UFC Picks & UFC Predictions For UFC 251

UFC picks and UFC predictions for UFC 251 live from UFC fight island. Get UFC betting advice from expert UFC handicappers for every mixed martial arts event. Scroll down to get tonight’s UFC predictions.

Sat 11th - 6:00pm ET: Martin Day (-177) vs. Davey Grant (+140)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Jul 22, 2018; Hamburg,Germany; Davey Grant (red gloves) fights Manny Bermudez (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at BarclayCard Arena.
Grant Win Money Line
+140

Money Line Pick

The first fight at UFC 251 will see Martin Day take on Davey Grant. This will be a fight in the UFC Bantamweight division. Day comes in as the big favorite which is a little strange considering he has not fought since November of 2018. This was his one an only UFC fight, a fight he lost to Pingyuan Liu by unanimous decision. Day does have quality striking skills, averaging 6.67 significant strikes per minute. He lands these strikes at an accuracy of 54%. He also has shown some ability to fight on the ground, averaging 1 takedown per every 15 minutes and 2 submission attempts during the same time period. His takedown accuracy is 100%, so when he wants to take you down, he does. Also, his takedown defense is 85%, so he does not easily get thrown down to the mat. His opponent, Davey Grant, is 11-4 in the MMA, 2-3 in the UFC. He is coming off a win by unanimous decision, a fight that took place back in November of 2019. Grant is more so looking to take this fight to the ground, where he has 8 submission wins in his career. He is averaging 1.25 takedowns per every 15 minutes, yet his takedown accuracy is only 30%. This is more than likely going to be a rather boring fight an one I am not keen on getting involved in. However, with Day having not fought in a year and eight months, I cannot lay the price set on him, so I would lean slightly to the Grant side to get the job done.

Sat 11th - 6:30pm ET: Karol Rosa (-215) vs. Vanessa Melo (+170)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Aug 31, 2019; Shenzhen, China; Karol Rosa (red gloves) defeats Lara Procopio (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre.
Rosa Win Money Line
-215

Money Line Pick

The second preliminary at UFC 251 will see Karol Rosa take on Vanessa Melo. This will be a fight in the Women’s Bantamweight division. Rosa is a massive favorite, posting a record of 12-3 in the MMA. She most recently won her UFC debut, beating Lara Fritzen Procopio by unanimous decision. Rosa has been a terrific striker, averaging 11.40 significant strikes per minute. She lands her punches at 48% as well. Keep in mind that 50% of Rosa’s win have come by decision. She has just 4 wins by either KO or TKO and 2 by submission. Her opponent, Vanessa Melo, is 10-7 in the MMA, but 0-2 in the UFC. She is desperately looking for that first UFC win, hoping that she can beat an exciting prospect like Rosa is. Mel0 lost both of her UFC fights by decision, so she has at least managed to not lose inside the distance in quite awhile. In fact, her last 9 fights in a row have gone to the judges, so again, she tends not to get knocked out or submitted. Melo does not have much that makes her stand out, averaging 3.60 significant strikes per minute. The problem with this is that her striking accuracy is only 28%. In the end, Rosa will be looking to control this fight with her outstanding striking and it is likely to go to the judges’ scorecards. Even at a steep price, I will back Rosa to get the job done and would more than likely include her in a parlay to help with the big price.

Sat 11th - 7:00pm ET: Zhalgas Zhumagulov (+150) vs. Raulian Paiva (-190)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Feb 9, 2019; Melbourne, Australia; Kai Kara-France (red gloves) and Raulian Paiva (blue gloves) during UFC 234 at Rod Laver Arena.
Paiva Win Money Line
-190

Money Line Pick

The third preliminary at UFC 251 will see Zhalgas Zhumagulov take on Raulian Paiva. This will be a fight in the UFC Flyweight division. Paiva is the big favorite in this fight, having posted an MMA record of 19-3. In the UFC however, he is only 1-2. After having lost his first 2 fights in the UFC, he did bounce back with a TKO win against Mark De La Rosa back in February of this year. Winning inside the distance is rare for Paiva however, just 7 of his wins coming by KO/TKO or submission. He is a solid striker, averaging 4.81 significant strikes per minute at 43% accuracy. His opponent, Zhalgas Zhumagulov, is 13-3 in the MMA and will be making his UFC debut in this fight. He has won 4 fights in a row, all by decision. Also, 8 of his last 9 fights have gone to decision as well, so I expect Zhumagulov to hang in there and to not lose inside the distance. Furthermore, Paiva has a 4.5” reach advantage and I think he is going to control this fight from the opening bell. This is not a fight where I love either fighter, but Paiva needs this win badly or he could be in trouble with regards to staying on a UFC contract. In the end, I will lean Paiva to win, but I also like for this fight to go the distance.

