Before the two world-class title fights are settled, UFC 231 will see a collection of superb mixed martial arts bouts take place inside the cage in Toronto, Canada.
The main card consists of a total of six bouts, four of which we’ll cover in-depth in this article.
You can find our preview, prediction and best bet for the main and co-main event here:
- Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega betting guide
- Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk betting guide
In the meantime, let us walk you through each of the remaining four fights on the UFC 231 main card to uncover betting opportunities and cash in on yet another mixed martial arts event.
Let’s get started.
Alex Oliveira vs. Gunnar Nelson
Saturday, December 8 – 11:30 pm (ET) / 3:30 am (GMT)
Alex Oliveira vs. Gunnar Nelson has Fight of the Night written all over it.
Sure to be a high-octane fight between two skilled welterweight competitors, Oliveira will look to keep his momentum going against the returning Nelson.
Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira has only lost one of his last seven fights and now looks as dangerous as ever inside the UFC’s Octagon. With his lethal kicks and long-range punches combined with excellent submission ability, Oliveira is a threat no matter where the fight takes place. The Brazilian steps into the cage this weekend after a 39-second KO/TKO victory over Carlo Pedersoli.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gunnar Nelson inside the cage but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect the best-ever version of the talented welterweight. After being knocked out by Santiago Ponzinibbio in July 2017, Nelson has taken a break to work on becoming stronger and growing into the 170-pound division a little more. Now, Nelson looks fuller than ever before.
This fight almost surely won’t see the third round, and there’s a fair chance that it ends within the first five minutes. With Oliveira’s typically fast start and tendency to surge forward, we can expect him to rush out at “Gunni” and test his defense early and often.
We’re backing the underdog to come through with a big win here in Toronto.
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Hakeem Dawodu vs. Kyle Bochniak
Saturday, December 8 – 11:00 pm (ET) / 3:00 am (GMT)
Another exciting clash on UFC 231’s main card is this featherweight fight between Hakeem Dawodu and Kyle Bochniak.
Kyle Bochniak steps in here after his involvement in a memorable three-round battle with rising star Zabit Magomedsharipov in April 2017.
Bochniak has now lost three of his five bouts in the UFC and despite earning some credit for being an exciting fighter, now looks to be trending toward being cut from the promotion if he is unable to get some momentum going in his favor.
Dawodu debuted with the UFC in March this year and lost in just 39 seconds to a Danny Henry guillotine choke. Fortunately, the previously undefeated fighter bounced back and recovered some form by earning a unanimous decision over Austin Arnett in July.
Despite an uninspiring effort in his UFC career so far, Bochniak has never been finished. It’ll take an excellent performance from Dawodu to be the first, but we’re counting on him being the better fighter over at least two of the three rounds at UFC 231.
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Jimi Manuwa vs. Thiago Santos
Saturday, December 8 – 10:30 pm (ET) / 2:30 am (GMT)
An explosive light heavyweight battle between Jimi Manuwa and Thiago Santos will surely be settled inside the first round or two of this three-round contest.
After a two-fight winning streak that involved big stoppage victories of Ovince Saint Preux and Corey Anderson, Jimi Manuwa wasn’t that far out of title contention. After all, he had only lost to Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson previously and had recently earned a victory over Jan Blachowicz. But a disappointing two-fight skid now sees him falling through the light heavyweight rankings.
Manuwa will be facing Thiago Santos, who recently stepped up to light heavyweight and looked outstanding against Eryk Anders in a main event in Brazil. After three rounds of punishment, Anders was forced to retire, and Santos had earned his sixth win in seven fights. His only defeat in that stretch was to David Branch at UFC Fight Night 128.
It’s difficult to predict what we’ll see from Manuwa and Santos in this fight, but we can expect mighty strikes and a constant threat of a stoppage. Manuwa’s boxing and pressure appear to be precisely the type of style that could cause problems for the Brazilian, considering he likes to plant his feet and launch heavy kicks into the body and head. If Santos is forced to fight while walking backward, expect Manuwa to pin him against the cage and unload vicious combinations.
The odds here are too wide, and we’re taking Manuwa to win in what should be a 50/50 fight.
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Claudia Gadelha vs. Nina Ansaroff
Saturday, December 8 – 10:00 pm (ET) / 2:00 am (GMT)
Claudia Gadelha is coming off a win but taking a step down in quality of opponent at the UFC 231 main card. She’ll fight Nina Ansaroff, who is currently well down in the rankings (#11) compared to Gadelha (#3).
After a disappointing start to her time as a UFC athlete, Nina Ansaroff has recovered from a two-fight losing streak and has since strung together three victories. These wins have come against decent fighters in the strawweight division including Randa Markos and Angela Hill, in which Ansaroff won unanimous decision victories in both fights.
Claudia Gadelha is a former title challenger in the strawweight division and has recently won three of her four last bouts. In June, Gadelha won a split decision victory against Carla Esparza to bounce back from a devastating defeat to Jessica Andrade which ultimately cost her a shot at Rose Namajunas and the title.
Gadelha should be far too good in this contest. Although she takes a little too much damage in fights, her grappling is superb, and the most probable outcome is that she grinds out a win over Ansaroff. And even if the fight stays standing, there’s a good chance Gadelha outworks her opponent.
Take Gadelha with confidence.
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UFC 231 Betting Guide
We’ve done all of the research and analysis to bring you the best bets for the UFC 231 main card.
- Alex Oliveira
- Gunnar Nelson
- UFC 231