1 best and worst bet at UFC Denver

A cheat sheet for betting at UFC Denver.
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The UFC begins their 2024 second-half schedule as the MMA leader is on the road in Denver, Colorado with Rose Namajunas taking on Tracy Cortez in the main event.

The last time fight fans saw UFC action take place was at UFC 303 where Alex Pereira successfully defended his light heavyweight championship against Jiri Prochazka in a knockout of the year kind of performance. Now with only half the year remaining, the UFC is hoping their fight night event in Denver can kick start another exciting and historic final six months of 2024.

Denver is hosting their eighth UFC event and is famously home to the first two UFC events in history in UFC 1 from November 1993 and UFC 2 from March 1994. The event also marks the first time the UFC has been to Denver since November 2018 where Yair Rodriguez famously defeated Chan-sung Jung via last second knockout.

UFC Denver also includes several other UFC veterans including Drew Dober and Santiago Ponzinibbio who each have a number of performance and fight of the night bonuses to their record.

With the stage set for what has all the potential to be an incredible night of fights let's take a look at the best and worst bet at UFC Denver.

Best: Santiago Ponzinibbio -215

At one point in time, Ponzinibbio was one of the fastest rising welterweight contenders in the UFC. In November 2018, he was 27-3, on a seven fight winning streak, and was coming off a highlight reel knockout of (at the time) No. 8 ranked Neil Magny in his home country of Argentina.

With all the momentum in the world, it looked as if Ponzinibbio was just a fight or two away from a possible title shot. However, injuries would force an over two year absence from the Octagon and while he has shown flashes of his former self, he is still looking to find his old form.

Though this may sound discouraging for fight fans looking to wager on Ponzinibbio at UFC Denver, there is still plenty of reason to believe he is more than capable of emerging victorious against his opponent.

Ponzinibbio will be taking on Muslim Salikhov, who is now 40 years old and has lost three of his last four contests including each of his last two. Based on both age and recent results, UFC Denver could be one of, if not, the last time he steps inside the Octagon.

Salikhov's last victory was against André Fialho in November 2022 but has since lost back-to-back fights against Nicolas Dalby and Randy Brown. His history with his abundance of kickboxing competitions makes the matchup against Ponzinibbio a likely all stand-up battle that could go either way.

Taking into consideration the idea that the matchup between Ponzinibbio and Salikhov will play out standing up (for the most part), Ponzinibbio has looked like the more well-prepared fighter as of late. Though he is just 2-4 in his last six fights, his strength of schedule has been much more difficult than that of Salikhov.

His losses have all been to top-15 talent including Li Jingliang, Geoff Neal, Michel Pereira, and Kevin Holland. While he may have been unsuccessful in several of these contests, the losses to Neal and Pereira were both via split decision and could have easily gone Ponzinibbio's way.

Overall, with Ponzinibbio having advantages in age, reach, recent fight history, and being the overall more well-rounded fighter, he is the best bet at UFC Denver.

Worst: Cody Brundage +122

In Cody Brundage's most recent appearance inside the Octagon, he was able to put together an admirable performance against rising star Bo Nickal though he was ultimately unsuccessful in the official record books. At UFC 300, Brundage was able to have some success against Nickal due to his background in collegiate wrestling which proved to be effective for most of the fight.

Brundage will be taking on Abdul Razak Alhassan who is making his first appearance since October 2023. Earlier in his UFC career, Alhassan was 10-1, on a three fight winning streak and seemed to have a future spot in the UFC rankings waiting for him.

Since then, Alhassan has gone just 2-5 while missing weight on multiple occasions and having to move up to middleweight. This may sound discouraging if looking to wager on Alhassan but Brundage also has a few questions regarding his ability to win at UFC Denver.

Over his last six fights, Brundage is 2-4, with one of those wins coming by disqualification in a fight he was being out struck 44 to three before the DQ stoppage. Though both fighters are more on the relatively unknown side to casual MMA fans, they have both shared the Octagon with a number of recognizable names.

Brundage has a win Tresean Gore with other losses against William Knight, Michal Oleksiejczuk, Rodolfo Vieira, and the aforementioned Nickal. On the other side, Alhassan has shared the Octagon with names like Omari Akhmedov, Niko Price, Khaos Williams, Joaquin Buckley, and Joe Pyfer.

With both fighters having very reputable track records inside the UFC, the matchup should be a closely contested bout that could go either way. One deciding factor in the outcome however, could be the knockout power in which Alhassan has.

Of Alhassan's 12 career victories, all 12 have come via knockout. What's even more impressive is that of these knockouts, 11 have been in the first round, with one being a second round finish. This type of finishing ability is extremely remarkable and may determine the final result of the fight.

With a matchup that appears to be too close to call, Brundage is the worst bet to make at UFC Denver.

UFC Denver should be a fantastic return to action for the world MMA leader. With Namajunas and Cortez facing off in an important flyweight matchup, along with several other intriguing undercard fights, expect nothing short of another great night of fights under the UFC banner.

All odds are according to FanDuel. Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.