Sat 11th - 7:30pm ET: Marcin Tybura (-112) vs. Alexander Romanov (-112)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Feb 29, 2020; Norfolk, Virginia, USA; Marcin Tybura (red gloves) fights Serghei Spivac (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chartway Arena.
Tybura Win Money Line
-112

Money Line Pick

The fourth preliminary at UFC 251 will see Marcin Tybura take on Alexander Romanov. This will be a fight in the UFC Heavyweight division. Tybura comes into this fight with an MMA record of 18-6. Although, he has been quite inconsistent in the UFC, posting a record of only 5-5. He did win his last fight back in February of this year, but has lost 4 of his last 6 fights overall. Tybura has finished 13 of his 18 wins (7 by either KO or TKO and 6 by submission), so he has had success with both. He is landing an average of 3.52 significant strikes per minute at 50% accuracy. His opponent, Alexander Romanov, is a perfect 11-0 in the MMA and will be making his UFC debut in this fight. Impressively, Romanov has never gone to decision in his career, winning 11 times inside the distance. He has 6 submission wins and 5 wins by KO or TKO, showing he can fight standing up or on the ground. He also has 9 first round finishes, with the other 2 fights going to the third round. Knowing that he is not used to going past the first round is slightly concerning because we do not how his cardio will hold up at the next level. Plus, he has not fought since February of 2019, so close to a year an a half since he competed in any MMA event. This really feels like an evenly matched fight and it may be one to stay away from. If I had to take a side, I would slightly lean to Marcin Tybura. He is more experienced and has that ability to fight in many different ways.

Sat 11th - 8:00pm ET: Leonardo Santos (-200) vs. Roman Bogatov (+160)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Jun 1, 2019; Stockholm, Sweden; Leonardo Santos (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Stevie Ray (red gloves) at Ericsson Globe.
Santos Win Money Line
-200

Money Line Pick

The fifth preliminary will see Leonardo Santos take on Roman Bogatov. This will be a fight in the UFC Lightweight division. Santos is the big favorite in this fight and rightly so as he is 17-3-1 in his MMA career. His UFC record is 6-0-1 since breaking into the promotion in 2013. He has actually not lost a fight since 2009. Santos is a submission based fighter, winning 9 times by this method over the course of his career. That said, he only averages 1.14 takedowns per every 15 minutes and 0.46 submission attempts during the same time period. As for his striking, he lands an average of 2.3 significant strikes per minute, while absorbing 2.64. His opponent, Roman Bogatov, will be making his UFC debut after starting his MMA career 10-0. Like Santos, Bogatov is going to want this fight on the ground where he has 5 submission wins so far. Having said that, Santos has a takdown defense of 86%, so I do not see the new guy having much success in this area. Because of that, I would lean Santos, but given his price, this is a fight I would look to stay away from in the end because of the unknown of a new fighter to the UFC.

Sat 11th - 8:30pm ET: Makwan Amirkhani (-200) vs. Danny Henry (+160)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Jul 16, 2017; Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom; Danny Henry (red gloves) reacts after defeating Daniel Teymur (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Hydro.
Henry Win Money Line
+160

Money Line Pick

The sixth preliminary at UFC 251 will see Makwan Amirkhani take on Danny Henry. This will be a fight in the UFC Featherweight division. Amirkhani is the favorite in this fight, having posted a career MMA record of 15-4, with a UFC record of 5-2. He lost his last fight to Shane Burgos back in November of 2019. This loss was due to TKO, his first TKO loss of his career. Amirkhani is more of a grapple based fighter, only averaging 1.75 significant strikes per minute. To make up for that, he averages 3.84 takedowns per every 15 minutes and 1.6 submission attempts during the same time period. His opponent, Danny Henry, comes in 12-3 in the MMA and 2-1 in the UFC. He lost his last fight to Dan Ige back in March of 2019 due to submission. Henry will be looking to stand up in this fight as he averages 5.85 significant strikes per minute. Problem is that he absorbs 4.84 strikes, so he can tend to take a lot of damage. Also, while Henry averages just 0.89 takedowns per every 15 minutes, he does average 2.66 submission attempts, showing he can be effective on the ground. Furthermore, Henry has a takedown defense of 66%, so I believe he is going to have success stopping Amirkhami from attempting many takedowns. Overall, I like Henry as the more balanced fighter, so it would be a small lean to the underdog to bounce back from his previous loss.

