The UFC makes its return to Houston this weekend for UFC 271, which features an anticipated middleweight championship rematch.
Middleweight champ Israel Adesanya defends his 185-pound belt against the man he took it from, Robert Whittaker, in Saturday’s main event.
Two heavyweight favorites clash in the co-main, while the next middleweight contender may be decided on the main card.
Here’s a guide to UFC 271 for any interested sports bettors in Michigan.
How to watch UFC 271
- What: UFC 271
- Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Tx.
- When: Saturday, Feb. 12
- Early Prelims: Start at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass
- Prelims: Start at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+
- Main Card: Starts at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+
UFC 271 Main Card Odds
UFC 271 features some big bouts within the middleweight and heavyweight divisions.
Here’s a rundown of the card and the odds as of this writing, according to DraftKings Sportsbook MI.
- UFC Middleweight Championship: Champion Israel Adesanya (-280) vs. No. 1 Robert Whittaker (+225)
- Heavyweight Division: No. 3 Derrick Lewis (-180) vs. No. 11 Tai Tuivasa (+155)
- Middleweight Division: No. 3 Jared Cannonier (-165) vs. No. 4 Derek Brunson (+145)
- Bantamweight Division: Kyler Phillips (-400) vs. Marcelo Rojo (+300)
- Lightweight Division: Bobby Green (-140) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (+120)
Whittaker seeks revenge on Adesanya
This is the second meeting between the two middleweight title contenders in Saturday’s main event.
The first encounter was back at UFC 243 on Oct. 5, 2019. Then-champ Whittaker (24-5) was fighting in his home country of Australia. Adesanya (21-1) defeated Whittaker with a second-round KO to become the unified middleweight champ.
Adesanya has defended his title three times since, but also suffered his lone loss. That was a decision loss to then-light heavyweight Jan Blachowicz for the 205-pound title in March of last year. His most recent bout was a decision win over Marvin Vettori on June 12 of last year.
Since losing the title, Whittaker has responded with three straight decision wins over the likes of Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum.
Oddsmakers like the champ to retain. His speed and power combination got the best of Whittaker in the first encounter. Whittaker may look to take a page out of Blachowicz’ playbook and try to smother Adesanya and get him to the ground. Whittaker was a former light heavyweight contender previously as well.
BetMGM Michigan is reporting that Whittaker is getting 72% of the tickets for the main event. However, Adesanya is making up 51% of the handle.
Adesanya comes into this bout with a little added motivation after he signed a new “lucrative” multi-fight deal with the UFC. The champ believes he is now the second-highest-paid active fighter behind Conor McGregor.
“I’m glad we came to an agreement with this new deal. I look forward to this effect trickling down to the rest of the fighters,” Adesanya said during UFC 271 Media Day. “The thing I want to know is what’s my value to the company. You can’t undersell my value, if you are, you’re kidding yourself. I bring so many different looks to this company.”
Fan favorites collide in heavyweight brawl
The co-main event will have fans buzzing, as Derrick Lewis (25-8, 1 NC) takes on Tai Tuivasa (13-3).
These two are heavyweight brawlers that swing with bad intentions and won’t be bringing the fight to the ground.
Lewis has 21 knockouts over his MMA career, while Tuivasa has 12.
Oddsmakers like Lewis as the slight favorite in his backyard of Houston. However, his last loss was in Houston, a third-round TKO against Ciryl Gane last August. He since bounced back with a first-round KO of Chris Daukaus on Dec. 18.
Tuivasa is hard not to like. Along with his vicious power, Tuivasa is known for his post-victory celebration of drinking a beer out of his shoe, which he calls a “shoey.” He will even take one out of fans’ shoes while walking back to the locker room.
The Aussie native has four straight KO wins coming into this fight. However, this is a big jump up in opponent level for him. A win could skyrocket him toward a title fight.
Currently, BetMGM Michigan has Tuivasa getting 71% of the tickets for this bout. That is accounting for 62% of the handle.
Either way, this fight should be as entertaining as any on the card. DraftKings lists it as +380 to go the distance.
FanDuel offering up UFC parlay insurance
FanDuel Sportsbook MI is offering up parlay insurance up to $25 for Saturday.
Just place a 4+leg parlay with final odds of +300 or greater. If just one leg loses, you will get a refund in site credit up to $25.
How to bet on the UFC
Betting on the UFC, or MMA in general, isn’t just as basic as picking a fighter to win. There’s a lot of options available to sports bettors.
The moneyline is certainly the most common. That is where you pick your fighter to win at the odds available. In the case of Saturday’s main event, a moneyline wager on Adesanya at -280 means you’d need to wager $280 to win back $100. For Whittaker at +225, that means you’d win $225 for every $100 wagered.
Other MMA betting options include:
- Total Rounds: Bet on whether the fight will go the full distance, or wager on which round the fight will end. There are also over/under props on how many rounds for each fight.
- Winning Method: Bet on how the fighter will win, by KO/TKO, submission or decision. You can also add in round or specific times of the finish if you’re looking for a big payout.
- Parlays: Like most sports, MMA is open to parlay options as well. Perhaps you like some favorites, but don’t find value in betting on them in a single wager. Combine them for better odds and a higher payout.
- Live-Betting: A lot of momentum can change within a MMA fight. Odds can jump drastically from round-to-round and can be a great way to capitalize.
Also, be sure to find your best options. While DraftKings is a partner with the UFC, FanDuel Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook MI and Fox Bet Sportsbook all have a wide variety of MMA betting options. Fox Bet is offering up a wide variety of boosted odds and boosted parlays for the event.