UFC 240: Favorites Versus Underdogs

Tyler Vaysman

Although UFC 240 wasn’t full of huge names in the fight game, it provided a solid evening of entertainment by most accounts. While some matchups fell short of expectations or finished as complete duds, a particularly fast-paced flyweight bout between Alexandre Pantoja (21-4-0) and Deiveson Figueiredo (16-1-0) added some much-needed excitement to the evening.

Of course, the vast majority of viewers were tuning in to see the final two fights of the night. After Cris Cyborg (21-2-0) faced off against Felicia Spencer (7-1-0), it was time for the main event of Max Holloway (21-4-0) versus Frankie Edgar (23-7-1).

Cyborg vs. Spencer

Although very few pegged Spencer to win this fight, she certainly gave the favored Cyborg a run for her money. It was a show of resiliency for Spencer, who continued taking shot after shot and coming right back.

At the end of three rounds, Cyborg won on a decision after largely dominating the fight and landing three shots for every one from Spencer. As one of the biggest names in women’s fighting, Cyborg did her job and claimed the victory despite not being able to knock out her opponent.

Cyborg was the heavy favorite coming in with -700 odds to Spencer’s +450, earning a big win for the favorites.

Holloway vs. Edgar

Frankie Edgar is a future Hall of Famer and something of a legend in MMA, but the odds were against him in a contest with one of the best fighters in the game right now, Max Holloway. With -400 odds, Holloway was expected to win, and he had control of this one from start to finish.

The aging Edgar (+300) put in a good shift and came out as the more active fighter, but Holloway was ready for the vast majority of Edgar’s attacks. Holloway had just about every memorable series of strikes, including a spinning back kick followed by a flurry of uppercuts to end the second round.

After five rounds, the decision went to Holloway with nobody disputing the result. A win against a 37-year-old fighter won’t make Holloway a legend in his own right, but this helped him further his legacy.

A Card of Winning Favorites

If you bet on the favorites of UFC 240, you had a great night. In addition to the two featured contests of the evening, all but one favorite claimed victory throughout the main card and prelims.

The only exception to a night full of favorites came when Figueiredo defeated Pantoja via decision after three rounds. While Figueiredo was sitting on even odds, Pantoja was a slight favorite at -130.

Another caveat would be the preliminary fight between Erik Kock (16-6-0) and Kyle Stewart (11-3-0), both of whom came in at -115 odds. Kock was able to outduel Stewart and win by decision.

The rest of the night, all the way from Gillian Robertson (7-3-0) at -135 odds to Holloway at -400 odds, saw the underdogs fall to the favorites.

A Strong Trend in UFC

This sort of chalk performance in UFC 240 is only a slight departure from recent events. UFC 239 had just three upsets, including two on the main card.

At +400 odds, Chance Rencountre defeated Ismail Naurdiev by unanimous decision in a preliminary fight. Then, Jorge Masvidal (+205 odds) and Jan Blachowicz (+185 odds) both defeated their respective opponents by KO.

Despite a few underdogs earning wins, the two featured fights went the way of the favorites in UFC 239. First, Amanda Nunes (-330 odds) defeated Holly Holm (+280). The night was then capped off by a dominant victory by the heavily favored Jon Jones (-600) over Thiago Santos (+450).

By and large, favorites have been running the show when it comes to the UFC in a trend any MMA bettor should have a good grasp on.

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