Sat 11th - 9:00pm ET: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (-112) vs. Muslim Salikhov (-112)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Mar 14, 2020; Brasilia, DF, Brazil; Elizeu dos Santos in the press room after fighting Alexsei Kunchenko during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio Nilson Nelson.
Zaleski dos Santos Win Money Line
-112

Money Line Pick

The seventh preliminary at UFC 251 will see Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos take on Muslim Salikhov. This will be a fight in the UFC Welterweight division. This fight is basically a pick em’ an one of the more even fights all night. Zaleski dos Santos comes into this fight 22-6 in his MMA career and has posted a record of 8-2 in the UFC. He won his most recent fight, beating Alexey Kunchenko by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 170 back in March of this year. He is mainly a striker, averaging 4.27 significant strikes per minute. On the other hand, Zaleski dos Santos absorbs just 2.86 strikes, so he has shown to have solid defense. As for takedowns, he averages only 0.53 per every 15 minutes and 0.7 submission attempts during the same time period. His opponent, Muslim Salikhov, comes in with an MMA record of 16-2 and he is currently 3-1 in the UFC. Salikhov is always looking to knock his opponent out, considering 12 of his 16 wins have come by either KO or TKO. That said, Salikhov averages just 1.99 significant strikes per minute, yet he absorbs just 1.42. Because of Zaleski dos Santos’ striking, I believe he will overwhelm Salikhov and will find a way to get the win here. This would be just a lean based on how evenly matched these two guys are.

Sat 11th - 9:30pm ET: Volkan Oezdemir (-162) vs. Jiří Procházka (+130)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Dec 21, 2019; Busan, SOUTH KOREA; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) fights Aleksandar Rakic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Sajik Arena.
Procházka Win Money Line
+130

Money Line Pick

The featured preliminary at UFC 251 will see Volkan Oezdemir take on Jiří Procházka. This will be a fight in the UFC Light Heavyweight division. Oezdemir enters this bout as the #7 contender in the division and with an MMA record of 17-4. His UFC record is 5-3 and he has won two straight fights after previously losing three in a row. Oezdemir will look to stand up in this fight, averaging 4.88 significant strikes per minute at an accuracy of 45%. As for takedowns, he averages just 0.39 and has a takedown accuracy of 22%. He does prevent his opponents from taking him down however, posting a takedown defense of 80%. His opponent, Jiří Procházka, will make his UFC debut in this fight after going 26-3-1 in his MMA career thus far. Although he has not fought in the UFC, he has won 10 fights in a row and has not lost since 2015. He also has 23 wins by KO or TKO, so he has shown plenty of power during the course of his career. Even more impressively, Procházka has won 8 fights in a row due to KO or TKO. That being said, Oezdemir has been a little inconsistent in his UFC career, so I will take a chance on the newcomer, who has shown time and time again that he can knock someone out with just a few punches.

 

Sat 11th - 10:00pm ET: Amanda Ribas (-835) vs. Paige VanZant (+525)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Mar 14, 2020; Brasilia, Brazil; Amanda Ribas in the press room during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio Nilson Nelson.
Ribas by Decision Money Line

Money Line Pick

The first fight on the main card at UFC 251 will see Paige VanZant take on Amanda Ribas. This will be a fight in the UFC Women’s Flyweight division. Ribas enters this bout by far the biggest favorite of the night. She is 9-1 in her MMA career and a perfect 3-0 in the UFC. She has won 4 fights in a row an even after a long layoff, has not skipped a beat in the UFC. Ribas is a fantastic striker, averaging 4.84 significant strikes per minute. She also averages 2.02 takedowns per every 15 minutes and 1.61 submission attempts during the same time period. In her career, she has won 3 times by KO or TKO, 3 times by submission and 3 times by decision. Her last 2 fights have been both decided by unanimous decision. Ribas also does a great job at avoiding damage. She absorbs just 1.7 significant strikes per minute, while also posting a takedown defense of 85%. Her opponent, Paige VanZant, is 8-4 in her MMA career and 5-3 in the UFC. She won her last fight, but this was in January of 2019. Before that fight, she had lost 2 in a row. VanZant lands an average of 3.4 significant strikes per minute, while she absorbs 2.63. Her takedown defense is only 35%, so expect this to be a problem throughout the fight as well. In the end, Ribas is going to be way too much to handle. I do not see a way she will lose this fight. Her price is much too high, and I still believe VanZant is going to survive all 3 rounds. With that said, I will be taking Ribas by decision.

