UFC 255 feels like it’s flying under the radar for a PPV event that features two title fights. With it being sandwiched between a Khabib retirement win and a Conor McGregor fight announcement, UFC 255 isn’t getting the hype it deserves. Not often will you have a card where both Flyweight titles are on the line and oddsmakers are expecting some fireworks. Seven of the 12 fights are projected to see stoppages with another three at pick’em odds.
The event is headlined by Deiveson Figueiredo and Valentina Shevchenko who are both defending their Flyweight titles. Figueiredo is taking on Alex Perez, who is a fill-in for the injured Cody Garbrandt. Perez is on a three fight win streak, most recently defeating Jussier Formiga by a first round leg kick TKO.
On the women’s side, Valentina Shevchenko will defend her Flyweight belt against Jennifer Maia who is the biggest underdog on the card at +900. Also on the card is the rematch between the aging Light Heavyweight legend Shogun Rua and Paul Craig, and those two fought a year ago to a split decision draw.
Keep in mind there are two Shevchenko’s on the card. The much less talented, but older sister Antonina Shevchenko, looks to improve on her 2-2 UFC record against Ariane Lipski who also has a UFC record of 2-2.
UFC 255 Best Bets: Who Won’t Go the Distance
Tim Means vs Mike Perry: Fight DOES go the distance +125
These are two very experienced fighters with 63 pro MMA fights between them. The reason why I believe oddsmakers think this fight will see a stoppage is the unpredictability of Mike Perry; he fights pretty recklessly and made his name in the UFC with highlight knock outs.
Perry isn’t the same fighter anymore and it has resulted in six of his last eight fights going to the judges’ scorecards. There are many question marks surrounding his fight camp and he recently auctioned off his corner man spot for this fight. One thing I won’t question is Perry’s toughness, with only one loss by KO in his career.
Tim Means is 36 now and is coming off a decision win. He was on a streak of stoppages before suffering two stoppage losses against Daniel Rodriguez and Niko Price who are two of the most explosive strikers in the division. Plus, his two stoppage wins were against weaker competition who are no longer in the UFC. Means has the height and reach advantage and I expect him to keep Perry at a range. He’s a good enough striker to stand with Perry and I expect to see a close decision fight here.
Paul Craig by KO, TKO or Submission +160
Paul Craig is a finisher. In his 13 wins, 12 have been by submission and the other by KO. He’s a -189 favourite to beat Shogun Rua in their rematch and I believe it’s because he should have won the first fight between the two. Craig out-struck Shogun 51-25 in significant strikes in the first fight but the problem was 31 of Craig’s strikes came in the first round. Craig gassed in the first round looking for the KO but I expect him to have a smarter game plan this time around. A plan more focussed around his elite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Shogun Rua looked terrible in his last fight barely scraping out a split decision win against the 44-year old Antonio Nogueira. Shogun has been finished in the past and he’s been submitted by worse grapplers than Paul Craig (Chael Sonnen and Forrest Griffen). I believe the first fight between the two being located in Brazil had a big impact on Shogun getting the split decision.
+3000 UFC 255 Parlay
Over 1.5 Rounds – Deiveson Figueiredo vs Alex Perez
Over 2.5 Rounds – Valentina Shevchenko vs Jennifer Maia
Louis Cosce to win in round 1
Tim Means by Decision
Paul Craig to win