On Saturday, September 21st, the UFC will be live from Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, Mexico, for UFC Fight Night 159. This event features a featherweight showdown between Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens. In addition to this tightly contested main event, there are numerous fights on the card that are not only close on paper, but with many online betting sites as well.

In fact, most of the top MMA betting sites have at least eight of the 12 scheduled bouts listed with close betting odds. Let’s take a quick look at the UFC Fight Night 159 card to see where we can find some exciting betting opportunities.

Excellent Betting Value

With several fights being very close in betting odds, there are a few matchups that offer tremendous betting value. The following are two bouts that could earn bettors decent money on Saturday:

Martin Bravo (12-2) vs Steven Peterson (17-8)

Both men enter this featherweight fight with -110 betting odds. That means there’s going to be a solid return on whomever you place your wager on. With that said, I really like Martin Bravo in this main card opener.

For starters, Bravo is from Mexico and fighting in front of his fellow countrymen. He started off his career winning a dozen fights before dropping his last two and falling to 1-2 inside the octagon. This will be his first fight in 14 months.

Peterson is also on a two fight losing streak and has dropped four of his last six contests. He will have a two inch height advantage, but is giving up 1.5 inches in reach.

Bravo has an advantage in the striking department, but is also a solid enough grappler to handle anything that Peterson throws at him. Take Bravo to win this fight in his home country.

Jeremy Stephens (28-16) vs Yair Rodriguez (12-2)

Just like with the fight above, we have another matchup with close betting odds and pitting a Mexican fighter against an American fighter. However, this is the main event of the night as two Top 10 ranked featherweights go to war.

Rodriguez is the slight betting favorite at -112 as he’s fighting in front of his fellow countrymen against Stephens who’s listed at -108 odds. Yair Hasn’t fought in 10 months since pulling off an incredible knockout win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung last November. The victory improved his UFC record to 7-1.

Stephens has been with the UFC since 2007 and has a lengthy octagon resume. However, he has dropped four of his last seven fights including two straight. Unlike his opponent, Stephens has also already fought this year, but suffered a unanimous decision loss to Zaabit Magomedsharipov.

Stephens is a grizzled veteran and certainly capable of still ending a fight with his hands. However, Rodriguez is the bigger fighter with a three inch height advantage. He’s also the more athletic fighter between the two and will have the crowd supporting his every move.

Rodriguez should be able to grind out a victory and win via unanimous decision. Stephens has lost 11 of 18 fights when they’ve gone to the judges. Rodriguez is 5-0 when going the distance.

Lock of The Weekend

Irene Aldana (10-5) is ranked 10th in the women’s bantamweight division and was originally scheduled for a Top 10 clash with Marion Reneau who’s ranked 8th. Unfortunately, Reneau withdrew from the fight for undisclosed reasons.

Mexico’s Aldana will now face promotional newcomer Vanessa Melo (10-5) who steps in to replace Reneau on 10 days’ notice. Melo hails from Brazil and is on a five fight win streak.

Aldana is a -470 betting favorite against Melo who’s a +375 underdog. This is the lock of the weekend as Aldana has fought an impressive list of challengers in the UFC while Melo hasn’t taken on anyone of significance.

Furthermore, Aldana has eight stoppage wins compared to Melo’s two stoppage victories. Aldana is also four inches taller and has the reach advantage as well. Melo is badly outclassed in this matchup and isn’t even worthy of a flier. For those looking for a guaranteed win, this is as close as you’re going to get for UFC Fight night 159.

Potential Betting Upsets

In addition to betting value and surefire favorites, there are also a few underdogs that could hit this weekend and provide large returns on UFC Fight Night 159 wagers:

Brandon Moreno (15-5) vs Aska Askarov (10-0)

Brandon Moreno is a +145 underdog to promotional newcomer Aska Askarov who is a -165 favorite after signing with the UFC in July. This will be Askarov’s first fight outside of his former Russian MMA promotion in over four years. It will also be against the 9th ranked flyweight in the UFC.

Askarov was one of the most sought after flyweights outside of UFC and Bellator. He compiled an impressive resume in Russia and is a former champion. All 10 of his professional wins have come via stoppage with seven of those victories by way of submission.

Mexico’s Brandon Moreno is also very proficient on the ground as he has 10 submission wins in his career. Moreno last fought in June and defeated Maikel Perez via TKO, which proves that opponents shouldn’t sleep on his striking skills because of his grappling resume.

Moreno has taken on tougher competition, is two inches taller, has a strong enough ground game to counter Askarov and is fighting in front of his fellow countrymen. These ingredients can lead one to believe that Askarov is on upset alert.

Tyson Nam (16-9-1) vs Sergio Pettis (17-5)

Tyson Nam is one of the largest underdogs on the card at +240 odds. Sergio Pettis with a line of -280 is one of the biggest favorites of the night. What makes things even more difficult for Nam is that he’s making his UFC debut on roughly three weeks’ notice as he replaces Alex Perez who suffered an injury.

Nam is a veteran of the fight game and has fought all over the world. However, he’s been unable to secure a UFC spot until now. He’s going up against the 5th ranked flyweight in Sergio Pettis.

Although everything seems to be stacked against Nam for this fight, Pettis hasn’t looked good over the last few years. He’s dropped two straight fights and three of his last four. Furthermore, that split decision win he had against Benavidez in June 2018, was highly questionable. He could’ve easily been riding a four fight losing streak into this weekend’s battle.

Pettis, younger brother of former champ Anthony Pettis, is facing a lot of pressure to win. Furthermore, Nam has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Nam could earn a big win on Saturday and secure a better future with the UFC.

Nam is worthy of a flier based on desperation and Pettis’ recent struggles. However, he is an underdog for a reason as Pettis is the better overall fighter between the two.


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