The next major MMA event takes place on Saturday night, with UFC 255 live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
The main event features Deiveson Figueiredo defending the flyweight championship against No. 4-ranked Alex Perez. The co-main event has Valentina Shevchenko putting her women’s flyweight belt on the line vs. No. 3-ranked Jennifer Maia.
As always with a major PPV event, there are certainly plenty of bets to be made. Let’s take a look at some of them.
UFC 254 odds for Figueiredo vs. Perez
Deiveson Figueiredo: -313
Alex Perez: +250
(All odds via BetMGM)
BetMGM has Figueiredo installed as a significant favorite — as of Friday, he comes in at -313, meaning you’d need to bet $313 to win $100. Meanwhile, Perez is a +250, meaning if you pluck down $100 you’d win $250.
Figueiredo (19-1) captured the vacant belt, plowing through Joseph Benavidez for the second time to win by first-round submission and take his first world title at the end of July. The Brazilian is 8-1 in the UFC, with six of those coming via stoppage. Perez (24-5) entered the UFC through the Dana White’s Contender Series. He has made the most of his opportunity by going 6-1 with four of those victories via stoppage.
On paper and looking at the odds, it would appear Figueiredo wins in a rout. But there is one factor that comes into play, which could help Perez spring the upset.
Since Perez started in the UFC, he has shown a knack for finishing things off on the feet or the ground. No one has outstruck Figueiredo, but he is vulnerable on the ground — in his only UFC defeat against Jussier Formiga, he was outgrappled on the mat. Add in the fact that Perez has seven career wins (three in the UFC) by submission, and now you can have a competitive fight if it reaches the canvas.
The keyword in that sentence is “if.” Figueiredo is no slouch with his ground game, as he tapped out Benavidez after dropping him to set up the choke, and Perez has been submitted three times in his career.
The expectation is Figueiredo wins by knockout. He possesses the heavier hands, and his striking is more defined. Perez has a shot, but he needs to get things on the ground early, so Figueiredo doesn’t get sweaty and is harder to grip.
Figueiredo will be able to stuff any takedown attempts from Perez and batter him to the point to where he stops him on the feet and successfully defends the 125-pound title for the first time within the first five minutes and notch a first-round victory for the third time in four fights.
Figueiredo vs. Perez prediction
- Muehlhausen pick: Deiveson Figueiredo
- Best odds: Deiveson Figueiredo to win in the first round, +190
More Figueiredo vs. Perez odds
Total number or rounds: over/under
- Over 1.5: -139
- Under 1.5: +115
Will the fight go the distance?
- Yes: +330
- No: -435
Method of victory
- Figueiredo by KO/TKO/DQ or submission: -193
- Figueiredo by decision: +630
- Tie/technical tie: +5000
- Perez by KO/TKO/DQ or submission: +430
- Perez by decision: +700
Shevchenko vs. Maia odds
These are the second biggest odds for a championship fight since UFC 193 in November 2015 when Holly Holm scored the monumental knockout over Ronda Rousey. Can history repeat itself?
If you are looking at their respective resumes, there’s no way Maia has a chance, and it should be a blowout win for Shevchenko. You never want to say a fighter has no chance — but that seems to be the case unless Shevchenko slips on a banana peel on her ring walk or inside the Octagon.
After losing a split decision to current dual champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 215, Shevchenko (19-3) has gone on an absolute tear, dominantly winning five consecutive bouts with three of those victories coming inside the distance. In her last time out, Shevchenko destroyed Katlyn Chookagian via third-round TKO at UFC 247 to defend her championship for the third time. Out of her 19 career wins, Shevchenko has won 13 fights (six by KO, seven via submission) inside the distance, including two of her last three.
Maia (18-6) earned her first UFC title shot by winning three of her last four, including a first-round submission of Joanne Calderwood at the beginning of August. Half of her wins have come by stoppage (four by knockout, five by submission).
After Nunes, Shevchenko is the second-best female fighter in the world. Maia can win, but she needs to be perfect for almost every second. It’s a matter of when not if Shevchenko wins. A bet to keep you is the fight ending in the second round. Since she moved to 125 pounds, two of Shevchenko’s five wins have come in this round.
Shevchenko vs. Maia prediction
- Muehlhausen pick: Valentina Shevchenko
- Best odds: Valentina Shevchenko to win in the second round, +450