UFC 231 Handicapping Tips and Betting Picks
Where/Venue: Scotiabank Arena
Where/Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018
The UFC returns this week to Toronto, Ontario, Canada for UFC 231.
The event will take place from the Scotiabank Arena and will feature a 13 fight card.
The Main Event on the card will feature current UFC Featherweight Champion Max “Blessed” Holloway looking to defend his title against #1 contender Brian “T-City” Ortega. This is a fight that has been several months in the making and will now finally take place.
In the Co-Main Event, we will finally see the women’s UFC Flyweight Title on the line as former UFC Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on Valentina Shevchenko for the vacant UFC Women’s Flyweight Title.
This is truly one of the best cards that the UFC has had in many weeks. We always talk about our success but we also have to address last week, where we didn’t do so well in the UFC. There were two events last week and in both of those events, we combined to go 3-7, which is the worst weekend we have had in any combination of MMA events in 2 years.
Our record speaks for itself so we aren’t concerned and reality is I’m looking to put up a major comeback this week at UFC 231!
UFC 231 Fight Card
|UFC 231 – Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Fighter A||Record||Odds||Fighter B||Record||Odds|
|Max Holloway||19-3||-116||vs.||Brian Ortega||14-0||113|
|Joanna Jedrzejczyk||15-2||294||vs.||Valentina Shevchenko||15-3||-300|
|Alex Oliveira||20-5||120||vs.||Gunnar Nelson||16-3||-124|
|Kyle Bochniak||8-3||164||vs.||Hakeem Dawodu||8-1||-173|
|Thiago Santos||19-6||-190||vs.||Jimi Manuwa||17-4||191|
|Claudia Gadelha||16-3||-290||vs.||Nina Ansaroff||9-5||269|
|Jessica Eye||13-6||158||vs.||Katlyn Chookagian||11-1||-164|
|Eryk Anders||11-2||105||vs.||Elias Theodorou||15-2||-111|
|Gilbert Burns||13-3||-105||vs.||Olivier Aubin-Mercier||11-3||-112|
|Aleksander Rakic||10-1||-530||vs.||Devin Clark||9-2||444|
|Brad Katona||7-0||-232||vs.||Matthew Lopez||10-3||211|
|Chad Laprise||13-3||-300||vs.||Dhiego Lima||12-7||294|
UFC 231 Handicapping
The feature fight of UFC 231 for us here at Spooky Express is in the lightweight division between Gilbert Burns and Olivier Aubin-Mercier. This fight will take place at 155 lbs and will consist of three 5-minute rounds.
Olivier Aubin-Mercier enters this fight with an 11-3 record and will be looking to get back in the win column after suffering a loss at UFC on FOX 30 on July 28. Aubin-Mercier lost to Alexander Hernandez by unanimous decision on that card, which was just his 3rd loss in his career, all of which have taken place in the UFC.
Aubin-Mercier trains at the world renown TriStar Gym under Firas Zahabi. One thing that Zahabi is very strong at is getting fighters to quickly recover and come back strong after a loss. Aubin-Mercier has always come back strong after a loss. After he lost a split decision against Chad Laprise, he got a 2nd round submission over Jake Lindsey at UFC Fight Night 54. After his loss to Carlos Diego Ferreira, he bounced back with a 3rd round submission over Thibault Gouti.
Gilbert Burns will enter this fight with a 13-3 record and is also fresh off a KO loss to Daniel Hooker at UFC 226. Burns, much like Aubin-Mercier, has always come back strong after a loss, getting the finish following each of his 2 prior losses.
One of the major issues that I have with Burns is he is a BIG Lightweight. He cuts the weight down from nearly 185 lbs and in the past, it has been an issue. This time, I don’t think it will be as much of an issue as the UFC has been watching the card very closely as this is a PPV event and they won’t want to lose any fights off this card as it could negatively affect pay per view buy numbers.
I think both of these guys are great ground submission specialist and that will probably leave the fight as a striking match. I give the advantage on the feet to Burns in this one. Don’t get me wrong, Aubin-Mercier has a great training team and his striking is very nice but prior to the fight with Hooker, we were seeing Burns striking improve with each fight. He KO’d both Dan Moret and Jason Saggo, and it appears that he has finally put together some very nice striking to go along with his BJJ Black Belt skills.
I think Burns will win this fight by TKO late in the 3rd round. Aubin-Mercier has shown signs of cardio issues in the past, and permitting Burns weight cut isn’t bad on him, he should be able to go deep in the fight. Play Burns at Intertops, where you can get him at -105, as a medium-sized play!
Free Play: Gilbert Burns -105 at Intertops (3 units)
Additional UFC 231 Plays
Gunnar Nelson (-124) over Alex Oliveira (2 units) – If you follow Nelson on Instagram, you will see that he has been training like an animal and looks to be in the best shape of his life. Nelson is coming off a loss nearly 18 months ago and is eager to get back in the cage and show what he has improved. I look for a big win over Oliveira on the ground, early in the fight.
Katlyn Chookagian (-164) over Jessica Eye (2 units) – Jessica Eye is on a 2 fight win streak and has been winning fights thanks to her wrestling but in this particular matchup, her wrestling is going to nullified by Chookagian’s large outside reach advantage and BJJ. She trains with very high-level grapplers and her wrestling is on par as she trains with Kyle Cerminara, who is a high-level recognizable wrestling coach in New Jersey.