The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!
Another fantastic combat sports weekend is in the books so let's take a quick look back at the best betting Hits & Misses from two major events.
Saturday, Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk
• HIT +125 Fight Goes The Distance: Yes, Oleksandr Usyk was the smaller man. Yes, Anthony Joshua was undefeated when fighting in his home country. But, it made perfect sense that Usyk would have the superior gas tank and activity to wear down Joshua and coast to a decision. Joshua was losing more and more steam off of his punches with every passing round while Usyk was getting stronger and stronger and his punches had a little bit more sting as the fight wore on. Joshua’s previous opponents were inferior compared to Usyk, skill-wise and composure-wise, as the Ukrainian was unfazed by the raucous atmosphere that was the United Kingdom backdrop. Usyk won a Gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics and prior to Saturday night, he’d won two of his last three fights in the UK. This bet was easy money.
• MISS +390 Usyk wins by Decision: Usyk beating Joshua via decision was a very nice payout, but an outcome that was completely overlooked. Usyk showed just how skillful and conditioned a champion he is. His workmanlike attitude and nonstop pressure on the bigger, more dangerous Joshua was a live look at a tree being chopped down and then sent through a buzzsaw. Usyk put together a master class to the chagrin of 60,000 UK fans. Usyk will eventually rematch Joshua as there is a rematch clause in place. At any rate, the mildly-mannered fighter joins boxing greats Wladimir Klitschko and Vasyl Lomachenko as world champions from the Ukraine.
Saturday, UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega
• HIT -176 Robbie Lawler vs. +140 Nick Diaz: 17 years after Nick Diaz knocked out Robbie Lawler, a knockout that contributed to Stockton’s sweetheart’s highlight reel, we got a highly-anticipated rematch. This fight had so many storylines connected to it but it was hard to deny Diaz's honest take. In multiple interviews leading up to the fight, Diaz made it known that he's trying to break the bad boy image in hopes that he can be a beacon of hope for younger generations who come from very humble beginnings. Diaz seemed content during his time away from the cage, teaching martial arts and traveling. Then the pandemic hit and many businesses were affected, especially gyms and dojos. Diaz then pivoted to what he does best – fighting. But, as Dana White has stated many times, if you have one foot out of the door, the octagon is a very dangerous place to be indecisive, and it showed. Former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler put together an intelligent game plan and matched fire with fire by standing in the pocket and inducing a close-quarters boxing match to gas out Diaz. It worked and Lawler avenged his loss. For Diaz, he can take his huge payday to the bank and needs to really sit and think if he wants to do this part of his life again.
• HIT +190 Curtis Blaydes to wins by Decision: This was stealing candy from a baby. Blaydes, who is the best wrestler in the UFC’s heavyweight division, would briefly test himself on the feet against Rozenstruik. This lasted only for a little bit before he shot in for his signature power double-leg takedown. A student of the game, Blaydes combined his overwhelming takedown offensive prowess with a strong jiu-jitsu top game, controlling Rozenstruik on the ground like an older brother. Great win and strategy by Bladyes
• MISS -185 Alexander Volkanovski vs. +145 Brian Ortega: A fight of the year candidate, Alexander Volkanovski proved he’s not just a ‘point fighter’ as the challenger Brian Ortega said to get under the champion’s skin leading up to this epic battle. Many experts figured that Ortega, in a 25-minute fight, would find a home for his elite jiu-jitsu and end the fight via submission. Experts were correct about that, but dead wrong about how good Volkanovski’s submission defense was. The Australian native fought out of deep submission after deep submission. It impressed the Las Vegas crowd and proved Volkanovski is a multifaceted Mixed Martial Artist. Volkanovski is now sitting very pretty on his UFC featherweight throne and will have his eyes locked in on the November 13th Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez fight as a potential next opponent.
• MISS +450 Merab Dvalishvili wins by TKO/KO: An epic rollercoaster fight between former UFC bantamweight title challenger Marlon Moraes and “The Machine,” Merab Dvalishvili. Moraes, known for his big power and dynamic striking, had Dvalishvili in some serious trouble with a series of powerful punching combinations that put Dvalishvili on ice skates. Dvalishvili, the Georgian native, used his elite cardio and composure to somehow survive the onslaught and grab ahold of Moraes for a takedown and then ensuing ground and pound. The tables turned even further for Moraes as Dvalishvili landed 170 consecutive strikes (yes, that’s correct) on Moraes, leaving the referee with no choice but to call the fight and put a bow on the frontrunner for comeback fight of the year.
Another action-packed combat sports week is headed your way with DWCS, Bellator and UFC taking center stage!
PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.