UFC 251 Main Card Odds: Kamaru Usman (-280) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+240).
Gilbert Burns was forced out of a deserved title shot against Usman after testing positive for COVID-19, but the UFC 251 card will be considered improved by many after Masvidal agreed to step in on six days notice.
Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal Prediction: Masvidal via TKO
Usman is the -280 (1.36) favorite with U.S. online sportsbooks to beat the new-and-improved Masvidal for a few reasons, and it’s easy to understand why. The Nigerian Nightmare is unbeaten in seven years, has withstood the assaults of numerous notable strikers throughout his unblemished UFC career and has the wrestling prowess to prove he’s Masvidal’s kryptonite, to name a few.
And yet, there’s a sense this is precisely the scenario in which “Gamebred” has come to thrive. Masvidal is unbeaten in three fights since returning from an 18-month hiatus and has won via stoppage in each of those wins.
Usman has a relentless engine, and although he boasts a clear edge if things go the ground, getting him there in the first place is no easy feat—ask Nate Diaz. The ground game has long proved Gamebred’s weakness, but Masvidal 2.0 is almost worth classing as a different fighter to what was previously seen of his talents.
It may be the favorite proves the oddsmakers correct come Saturday, but Masvidal’s air of unpredictability makes him too good to pass up at odds of +240 (3.40) considering his recent record.
Odds via bet365 NJ, William Hill and BetMGM.