Top UFC welterweight prospect Leon Edwards finally returns to the UFC octagon this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad, at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. We last saw him in the cage in July of 2019 against Rafael dos Anjos when he won his eighth-straight fight. Since that time, it’s been nothing but cancelled fights and Edwards jockeying for big name opponents and/or a title shot. But the time for talking is over and the time for fighting is finally here.
Welcoming ‘Rocky’ back to the battle arena is another surging welterweight – Belal Muhammad, winner of four-straight. In direct contrast to Edwards, ‘Remember the Name’ just fought last month and will be stepping into his first headlining spot for the UFC on just a few week’s notice (on-again, off-again scheduled opponent Khamzat Chimaev is still suffering from long-term effects of COVID-19 so he backed out again).
Championship Shot Beckons for Edwards
UFC president Dana White promises that Edwards will finally get his coveted UFC Welterweight Championship title shot with a win on Saturday, and I think this is a matchup he can get it done in. The Brit has most of the key factors in his favour in this fight – he’s younger, bigger and longer. He’s never been finished in a fight. On top of his current 8-0 run, he’s 10-2 overall in the UFC, and one of those losses came to current champ Kamaru Usman. Conversely, Muhammad doesn’t have close to the same resume and doesn’t really have any big-name scalps on his mantel. Whether you feel that Edwards is worth the gamble at
1/3 currently on the MansionBet board is your call.
In the co-main event, I’m backing a fellow Canadian, Misha Cirkunov, in his light heavyweight battle against Ryan Spann. Cirkunov is currently the favourite at
5/7 as he makes his first appearance since September of 2019, which was a win. He’s got the striking and grappling stats in his favour, not to mention Spann was knocked out in his last fight. Cirkunov is my MMA Gambling Podcast co-host’s “lock” pick of the week, for what it’s worth.
Underdog Betting Picks to Watch
How about some underdogs? There are quite a few currently bringing back plus money that I’m liking this week, none bigger than Davey Grant at
12/5. Grant has only lost via submission in his pro career, and Saturday’s opponent Jonathan Martinez isn’t known as a grappler. Plus, Grant has the better striking and grappling stats, and is on a nice two-fight win streak. He’s worth a play for almost 2.5 times your money, I think.
Next, I’m looking at flyweight Matheus Nicolau at
11/10 against Manel Kape. Nicolau will be making his UFC return after going 3-1 in his first run and has won two-straight fights outside of the organization. He has a very strong resume and is going against Kape who didn’t look too sharp in his UFC debut earlier this year (the worst part being Kape thinks he won the fight that he clearly lost).
Finally, there are a couple of female underdogs that I think are worth a backing. First, Cortney Casey at
6/5 for her women’s flyweight bout against JJ Aldrich. Casey is better off at flyweight, not having to drastically deplete herself to make strawweight, as she has in the past, and is the better grappler here. I’m also backing women’s strawweight Jinh Yu Frey at
29/20 for her fight against the debuting Gloria de Paula. The former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion Frey has dropped both of her UFC fights, so she is basically fighting for her career here, and I like her vast experience edge and grappling to get the job done.
*All odds correct at time of writing.