The latest from the Ultimate Fighting Championship sees their much-publicised partnership with ESPN continue. The pair will be responsible for an electric evening of MMA action this Saturday. The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia plays host and followers know entertainment is guaranteed when looking through an evenly matched programme of bouts. Here are our Edson Barboza v Justin Gaethje betting tips.
UK fans can keep pace with the action thanks to BT Sport’s coverage; the main event is advertised for a 1.00am GMT start. That’s not the latest fight fans have been forced to stay awake and that should result in increased viewing figures come the buzzer for the main bout.
That comes to us in the form of Edson Barboza v Justin Gaethje at lightweight. Match-makers look to have done a fine job in putting that one together, pairing two exciting fighters who hold genuine ambitions of going on to bigger and better things. This will be the third time the UFC has visited Philadelphia; however, with fans starved of action since the summer of 2011, the stands will be packed to capacity.
As well as Barboza v Gaethje, the main card also boasts David Branch v Jack Hermansson at middleweight; Josh Emmett v Michael Johnson at featherweight; Korlina Kowalkiewicz v Michelle Waterson in the women’s strawweight division; Paul Craig v Kennedy Nzechukwu light heavyweight and Sheymon Moraes v Sodiq Yusuff at featherweight.
Battle of Knowledge
Those who choose to tune in early to follow the Preliminary Card will get an update on the likes of Ross Pearson; Desmond Green; Enrique Barzola; Gerald Meerschaert; Ray Borg; Maryna Moroz; Alex Perez and Mark De La Rosa.
Bookmakers help fight fans mark the occasion with a winning bet by offering increased betting coverage of the night’s biggest clashes. You can have your say before the start of the event, betting on fight winner; method of victory and a number of specials. Or you can bet in-play as the bout takes place, looking to pay close attention to how the fight is playing out and jumping on any errors made by the bookmakers. In-play betting is a battle of knowledge between bookie and punter.
Junior Standing Tall
Edson Barboza arrives at the arena with a professional MMA record reading 20 wins from 26 starts. The 33-year-old Brazilian has claimed a dozen of his victories by knockout with seven points wins; the spare comes by way of submission. He shows his defeats and its an event split, standing at two knockouts, two submissions and a couple of decision reverses. Not a lot for followers of the trends to go on there.
Barboza boasts a background fighting in kickboxing. That shows in his style today, with the warrior more than comfortable delivering attacks when standing upright; his hands and feet always carry a threat. Junior also has experience in Taekwondo, Muay Thai and, of course, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He can be found fighting out of Nova Friburgo in Rio De Janeiro.
The Brazilian is respected in the industry and carries a decent rating of sixth with the promotion. That will ensure that if he’s able to win this bout he will drive himself back into contention for major titles. However, his age suggests any defeat will end his hopes of becoming lightweight champion of the world.
Poor Run of Form
Junior’s recent form shows he has won four of his last six to push him up the rankings; however, the two defeats in that run did come back-to-back and are present in his last three outings. He was beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas by unanimous decision late in 2017; that was followed by a TKO reverse to Kevin Lee in Atlantic City in April of last year, the doctor calling a halt to the bout in the fifth round. Lee had missed the agreed weight that night and it looked to give him an advantage.
Barboza did bounce back to winning ways on his most recent start. He beat Dan Hooker by TKO in round three before an appreciative Milwaukee audience back in December. The victor landed a beautifully timed body shot that night to finish things and he’ll be hoping that result kick starts an extended run of winning form.
Bookmakers have priced Barboza as favourite for the win; however, it’s a competitive market and backers will find Bet365’s 4/6 as one of the better prices available, many firms closer to the 8/13 or 4/7 mark. Barboza’s last two wins have come by KO/TKO and that’s worth knowing when aiming to solve the method of victory market. We think there’s enough in the fight winner betting, however, and will have Edson Barboza to win in our late-night accumulators at 4/6, enough to boost your returns.
Highlight of the Night
Justin Gaethje is a 30-year-old American who is loved by fans for his come-forward approach to fights, as well as his durability. He isn’t the most talented fighter on the circuit; however, wins over him don’t come cheaply and Barboza will know he will have to work hard for any joy in this bout.
The Highlight, fighting out of Colorado, is an accomplished wrestler. He has used that to his advantage since moving into the MMA sphere, putting together a professional record of 19 wins from 21 fights. Gaethje has won 16 by knockout, two by decision and the spare was a submission cheer. On the other side of the fence we note he has been knocked out twice, those defeats coming against Eddie Alvarez on UFC 218 and Dustin Poirier in Arizona last year. The latter was awarded fight of the night and 2018 fight of the year.
This promises to be another thriller, but odds makers have priced Justin as second favourite, with backers able to get their hands on 5/4 at Unibet. The underdog arrives on the back of a knockout win over James Vick in Nebraska in the summer of last year, a win that also saw him bank a performance of the night bonus.