This article is part of our MMA Best Bets series.
In this series of articles, I'll share my favorite play, an underdog pick, a prop, and a two-fighter parlay I like. All lines are taken from William Hill online sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
Jose Aldo (29-7) vs. Pedro Munhoz (19-5)
Weight Class: Bantamweight
Both Aldo and Munhoz have underrated ground games, and I don't expect this one to hit the ground. If it does, it won't be for a long period of time. On the feet, Aldo is the much better striker, which is why I like him to win this fight. The fact it is only three rounds benefits the former champ as well.
Against Yan, Aldo had a ton of success until the championship rounds, when he began to gas out. Now, against Munhoz, I like him to be able to piece up his fellow countryman. Aldo will also go to the body, which will set up the big shots to the head later on. Munhoz's striking defense isn't the best, as he eats 5.87 significant strikes per minute. I expect Aldo to have success similar to the likes of Aljamain Sterling, who landed 174 significant strikes in 15 minutes against Munhoz.
The Play: Jose Aldo (-115)
Manel Kape (15-6) vs. Ode Osbourne (9-3)
Weight Class: Flyweight
At UFC 265, there are a lot of close fights and pick'ems, with not many underdogs I like. When tasked with picking one, however, I feel like the odds are too high in Manel Kape's favor here.
Kape is the former RIZIN champ, but is 0-2 in the UFC, as he has failed to pull the trigger. He lands just 3.67 significant strikes per minute but absorbs 4.3. He also has struggled to get takedowns, as he only lands 28 percent of his attempts.
Osbourne, meanwhile, will have a four-inch reach advantage and uses it well. He lands 4.3 significant strikes but only absorbs 3.04. He uses a good job of using head movement and he showed in his last fight he has legit power. I think Osbourne can just out-volume Kape and win a close decision.
The Play: Ode Osbourne (+170)
Derrick Lewis (25-7) vs. Ciryl Gane (9-0)
Weight Class: Heavyweight
Derrick Lewis can never be counted out in a fight, as he has legit one-punch KO powerm so that's why I'm not laying the (-360) – or greater – on Gane. Instead, I found a prop that presents value.
In Gane's two UFC main events – both have taken place this year – he won both by decision, as he plays a very safe approach. He has a smart fight IQ and doesn't force anything or rush anything. Lewis, meanwhile, does have KO power, but it's not first-round or bust. We have seen him conserve his energy and go deep into fights on plenty of occasions.
Although many point to Gane by decision, I'd rather take over 3.5 rounds in this fight. I think Gane will use the first round or two to feel Lewis out and avoid the power shot. He also could wrestle, which would get this fight into the championship rounds.
The Play: Lewis-Gane over 3.5 rounds (+120)
Alonzo Menifield (10-2) vs. Ed Herman (25-14) &
Rafael Fiziev (9-1) vs. Bobby Green (27-11-1)
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight & Lightweight
Although Menifield has a lot of question marks around his gas tank, as we saw Devin Clark extend him out and Ovince Saint Preux KO him, this is a favorable matchup against Herman. The veteran still gets hit a lot, and at 40, I don't fully trust his chin. I expect Menifield to eventually find it and get a KO/TKO win.
On the other leg, I like Rafael Fiziev to beat Bobby Green. Fiziev is one of the best strikers at lightweight, and he also has 100 percent takedown defense through four fights. Leaning on that skill, he'll be able to keep it standing and just piece up Green (and likely get a decision win, as Green is durable). The veteran in Green also doesn't throw enough volume to win a decision.
The Play: Menifield & Fiziev parlay (-125)