The heavyweight and flyweight titles are on the line at UFC 270 on Saturday, Jan. 22. Outside of those fights, plenty of matches on the undercard are worth paying attention to.
Sporting News, with the help of Sports Interaction, is looking at a contest that is too close to call — a welterweight showdown between UFC veteran Trevin Giles and newcomer Michael Morales.
Giles (14-3) made his MMA debut in 2014. After primarily fighting in LFA, he found his way to the UFC in 2017. He is 5-3 with the promotion. Giles lost his last bout in July against Dricus du Plessis. That ended a three-fight win streak. “The Problem” is looking to get his momentum back.
Morales (12-0) made his pro debut in 2017. He made his mark in “Dana White’s Contender Series” in September, beating Nikolay Veretennikov via unanimous decision. He is one of eight athletes who will be making their UFC debuts Saturday following a run in the DWCS.
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How the fight is leaning?
This is the closest matchup when it comes to the betting lines. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Giles is the +100 underdog while Morales is the -118 favorite. Sports Interaction has Giles at -105 and Morales at -125. It is more than likely, per Sports Interaction, that the fight will go the distance at -155 compared to +115.
The best bets would be Giles winning via some form of knockout, per Sports Interaction. At +450, you can bet $18 to get back $99 (an $81 profit). Giles winning via decision is +175, meaning that a bet of $36 would result in a $63 profit and a $99 payout. Morales via decision is at +150. A $40 wager would result in a $60 profit and a $100 return.
A decision win is favored, as seen by -190 odds for the fight going over 2.5 rounds compared to +150 for under 2.5 rounds.
Who has the edge?
In eight fights with the UFC, Giles has averaged 3.14 significant strikes landed per minute. He also has a 54 percent strike accuracy rate and a 60 percent significant strike defense mark. During his three-fight win streak, Giles has taken down opponents twice. Overall, he has an 80 percent takedown accuracy rate.
Morales scored four takedowns in his last fight, with a 50 percent accuracy rate. In his last four fights before competing on DWCS, he has won via some form of knockout.
Morales has the reach (79 inches) advantage against Giles (74 inches), but Giles is as tough as they come. His takedown defense of 75 percent means it will be tough to stop him. Morales, however, has the advantage when it comes to unpredictability. There is a reason White signed him, and his power may well be a factor in him winning.
This matchup could go either way, per Sports Interaction, but the upstart has a chance to surprise and make an immediate impact.
Sporting News prediction: Michael Morales via TKO (+395)
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