It’s the fight we’ve all been waiting for and this weekend it’s the fight we’ll finally get to see as Francis Ngannou v Junior dos Santos takes place at the Target Center in Minnesota. UK fans can follow the action live on BT Sport from 02:00 GMT but the build up to this main event will ensure a bumper audience stays up late to burn the midnight oil. Here are our top Francis Ngannou v Junior dos Santos betting tips.
The fight headlines UFC on ESPN 3 which features a star-studded card, showcasing some of the sport’s top talents. As well as the headliner, viewers will also be treated to Jussier Formiga v Joseph Benavidez at flyweight, Demian Maia v Anthony Rocco Martin at welterweight and the lightweight contest involving Drew Dober and Marco Polo Reyes.
Spice Up your Viewing
Dedicated followers of the sport can also keep up to speed with a busy preliminary card courtesy of ESPN, where the likes of Ricardo Ramos, Eryk Anders and Jared Gordon will be in attendance. There’s more than enough to keep lovers of the Ultimate Fighting Championship busy and bookmakers have done their bit to ensure punters are also well looked after.
Spice up your viewing with a bet on the main event or pick through the value that exists on the undercard. You can choose your fight winner and back as a single or throw a few together to create a nice price multiple. There are also lots of specials offered on each contest. You can bet on the fight winner or play total number of rounds, bout to go the distance or not and method of victory.
The latter challenges punters to pick a winner and how they will achieve the result, either points, knockout or submission. Calling this one right is no mean feat but, with a bit of research, you’ll have a chance of landing a nice priced winner. Is the favourite on a run of points victories? Back them to triumph on the scorecards. Does the underdog pack a punch? Take a shot on them scoring an upset win by KO/TKO. You’ll find a few punter friendly prices available.
A Rocky Road
MMA fans would be forgiven for thinking this fight was never going to happen as they have been promised Francis Ngannou v Junior dos Santos a couple of times in the past and it never came to anything. Firstly, the bout was scheduled for UFC 215 and then again for UFC 239, but both fights were scrapped at the planning stage.
This card was originally scheduled for Tyron Woodley v Robbie Lawler as the headliner but that didn’t go through due to an injury picked up in training by Woodley. When it became apparent the fight was going to be called off, organisers didn’t want to risk losing the entire show, so they moved swiftly to set-up Francis Ngannou v Junior dos Santos in its place. Fans were relieved to finally get this one over the line and as far as a substitute fight goes, it’s not a bad one to have and could even work out better than what was planned in the first instance.
We now have the small matter of picking a winner. Much has changed in both camps since this bout was first suggested, so going for your winner or even the method of victory won’t be easy. Thankfully, our team of MMA tipsters and sports betting experts are here to lend a helping hand. We’ve run through the form and figures of both fighters involved before returning with our views on the best bets to have to ensure a profit. We also tell you which bookmakers are offering best price to ensure you always get value for money.
The Predator Promises Big Things
Francis Ngannou is ranked number two in the heavyweight division and is recognised as the sport’s hardest puncher of all time. That’s no surprise for a fighter with a background in boxing but it’s the MMA circuit that has given the 32-year-old African most joy. He is based in Las Vegas where he fights out of the MMA Factory and UFC Performance Institute, having been active since 2013.
The man nicknamed The Predator brings a professional MMA record of 13 wins from 16 contests with nine of his victories coming by way of knockout and four by submission. He’s not a man who likes asking the scoring judges for favours and Francis is a fighter who much prefers to get the job done quickly, ensuring his fate is very much in his own hands. The longer the bout goes the less it favours Ngannou. Keep that in mind if betting on this bout in-play.
Of his three losses to date all three have come by decision and that goes some way to explaining why he doesn’t like to leave things to those sat at ringside. The general opinion with this fighter is he has the power to knockout most opponents but if a man is able to stand up to the dynamite, he will more than likely win on a decision. That makes Francis Ngannou a very interesting fighter to follow and his all-or-nothing approach has won him many fans over the years. He’s exciting and has a style we all love to watch. Even the sport’s purists can appreciate what he brings to the table. What will we see from him this weekend? Will it be another all-action KO victory, or will dos Santos drag him into deep water and see how he reacts?
This Shouldn’t Last the Distance
35-year-old Junior dos Santos is a Brazilian based in Salvador where he fights for the American Top Team gym. A former UFC heavyweight champion of the world, he is now ranked number three and will see this as the ideal chance to catapult himself back towards the big time. Win this match and he will revive his career, lose it and dos Santos can expect to slip further down the pecking order.
A record reading 21 wins from 26 contests is made up of 15 by knockout, one submission and five points victories against three knockout defeats, a submission and a decision. The stats tell us this will be a real show of power and we would be surprised to see it last the scheduled distance. Neither man has too much experience going to points and both will want to get the job done inside the distance and avoid having to ask for any favours. That makes this one all the more exciting. Be sure to take your seats nice and early.
The current fight winner market has Francis Ngannou as favourite to prevail and those agreeing with traders on that one can back him at 2/5 with Bet365. That’s tight, but it’s also market best price. Fancy the upset for dos Santos? You’ll get a chunky 2/1 with the same online bookie for the underdog spoiling the party. We are taking the form of both fighters for our method of victory punt. Francis Ngannou is a KO artist, dos Santos has been knocked out three times in the past. Back Francis Ngannou by KO/TKO at a better price.