Vicente Luque is a fighter on the rise, winning 10 fights since July 2015. Over that span, he only lost to Leon Edwards and Stephen Thompson. He’s a powerful striker, who has dangerous submissions, specifically his D’Arce choke. Luque has struggled to break through to the next level, but his well-rounded skill set has allowed him to dominate less than elite competition in tremendous fashion.
Niko Price is always dangerous because of his ability to finish a fight from anywhere. Over his last five fights, he has a win via knockout from his back and a knockout via upkick. He’s an unorthodox fighter, who relies on physical talent over technique. It has resulted in a few spectacular wins, and will likely keep him in the UFC for quite some time. With that being said, he doesn’t have the pure talent to keep up with the best fighters in his division.
Luque fought Price in 2017, and it’s surprising that he agreed to run this fight back. He was clearly more talented in that fight, and Luque has more of an upward trajectory than Price. The odds show that, as the former is a -290 favorite compared to closing as a -145 favorite in their last fight. Luque also boasts -130 odds to finishing inside the distance. He scored 111 DK points in their last fight, and he could see similar results this weekend.
I allowed the mid-price range for this card to reach $8.8K, making Tony Ferguson the top option. He’s one of the more well-rounded fighters in the world, possessing elite striking with an outstanding amateur wrestling background, and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Eddie Bravo. Ferguson is on a 12 fight win streak, finishing 9 of those fights. His chin has been tested at times, which is a major concern in this fight.
Justin Gaethje has tremendous power for this division. He’s also willing to take a tremendous amount of punishment to land heavy shots. He was thrown into the deep end in the UFC, winning 4 of his 6 fights. He has also failed to go to the judge’s scorecards in any of those fights. Gaethje doesn’t have the BJJ background of Ferguson, but he possesses elite wrestling, and will use it to keep the fight standing.
Ferguson is the more talented fighter, entering this fight as a -180 favorite. He boasts -120 odds to win inside the distance, as well. Gaethje is a live dog, though, as Ferguson has struggled with his chin at times in the past. With that being said, the latter has the striking advantage, utilizing elbows to cut his opponents. Ferguson has scored 100+ DK points in 5 of his last 6 fights, and he’s an elite option on this slate.
Yorgan de Castro
Yorgan de Castro is far from a dominant fighter, but he comes with tremendous power. He started slow in his UFC debut against Justin Tafa before knocking him out with one counter punch. de Castro also took quite a few shots from the powerful Tafa, suggesting he can take the power of Greg Hardy in this fight. de Castro is a big heavyweight, who comes with real one punch knockout power.
Hardy is still a raw fighter, relying heavily on his athleticism to win fights. He saw a major step up in competition against Alexander Volkov in his last fight, losing a unanimous decision. Prior to that, he was given four easy opponents with none truly displaying elite heavyweight power. Hardy will have his chin tested in his fight, making it an intriguing matchup.
Hardy is currently a -200 favorite, but those odds are wide. He hasn’t been tested by power like de Castro, who has proven he can counter strike, as well. Hardy could show significant improvement from his last fight, as he’s early in his career and taking a major step down in competition. With that being said, de Castro is a cheap source of a potential knockout. He has respectable +245 odds to win inside the distance, making him one of the highest upside underdogs on the card.