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UFC 279 Betting Recap: Underdogs Roll in a Chaotic Night

Unprecedented Card Has Mixed Bag of Results

In what was a first for the promotion, the UFC reshuffled the main three fights of UFC 279. While Nate Diaz came through as an underdog in the main event, his original opponent, Khamzat Chimaev still dominated as a large favorite. The fights encapsulated what was a mixed Saturday evening on the UFC betting lines.

Overall, it was a profitable event for underdog bettors. The dogs went 7-6 for a profit of 5.4 units had bettors placed one unit on each of the card’s underdogs. A lot of these winnings are courtesy of the “Beastboy,” Chris Barnett.

Nate Diaz reacts during his UFC 263 welterweight match against Leon Edwards of Jamaica at Gila River Arena on June 12, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona.
Nate Diaz - (Photo by Christian Petersen / Getty Images via AFP)

UFC 279 Prelims: Don’t Fade the Big Dog

  • Barnett Becomes Biggest Boy For Many Reasons

When Barnett missed weight and came in at 267.5 pounds, he set a UFC record by becoming the heaviest fighter at the weigh-ins. Barnett surrendered 20% of his purse so he made up for it by rallying to finish Jake Collier as a +350 underdog. With the win, Barnett cashed as the third-largest underdog and also won as the largest underdog in the weight division in over three years.

  • Prelim Dogs Eat Up

Barnett was but one of five underdogs on the preliminary card to win. Julian Erosa swept Hakeem Dawodu on all three judges’ scorecards as a +175 underdog to cap off the prelims. The online sportsbook had Erosa winning by a decision at +400, which was the highest line in terms of method of victory props.

Elise Reed also defeated Melissa Martinez by a decision in the early portion of the night. She was a +145 underdog and the only women’s underdog to win. Yohan Lainesse, who opened as a +110 underdog, defeated Darian Weeks as the night’s curtain-jerker and Dennis Tiuliulin (+105) finished Jamie Pickett in the second round.

UFC 279 Main Card: Mayhem Reigns

  • Diaz Reps the “2-0-9” To Eerie Success

Even against Tony Ferguson, Diaz was +120 on the sportsbook but found a way to submit Ferguson in one of the most bizarre fights of the year. Diaz won with 2:09 left on the clock in the fourth round, which is his iconic number after the area code of his native Stockton, California.

A wager on Diaz to finish Ferguson was at +275 while a fourth-round finish was at +2000. Either could have been the best UFC bet for the night.

Take a Look at These Special Articles For UFC Fight Night

The co-main event saw Chimaev make short work of Kevin Holland. The loudmouthed Holland jawed at Chimaev prior to the fight, which ultimately became the catalyst for the UFC doing an emergency mix of the three main fights. Chimaev wasted no time as he took Holland down and put him to sleep with a D’Arce choke in the first round.

Chimaev remained the card’s largest favorite at -620 and his finish of Holland was at -250 on the prop market. The win also extended Chimaev’s unbeaten streak to 12 straight.

  • Bad Beat For Li and His Backers

Li Jingliang could have made it a bigger night for those who bet online on dogs. But he lost a contentious split decision against Daniel Rodriguez. Li was a +145 underdog. He won the first round and arguably won at least one of the next two as 21 of the 23 MMA media outlets had it scored.

The Next UFC PPV: Oliveira vs Makhachev

The UFC Pay-Per-View is a big one: Charles Oliveira faces Islam Makhachev for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship. Oliveira and Makhachev both have double-digit winning streaks though the online UFC odds heavily favor Makhachev. And in the co-main event will be UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling defending against former champion T.J. Dillashaw.

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