The UFC sure is starting 2020 off with a bang. Last month saw the long-awaited return to the octagon of Conor McGregor at UFC 246. This month’s pay-per-view, UFC 247, has two title fights on it (more on that later). Next month’s UFC 248 has two title fights (Israel Adesanya vs Yoel Romero, Zhang Weili vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk). Then at April’s UFC 249 we will finally (hopefully) get to see Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson lock horns for the lightweight belt. The UFC isn’t playing around in 2020.
And neither is this column. I’m 3-1 with a 30% (!!!) return on investment with my recommended picks for 2020 (don’t come at me with your small sample size comments), so let’s keep it going with UFC 247. As mentioned above, this Saturday’s event, emanating from the Toyota Center in Houston, is headlined by two title fights. The top fight sees all-time great Jon Jones defend his light heavyweight strap against undefeated top contender Dominick Reyes. Bones is currently a healthy -465 betting favorite to Reyes’s +340. While Reyes has the athleticism and power to win this fight, those odds are probably just about right.
The co-main is untouchable UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko going up against Katlyn Chookagian. If the oddsmakers are correct, and they tend to be, this will be the biggest mismatch of the night, with the champ currently sitting as as -1400 (!!) favorite (Chookagian is +722).
Here’s where I suggest you “invest” your money this weekend – but make sure you tune in early – they are both on the early prelim portion of the card (starting at 6:15 PM Eastern).
Miles Johns (-128) vs Mario Bautista
I picked “Chapo” in his UFC debut at UFC Vancouver, and that one paid off, so let’s roll the dice on him again. Not really much of a gamble here though, as I think Johns matches up quite well with his opponent on Saturday, Mario Bautista. While Bautista is far from a slouch, as his 7-1 record indicates, Johns’s relentless pace and wrestling chops are going to be an issue for him, as he’s had problems stopping takedowns in the past.
STONE COLD LOCK: Look for Johns to take Bautista down and grind out a win, making it 11-0 for his nascent career.
Jonathan Martinez (+113) vs Andre Ewell
My Bookie doesn’t have a line posted for this one yet for some reason, but other books have Jonathan Martinez as a slight underdog, so I’m guessing they will too. Despite this, I like Martinez in this fight against Andre Ewell. Ewell was a hyped prospect when he entered the UFC in 2018, but since that time has only gone 2-2, including dropped two of his last three. Martinez, meanwhile, has won two straight since losing his octagon debut, including a violent flying knee KO win in his last fight. Considering Ewell got TKO’d his last fight, things are looking good for Martinez.
UNDERDOG PICK: Give us the underdog on the roll in this one.
Overall Results for This Column
Earnings (based on $100 bet per): $153.54
Return on Investment: 3%
Earnings (based on $100 bet per): $119.68
Return on Investment: 30%