The UFC octagon continues its international tour this week. The promotion has gone from Boston, USA, to Kallang, Singapore, to Paris, France, to Sydney, Australia, this week. UFC 293 takes place at the Qudos Bank Arena in the Emerald City this Saturday (Sunday in Australia). The promotion’s first visit to the city since 2017. Here are my UFC Paris predictions and best bets.
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UFC 293 Predictions & Best Bets
Israel Adesanya (-450) vs. Sean Strickland
We get a super-chalky main event in Sydney for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Sean Strickland is in the right place at the right time – he’s the top prospect who happens to be available and willing to travel to Australia to fight Israel Adesanya on his home turf. Strickland doesn’t have the power in his hands to pull off an upset here. It could turn into a boring slog if Adesanya plays his normal, patient game instead of finishing Strickland early, which he is totally capable of.
Alexander Volkov (-245) vs. Tai Tuivasa
One underdog that does have plenty of power in his hands is heavyweight Tai Tuivasa, so picking Alexander Volkov here is a bit of a risk. But ‘Drago’ is the better fighter in this matchup, and he’s five inches taller and has a five-inch reach advantage over Tuivasa. If Volkov uses his size and keeps away from Tuivasa’s big bombs, he should prevail and make it three straight wins (and three straight losses for Tuivasa).
Manel Kape (-395) vs. Felipe dos Santos
The third fight from the top was originally a much more even-matched affair until Kai Kara-France had to pull out with a concussion suffered in training. So newcomer Felipe dos Santos is stepping in here on short notice, which rarely equals a victory (37% of the time, a short-notice fighter wins).
Plus, Manel Kape has shown why he was so hyped when he entered the UFC, winning his last three fights, the last two via T/KO. If Kape reverts back to his early UFC form, this could be a close fight, but I think he’s moved past that and will continue his rise to the top of the flyweight division.
Tyson Pedro (+100) vs. Anton Turkalj
This is a very chalky card, at least in my eyes, but I do like underdog Tyson Pedro. I don’t know why we’re getting plus money on him here, but I’ll take it. Anton Turkalj hasn’t shown anything to prove he belongs on this level, dropping both of his UFC fights. If you want to spice things up more, I like Pedro via T/KO at +390. Juicy.
Carlos Ulberg (-260) vs. Da Un Jung
Like Manel Kape, Carlos Ulberg is another fighter who had a rough introduction to the UFC before living up to his hype. Since dropping his debut, he’s reeled off four straight fights, with the last three coming via T/KO. While Da Un Jung is a knockout machine, he’s going to get outclassed by a world-class kickboxer like Ulberg. Ulberg via T/KO at -125 is probably worth a sprinkle as well.
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