We’ve got a heavy dose of combat sports action beginning Thursday with PFL Week 3 headlined by former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum and the next big thing in women’s MMA, Kayla Harrison, and capped off by a big boxing showdown between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders.
There’s a little bit of everything for fight fans as we check the MMA betting lines and find two big MMA fights plus the Canelo-Saunders showdown for this mixed parlay that pays almost 2-1 your stake.
Werdum Looks To School Ferreira (PFL 2021 Week 3)
Werdum (24-9-1) makes his PFL debut and faces a gargantuan challenge in fellow Brazilian Renan Ferreira (6-2-0). Werdum is -265 and should win but the +205 underdog can be dangerous as his moniker, “Problema” indicates.
Werdum, despite being 43, still looked good when he voluntarily left the UFC. He’s still among the best grapplers in the division as his 12 submission victories indicate. Ferreira is also a capable grappler and trains with the Noguiera brothers, but there is an experience disparity here.
.@FabricioWerdum is Locked in on Becoming PFL World Champion!
— PFL (@PFLMMA) May 4, 2021
The much older Werdum should stick to a simple game plan here: get Ferreira to the mat and submit him. Werdum will be playing with fire if he stands and trades with the 6’10” Ferreira who has knocked out three of his last five opponents.
But Ferreira’s only loss, an armbar against Vinicius Moreira, shows he’s just not ready for the upper echelon. Werdum should be able to catch him with a submission at some point in this fight to start this online betting parlay.
Pick: Fabricio Werdum -265
MVP To Get One Over Anderson (Bellator 258)
Entering his 20th pro fight, Michael “Venom” Page (18-1-0) remains the “prospect that never graduated.” For the longest time, the Brit has compiled highlight reels and a padded record crushing tomato cans and beating journeymen. But he is a capable striker.
Page enjoys a 77” reach, three inches more than Derek Anderson (17-3-0) who used to fight at 155. MVP at -300 to win seems fair given how he’ll be able to use his length and prolific striking to keep the smaller Anderson on the outside.
Anderson’s best shot here as a +220 dog is to try and whittle Page’s skinny legs to impede his movement. He can’t get too aggressive as Page has some of the best counters and has fight-ending power.
While Anderson is a tough customer, Page should still win this one by controlling the fight and landing the more memorable shots.
Pick: Michael Page -300
Canelo and Saunders Go The Distance (Boxing)
The biggest fight of the weekend features the pound-for-pound king, Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) taking on fellow super middleweight (168) champion Saunders (30-0-0, 14 KOs) to unify the belts.
Canelo is a -700 favorite per the boxing odds, which is around what he was when he fought Callum Smith last year. The Mexican superstar should be able to land the harder punches and be the aggressor to earn a deserved decision here even if the initial rounds are close.
Saunders (+475) can give Canelo plenty of issues. He’s a southpaw, is the bigger boxer, and is elusive. Boxers like Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout were able to give Canelo issues and the polished Saunders should be able to as well.
There is some appeal to the underdog here. However, Saunders lacks the power and aggressive demeanor to do anything but irritate Canelo. His best hope is to neutralize Canelo long enough in hopes of swaying two judges in what could be a boring non-fight.
That’s unlikely to happen as Canelo will be able to land enough significant shots on him. However, Canelo is in a short turnaround while battling COVID. He may not be 100% heading into this fight and a hampered Canelo makes this contest likely to go the distance just like Ruiz-Arreola did.