The UFC returns to its home at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV, for the first time since the pandemic began, welcoming in a sold-out crowd that will be on its feet all night. As typical for a Conor McGregor headlined fight, the card is stacked from top to bottom with 13 fights in total, including five on the main card.
Before McGregor and Poirier end the night in the main event, a welterweight showdown in the co-main will serve as the appetizer.
Let’s take a closer look at the Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen Thompson matchup and see where we can find the edge.
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Betting Profile: Gilbert Burns (19-4-0)
Last Five Fights
Gilbert Burns comes into this fight off of his second loss in the UFC, a February title fight against Kamaru Usman (3rd round TKO). Before the loss, Burns had run through much of the welterweight division, picking up four straight wins since his return to the weight class in summer 2019.
Largely known for his striking power, Burns also ranks near the top of the weight class in submission percentage, with 42% of his fights ending via that method. A 2nd-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Burns’ elite grappling is a skill I see him benefiting from using in this one and think he should do so accordingly.
Betting Profile: Stephen Thompson (16-4-1)
Last Five Fights
“Wonderboy” Thompson comes into Saturday night on a two-fight win streak following three losses in four fights that many saw as the beginning of the end for the 38-year-old. A Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Thompson is more known for his karate pedigree and striking ability. His lack of power is evident in most of his wins within the UFC coming by way of a decision, including his last four dating back to 2016.
At 3.93 Strikes Landed per Min. (SlpM), Thompson holds the advantage over Burns (3.15) and will need to likely rely on his 78% takedown defense against an opponent in Burns, who he will be in trouble against should it go to the ground.
I think the younger Burns does more things at an elite level than Thompson, and despite being the slightly smaller (specifically via reach) fighter, he has an edge in this one. Even in striking, which Thompson holds an edge both stylistically and statistically, Burns comes in with a 46% significant strike rate vs. Thompson’s 44%.
In the end, I like for Burns to come out of this one victorious and set himself up for another run at a title shot against Kamaru Usman.
Pick: Gilbert Burns +135
Top Prop Bet
While I do think Thompson will do everything in his power not to let this one go to the ground, if it should, he is in for a world of trouble. I also think both fighters are too experienced to get caught early, and in a fight that should very well go the three full rounds with the caliber of cardio each possesses, I think Burns does enough to get the win.
Pick: Gilbert Burns by Submission or on Points +195
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TJ Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from TJ, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.
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