Unlike the last UFC Pay-Per-View where favorites nearly swept, UFC 286 was a night for the underdogs. Five underdogs came out on top led by Leon Edwards who defended his welterweight title against Kamaru Usman in the main event. He once again proved most UFC picks wrong as did a pair of other dogs on the main UFC fight card.
Big respect @USMAN84kg what a trilogy. Over 8 years we fought 13 rounds, over an hour together in the octagon and our rivalry will go down in history. Just pure competition at the highest level. I wish you and your family well 👊🏾
— Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) March 19, 2023
UFC 286 Results: Five Dogs Win at Moderate Odds
Underdogs Capture the Main Card
It was not as spectacular as a last-minute head kick knockout, but Edwards got it done against Usman again. The Jamaican-Englishman cashed as a 2-1 underdog. He opened at +165 but got bet up to +200 with most UFC predictions siding with his adversary.
But not even a point deduction from referee Herb Dean stopped Edwards. He won a majority decision with two judges giving him four out of five rounds. It was a close fight despite the verdict with both fans and media members having scorecards all over the place. At the end of it all, the official judges sided with Edwards and he remains the champ.
Prior to Edwards-Usman, Justin Gaethje also earned a narrow decision over Rafael Fiziev. Like Edwards, Gaethje was +200 come fight time but he found a way to earn the judges’ nod over Fiziev thanks to a strong performance in rounds 2 and 3. A parlay of Edwards and Gaethje would have paid $800 for every $100 wager. That’s the best UFC bet in hindsight.
To round out the trio of upsets on the main card, Jennifer Maia (+150) edged Casey O’Neill in what was another competitive bout. Maia handed O’Neill her first professional loss while improving to 3-3 in her last six fights as an underdog.
Macedo and Ashmuz Score Big Upsets
The prelims were mainly dominated by favorites. Muhammad Mokaev (-950), Jack Shore (-550), and Jake Hadley (-450) all finished their opponents to justify their wide UFC betting odds. But Veronica Macedo (+320) and Yanal Ashmuz (+205) came out big for the underdogs.
Macedo was the fourth-largest underdog at her line as Julianna Miller (-420) should have run through her. Instead, Macedo made the odds look reversed as she dominated Hardy with her improved wrestling. She won all three rounds easily.
As for Ashmuz, the newcomer knocked Sam Patterson (-265) out cold in just over a minute. Ashmuz, unlike some dogs, actually got bet down to his current line as he opened at +215 in the sportsbook.
Long Fights Lead To Most Totals Going ‘Over’
While UFC 286 featured enough knockouts to get the crowd going, the majority of bouts went to a decision. This meant that 11 of the 15 fights went over their totals. Nine fights in total went to a decision including four of the five main card fights. Gunnar Nelson submitted Bryan Barberena in the first round to cash the under 1½ rounds at +155.
A few fights went longer than the totals indicated. Jai Herbert and Ludovit Klein fought over the 2½-round mark despite their Las Vegas odds saying otherwise. This bet would have cashed at +125. And Mokaev dispatched Jafel Filho (+575) as a 19-2 favorite is supposed to do. But he did late in the fight and the total went over the 2½-round mark at even money.
Decision Props Proved Potent for UFC 286
A lot of money was won by betting Edwards, Macedo, and other underdogs on the moneyline. But betting on them via decision props proved to be even more lucrative. Had a shrewd bettor taken the line on Edwards to win via decision, a $100 wager could have turned into $450 winnings. Macedo’s “to win by decision” prop was even larger: 7-1.
Many other props cashed in a big way. The Gaethje-Fiziev and Duncan-Morales fights both went to decisions with each “to go to a decision” prop paying at least +180 in the book.
The Next UFC PPV: Pereira vs Adesanya 2
As Edwards owned the UFC news at Usman’s expense, the latter’s Nigerian “brother” will look to have better success in the next PPV. Israel Adesanya, the former middleweight champion, rematches his longtime nemesis, Alex Pereira. The UFC odds once again have Adesanya favored though Pereira looks to beat him for a fourth straight fight (two in kickboxing).