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UFC 299 Betting Preview: Live Odds and Our Best Bets for O'Malley vs. Vera 2

Carmelo Roldan
Written by Carmelo Roldan
March 7, 2024
UFC 299 Our Best Bets for O'Malley vs. Vera 2

UFC returns to the 305 on Saturday for UFC 299. Our third PPV of the year features another stacked card, so let's dive in and pull out some best bets to place for this weekend's fights.

Curtis Blaydes ML -105 (BetRivers)

Since Almeida made his move to heavyweight, he's taken advantage of the shallow talent pool by beating fighters with no answers to his ground game. That changes on Saturday when he takes on an accomplished wrestler, Curtis Blaydes.

Blaydes is the only fighter with legit wrestling ability that Almeida has faced, and Blaydes could come in 30+ pounds heavier than his opponent. That could come with cardio worries for Blaydes, but in a matchup where his opponent will be looking to take him down, it should work to his benefit.

We haven't seen much of Blaydes on his back if the fight goes there, but he should do enough defensive work to keep this upright for the majority of the time, where he can bank rounds with his boxing.

This matchup feels like a glass ceiling for Almeida. We have yet to see him have to stand and trade with anyone at heavyweight, which isn't a good sign for a division that features one-punch knockouts unlike any other. I like Blaydes by TKO, but I can also see him winning 2/3 rounds for a decision win, so let's take the American at the pick-em price.

Jack Della Maddalena vs Gilbert Burns to Start Round 3 -110 (DraftKings)

JDM started his UFC journey with a finisher rep but has since gone to decisions in his last two. His boxing is elite, but he's shown that he could struggle with his opponent's strengths now that he's taken the jump in competition.

Against Bassil Hafez—who really isn't a step up in competition—JDM was taken down a number of times and gave up six minutes of control time. He pulled out the split decision win with his striking, but I think that showing opens up a door for Burns on Saturday.

Burns has been rocked in fights, but he's a more than capable grappler who could get this to the mat if he finds himself in trouble. Don't rule out him making this competitive on the feet either, as he has plenty of experience with strikers like JDM.

I lean toward JDM outpointing his 37-year-old opponent, but regardless, I think this one goes late. The books favor a JDM TKO victory, but Burns has only been stopped twice by punches in his career, and seven out of his last ten fights have gone to decision. I like the playable number FanDuel is giving us for this one to start the third.

Kevin Holland ML -125 (BetMGM)

I'll admit that getting a good read on this matchup is tough since Michael Venom Page is making his UFC debut. However, any MMA sports bettor should see why a Kevin Holland victory is playable at this number.

MVP is a dynamic striker, but he's on the wrong end of 30. He'll be giving up the reach advantage for the first time in his career, and of course, I have to bring up the low quality of his opponents since joining Bellator in 2013.

I still think MVP shows flashes of his Bellator dominance. Holland is hittable, but he has a proven chin, and hopefully, we see a higher IQ version of him where he finally decides to use his grappling against Page. Page was taken down in every round of his most recent loss to Logan Storley.

It's time for Holland to start winning if he wants to make a championship run in his physical prime. Let's hope he realizes this after a couple of losses in the last two years and uses his advantages to spoil Page's debut.

Saturday, June 1 at 10:00 PM
Dustin Poirier
+350
Islam Makhachev
-450

Benoit Saint-Denis by TKO or Sub -145 (Bet365)

Dustin Poirier has value as a dog, but he's shown enough signs of decline to fade him against the God of War, Benoit Saint-Denis. Poirier's recent form has been concerning.

Although he had a late comeback win against Michael Chandler—his only win in the last three years—he spent most of the fight taking damage and on his back before the third-round submission victory. He's known for his durability, but even that is in question after suffering the worst knockout loss of his career against Justin Gaethje last summer.

This is a big test for BSD. Poirier is by far the toughest opponent of his career, and he'll have to show us that he can stand with The Diamond. However, BSD is well-rounded and has finished every single one of his fights after suffering a loss in his UFC debut—a fight he took on short notice.

We all know this has FOTN potential and kudos to Poirier for taking this one. But all things considered, it's easy to make a case for BSD with his finish ability both on the feet and on the mat, combined with Poirier’s recent performance against Chandler and the nasty knockout loss to Gaethje. May I remind you of the main event at UFC 298?

I expect BSD to take Poirier down early and drain him before a TKO stoppage or submission finish presents itself in the later rounds of their five-round co-main event.

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