UFC predictions, picks and best bets for UFC 257

Dec 7, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Makhmud Muradov (red gloves) after winning his fight against Trevor Smith (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Capital One Arena.
Photo of Matthew Lowrimore

Matthew Lowrimore

UFC · 1 year ago

Show Bio

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.

We are back in Abu Dhabi on Fight Island for UFC 257. The Main Event will feature a Lightweight fight between two of the top contenders, including the return of Conor McGregor.

We’ll share our UFC 257 best bets here but head over to our main UFC 257 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 257 Best Bets

Main Card

Makhmud Muradov Money Line (-146)

Andrew Sanchez comes into this fight 13-5 in MMA. He is 5-3 in the UFC and is coming off a knockout win over Wellington Turman. Sanchez is averaging 4.57 significant strikes per minute. He is absorbing 4.92 strikes and has been knocked out twice in the UFC. His grappling is decent as well, averaging 2.16 takedowns per every 15 minutes. However, his takedown accuracy is 32 percent, while he defends takedown 100 percent of the time.

Makhmud Muradov comes into this fight with an MMA record of 24-6. His UFC record is 2-0 and he most recently beat Trevor Smith back in December of 2019. This was a fight he won by knockout. Muradov is averaging 4.97 significant strikes per minute. He is absorbing just 2.57 strikes per minute, has a striking defense of 64 percent and has not lost by KO/TKO since 2016. His grappling is less prominent, averaging 0.51 takedowns per every 15 minutes and 0.5 submission attempts during the same time period. He does only land takedowns 25 percent of the time and like his opponent, he defends takedowns 100 percent of the time.

Muradov appears to be the more complete fighter here. His striking defense will likely be able to hold up when this fight is standing up and his perfect takedown defense will keep this fight off the ground. Because of that, backing Muradov would be my play.

Preliminary Card

Amir Albazi Money Line (-102)

Zhalgas Zhumagulov comes in as a very small favorite. He is 13-4 in MMA and 0-1 in the UFC. His UFC debut took place in July of 2020 and he lost to Raulian Paiva by unanimous decision. He is averaging 4.40 significant strikes per minute, while absorbing 3.47 strikes per minute. He also averages 2.00 takedowns per every 15 minutes, but lands them just 18 percent of the time.

Amir Albazi is coming off his UFC debut win, beating Malcolm Gordon by submission back in July of 2020. He is now 13-1 in MMA. Albazi is averaging 2.55 significant strikes per minute, but has a stellar striking defense of 81 percent. He is absorbing just 0.81 strikes per minute so far in the UFC. His grappling is already looking to be elite, averaging 3.19 takedowns per every 15 minutes and landing them 100 percent of the time. He also averages 3.2 submission attempts per every 15 minutes and has yet to be taken down.

Albazi is a much more balanced fighter, so even though his striking does not look quite as good, his grappling should be more than enough. Because of his takedown ability, backing Albazi would be my play.

Sara McMann Money Line (-132)

Julianna Pena comes into this fight 10-4 in the MMA and 5-2 in the UFC. Her only UFC loss came against Valentina Shevchenko back in 2017. This was a loss by submission and her only loss by finish in the UFC. She is a decent striker, averaging 2.80 strikes per minute. She is only absorbing 1.73 strikes per minute, and her striking defense is 51 percent. As for grappling, Pena is averaging 2.73 takedowns per every 15 minutes. Her takedown accuracy is 52 percent. Her takedown defense is far worse at 28 percent, which is going to be the biggest issue here.

Sara McMann enters this fight with an MMA record of 12-5. She is coming off a win against Lina Lansberg. This was a win by unanimous decision in a fight that took place back in January of 2020. McMann is averaging 2.39 significant strikes per minute. He is landing here strikes with an accuracy of 46 percent. She is also absorbing just 1.86 strikes per minute. Her striking defense is 47 percent and she has been knocked out just once in her career. Grappling is much more McMann’s style, averaging 4.51 takedowns per every 15 minutes. Her takedown accuracy is 63 percent and her takedown defense is 66 percent.

Both these ladies will likely look to take this fight to the ground. McMann has five submission wins in her career, while Pena has lost two of her last three fights by submission. Pena’s takedown defense has not looked good at all, so my pick would be McMann to win this fight.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
PointsBet

$500

Get 5x $100 Risk-Free Bets!

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

BetMGM

$200

Get $200 in Free Bets & a PICKSWISE HAT!

Sign up for a new account with BetMGM, and make a deposit of $10+.

Place a $10 moneyline wager on any team

Win $200 in free bets and a FREE Pickswise hat

21+ and new players only. Full terms available at BetMGM Sportsbook.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$250

Bet One, Get One: FanDuel will match your first bet placed up to $250 in free bets

Sign up for a new account with FanDuel Sportsbook

Deposit at least $10 into your account

FanDuel will match your first bet up to $250 in Free Bets!

Must be 21+ in CO. First deposit of at least $10 required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at fanduel.com/sportsbook.

DraftKings

$100

Bet $5+ on MLB and get $100 in Free Bets Instantly!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on any MLB team to win their next game

Win $100 no matter what!

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get $2,000 in Risk-Free Bets!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,500

Get up to $1,500 Risk-Free First Bet!

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Make your first deposit of $50+

If your first bet is not a winner, get it all back as a free bet (up to $1,100) if you lose!

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

Unibet

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $500 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $500

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

Yahoo DFS

$25

Get $25 in Site Credit With Yahoo DFS When You Deposit $5!

Register for a new account with Yahoo DFS and deposit $5+

Enter a $5 DFS contest

Upon entry, you will receive a bonus $25 in credit into your account!

21+ and new players only. Full terms available from Yahoo DFS.

TVG

$200

Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.