UFC predictions, picks and best bets for UFC 259
We are back in Las Vegas at the UFC Apex for UFC 259. This monster card will feature three title fights, headlined by a Light Heavyweight title fight.
We’ll share our UFC 259 best bets here but head over to our main UFC 259 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 259 Best Bets
Islam Makhachev Win by Decision (-110)
Islam Makhachev comes into this fight with an MMA record of 18-1. He is 7-1 in the UFC and has not lost since 2016. Makhachev is averaging 2.10 significant strikes per minute, and has a striking accuracy of 56 percent. More impressively, he absorbs 0.72 strikes per minute and has a striking defense of 72 percent. He also has elite grappling skills, averaging 3.40 takedowns per every 15 minutes. He has a takedown accuracy of 68 percent and a takedown defense of 93 percent.
Dober is the better striker, but lacks the accuracy to heavily damage Makhachev. Because of that, I am going to look for Makhachev to control this fight and to pick up a win. Because his money line price is a bit too high, I will back Makhachev to win by decision.
Petr Yan Money Line (-115)
Petr Yan is coming off a fight where he brutally beatdown Jose Aldo to claim the vacant title. Yan is averaging 6.32 significant strikes per minute and has a striking accuracy of 50 percent. He is absorbing 3.25 strikes, but has a striking defense of 63 percent and has never been knocked out. Yan has solid grappling as well, averaging 1.46 takedowns per every 15 minutes. He has a takedown accuracy of 52 percent, but an impressive takedown defense of 88 percent.
Even though this fight is so evenly matched, I am going to back Yan here to retain his title. He has never been finished and it looks like Sterling could have an issue landing his needed takedowns to control this one. Yan is also the better striker, so I will back him to win here as well and remain undefeated in the UFC.
Megan Anderson/Amanda Nunes Over 1.5 Rounds (-134)
Amanda Nunes comes into this fight averaging 4.44 significant strikes per minute and is landing them 51 percent of the time. She absorbs only 2.47 strikes and has a striking defense of 57 percent. Nunes also has solid grappling ability, averaging 2.53 takedowns per every 15 minutes. She has a takedown accuracy of 53 percent and a takedown defense of 83 percent.
Megan Anderson comes into this fight averaging 1.82 significant strikes per minute, landing them 46 percent of the time. She is absorbing 2.94 strikes, but only has a striking defense of 38 percent. Her grappling ability is also not great, averaging 0.56 takedowns per every 15 minutes.
It is true that Anderson is a bigger fighter than Nunes, so I believe it will take the champ a round or two to settle into this fight. Anderson has also never been knocked out, so I am just going to back this fight to go over 1.5 rounds.