UFC 276: Volkanovski vs. Holloway, Strickland vs. Pereira Bets, Picks & Predictions – July 2, 2022

<p>AP Photos</p>

AP Photos

UFC 276 serves a smorgasbord board of scrumptious striking. Pick a selection from our betting menu and you’ll taste sweet betting victory.

UFC 276 Odds, Picks & Predictions

Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller Pick: Fight Lasts Over 7.5 Minutes | -137 at PrizePicks

Welterweight | Preliminary Card | 7:30 p.m. ET

Two of the UFC’s most experienced fighters meet with 78 combined fights inside the Octagon by Saturday. That phenomenal productivity includes a 2014 match between the two that ended after a beautifully brutal head kick dropped Miller.

The fight game and old players still involved changed. 

Miller improved his stand-up to better complement his gritty style of getting takedowns and looking to tire opponents to force fatigue and related mistakes for basic submissions.

He holds the record for UFC submission attempts and is one of only three fighters with at least 10 UFC submission finishes. That said, Miller remains a prototypical gatekeeper at this geriatric stage of his career.

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Cerrone trends downward. “Cowboy” has appeared more gunshy in his last three fights since getting dominated by Conor McGregor. Having 51 fights as a primarily high-contact kickboxer adds unspeakable mileage to anyone’s body and chin. He failed to win any of the last six fights — albeit questionable judging victimized him recently.

Attribute Cerrone’s woes to hyperactivity and extremely high competition. Of his 16, 14 losses occurred against former UFC/WEC champions or title challengers. Jim Miller falls under neither category. 

Furthermore, Miller will likely look to impose his will on the ground against Cerrone to neutralize dangerous counters and avoid repeating 2014 mistakes. Cerrone possesses plenty of ground prowess with 17 professional MMA submission victories against only one time tapping himself (zero in the UFC).

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Miller obtained his recent string of knockout victories against substandard journeymen and prospects.

I anticipate a cautious, plodding struggle that will take time to pick up steam. It’s hard to predict a winner here, but it’s easier to see the contest lasting 1 ½ rounds. 

For those that prefer mathematics to matchups, DraftKings offers the over on this exact prop at -145. Leading combat sports betting outlet Bovada places the odds at -150. 

The slight catch to PrizePick’s superior odds here is you have to find at least one other prop to cash the bet.

Sean Strickland vs. Alex Pereira  Pick: Strickland Wins | -110 at DraftKings

Middleweight | Main Card | 10 p.m. ET

Alex Pereira operates an overcrowded bandwagon that picks up most of its riders from a decorated kickboxing career highlighted by being the only person to ever knock out Israel Adesanya in a professional fight. He is far newer to the MMA world. Saturday marks his seventh pro contest and only the third UFC fight.

Sean Strickland enjoys a long, successful UFC run. He has faced a diverse mix of opponents, including welterweight king Kamaru Usman. 

Oddsmakers figure this will be a pure striking match. Maybe amidst the glitz, Vegas forgot Strickland possesses wrestling ability when he elects to use it. 

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He employed a grappling-heavy strategy against Uriah Hall, who shares Pereira’s traits as a technical kickboxer with explosive knockout capabilities. Strickland kept Hall down, securing over seven minutes of control time. 

Before that fight, Strickland managed to take submission specialist Brendan Allen to the ground and maintain top position against the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He outwrestled pressuring striker Cub Swanson as well, taking him down three times. Strickland’s career takedown percentage stands at a respectable 61%.

Pereira’s defensive grappling capabilities remain completely unknown. History warns that it takes a lot of time to develop these skills for most pure strikers. 

We know Strickland’s defense against striking ranks among the best in the UFC He perplexes most middleweights, garnering the lowest opponent strike accuracy percentage in the division. 

Headshots connect with the most air. Talented volume striker Jack Hermansson missed a UFC Middleweight record 172 significant standing head strikes in Strickland’s last bout. 

The defense deters pure, high-level kickboxers’ most lethal weapons in cross combinations and the high kick. Forsaking those weapons clouds Pereira’s success outlook.

Consequently, I view this fight as a rare misalignment of odds based on hype. The green lies against the grain.

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway Pick: Volkanovski Wins | -195 at DraftKings

Middleweight | Co-Main | 10 p.m. ET

I’ll keep this as short and sweet as Volkanovski’s offense. He dominated the first showdown and to me clearly took the first three rounds of the rematch. Max Holloway earns my respect as perhaps MMA’s best boxer, but he doesn’t have the superior pressure, balance, wrestling, overall power, size or grit of the champ. 

Volkanovski looked crisper than ever in his dismantling of “Korean Zombie” less than three months ago. I expect another competitive bout where Holloway steals a round or maybe two with cardio and fluid boxing. That’s where the thievery ends.

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