Sat 11th - 10:30pm ET: Jessica Andrade (+162) vs. Rose Namajunas (-200)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Aug 31, 2019; Shenzhen, China; Jessica Andrade (red gloves) after losing to Zhang Weili (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre.
Andrade Win Money Line
+162

Money Line Pick

The second fight on the UFC 251 main card will see Jessica Andrade take on Rose Namajunas. This will be a fight in the UFC Women’s Strawweight. It will also be a rematch of a fight that took place in May of 2019. Andrade comes into this fight with an MMA record of 20-7 and 11-5 in the UFC. She is now the #1 contender in the Women’s Strawweight division after losing her title back in August of 2019 to current title holder, Zhang Weili. One of her title defenses was against Namajunas, a fight where Andrade won by TKO in the 2nd round. Andrade will be looking for another shot at winning her belt back, but first must defeat Namajunas for the second time. Andrade is a very balanced fighter, landing an average of 6.55 significant strikes per minute. She also can take a fight to the ground as she averages 3.21 takedowns per every 15 minutes. The one problem is she absorbs 5.28 significant strikes per minute, so she tends to take a ton of damage. On the other side is the #2 contender in the Strawweight division, Rose Namajunas. She is 8-4 in her MMA career and 6-3 in the UFC. Namajunas has not fought since her loss to Andrade, so her year plus layoff could play a factor here. She is a pretty decent striker, landing 3.95 significant strikes per minute, while absorbing 3.88. She also does a decent job at takedowns, averaging 2.17 per every 15 minutes. That being said, her takedown defense is only 46%, so she does not do a great job at preventing them. Seeing how the first fight between these women went down, I think we are going to see the same result here. Andrade has plenty of power and I think she will win this fight comfortably to set-up a potential rematch with title holder, Zhang Weili.

Sat 11th - 11:00pm ET: Petr Yan (-240) vs. Jose Aldo (+188)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Dec 14, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Petr Yan (red gloves) reacts after defeating Urijah Faber (blue gloves) during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena.
Yan Win Money Line
-240

Money Line Pick

The third fight on the main card at UFC 251 will see Petr Yan take on Jose Aldo. This will be a fight in the UFC Bantamweight division. It will also be a fight for the vacant Bantamweight title. Yan enters this fight as the clear favorite, posting an MMA record of 14-1 and a perfect UFC record of 6-0. He has won 9 fights in a row, dating back to 2016 when he had not even signed a UFC contract yet. Yan will look to keep this fight standing where he averages 5.65 significant strikes per minute. In terms of fighting on the ground, Yan averages 1.73 takedowns per every 15 minutes. On the flip side, Yan has a takedown defense of 87%, so he rarely will get taken down to the mat. His opponent and the #6 contender in the division, Jose Aldo, will be looking to snap a 2-fight losing streak and walk away with the belt around his waist. Aldo is an MMA veteran, posting a record of 28-6. In the UFC, he is 10-5, so he has had stretches of being inconsistent, including going 5-5 in his last 10 fights. Aldo will also want this fight to stay standing, where he averages 3.47 significant strikes per minute. His takedown defense is even better than Yan’s at 91%, further showing that this fight is going to be a pure boxing match. Given how Aldo has been struggling, I believe Yan will ultimately walk away with the Bantamweight title due to him having a more diverse skill set.

Sat 11th - 11:30pm ET: Alexander Volkanovski (-215) vs. Max Holloway (+170)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Dec 14, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Alexander Volkanovski (blue gloves) reacts after a bout against Max Holloway (not pictured) during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena.
Volkanovski Win Money Line
-215

Money Line Pick

The Co-Main event at UFC 251 will see Alexander Volkanovski take on Max Holloway. This will be a fight in the UFC Featherweight division. It will also be a title fight for the vacant Featherweight belt. Volkanovski is the overwhelming favorite, coming in 21-1 in his MMA career and a perfect 8-0 in the UFC. He defeated Holloway in their first fight, beating him by unanimous decision back in December of 2019. Volkanovski is a well balanced fighter, averaging 6.15 significant strikes per minute at an accuracy of 57%. He absorbs 3.14 strikes per minute, so his defense is pretty solid as well. As for his ground based fighting, Volkanovski averages 2.16 takedowns per every 15 minutes, but only lands them at 34%. On the flip side, he has a takedown defense of 72%, so he does not go down easily. Holloway comes in as an MMA veteran, posting a career record of 21-5 and 17-5 in the UFC. As we know, he lost his last fight and will be looking to win the second time around when it counts for more. Holloway is almost entirely a pure striker, landing an average of 6.66 significant strikes per minute at an accuracy of 44%. Problem is he absorbs more than Volkanovski, an average of 4.45 strikes per minute. Volkanovski damaged Holloway with leg kicks in the first fight continuously and I think we will see more of the same here. I will back Volkanovski to continue his perfect start to the UFC and claim the Featherweight belt with another win over Holloway. Based on the price, this would be a fight I would look to include in a parlay.

