The UFC travels to London, England, this weekend with an unusually brilliant fight card.
In recent years, the UFC has hosted relatively underwhelming events for the fans in the United Kingdom, elsewhere in Europe, Australia, and almost anywhere else that isn’t the United States or Brazil.
But it’s a little different this time around.
At the top of the card, local favorite Darren Till will battle with Jorge Masvidal in a high-stakes welterweight bout. Moments before then, Leon Edwards looks to continue his rise in a clash with Gunnar Nelson. The event also features rising prospect Dominick Reyes, who will be facing Volkan Oezdemir.
If you’re unfamiliar with how we do things here at WagerBop, we uncover high-value betting opportunities before all major mixed martial arts events. We then provide these UFC betting tips to readers for free, so that you can profit and become a winning bettor. This year, we’ve been profitable from all six UFC events we’ve released picks for this year so far. Our profit has bumped up to 8.87 units after Kamaru Usman overran Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 not that long ago.
But, for now, let’s focus on what’s ahead of us.
Darren Till vs. Jorge Masvidal
Here we’ve got a case of Darren Till, a fighter who has been boosted up the rankings relatively faster than others, against a Jorge Masvidal, who is returning for the first time since November 2017.
It was about that time when Till smoked Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the first-round to earn himself a shot with the top contender, Stephen Thompson. Till then stood with “Wonderboy” for five rounds and came out on top on the scorecards. That victory was enough to earn Till a shot at Tyron Woodley and the UFC Welterweight Championship.
However, that title shot didn’t go in any way according to plan for the Liverpudlian. Despite being inside the cage with Woodley for 9 minutes and 19 seconds, Till didn’t connect with a single strike. He was battered on the feet and the ground by Woodley and eventually tapped to a D’Arce choke. It was an unusually hesitant effort from the challenger, who missed all six of his strikes from a distance and allowed the champion to hit him with 7 of 19 attempts. For a guy who has long been calling himself one of the best strikers in the UFC, there just wasn’t enough there to prove that point.
He’ll have his chance again this weekend, though, because Jorge Masvidal is going to bring the fight to Darren Till for every second that this fight lasts.
Masvidal is one of the few remaining fighters in the UFC with an “old-school” mentality. He’s not here to talk smack, create mega-fights, money-fights, or any other nonsense; all Masvidal cares about is re-arranging faces, and he doesn’t care where it happens, but he’d prefer it to take place inside a cage where he gets paid for it.
If you haven’t already seen it, here’s Masvidal competing in a street fight many years before the UFC.
But don’t let this idea fool you into thinking that Masvidal is a scrappy brawler with no technique or game planning. Masvidal is surprisingly technical and has a decent kicking game to go with a sharp pair of hands. He’s surprisingly lengthy and will enter this fight with the same reach as the taller Darren Till, which may surprise some fans.
Masvidal is stepping into this fight after two consecutive losses to top contenders in 2017. He was handled by Demian Maia (only just), before then losing to Stephen Thompson at UFC 217. This is Masvidal’s chance to move up the rankings and put himself in contention for a title shot.
Darren Till vs. Jorge Masvidal Odds
Breaking down Till vs. Masvidal
There’s a lot to unpack before this five-round main event. Till is a huge welterweight and should arguably already be competing up one division with the 185-pound guys. He’ll carry a significant size advantage into this fight with Masvidal, but the impact may be marginal considering that Masvidal has been fighting bigger and stronger guys for longer than we probably realize.
Till’s strategy mostly revolves around perceived pressure. He feints and keeps his hands active (without throwing anything of major significance) and then works his opponent back to the cage before trapping them and unloading his dangerous left hand. Till has a combination of other striking techniques that he occasionally throws into the mix, as well, such as a step-in elbow to the face, but it’s mostly pressure and straight left hand.
The Liverpudlian struggled against Woodley because the former champion is a passive fighter who also waits for a counter-striking opportunity. As Till waited and waited for the right chance to launch his strikes, he became impatient and was forced to engage at times when he usually wouldn’t.
