UFC 266 was set-up looking like a straightforward event per the UFC Vegas odds and it played out that way as 10 of the 11 favorites won their fights. A parlay of the 10 fighters at their closing odds would have paid $2,288.57 on a $100 wager. But parlaying all 11 would have busted as one fighter won as the underdog…
The Underdog Winner
Jonathan Pearce Kicks Off with Minor Upset
In a night where favorites cleaned up, Jonathan Pearce (11-4-0) stood tall as the lone underdog to win as he submitted Omar Morales (11-2-0) as a +115 dog. Pearce opened at +125 and saw support that bet him down to +115. This was his second straight victory as an underdog, last winning as a +225 underdog against Kai Kamaka III.
Jalin Turner Wins Fight Most Bettors Avoided
In a fight that was almost a pick’em, Jalin Turner (11-5-0) handed knockout artist Uros Medic (7-1-0) his first pro loss with a first-round submission. Turner was -110 while Medic was -120 and these lines stayed the same from opening to closing. A UFC best bet was for this fight to go below 1.5 rounds, which it did at plus odds of +125.
Favorites Dominate UFC 266: Notable Performances
… and still! Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (23-1-0) looked sharp as he turned back hot contender Brian Ortega (15-2-0). Volkanovski opened at -160 and was bet down to -200 just before the fight. Ortega received substantial support with folks betting online, but the bulk of the action was with the champion and he delivered.
Volkanovski x Ortega was a WAR!
These guys delivered "a great show."#UFC266
— Charles Oliveira (@CharlesDoBronxs) September 26, 2021
Shevchenko Easily Cashes
The women’s flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko (22-3-0), made another fight look easy as she beat up her not-so“Lucky” challenger, Lauren Murphy (15-5-0). Shevchenko was getting steamed from the moment she opened at -1400 to where she closed at -1800. She made plenty of whales happy.
Heavily Backed Faves Semelsberger, Santos, Blaydes Win
Shevchenko was not the only large favorite. The three next largest favorites all won. Matthew Semelsberger (9-3-0), who was bet down from -400 to -550, had the fastest knockout at 15 seconds over Martin Sano (4-3-0).
Taila Santos (18-1-0) did not knock out Roxanne Modafferi (25-19-0) but she comfortably beat her and earned 30-27 scorecards across the board. She went from a -360 favorite to closing at -400 as the third-largest favorite.
And to complete the trio is Curtis Blaydes (15-3-0) who earned a unanimous decision nod over dangerous striker Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-3-0). Blaydes was coming off a vicious knockout loss but that did not stop sports betting enthusiasts from pushing him from -300 to -350.
A parlay of the three at the closing odds would have still paid handsomely at -111.
Sharps Lose on Underdogs Calvillo and Haqparast
On the flipside of the betting world, popular underdog picks Cynthia Calvillo (9-3-0) and Nasrat Haqparast (13-4-0) lost.
Calvillo was the sharps’ target as she saw her line drop from +215 to +180. Jessica Andrade (22-9-0) blitzed her and knocked her out with six seconds left in the first round, becoming the first fighter to finish the Mexican-American.
Haqparast, on the other hand, went from +145 to +120 against Dan Hooker (21-10). Bettors most likely sided with Haqparast due to Hooker’s last minute circumstances: a late flight and rush weight cutting. But Haqparast lost his mother and also went to Vegas late. Hooker shut him down and won all three rounds with no dispute.
Next UFC Event: Santos vs Walker
The next UFC event is a free one on ESPN. Brazilian bangers Thiago Santos (21-9-3) and Johnny Walker (18-5-0) meet at light heavyweight. Santos is the -175 favorite while Walker is at +145. A title shot could be in store for Walker if he wins impressively.