UFC predictions, picks and best bets for UFC 255

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Matthew Lowrimore


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Matthew has been with Pickswise for a while now, covering a wide variety of sports. His main passions are college football and UFC, and those are the sports he has covered the most. Matthew uses a variety of methods to handicap games, including stats, trends, injuries, and situational factors. His goal is to consistently give out winners and will put in the research to try and achieve this. For Matt Lowrimore media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.

We are in Las Vegas this week at the UFC Apex for UFC 255. This weeks’ Pay Per View event will feature a Flyweight title fight as the Main Event and a Women’s Flyweight title as the Co-Main Event.

We’ll share our UFC 255 best bets here but head over to our main UFC 255 predictions homepage if you want picks for every fight on the main and preliminary card. Please gamble responsibly when following our MMA picks and predictions.

UFC 255 Best Bets

Main Card

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jennifer Maia, Fight to go the Distance: Yes (+152)

Valentina Shevchenko is a monster favorite here and is 19-3 in the MMA and 8-2 in the UFC. Shevchenko is averaging 3.06 significant strikes per minute, landing them with an accuracy of 50%. She absorbs 2.12 significant strikes per minute, so her striking defense is elite. She is also an excellent grappler, averaging 2.09 takedowns per every 15 minutes.

The challenger, Jennifer Maia, is 18-6-1 in the MMA, but only 3-2 in the UFC. Maia is averaging 4.08 significant strikes per minute, but only landing them 39% of the time. She does absorb 3.92 significant strikes per minute, so she needs to be careful against the power of Shevchenko. Maia is not a great grappler, but she does defend takedowns 70% of the time.

Shevchenko is all but likely going to win this fight. Though her money line is far too high to bet and maybe even too high to use in a parlay. Maia has not been finished since 2012 and has never been finished in the UFC. Shevchenko has seen six of her 10 UFC fights go the distance, which is where I am looking here. I see Shevchenko dominating this fight, but I like Maia’s ability to defend takedowns, so I will back this fight to go the distance.

Mauricio Rua vs. Paul Craig, Fight to go the Distance: Yes (-112)

Paul Craig is a heavy favorite coming into this fight, posting an MMA record of 13-4-1 with a UFC record of 5-4-1. He is only averaging 2.30 significant strikes per minute, but only absorbs 2.56 strikes. He has plenty of takedown ability, averaging 1.61 takedowns per every 15 minutes and 1.6 submission attempts. Though his takedown accuracy is just 21%.

Mauricio Rua comes into this fight 11-9-1 in the UFC. Rua is coming off a split decision win against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira back in July of this year. He is averaging 3.63 significant strikes per minute, landing his strikes 50% of the time. He only absorbs 2.70 strikes, but has still been knocked out five times in his career. Rua also has grappling ability, averaging 2.17 takedowns per every 15 minutes. He only defends takedowns 47% of this time, which could be his biggest issue in this rematch.

Just like the first fight, I think we are going to see a stalemate. Craig is not a guy that is going to go for the knockout and his takedown accuracy is concerning. This time around, I expect one of these guys to win by decision, but to be safe, I will just back the fight to go a full three rounds.

Preliminary Card

Louis Cosce win by KO/TKO (-170) vs. Sasha Palatnikov

Louis Cosce will make his official UFC debut here after beating Victor Reyna back in August of this year. This was a TKO win in the first round and was a part of Dana White’s Contender Series. Cosce is averaging 13.33 significant strikes per minute, landing them with an accuracy of 51%. He is absorbing 4.17 significant strikes per minute, but so far it has not mattered if he took a lot of damage or not. Also, note that Cosce has finished every single one of his professional fights in the first round.

Palatnikov will also make his UFC debut here and is 5-2 in the MMA. He has two knockouts in his career and has also lost by knockout twice. He is fresh off a TKO win in September, so maybe he will be able to hang around for at least a little bit.

This is a lopsided fight given what we have seen from Cosce. I do not see any way he loses this fight, but I would not lay this price with him. Even his price to finish the fight is a little high because he has not shown a ton of urgency to go for a submission victory. Because of that, I am going to look for Cosce to score the knockout.

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