UFC 234 is this weekend, and it’s an event you won’t want to miss.
Sure, in its entirety, it’s not the best of cards, but the best bouts of the evening are very, very good.
If you haven’t already, make sure to head on over and read our Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum breakdown, as well as our best bet for Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva.
But for this article, we’re going to focus on one thing alone – and that’s bringing you the best value bets for the first three fights of the UFC 234 main card so that you can smash the bookmakers this weekend.
We’ll begin with a preview of Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon, before jumping into Nadia Kassem vs. Montana De La Rosa, and cleaning up with Jimmy Crute vs. Sam Alvey.
Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon
Saturday, February 9 – 11:00 pm (ET) / 3:00am (GMT)
Rani Yahya is sure to be the most explosive, high-paced fight on the UFC 234 main card. With two middleweight fights at the top of the pay-per-view and a light heavyweight bout opening up the last five fights of the night, Yahya and Simon will shine.
Simon steps into this on an impressive seven-fight winning streak, including a two-fight winning streak in the UFC after he joined last year. In his debut with the promotion, he looked to be on his way to losing a decision before eventually putting Merab Dvalishvili to sleep in the final seconds of the fight. He backed up that victory with a unanimous decision win over Montel Jackson at UFC 227.
Rani Yahya’s also enjoying a run of success recently after threading three consecutive wins together from late 2017 until now. His run started with a kimura submission of Henry Briones, then an arm-triangle choke against Russell Doane and then, finally, a heel hook finish against Luke Sanders in August last year. As you can see, Yahya is a dangerous jiu-jitsu specialist with plenty of submission wins to his name.
Yahya’s super submission ability is the key factor in this fight. Through 35 fights in his career- and 26 wins -Yahya has submitted 20 of his opponents. In most cases, he struggles to win rounds and is completely reliant upon securing the submission.
Simon is much the opposite. He’s a round-winner who also possesses the ability to finish fights in a multitude of ways. Simon pushes the pace and loves to create a fast tempo where he can throw down in wild exchanges with his opponent.
That’s not typically the best idea against Yahya, who will use any opportunity to get this fight down to the mat and transform it into a grappling match. For that reason, we’re betting on Yahya to win by submission.
Bet on Rani Yahya to win by submission: 3.00Bet €100 to win €3002/1Bet £100 to win £300+200Bet $100 to win $3002.00Bet HK$100 to win HK$3002.00Bet Rp100 to win Rp300-0.5000Bet RM100 to win RM300 at BetOnline
Nadia Kassem vs. Montana De La Rosa
Saturday, February 9 – 10:30 pm (ET) / 2:30am (GMT)
Nadia Kassem is an undefeated Australian fighter who might have her work cut out for her here at UFC 234.
She’ll be up against Montana De La Rosa, who has been flying under the radar despite a forme win against Rachael Ostovich. The 23-year-old has now won three consecutive fights, with the most recent two being in the UFC, and has seemingly improved dramatically since her last defeats. Her latest two professional losses came at the hands of highly-touted fighters, Mackenzie Dern and Cynthia Calvillo.
Kassem has already made a name for herself in the mixed martial arts world because of her lightning-fast finishes. All four of her first four fights were stopped in the first 90 seconds, and three of them were finished in less than 26 seconds. Kassem is a fast starter with an array of wild techniques that have caused a problem in the past for her opposition.
The most obvious of outcomes in this fight seems to be a Montana De La Rosa takedown and top control. De La Rosa is a talented grappler with decent wrestling ability and submission finishing skills, and that will be more than enough to cause troubles for Kassem if this fight hits the mat. Sure, for as long as this one stays standing, Kassem will be a risk, but she’ll be consistently fighting off De La Rosa and the threat of a takedown.
De La Rosa by submission seems like the clear play, but there’s also the chance that she earns a ground and pound TKO victory from a dominant position. We’ll pass and take De La Rosa straight up, so that we can capture all the methods of victory in this main card fight.
Bet on Montana De La Rosa to win: 1.38Bet €100 to win €13819/50Bet £100 to win £138-263Bet $100 to win $1380.38Bet HK$100 to win HK$138-2.63Bet Rp100 to win Rp1380.3800Bet RM100 to win RM138 at Bovada
Jimmy Crute vs. Sam Alvey
Saturday, February 9 – 10:00 pm (ET) / 2:00am (GMT)
Jimmy Crute vs. Sam Alvey has the potential to be one of the most exciting fights of the night or the complete opposite. But that’s really what we get from Sam Alvey every time he enters the UFC’s octagon.
Crute is a local Aussie prospect who has bounced on to the scene after an impressive outing on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. A well-rounded fighter, Crute is great at banging in heavy kicks and punches to the head and body or destroying his opponent from top position.
He’ll be matched against a short-notice opponent, Sam Alvey, who has terrifyingly powerful hands and insane knockout ability. He’s never really been one to manage consistent results, and Alvey does step into this one after losing to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC Fight Night 137.
There are plenty of reasons to back the favorite, Jimmy Crute, with confidence in this fight, but the value is on Sam Alvey here.
Alvey is basically a hit-or-miss fighter who ultimately relies on crashing his heavy punches into the head of his opponent. He honestly has no other pathway to victory. Alvey will often be caught waiting, and waiting, for that one big shot to land, and it might take him minutes at a time before unloading the missile, but when it lands it often has a devastating impact.
Crute, although talented, has been smacked about a bit in all of his fights. A fight with Chris Birchler at DW’s Contender Series proved his defensive woes, not long after a back-and-forth battle with Doo Hwan Kim in March 2018. Crute’s best pathway to victory here is probably to get on top of Alvey, pin him down and then beat him up from top position. Crute’s certainly capable of this pathway to victory, being a highly-skilled jiu-jitsu practitioner – albeit it a more modern no-gi sense than the traditional ways we see of Brazilian fighters in the UFC.
Crute’s going to be tested by Sam Alvey, and the odds here are too good to pass up.
Bet on Sam Alvey to win: 2.15Bet €100 to win €21523/20Bet £100 to win £215+115Bet $100 to win $2151.15Bet HK$100 to win HK$2151.15Bet Rp100 to win Rp215-0.8696Bet RM100 to win RM215 at BetOnline
Best Bets for UFC 234
We’ve broken down all of the UFC 234 main card and can bring you our recommended bets for this pay-per-view event now:
- Sam Alvey
- UFC 234