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Can UFC’s Tyron Woodley Shake the Favorites Jinx?

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The UFC’s number 1 welterweight is a -182 chalk at DraftKings when he faces sixth-ranked contender Gilbert Burns, +150, in the main event of Saturday’s card.

That may put a target on his back.

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All 3 favorites in UFC’s return-from-Covid fight cards were defeated

  • Lightweight Tony Ferguson was stopped in the fifth round by Justin Gaethje May 9.
  • Light-heavyweight Anthony Smith was subdued in the fifth by Glover Teixeira May 13.
  • Heavyweight Ben Rothwell said “Let’s Make it A Double” for the underdogs that evening, decisioning Ovince Saint- Preux in the co-feature.
  • On May 16, heavyweight Walt Harris was stopped by Alistair Overeem in the second round.

What a run of adroit matchmaking as the UFC has displayed its depth, without spectators, in its return.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has formally approved two upcoming events – cards on Saturday and June 6 — to occur at the UFC’s APEX facility in Las Vegas.

Next week marks the return of Amanda Nunes, as she takes on Felicia Spencer.

Here is Saturday’s card, with odds and bouts subject to change.

UFC Prelim Card – 6 p.m. Fan Duel Odds

  • Antonina Shevchenko -136 vs Katlyn Chookagian +116
  • Daniel Rodriguez-320 vs Gabriel Green +260
  • Jamahall Hill -128 vs Klidson Abreu +110
  • Tim Elliott -172 vs Brandon Royval +146
  • Casey Kenney -270 vs Louis Smolka +220
  • Chris Gutierrez -112 vs Vince Morales -104

UFC Main Card – 9 p.m. DraftKings odds

  • Mackenzie Dern -400 vs Hannah Cifers +295
  • Roosevelt Roberts -335 vs Brok Weaver +255
  • Billy Quarantillo -141 vs Spike Carlyle +115
  • Blagoy Ivanov -112 v Augusto Sakai -112
  • Tyron Woodley -182 vs Gilbert Burns +150

Woodley has not competed since losing the welterweight title to Kamaru Usman last March, ending a two-and-a-half-year reign atop the division.

Burns was one of the breakthrough stars of 2019, posting three victories, capped by a pair of short-notice trips to the welterweight division. That’s where he knocked Aleksei Kunchenko from the ranks of the unbeaten and topped Gunnar Nelson by unanimous decision.

 Earlier this year, Burns continued his push towards contention in the 170-pound weight class with a first-round stoppage victory over former title challenger Demian Maia.

This fight will either curtail the welterweight run or make him a serious title contender.

The DraftKings board reflects the expectation of a fight inside the distance.

Woodley is +260 to win by decision. Burns is +500. There is some good money available for any gambler who can buck conventional wisdom on that selection.

Conversely, Woodley is -400 NOT to win by decision and Burns -1000 not to win by decision.

Picking individual knockout rounds has been profitable for some bettors during the run of May cards. Gaethje and Teixeira returned in the neighborhood of 35-1 at most books for those who selected a fifth-round KO/TKO.

Here, it’s Woodley at +2800 and Burns +2200 to win the fight in round five.

Blagoy Ivanov and Augusto Sakai display odds that reveal their parity. Both are -112 at DraftKings and they are smack up against each other in the rankings too. Ivanov is number 12 and Sakai is 13.

Ivanov sports a 2-2 record in the Octagon with victories over Ben Rothwell and Tai Tuivasa sandwiched between setbacks to Junior Dos Santos and Derrick Lewis. 

The 29-year-old Sakai is 3-0 since gaining a UFC roster spot and comes off a first-round knockout win over Marcin Tybura last September.

Oddsmakers expect a distance fight, as this is only three rounds. The fight to go the distance is -152. The over-under in round is 2.5 with the over at -200 and the under at +150.

Sakai has a four-inch reach advantage.

The Props Potpourri is available on all the fights

Did you expect to see Kevin Holland return to the Octagon just 14 days after stopping Anthony Hernandez?

Holland, unfortunately, was forced to pull out from his contest against Daniel Rodriguez due to a right shoulder injury. Rodriguez 

Daniel Rodriguez (11-1) is now scheduled to face a replacement opponent, Gabriel Green (9-2),

Rodriguez, 10-1, has a seven-fight win streak and these last two fights ended in round 2. He secured a submission victory over Tim Means in his last fight, in February.

Green 9-2, has yet to go the distance in his 11-fight career as he tries to make a division run. This is a battle of two fighters trying to write a Cinderella Story by rising up the division ranks in 2020.

Not surprisingly, the fight is +240 to go the distance and values abound if a better can pinpoint an exact finishing round. The board suggests this will be entertaining, as long as it lasts.

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