Mad Bets: UFC 254 Fight Card Preview

Minty Bets is joined by Kevin Iole to preview the fight card for UFC 254 from Fight Island on Sat. October 24, including the Main Event for the Lightweight Title between Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje.

Video Transcript

MINTY BETS: UFC 254 takes place on Fight Island, Saturday, October 24th. This is going to be an amazing main card here. I'm here with Kevin Iole to give us his best bets for this weekend's fights.

Kevin, let's start with the first one. The light heavyweight bout between Magomed Ankalaev, at minus 280, versus Ion Cutelaba, at plus 225. What do you think about this one?

KEVIN IOLE: Well, this is a rematch, Minty. There was a controversy in their fight in February in Virginia. Cutelaba raced out of the corner before he was even introduced, and he shoves Ankalaev. And everybody had to come into the ring and break them up.

But as often happens in those cases, Cutelaba wasn't as good in the fight. And the fight happened, he got kicked a couple of times in the head. And as he stood there, he wobbles on his feet.

And it looks like he's about to go down. And the referee jumps in and stops the fight. Later, and I talk to Michael Bisping, who is announcing, the former middleweight champion. And he agreed that he thought that Cutelaba was trying to set a trap and bring an Ankalaev in.

And that he wasn't really hurt, as he appeared. So as a result, he took a loss. 35 seconds or something like that. So the UFC decided, hey, let's do a rematch. It was twice delayed by Cutelaba getting COVID.

Now they are fighting. Both have combat Sambo backgrounds but I think that Ankalaev is just a cut above. I am going to lay the 280 on this, one and I am going to go with Magomed Ankalaev to win this fight.

MINTY BETS: Wow, all righty. And let's move on to be women's flyweight. With Cynthia Calvillo at minus 230, versus Lauren Murphy at plus 185. Kevin, thoughts on this one?

KEVIN IOLE: I really like Lauren Murphy in this one. I'm going to go with the underdog. She's a naturally bigger fighter. She's on a honor roll, has been beating some really good women. And I think size in this fight is going to be an issue.

Cynthia Calvillo came up and she did a great job in defeating Jessica Eye in her last fight. I think Laura Murphy is probably a little bit a step up from Jessica Eye. And I think Laura Murphy is a physical specimen.

I mean she's really improved over the years. And I think Laura Murphy has the all around game to win this. So I'm going to go-- I love to go with underdogs. I am going to bet on Laura Murphy to win a decision in this one.

Love it. All right, let's move on to the heavyweight. I love heavyweight bouts here. We've got Alexander Volkov at minus 200, versus Walt Harris at plus 165. I kind of like Volkov here.

KEVIN IOLE: Well we're on different sides of the fence. You know, Volkov is deservedly the favorite. I mean, he's had a more decorated career. But I think when you look at the roll Walt Harris is on.

He kind of got it derailed by Alistair Overeem. But even in that fight against Overeem, he had Overeem in all sorts of trouble. And a different referee could have stopped that fight.

So that give the referee credit for letting it go and letting Overeem come back and win. I think Walt Harris has really peaked. He was a late bloomer, former college basketball player. And when he started in MMA, he didn't really know the sport all that well. He has changed. I like Walt Harris by knockout in this fight.

MINTY BETS: And let's move on to the co-main event, which is a middleweight bout between Jared Cannonier, minus 125 versus Robert Whittaker, plus 105.

KEVIN IOLE: A Lot of stakes in this one, Minty. Dana White told me the other day that the winner of this bout is going to get the next shot at Israel Adesanya. Adesanya actually called out Cannonier, knowing that he had to beat Robert Whittaker.

I am going to go with the underdog once again. I like Robert Whittaker. I think Robert Whittaker is criminally underrated. I think he's a fantastic fighter.

I love what he does. I think he's the second best middleweight in the world, behind only Isreal Adesanya. Cannonier is a great story moving down from heavyweight, to light heavyweight, now to middleweight. And he certainly has the power to finish the fight.

But I'm going to go with Robert Whittaker in this one. I think he's the proven commodity, the better fighter. I like his overall game coming off a really good win over Derek Hill. I'm going to go with Robert Whittaker here.

MINTY BETS: Nice. All right. And for the main event, oh my goodness. This is so exciting. We've got the lightweight title bout between the undefeated, Khabib Nurmagomedov, a minus 305 favorite, versus Justin Gaethje, a plus 240 dog. I am undecided here.

KEVIN IOLE: And this is a tough one. I mean, Khabib, you always almost by default pick Khabib. He's such a dominant grappler. I mean, his grappling level is like that of an Olympic medalist wrestler. That is how good he is.

And Justin Gaethje is just this unbelievable knockout artist. But Justin Gaethje was a college wrestler. You don't see him use his wrestling a lot in the fights. This is going to be a fight where he has to use it.

Now the question is going to be, does he use his wrestling as defensive to keep himself up and keep the fight striking against Khabib? Or does he use offensive wrestling? Which I can't remember ever seeing him use. I think it's a tall order for him though.

I'm going to go with Khabib in this fight. Don't bet against 28-0. I learned my lesson. I don't totally discount Gaethje. I think Dustin Poirier showed that Khabib has some areas where you can take advantage of. But he is so good, he is so confident. And I think his father's passing is really going to impact him too.

And I think he's going to want to put a show on for his father, to honor his father. I like Khabib to win this one. I'll lay the money and I'll bet Khabib.

MINTY BETS: Great. And then, just real quick, last question. Do you think it's going to go the distance? I can kind of see a knock out here.

KEVIN IOLE: Yeah. I mean, if you look at their history, both of them you know finish at a very high rate. Justin Gaethje he is 22-2. And of those 24 fights, only two of them have gone to decision.

So I think it's a pretty good bet that it's a finish. I could see Khabib getting a submission in this fight. I just talked to Justin and he is so confident. He said he's in for the fight of his life. So like you, Minty, I'm really excited. And I think it's going to be a fantastic bout.

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