UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs Volkov Preview

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Two veteran heavyweights take centre stage in this weekend's big UFC Fight Night.

UFC fighter Alistair Overeem in action.

After a week off to decompress after their return from UFC Fight Island, the UFC returns to action this weekend at the UFC APEX gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their return event in the desert will be UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs Volkov aka UFC Vegas 18.

The main event, naturally, would involve people named Overeem and Volkov. That would be heavyweight veterans Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov, with a combined 106(!!) pro MMA fights between them. They also are big boys, both weighing in close to the 265-pound limit, with the Russian standing 6’7” and the Dutch kickboxer at 6’4”.

The Demolition Man is a Live Underdog

But, more importantly, I’m backing the live dog in this one, the aforementioned 6’4” Dutch kickboxer Overeem. The MansionBet board currently has him listed at 31/20, and I suggest JUMPING ALL OVER THAT! Me and my co-host of the MMA Gambling Podcast can’t fathom why The Demolition Man is the underdog for this fight. He has the striking and the grappling stats in his favour. He’s more experienced, having fought pretty much every big-name heavyweight in the sport’s history. He’s on a hot streak, winning two straight fights via TKO, and four of five (it would be five straight but he got knocked out by Jairzinho Rozenstruik with four seconds left in a fight that Overeem was dominating in). And he is the smarter fighter of the two.

Make no mistake about it, Volkov is no slouch, going 6-2 in his UFC run. But he’s swapped wins and losses back in forth in his past four fights and hasn’t exactly set the promotion on fire. Overeem has the power to knock him out, the smarts to avoid getting sparked out himself, and the superior grappling skills to take the fight to the mat (and finish it) if he chooses. I’m loving him as an underdog here.

Edgar v Sandhagen in the Co-Main Event

The co-main event could serve as a #1 contender fight in the bantamweight division, pitting veteran (and former UFC Lightweight Champion) Frankie Edgar against the streaking Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagen is 11(!!) years Edgar’s junior, is five inches taller and has a two-inch reach advantage. He’s also the more active striker of the two. While he is my pick to win this fight, the line on him is at 4/19 – far too high for my comfort. It isn’t out of the realm of the possible that Edgar employs his strong wrestler and ekes out a decision victory here, so I’m steering clear of betting any money on this fight. Yes, I’m more coward than degenerate.

Overeem isn’t the only underdog I’m liking this week, so let’s dive into some others and get ourselves some sweet, sweet plus money. Manel Kape will be making his long-awaited UFC debut this weekend in a flyweight fight against veteran Alexandre Pantoja. The newcomer is a slight 21/20 underdog, but I’m leaning towards him earning the W on Saturday. Kape is the former Rizin Bantamweight Champion, where he fought numerous big-name, top level fighters. Not to mention this was at a weight class up from flyweight, so he’ll be bigger than Pantoja on fight night as well as being three years younger.

Let’s go against my research into UFC betting and take a last-minute replacement in Joselyne Edwards for our next underdog pick (late replacements have only won 39% of their fights since the starting of 2020). Edwards burst onto the UFC scene just a couple of weeks ago, winning a late replacement fight against Wu Yanan, where she looked very impressive. She also will have three inches of height and three inches of reach on her opponent on Saturday, Karol Rose. Edwards at 19/10 is looking worthy of some money to me.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Jeff Fox offers expert insight into the world of MMA & UFC betting from his years of experience in the industry. His work has appeared in publications such as SI.com, St Louis Post-Dispatch, SLAM, Fighters Only Magazine & FIGHT!, among many others. Jeff shares his UFC betting tips with MansionBet readers on a weekly basis.

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