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UFC 296: Betting picks and analysis | Edwards vs Covington – Kanpai Media

Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Welcome, UFC Fans and Degens. Hovz here with a breakdown of the upcoming fights this weekend at Vegas. There are a lot of exciting matchups so be sure to tune in to see my favorite bets for Saturday night. 

Main Event: Leon Edwards (-155) vs Colby Covington (+130)

Finally, Colby gets to fight for the title against someone who is not named Usman (or Marty). I bet Leon Edwards against Usman in both fights, and I was quite happy in both fights. Leon is coming off an amazing victory, probably one of his best performances to date. One might think that this is easy money on Leon at -155 odds, but I could not disagree more. This fight has a very high probability of hitting the scorecards and I don’t think Leon can lay all that much damage on Colby to have a clear and dominant decision victory. Colby is going to push at a much higher pace than Usman was, and I am very confident he gets the takedown. This is going to be a very close fight and I think Colby is going to just edge it out with a 3-2 victory. Take the dog at +130. 

Pick: Covington (+130)

Co-Main: Alexandre Pantoja (-190) vs Brandon Royval (+160)

I am going to try and keep this one short. This is a rematch of their 2021 fight and I don’t see it going the other way. I am fairly confident that Pantoja will be able to snatch the back of Royval again and submit him. I am sure that Royval has worked on his grappling, but a couple years of drills will not topple the many years Pantoja has been doing BJJ. The pick is Pantoja here.


Pick: Pantoja (-190)

Shavkat Rakhmonov (-600) vs Stephen Thompson (+440)

These are two men in separate trajectories in their career. Thompson is one or two losses away from retirement, while Shavkat is one or two wins away from a title shot. Shavkat has everything. The striking, the grappling, the conditioning, the fight IQ. He is a legit contender and I am confident he becomes a champion one day. However, I can’t lay the -600 against Stephen Thompson. Thompson is too tricky and too lengthy to try and beef up my parlays with Shavkat. Though, I won’t toss a bet on Thompson either. The bet is on the o/u on this fight. Thompson is pretty durable and I believe he has the range and the takedown defense to take this fight to at least the third round. Take the over 1.5 at -175

Pick: Rakhmonov/Thompson over 1.5 (-175)

Casey O’Neill (-190) vs Ariana Lipski (+160)

I understand that O’Neill has the better ground game but I don’t believe it justifies the disrespect Lipski is getting. Lipski has the better striking game and definitely lands heavier. She is also crafty on the ground and can find some crazy submissions. In Lipski’s last two fights her opponents are 0-19 on takedown attempts against her. I am not saying that O’Neill won’t secure the takedown, but I think Lipski can keep this fight standing long enough to secure two rounds. Take Lipski at the dog price of +160. 


Pick: Lipski (+160)

Andre Fili (-175) vs Lucas Almeida (+145)

I think a small bet on Lucas Almeida is warranted here. As much as I enjoy watching Fili and appreciate his talents, I think this is a bad matchup for him. Though he has the height and reach advantage I don’t think his defense is good enough to stop the volume that Lucas brings. Almeida should be able to throw a ton of combos and avoid any power shots coming from Fili and take this fight. Throw a sprinkle on Almeida. 


Pick: Almeida (+145)

 Martin Buday (-135) vs Shamil Gaziev (+115)

Martin Buday is a perfect 4-0 in the Octagon but I would not say that he has fought anyone noteworthy. It actually surprises me that Buday is only a -135 in this fight coming with all that UFC experience, but the oddsmakers know what they are doing. Buday has some defensive deficiencies and I believe Gaziev is going to exploit that. In a coinflip type of fight, I will take the underdog all day. I believe Gaziev is going to win, and he is likely going to KO Buday. 


Pick: Gaziev (+115)


    • Colby Covington (+130)
    • Alexandre Pantoja (-190)
    • Rakhmanov/Thompson o1.5 (-175)
    • Ariana Lipski (+160)
    • Almeida (+145)
    • Gaziev (+115)

Every week I will give myself a $500 budget on bets and will divide accordingly. Please gamble with what you can afford to lose and change your unit sizes in accordance with your own budget.


Last week we nearly broke even, but the small parlay I took hurt our payout. We went 1-1 and lost $38.78. In hindsight, I should have just tossed it all on Rountree. This week we have a bunch of underdogs and I am hoping we turn everything around.  

YTD: -$368.73 (7-10) 

BET Amount Payout
Covington (+130) $75 $97.5
Pantoja (-190) $125 $65.79
Rakhmanov/Thompson o1.5 (-175) $125 $71.43
Lipski (+160) $50 $80
Almeida (+145) $50 $72.5
Gaziev (+115) $50 $57.5

Parlay: Covington + Pantoja + o1.5 + Gaziev: $25 to win $271.51

Remember, while these picks are based on thorough research and analysis, MMA is unpredictable. Always bet responsibly and never more than you can afford to lose. Enjoy the fights, and lets do some damage!


I have trained in Mix Martial Arts for about 15 years now (started as a kid) and have had boxing/kickboxing fights. I had to stop fighting due to numerous injuries so I have moved my talents towards the analysis side of things. I am now a UFC betting expert and will send picks on every single UFC card.