From Abu Dhabi to Madison Square Garden, UFC is back with a bang this week. Similar to last weekend, UFC 268 is absolutely loaded this Saturday with two more title fights: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington and “Thug” Rose Namajunas vs. Weili Zhang.
We have betting odds and picks for both of these UFC 268 headliners, as well as for the rest of the main card.
UFC · Sat (11/6) @ 11:59 pm ET
|Madison Square Garden, New York, NY|
UFC 268 Odds, Betting Analysis, And Picks
Kamaru Usman (-320) vs. Colby Covington (+250) — odds provided by DraftKings
Usman Keys To Victory: Kamaru Usman was given all he could handle in his first fight with Colby Covington, in December 2019. Covington could’ve easily been winning the decision had the last half of round five not gone the way it did.
Since then, Usman switched camps and has shown off improved striking. Under his new coach Trevor Wittman, Usman had led with his front jab to great effectiveness. If Usman is able to lead with his front jab and continue with his strong bodywork, Covington is in a bad position to win this fight.
If this fight ends inside the distance, Usman is the likely beneficiary of that outcome. Four of Usman’s last six fights have ended via KO/TKO. Covington has finished just one opponent since 2016.
+Improved Striking Offense Since Last Fight
-Striking defense looked suspect in the first fight and against Gilbert Burns.
-Unlikely to hold the volume advantage in striking
Covington Keys To Victory: Covington rarely goes for finishes. That would be a mistake here. Colby should go after Usman and a TKO victory rather than a decision, since the champ will be difficult to beat by decision.
However, an open-source fan voting platform — Verdict MMA — had Covington winning Rounds 1, 2, and 4 of their first fight. One of the judges agreed with the scorecard before Covington was TKO’d by Usman in the fifth and final round. That fight was set up to be a decision win for Colby had he won the fifth round.
The 🌎 Scorecard data for Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington. pic.twitter.com/8l1WvkCJOW
— Verdict (@VerdictMMA) April 3, 2020
Neither fighter attempted a takedown in that fight, despite Covington being an All-American wrestler and Usman a Division II National Champion wrestler. It would have been interesting to see who would win the wrestling battle, but it is a layer of this fight we never got an answer to. Technically speaking, Covington needs to land low inside leg kicks if he wants to halt Usman’s ability to walk him down. If Colby controls the center of the octagon, he drastically increases his chances of winning.
-Body Strike Defense
Usman vs. Covington UFC 268 Betting Analysis And Picks
Covington’s best chance to win this fight is by overwhelming Usman with volume. He was annihilated by Usman’s body strikes at UFC 245 and will need to show improved defense this time out. According to BestFightOdds, the first fight closed with Usman as a -190 favorite and Covington a +170 underdog. Oddsmakers are giving Usman even more respect this time out.
The Covington moneyline offers excellent value, given how well he fought in that first fight.
UFC 268 Betting Picks: Colby +250 | Fight starts Round 4 -144 (FanDuel)
“Thug” Rose Namajunas (-110) vs. Weili Zhang (-110) — odds provided by FanDuel
Rose Namajunas Keys To Victory
Thug Rose, who has had some ups and downs throughout her career, exclaimed last April, “I am the best in the world.” The feel-good story was the result of a flash-TKO head kick that sent Weili Zhang down and out in the first round. Namajunas is likely the one to win this fight via finish. She will want to use her power and creative striking to land a KO/TKO win or even get a submission.
Weili Zhang Keys To Victory: In her most recent fight in March, Zhang went to absolute war with Joanna Jedrzejczyk en route to a split decision win. Zhang followed that bout up with a flash-KO loss to Rose and will need to get off to a hot right start if she wants to win this one. Zhang did not handle this loss well, so her mental state and confidence coming into this fight is cause for concern.
-Defensive Boxing (getting hit too much)
– Takedown accuracy
Namajunas vs. Zhang UFC 268 Betting Analysis And Pick
Prior to their first fight, I was on Zhang to beat Namajunas by KO or decision. Zhang to win by decision was +170 last time out, and we are getting improved value this time at +280. Zhang beats Rose in nearly every UFC analytical category. Analytics don’t always tell the story of fights, especially in rematches, but her range of competition is just as good as Rose. She was absolutely dominant in her prior fights before the flash-TKO loss, and jI can’t ignore her impressive road leading up to that.
UFC 268 Betting Picks: Zhang Weili by decision +280 | Zhang by KO or Decision +108 (PointsBet)
Justin Gaethje (-210) vs. Michael Chandler (+165) — odds provided by PointsBet
I hope you are ready for violence! Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler is the people’s main event and has the potential to be one of the best fights of the year.
Chandler came into the UFC and immediately knocked out Dan Hooker and almost won the title against Charles Oliveira. He has serious power, is a top-tier athlete, and is one of the best wrestlers in the division. But Chandler is consistently let down by his chin and ability to stop strikes from getting through his guard.
My only bet here is Chandler by submission because Gaethje is not a good grappler. I bet Chandler in May to submit Oliveira, which nearly happened in the first round. Oliveira is light years better at grappling than Gaethje, so if this goes to the mat, it is only a matter of time that Gaethje gets choked to submission.
Sit back and enjoy the carnage — this fight will be phenomenal theater.
UFC 268 Prop Bet: Michael Chandler by submission +1100
Billy Quarantillo (+165) vs. Shane Burgos -(195) — odds provided by WynnBet
Shane Burgos went to war with Edson Barboza in his last fight and was scarily knocked out, prompting Dana White to jump out of his seat to attend to him. Billy Quarantillo is a solid all-around fighter but prefers grappling over striking. If this ends up a striking battle, Quarantillo likely loses.
I’ll take Burgos to win, but I am cautious he could wilt in the third round as he has in the past. With that, I will hedge my luck with Quarantillo to win in Round 3 on the off chance that Burgos blows it in that round again. Odds had not been released for that prop as of this writing, but I would project it around +1500 or better, one of the best values on the card.
UFC 268 Betting Picks: Shane Burgos to win by decision +150 | Billy Quarantillo wins in Round 3 +1500 or better
Frankie Edgar (+135) vs. Marlon “Chito” Vera (-167) — odds provided by BetRivers
Marlon “Chito” Vera looked phenomenal last time out against Davey Grant. He showcased strong grappling and slashing elbows that nearly put his opponent out. Frankie Edgar has been beaten up pretty badly in his recent fights. Chito could force Edgar to grapple; Edgar has not been forced to defend a single takedown since 2015, against now-retired Urijah Faber. Vera seems to be improving his striking, and he is the pick to win by decision.
UFC 268 Betting Picks: Marlon Vera by decision +190 | Fight goes to decision -150
Last Week’s Betting Results
UFC picks last week were a mixed bag, as we had the winner correct in the main event but our prop was not as foolproof as I thought. Islam Makhachev easily won by submission against Dan Hooker, and Volkov vs. Tybura was one of the easiest decision props of the year. Typically, I chase value and high-paying props more than normal moneyline bets.
Overall, we ended the card nearly even if you parlayed Ankalaev as we recommended on the free Gaming Today Newsletter. If you aren’t a follower of my newsletter (you should be), we lost about one unit if you bet every pick. Last weekend, favorites went 13-1.