Minty Bets is joined by Kevin Iole to preview the upcoming UFC 281 card on Saturday, November 12th.
MINTY BETS: We've got UFC 281 taking place this Saturday in New York City at the Madison Square Garden. I'm Minty Bets here with Kevin Iole. And we're here to give you our best bets for three fights. Kevin, let's get started. The main event will be a middleweight title bout between Israel Adesanya, minus 175, versus Alex Pereira, plus 145. I kind of like Izzy here, Kevin. I know Alex is 2 and 0 against Israel Adesanya. But I think Adesanya is a craftier fighter, and he's the better tested fighter. What do you think?
KEVIN IOLE: Well, I think he's the better MMA fighter. That's what the difference is. And I actually thought-- I watched both of their fights in Glory Kickboxing. Adesanya lost to decision in the first fight they fought in 2016. And I actually thought he won every round of that fight. And I was as shocked as he was when the decision went to Pereira.
In the second fight, Adesanya not only won the first round, he got a standing eight count, which is in kickboxing but not in MMA, on Pereira. So I thought he looked really good in that one. Although, in the second round there, he got caught by a left hook and got knocked out.
That's why a lot of people kind of like, I think, Pereira in this one. Pereira's an unbelievably power puncher. But Adesanya is a great boxer. And this is the kind of guy he does well against. And he's a counter striker. He's going to be able to move and create some openings. I expect him to use that big size in the cage.
And I also mentioned this in my column, Minty. I think that the small gloves favor Adesanya. Pereira proved he can knock Adesanya out with the big gloves. We know he can do it with the small gloves. But Adesanya's going to have more punching power now. He hit Pereira with so many clean shots in those first two fights. With the small gloves, I think it makes a difference. I like Izzy Adesanya. I'm going to go by decision here, but I like Adesanya to win this by a wide margin.
MINTY BETS: Moving on to the women's strawweight title bout, we've got Zhang Weili, minus 375, versus Carla Esparza, plus 280. I'm kind of surprised to see Carla this big of an underdog.
KEVIN IOLE: Right.
MINTY BETS: But I do lean Zhang here. What do you think?
KEVIN IOLE: I like Weili to win the fight, too. I think it's-- you know, if you look at an opponent for Carla-- or, for Weili, I think Carla would be the best one. She has that wrestling base. And, you know, she's going to be able to neutralize a lot of the things that she wants to do.
But I think that Weili is the better overall fighter. And I think she's a better athlete than Carla. And I think she has that speed and quickness advantage in there. Plus, she's-- you know, you might have seen the video the other day of Weili actually lifting 290-pound Francis Ngannou off the ground. That was kind of a scary thing for a woman who fights at 115. She is amazing. And so I like her to win. I think-- but I also may have two plays here, Minty. I like her to win. I like the fight to go the five-round distance.
MINTY BETS: OK. Now on to my personal favorite fight on the card, the lightweight bout between Dustin Poirier, minus 190, versus Michael Chandler, plus 155. I mean, Michael Chandler-- he's got a lot of aggression. This is going to be a really explosive fight. And Chandler's known for his early knockouts. But I think Dustin Poirier has the experience here, the size advantage, the speed. I don't really want to bet against him. How about you?
KEVIN IOLE: Well, you know, I think you look at Poirier, and you go-- and I brought this up when I did an interview with him. He has fought, in his last 10 fights, nine UFC champions. He is fighting the best of the best of the best. And so when he loses a couple fights here and there, that's not because he's not a great fighter. It's because he's fighting these elite champions.
Poirier-- excuse me. Chandler's doing the same thing, but certainly not at that same level. I agree with you. I like Dustin Poirier in this one. I like Poirier by decision. I think it's going to be a fantastic fight. It's going to be one of those ones where you're sitting on the edge of the seat the whole time. This, to me, could easily be fight of the night.
MINTY BETS: All right. Thank you so much, Kevin.
KEVIN IOLE: Thanks, Minty. Appreciate it.
MINTY BETS: To recap Kevin's picks, he's got Adesanya to win in the main event, Zhang Weili to win by decision in the women's strawweight, and for the lightweight, Dustin Poirier. Bet $10 and win $200 when you wager on any event. Sign up at BetMGM.com/YahooVIP. New customers only. Must be 21 or older. Location restrictions and terms apply.