Sun 12th - 12:00am ET: Kamaru Usman (-305) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+230)
UFC 251: YAS ISLAND, ABU DHABI

Kamaru Usman (red gloves) reacts after defeating Colby Covington (not pictured) during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena.
Usman Win Money Line
-305

Money Line Pick

The main event at UFC 251 was originally scheduled to see Kamaru Usman take on Gilbert Burns. However, Burns recently tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he was forced to pull out of the fight. Jorge Masvidal is now confirmed to take his place and fight Usman on short notice. This will still be a fight in the UFC Welterweight division. It will also be a title fight in which Usman will defend his belt. Usman has been nearly perfect in his MMA career, posting a record of 16-1. He is currently riding a 15-fight win streak dating back to 2013, and is 11-0 in the UFC. He most recently defended his title against Colby Covington back in December of 2019, winning by TKO in the 5th round. Usman is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the UFC and has proven he can fight both on the ground and standing up. He averages 4.60 significant strikes per minute and lands his strikes at 52%. Furthermore, he averages 3.44 takedowns per 15 minutes with an accuracy of 50%. He also absorbs just 2.17 strikes and his takedown defense is a perfect 100%. On the other side, Jorge Masividal comes into this championship fight with an MMA record of 35-13. In the UFC, he is 12-6 and finds himself on a 3-fight winning streak. Most recently, he defeated Nate Diaz by TKO. This was back in November of 2019. Masvidal is a solid striker, landing 4.33 significant strikes per minute at an accuracy of 47%. He absorbs just 2.94 strikes per minute, meaning his defense is very good as well. He also has the ability to fight on the ground, averaging 1.7 takedowns per every 15 minutes. Furthermore, his takedown defense is 78%, making it extremely hard for his opponent to take him down. While Masividal is clearly up for this fight, I believe him stepping in at such short notice is going to hurt his chances. Usman is still a world-class fighter and his diverse skill set should be enough for him to still get the job done. However, given the price on Usman, I would only include him in a parlay.

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UFC Picks & UFC Predictions

There’s a new sport of kings and the popularity of mixed martial arts is largely being driven by UFC betting.

In the most straightforward terms, UFC predictions involve picking who will be the winner of each fight on a certain card. There are dozens of other ways to wager on MMA fighting however.

MMA Predictions & MMA Picks

Once a month or more there is a UFC fight held with a card that may feature over a dozen fights including the preliminaries. Each of those battles offers a chance for a variety of UFC picks to be graded wins or losses.

Each fighter will have odds depending on how likely he or she is to win the fight combined with the likelihood that the public is going to take those odds. In a perfect world (for sportsbooks) betting actually will be split as close to possible to each side of the octagon. This limits the damage in case of an upset and prevents a huge loss if a heavy chalk fighter gets a big win.

The way sportsbooks manage their leverage for UFC betting is by raising the odds on the favorite until he or she is nearly too high priced to take. Most bettors would be hammering Goliath -100, but half of them are going to switch sides when Goliath -450 odds are released because it’s too pricey; too much of a risk for the reward.

Conor McGregor (blue gloves) before his fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov (red gloves) during UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena

© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Types of UFC Bets

The reason UFC predictions are so coveted is because there’s so much more to betting on the fights than just picking a winner – although success does start with pinpointing who will be victorious. To bet on who will just win the fight though is called a Moneyline or a Match Bet.

A UFC prediction for example can be made on not only what fighter will win, but also how in what is called a Method Bet. Is Goliath going to win by knockout, submission, or decision? You don’t even have to select the fighter on variations of this bet, just how the match as a whole will end.

A Round Bet is placing a UFC pick em on in what round the bout will end. This is a great way to increase your return on investment because it can be such a crapshoot as to when one fighter finally gains a definitive advantage over his opponent that the payout is usually significant.

A Totals Bet is also available as kind of aside to the round bet. Will the fight go over or under 1.5 rounds? 2.5 rounds, etc.? You could then parlay a round bet, a totals bet, and possibly a method bet to really increase your payout.

Believe it or not there are also Spread Bets as part of how to bet on UFC fights. If one fighter wins by KO or submission, they cover the spread regardless. If the fight goes to a decision though, taking points such as +3.5 could be beneficial when the judges read their official scoring of the match.

UFC Betting Strategy

This may sound like a no-brainer but being successful in UFC predictions begins and ends with finding the winners. Once you do that, you can maximize your ROI by betting on what round or by what method he or she will get the W in.