UFC pay-per-view action is finally back and there is no better chance to take advantage of the market than Saturday night.
The first UFC pay-per-view of 2024 features two title fights with an abundance of betting potential on the card. A lot of focus is rightfully on the main event but the co-main event is equally as intriguing with just the sixth different women's bantamweight champion being named.
With a closely priced line and one fighter already naming themself 'The Chosen One,' this title fight between Mayra Bueno Silva and Raquel Pennington will be more interesting than fans give it credit for. Every fight is more enjoyable with a stake on the line, so let's get into it!
Odds are according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
UFC Best Bet record: 3-0
View all of my picks here.
Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Raquel Pennington best bet
Mayra Bueno Silva ML -160
Despite going relatively unnoticed for the majority of her UFC career, everything has fallen into place perfectly for Silva to claim gold on Jan. 20. Silva tore into the bantamweight division's top 10 with an abundance of finishes and lines herself up for a title shot just as Amanda Nunes relinquishes her throne.
On paper, Pennington has a lot of advantages. Pennington will likely be the bigger and stronger fighter with a slight reach advantage as Silva is a former flyweight. Pennington has all the striking numbers on her side as well, being the superior boxer and boasting an impressive defensive skill set. However, the gap in the striking is not very large.
Should the fight reach the ground, the skill differential will be wide. Silva is the much superior grappler and has a unique ability to string together lightning-quick submission attempts. In her UFC career, Silva has averaged 1.6 submission attempts per 15 minutes and has finished every one of them. In 10 career victories, seven have come via submission, all in a variety of ways. Her finishing ability in any grappling scenario is elite.
Pennington will have to avoid clinch scenarios at all costs but throughout her 15-9 career has shown a gap in her defensive grappling. In fights with Nunes, Miesha Tate, Holly Holm, Bethe Correia and Jessica Andrade, the former title challenger showed a pattern of getting controlled each time. Silva is not the best wrestler Pennington will have faced, but she may be the best submission grappler.
The end-of-career run for Pennington has been impressive, but the matchup unfortunately favors Silva in almost every way. Pennington will have to stay perfect for 25 minutes to get a win and I just do not see that happening her tendency to dirty box in the clinch leads to grappling opportunities for an elite finisher.
Odds on DraftKings are currently -160 and playable to -170. The Silva by submission prop at +185 is worth a look as well.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change