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The UFC will make its long-awaited return to Las Vegas this weekend after having the last three events in Jacksonville, Florida due to the coronavirus pandemic. The much-hyped UFC Apex will play host to its first live event, with the entire evening playing out on ESPN and it’s family of networks.
Due to the fact, the UFC Apex isn’t an arena, the fighters will be duking it out in a smaller octagon (5′ smaller), which should give an inherent advantage to those fighters looking to take it to the ground. While the prelim card has some sneaky good matchups, the main event of the evening should be one of the best headlining events of the summer.
Let’s take a closer look at Saturday’s main event between Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns to see where we can find the edge.
These odds came from FanDuel Sportsbook on May 29, 2020.
Tyron Woodley (19-4-1) vs. Gilbert Burns (18-3-0)
It’s been over a year since the #1 contender in the welterweight division was inside the octagon, and it was a night he’ll be looking to never repeat. After getting dominated by then contender Kamru Usman for five straight rounds, Woodley has fought injury and outside the sport challenges over the past 14 months.
Known early in his career for his power, four of Woodley’s now last five fights have gone to the judge’s scorecard, something he’ll surely be looking to change as he attempts to set up a rematch with Usman at some point in 2020.
Woodley’s opponent on Saturday, Gilbert Burns, comes into this fight on a five-fight win streak, the longest of his professional career. Currently ranked 6th in the welterweight division, a win in this one would potentially catapult him to a title shot of his own, especially if it’s a decisive one. Since beginning his five-fight wins streak in December of 2018, Burns has won by decision in three of those fights.
For Burns, his best chance in this one is trying to get Woodley to the ground early and often. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion, Burns has the skillset to get Woodley to the mat and if he can do so, is slight size advantage could cause problems for Woodley when trying to stand back up.
For me, Burns should come into this one cautiously as Woodley is looking to put the world back on notice that the fight with Usman was more of an anomaly than anything else. In what I expect to be a back and forth affair, I like Woodley to grind out a win by decision when it’s all said and done.