is too patient in her striking sometimes which leads to her losing fights. Furthermore, if her takedown defense fails her, this matchup becomes much more difficult. The major question of this fight will be her takedown defense and striking volume. I wanted to take her to win a decision but I can’t back that pick with what we have seen recently.