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UFC 301 odds, predictions: Full card picks for Pantoja vs. Erceg



UFC 301 will be live from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday.

The early prelims begin at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN 2 and the main card kicks off at 10 p.m. ET.

It’s a wonderful time to be an MMA fan, as we’re set for three PPV cards in the next nine weeks and several high-end fight nights filling the gaps.

Last week, we profited just 1.8 units despite split-decision near misses on a +200 moneyline and a +270 prop; it could’ve been a huge night at the office.

The 18 percent ROI sets us up for a massive PPV Saturday where multiple Brazilians fight in their home country.

Be aware of home-cooked judges’ decisions throughout the 13 fights on the card.

UFC 301 odds, predictions

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Steve Erceg

A surprising title shot for challenger Steve Erceg, who faces Alexandre Pantoja in the variance-filled flyweight division.

The math of this division seemingly makes no sense, with ex-champion Deivesion Figueiredo beating Pantoja. Brandon Moreno, having beaten Figueiredo on multiple occasions, was unable to beat Pantoja in their matchups throughout his career.

So now Pantoja is the man, being given the championship pedigree and odds supporting that of a king.

Pantoja is a substantial favorite, mostly thanks to his grappling prowess, but I actually expect Erceg to dominate the striking exchanges. He’s no fish on the ground either.

Erceg is extremely talented and athletic with strong straight combinations, and I think we’ll be screaming “And new!” this weekend, as Pantoja’s path to victory is much more murky than the tape leads you to believe.

Erceg pushes forward, and Pantoja’s leg kicks don’t aren’t powerful enough to stop him from being walked down, while Erceg’s grappling is solid enough to avoid debilitating positions.

PICK: Steve Erceg ML (+160, Caesars) | by KO/TKO (+420, FanDuel)

Steve Erceg could have the size advantage against Alexandre Pantoja. Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Jonathan Martinez vs. Jose Aldo

Returning from a long absence to finish his UFC career in style, Jose Aldo returns to Brazil one last time.

Aldo is one of the greatest athletes in UFC history, having been the UFC featherweight champion for several years while also doubling as a professional soccer player.

He comes in as a slight underdog against Jonathan Martinez, who is a perennial leg-kicking specialist.

It’s hard to believe that Martinez will be able to leg kick Aldo around the octagon, no matter how many leg kicks they exchange.

Jose Aldo is an elite leg kicker.
Jose Aldo is an elite leg kicker. Zuffa LLC

Aldo basically invented the low-leg kick we see today, and it is something Martinez made a career off of.

Aldo could give the “Y’all must’ve forgotten” lesson in his home country, and there’s, of course, the lack of USADA testing these days.

But, in reality, this is probably going to be a very dicey split-decision where Aldo or Martinez could get the nod.

Get the lowdown on the Best USA Sports Betting Sites and Apps

Aldo should be the bet, he’s the side, but for looking to play it safe, bet this fight to go the distance.

This fight goes to a decision more often than the 65.52 percent that the odds imply.

Feel free to bite Aldo by split-decsiion at very long odds of +700.

PICK: Fight goes to decision (-190, DraftKings) | Aldo by split decision (+700, DraftKings)

UFC 301 full card picks

  • Alexandre Pantoja vs. Steve Erceg (+154): Steve Erceg ML (+160, Caesars) | by KO/TKO (+420, FanDuel)
  • Jonathan Martinez vs. Jose Aldo (+120): Fight goes to decision (-190, DraftKings) | Aldo by split decision (+700, DraftKings)
  • Anthony Smith vs. Vitor Petrino (-575): Petrino by KO/TKO (+110, FanDuel)
  • Michel Pereira vs. Ihor Poteria (+470): Fight goes to decision (+350, Caesars)
  • Paul Craig vs. Caio Borralho (-650): Borralho by KO/TKO (+225, Caesars)
  • Jack Shore vs. Joanderson Brito (-180): Brito ITD (+120, DraftKings)
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Iasmine Lucindo (-395): Pass
  • Elves Brener vs. Myktybek Orolbai (-258): Orolbai by decision (+148, BetRivers)
  • Joaquim Silva vs. Drakkar Klose (-185): Klose ML
  • Mauricio Ruffy vs. Jamie Mullarkey (+180): Ruffy ML
  • Dione Barbosa vs. Ernesta Kareckaite (-230): Barbosa by submission (+250, BetRivers)
  • Ismael Bonfim vs. Vinc Pichel (+400): Bonfim by KO/TKO (+175, FanDuel)
  • Alessandro Costa vs. Kevin Borjas (+105): Borjas moneyline (+105)
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