UFC Fight Night Hermansson vs. Strickland Preview, Odds, Best Bets

Oct 27, 2018; Moncton, Canada; Sean Strickland reacts to winning a fight
Oct 27, 2018; Moncton, Canada; Sean Strickland reacts to winning a fight / Trevor MacMillan-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC is back on ESPN with a fight night card to kick off their February calendar. The event is headlined by a Middleweight clash between up and coming contender Sean Strickland and Jack Hermansson.

While champion Israel Adesanya is fighting next weekend, Strickland and Hermansson will look to announce themselves as title contenders with an impressive showing on Saturday night.

Here are three bets I'm eyeing on the card, including a main event prop bet and two underdogs.

Odds courtesy of WynnBET Sportsbook

Main Event: Sean Strickland (-220) vs. Jack Hermansson (+175)

This matchup sets up well for the surging Strickland, who has won his last five fights and hasn't lost since 2018. He is the far superior striker to Hermansson, who sports a grappling based attack.

Strickland is averaging more than half a strike more per 15 minutes than his opponent and also is an adept grappler that can stuff takedown attempts from Hermansson. Strickland's defense is an underrated part of his game both in striking and when the two get close, he has a 66% striking defense rate and 82% TD defense.

Ultimately, I see Strickland working Hermansson down and winning a stand up bout with him. I will be keying in on Strickland as a parlay piece but also taking him to win by decision, which is +188 at WynnBET as of this writing. I would play this down to +150.

PICK: Strickland ML as a parlay piece, Strickland by Decision

Underdog Bet: John Castaneda (+160) vs. Miles Johns (-190)

This is a peculiar line, maybe I'm missing something. Castaneda is +5 in the reach department and is the more experienced fighter. Castaneda also showed some improved striking in his first round knockout win over Eddie Wineland last February.

Johns is 12-1 in his UFC career but is going to be giving up a ton of size to 'Sexi Mexi' who is has 12 more pro fights than him. John's had all of his three fights finish by KO with the UFC (2 wins, 1 loss) but I believe Castaneda has the chin to hold up and take this fight and weather some early offense from Johns. I actually believe this fight should be closer to a pick, so I'll play Castaneda at this number, and down to +125.

PICK: Castaneda +160

Underdog Bet: Bryan Battle (+130) vs. Tresean Gore (-150)

I can see why Gore has moved to the favorite, but I'll buy Battle in a fight that has a clear path to victory for him.

Both fighters are raw, Battle 6-1 professionally and 2-0 on The Ultimate Fighter while Gore is 3-0 while 2-0 on TUF. Gore is a dangerous striker that has flashed some leg kicks in his short career and very capable of finishing this one while standing, but I'll take a stab at 'Pooh Bear' getting this one to the ground and likely finishing it by submission.

Battle weathered some early power from his opponent in his last fight against Gilbert Urbina (who stepped in for the injured Gore).

If Battle is able to utilize his 3.5 inch reach advantage and close the distance, he will shut down all of Gore's win equity. It's worth noting that both fighters are inexperienced and may not have the gas tank to go three rounds. If both fighters are tired, I'll take the more grappling proficient fighter to grind the fight out and win by decision.

PICK: Battle +130, play to +115

You can find all of Reed's bets HERE!