He won’t need to wait for Masvidal this weekend, though, as the challenger will likely be moving forward from the first seconds of the fight. Jorge Masvidal is incredibly active and lands 4.15 significant strikes per minute compared to Darren Till’s 2.39. And when we consider all other striking statistics, including strikes absorbed per minute, defense, and striking accuracy, it’s all pretty much the same. Could this fight be decided by pace? It definitely could.
If Masvidal brings an intense pace from the very first minute and keeps that up through rounds two and three, there’s a real chance we’re looking at an incredibly fatigued Darren Till in the later moments of the fight. Whereas the takedowns might not be available for Masvidal – if he so chooses – earlier in the fight because of Till’s strength, these opportunities may present themselves later in the fight.
In many ways, Till has been relatively ineffective against the best of competitors in the welterweight division, but this might be one of the few top-tier matchups that are in his favor. Masvidal’s not going to swarm in and drag him to the mat in the same way that Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman, or Ben Askren will, so Till has a perfect opportunity to shine this weekend.
Till’s promising the first-round knockout because he wants to show aggression and excite the fans, and there’s every chance that a relentless Darren Till can earn a stoppage in this main event, despite the fact that Masvidal is rarely finished. There’s also plenty of chances for Masvidal to win this fight if he can get to work at close range or secure a takedown. Masvidal knows he needs to finish this fight because the scorecards may be swayed in the local fighter’s favor, so expect Masvidal to come out aggressive as well.
We’re going to bet that one of these fighters earns a stoppage before the mid-way point of the last round.
Bet on Total Rounds (Under 4.5): +102 at 5Dimes
Leon Edwards vs. Gunnar Nelson
And just before the main event of the evening gets started, Leon Edwards and Gunnar Nelson are set to fight in what is another matchup of high importance in the welterweight division.
In any other scenario, it might have been Leon Edwards headlining the event in London this weekend. “Rocky” fights out of Birmingham, England, and is on an impressive six-fight winning streak before UFC Fight Night 147. In the lead-up to this event, Edwards has made his thoughts known, explaining that he believes he should be the featured athlete of the event and deserves at least some of the respect that has been heaped at Darren Till. Edwards steps in after defeating Donald Cerrone in a five-round bout in Singapore.
He’ll be fighting Gunnar Nelson, who returned to form with a brilliant rear-naked choke finish of Alex Oliveira in December. Nelson’s a popular fighter and that has led him to fans (and sometimes media) believing too much in his talent. He’s a decent top-15 competitor in the 170-pound division but hasn’t proven to be much more than that. A win against Edwards would undoubtedly be the greatest moment of his career so far.
Leon Edwards vs. Gunnar Nelson Odds
Gunnar Nelson’s most convincing pathway to victory lies on the ground. Nelson has an outstanding (and almost unrivaled) top game and applies crushing pressure from the dominant position while also battering his opponent with ground and pound. Nelson’s process from here is simple and consistent: he lifts his hips just enough to allow his opponent to roll over and expose their back before securing the rear-naked choke. Not many have survived after Nelson gets to full mount, and Edwards will desperately be attempting to avoid that position this weekend.
While the odds here for this fight are relatively close, there’s not much data or evidence to suggest that it’ll be easy for Nelson. Leon Edwards has an underrated grappling game that all begins with his efforts at defensive wrestling and in the clinch. It’s these two aspects of the fight that Edwards needs to make a strong impact because if he can deny Nelson of takedowns and beat him in the clinch, there’s a small chance that Nelson can get the fight to the mat.
Sure, Nelson’s punches do pack some power, but his bouncy in-and-out footwork means that he is destined for close-range collisions with his opponent and Edwards might use these opportunities to tie him up or beat him in the pocket. Edwards has too many advantages across the board to ignore these brilliant odds that have been offered by 5Dimes.
Edwards is bigger, stronger, and better suited for this type of fight. We’re taking him to win.
Bet on Leon Edwards to win: -135 at 5Dimes
Best Bets for UFC Fight Night 147
- Darren Till vs. Jorge Masvidal: Total Rounds (Under 4.5), +102 at 5Dimes
- Leon Edwards to win: -135 at 5Dimes
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Jake is a mixed martial arts analyst and reporter from Australia. At WagerBop, he merges his appreciation of combat sports and a strong passion for analytics to uncover betting opportunities for readers.