Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed below are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sherdog.com, its affiliates and sponsors or its parent company, Evolve Media.
The Octagon returns to London Saturday at O2 Arena for UFC Fight Night 147. The card features a number of the top European fighters in mixed martial arts, including Britain’s most popular MMA fighter, Darren Till. There are 13 bouts scheduled to go down and the sportsbooks are offering odds on all of them. My top picks for the event are listed below in the UFC Fight Night 147 edition of Prime Picks.
Nathaniel Wood (-325)One of England’s top fighters and one of the brightest youngsters in the talent-rich Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight division is Wood. I like him to beat Jose Quinonez in what looks like a mismatch. Just 25 years-old, “The Prospect” is currently riding a seven-fight win streak and has looked amazing in both of his UFC appearances, finishing Andre Ewell and Johnny Eduardo. Thirteen of his 15 career wins have come by stoppage, and he hasn’t lost a contest in three years. Wood is extremely well-rounded and dangerous on both the mat and on the feet, making him a title contender for years to come at 135. His opponent is a nice 4-1 in the UFC, but his wins have come over the worst fighters in the division and nothing about his game stands out to me. The UFC is bringing in "El Teco" to England to lose this fight and to get finished in front of a home crowd. This is a very favorable matchup for Wood and the -325 odds on him are more than fair.
Joseph Duffy (-190)Another favorite I like is Duffy to get by Marc Diakese in a lightweight bout. “Irish Joe” is 4-2 overall in the UFC and his two losses came against ranked opponents in Dustin Poirier and James Vick. Those aren’t bad losses, and while Duffy’s wins in the Octagon haven’t come over anyone special, he does have a notable conquest of Conor McGregor in Cage Warriors Fighting Championship. The fact that Duffy hasn’t fought since November 2017 is a worry, but on paper, he has a lot of advantages over Diakese, especially if this fight goes to the ground. After starting his UFC career with three straight wins over fighters currently not on the roster, “Bonecrusher” has lost his last three and he hasn’t won a bout in nearly two years. Duffy should be the better striker and grappler in this match, not to mention the more experienced fighter. The long layoff isn’t ideal, but there are too many advantages the Irishman has in this fight to ignore. The -190 odds on him make sense.
Arnold Allen (-140)A small favorite at the books, I really like Allen to beat Jordan Rinaldi. I’ve never been high on “All Day” and this is a good spot to fade him against a solid young British fighter. Just 25 years of age, Allen is riding a six-fight win streak at the moment and is a perfect 4-0 in the UFC. The problem with “Almighty” is that he only averages one fight a year, but when he does compete inside the cage he looks amazing. In his last fight against Mads Brunell, he came back late after a rough start to pick up a highlight-reel submission. Allen is good on the ground and on the feet, and if he can start getting back into a regular schedule, he could become someone to really watch out for at 145. His opponent is 2-2 overall in the UFC and has won seven of his last nine, but generally, he doesn’t look like someone with a ton of promise. We’ve seen him get finished in the Octagon and his wins have come over fighters no longer on the roster. The fact he won his featherweight division debut is a good sign, but I still don’t think Rinaldi is anything special, and everything is telling me to fade him here. At -140 odds I like Allen to win this fight and would be interested in seeing what the odds on him winning inside the distance are as I believe he finishes this one.
Danny Henry (+125)For an underdog pick, I like Henry to defeat Dan Ige. There are a few reasons why I like "The Hatchet" here. First off, he’ll have the home crowd behind him as Henry is a Scottish-born Brit. In a close fight, that hometown-advantage could be the deciding edge. He’s also hot at the moment as he’s riding a five-fight win streak and has won both of his UFC appearances, including a surprising submission win over Hameem Dawodu in his last bout and a decision win over Daniel Teymur in his UFC debut. The Scottish fighter has won 12 fights in his career and finished 10 of his opponents and he’s only lost twice, both times by decision. He’s a solid fighter but is forgotten about in the featherweight division because he hasn’t competed in nearly a year. His opponent, Ige, has looked pretty good in the UFC with a 3-1 record overall, and he has more hype behind him than Henry does. But Ige did show some holes in his game in his loss to Julio Arce and barely snuck by Jordan Griffin in his last outing. I feel like Henry should actually be favored to win this fight, and at +125 odds there’s a lot of value in the underdog.
Adam Martin is a mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2011. He is currently the lead odds analyst for Sherdog.com as well as the lead staff writer for MMAOddsbreaker.com. Adam is also the co-host of “The Parting Shot Podcast” on iTunes. His favorite fight of all time is Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua and he wishes Pride never died. Adam is based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and he is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Centennial College. Get in touch with him on Twitter @MMAdamMartin.