The UFC returns to pay-per-view onheadlined by one of the sport's best defending his world title. The main event features Israel Adesanya making the first defense of his second reign as middleweight champion when he faces Sean Strickland.
It's far from the deepest undercard UFC has ever put together, but the matchups could still produce some fireworks for the Aussie crowd. Look no further than the co-main event where native son Tai Tuivasa is back against hard-hitting Russian heavyweight Alexander Volkov.
Plus, flyweight Manel Kape takes on debutant Felipe dos Santos. Kape was expected to face Kai Kara-France in what was supposed to be a massive fight for the division's title implications. But Kara-France suffered a knockout in training camp and decided to withdraw from the bout for his own health and safety. Now, Kape needs to take care of business in hopes of continuing to climb the ladder at 125 pounds.
Meanwhile, more heavyweights help fill out the main card when Justin Tafa returns to take on Austen Lane in a rematch from earlier this year where an early eye poke resulted in a no contest. Plus, fan favorite Tyson Pedro is back in a light heavyweight contest opposite Anton Turkalj. And rising light heavyweight contender Carlos Ulberg takes on Da Woon Jung in the preliminary main event.
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As with every UFC pay-per-view event, there will be plenty of action at sportsbooks around the country. As always, we are looking at each main card fight to identify the "best bet" for each bout. After a 3-2 result at UFC 292, our record for the year now stands at 24-23.
Let's take a look at what we've identified as our choices for the best bets on the UFC 293 pay-per-view main card.
Tyson Pedro vs. Anton Turkalj
Tyson Pedro to win via KO/TKO/DQ (+275)
This is not a great light heavyweight pairing and neither guy is all that reliable. That said, the standout stat here is that Turkalj absorbs more strikes per minute than he lands in his UFC career. Pedro isn't an elite light heavyweight by any means but he can hurt and finish opponents on the feet. There's some temptation to just take the Pedro moneyline at -105, but let's take a big swing and assume that he'll be able to catch a big shot that hurts Turkalj, taking advantage of Turkalj's ability to be hit. The possibility exists that Turkalj just tries to take Pedro down and grind out a win on the ground. Even with Pedro being somewhat limited, he falls closer to the level of opposition that Turkalj has struggled against than the men he has defeated.
Justin Tafa vs. Austen Lane
Justin Tafa to win via KO/TKO/DQ (-160)
This fight is running back a fight that ended due to eye poke in just 29 seconds. Tafa also has that nasty "more strikes absorbed than landed per minute" tag but that is entirely a product of a fight with Jared Vanderaa in which Vanderaa landed 121 strikes to Tafa's 74. Tafa is the better fighter heading into this fight and Lane has been stopped by strikes three times on the regional scene. Fighting in front of his Australian countrymen, Tafa should have a little extra motivation to land some good shots and finish the fight. The only question is if Tafa can close the distance against Lane, who is taller and longer.
Manel Kape vs. Felipe dos Santos
Manel Kape to win via KO/TKO/DQ (-135)
Are we noticing a trend in these picks? This is all a product of a bizarre card featuring substandard pay-per-view fights. What's the more interesting pick? Kape's moneyline is -400. The fight to not go the distance is -230. Kape has heavy hands and dos Santos tends to walk forward swinging, which plays into Kape being able to catch him clean. This is a big step up as dos Santos makes his UFC debut as a replacement opponent. He's never been stopped -- or even lost -- but the circumstances and style matchup don't favor him so let's take the best available line on Kape winning.
Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Volkov
Alexander Volkov to win via KO/TKO/DQ (-105)
It's official. This is the first themed edition of Best Bets. Knockouts for everyone. Again, there aren't a ton of appealing options available for this fight. Tuivasa has backslid with two nasty knockout losses in a row. Volkov has only been stopped once in his fairly lengthy run with the UFC. Tuivasa does have enough power to stop any fight, but Volkov's length and technique present a lot of complicated issues for Tuivasa to solve. Volkov also may be able to gas Tuivasa out before finding the finish.
Israel Adesanya vs. Sean Strickland
Israel Adesanya to win via KO/TKO/DQ (+100)
Adesanya does occasionally go into cruise control in title defenses against overmatched opponents. There's certainly a possibility of that happening against Strickland, but Strickland isn't going to sit back and wait for rounds to tick away. That kind of face-first style is what leads to Strickland getting flattened by guys like Alex Pereira. There's almost certainly a part of Adesanya that wants to prove he can do to Strickland what his biggest rival was able to do. By the way, parlaying these five knockout picks gets you to +4042 if you're feeling frisky.
Who wins UFC 293: Adesanya vs. Strickland, and how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 293, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $6,200 in 2022, and find out.