UFC 255 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event features a flyweight title fight between champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Alex Perez. In the co-headliner, women's flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko defends her belt against Jennifer Maia.
Figueiredo is a big favorite for his first title defense, currently sitting at -325 on theScore Bet. Though I like the Brazilian to retain his championship, there isn't enough value at that price, and Perez could make the fight closer than what the odds indicate. The Figueiredo knockout prop might be worth a look at -120 since he has absurd power for a flyweight.
As expected, Shevchenko is an overwhelming favorite opposite Maia at -1700. I'm confident "Bullet" will keep her title, but those odds are way too expensive to make any sort of a wager, even a parlay. I'd stay away.
With that, here are the two best bets for the pay-per-view event.
The welterweight bout between Mike Perry and Tim Means should be action-packed.
Known for their gritty striking, Perry and Means are two of the most entertaining fighters at 170 pounds. Though both have displayed devastating knockout power in the past, they match up evenly on paper, so a finish isn't likely.
Perry is the more explosive fighter, but Means carries the slightly superior technical ability. It'll be interesting to see who gets the better of the striking exchanges. Either way, expect Perry and Means to develop a respect for each other's power early in the contest. That could lead to both of them being cautious throughout the 15-minute affair.
Additionally, the veterans have only been knocked out once in their respective UFC careers. Perry and Means have taken a lot of damage without getting finished, so their chins should hold up if they engage in an all-out war.
"Shogun" is set to take on Craig in a rematch, and I like the former light heavyweight champion to get it done.
The pair met for the first time at UFC Sao Paulo in November 2019, with the bout ending in a rare split draw - one judge had it for Rua, one for Craig, and one as a draw.
However, the result of the fight doesn't tell the whole story. On MMADecisions.com, 14 of 16 media members who submitted their scorecards gave the nod to Rua.
Just over a year later, not enough has changed in Rua's and Craig's career to make me believe the fight will play out much differently, which favors an aging Rua.
Craig excels in the submission department, but the 32-year-old struggled to get the first fight to the mat. He had to slug it out with Rua instead. "Shogun" is a better striker than Craig, so he'll do more damage on the feet, assuming that's where the rematch takes place.
I lean toward the 38-year-old Brazilian winning a close decision, but I could also see him finding a late TKO over Craig, who's been knocked out three times since 2017.
Here are the full odds from theScore Bet for UFC 255 on Nov. 21:
Early preliminary card