- What: UFC 296
- Who: Vicente Luque vs. Ian Garry
- Date: Saturday, December 16, 2023
- Location: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV
- Time: Early Prelims (6:00 p.m. ET) Prelims (8:00 p.m. ET) PPV Card (10:00 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Early Prelims (ESPN+), Prelims (ESPN2), Main Card (ESPN+ Pay-Per-View)
The final UFC pay-per-view event of 2023 takes place on Saturday, December 16, 2023, from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. In the main event of the ESPN+ streaming fight card, UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards puts his title on the line against former interim UFC welterweight titleholder Colby Covington. Before that fight takes place, Vicente Luque faces Ian Garry in an important welterweight matchup that opens the UFC 296 PPV card. Here is some background on Luque and Garry before they face off in Las Vegas.
Vicente Luque (22-9-1) was once ranked No. 4 in the official UFC welterweight rankings. However, 2022 losses to Belal Muhammad and Geoff Neal dropped the 32-year-old Brazilian in those rankings. He is coming off an August decision win over former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and is currently No. 9 in the official UFC 170-pound rankings.
Ian Garry (13-0) faces the biggest test of his young MMA career at UFC 296. The 26-year-old Irish combatant is currently No. 10 in the official UFC welterweight rankings. He is 6-0 in the UFC and coming off a decision win over veteran UFC competitor Neil Magny.
Before we look at the best bets for the Vicente Luque vs. Ian Garry matchup at UFC 296, check out the best UFC betting sites and our betting picks for the UFC 296 main event fight between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington.
UFC 296: Vicente Luque vs. Ian Garry betting picks
UFC 296: Vicente Luque vs. Ian Garry betting breakdown
Ian Garry is a fighter the UFC hopes will be their next big Irish star. The young and confident fighter has looked better in each of his UFC outings, but questions remain on just how high his upside is in the UFC’s 170-pound division. The Neil Magny fight answered some of those questions but also left others unanswered. His UFC 296 matchup against Vicente Luque, who has gone 15-4 in the UFC since late 2015, with his losses coming to Leon Edwards, Stephen Thompson, Belal Muhammad, and Geoff Neal, should answer any lingering questions about Garry.
Luque is a dangerous opponent for any UFC welterweight. He is second all-time in the division with 13 finishes, second all-time in knockouts with eight, third all-time in post-fight bonuses with eight, fourth all-time in wins with 15, and fourth all-time in submissions with five. In short, don’t let his losses give you the idea that he is an easy fight for Garry. Luque is a heavy-handed striker with good technical skills who puts a high output on his opponents. However, something he showed in his loss to Geoff Neal is that he can be hit and his defense can sometimes be suspect.
Garry feels it’s just a matter of time before he becomes a UFC champion. So far he has backed up his talk with three knockouts and three decisions in his six UFC fights. However, his confidence in his ability has led him to be a bit lax in his striking defense. Luque could be the fighter who tests the stability of Garry’s chin. He could also be the foe to see just how good Garry, whose only submission win came in his third pro fight, is on the mat. Garry fights well from distance and he uses his length to his advantage. He is four inches taller than Luque, but Luque has a one-inch reach advantage.
UFC 296: Vicente Luque vs. Ian Garry statistical breakdown
The expectation is that this will mostly be a striking matchup. If that’s the case, fans have much to look forward to ahead of the Luque vs. Garry bout, as both men are incredibly active and have had issues with their striking defense. Luque lands 5.17 significant strikes per minute, which trails Garry’s landing rate of 6.67 strikes per 60 seconds. Garry is also more accurate, landing at a clip of 56 percent, as opposed to Luque’s 52 percent landing rate. Luque gets hit a lot more than Garry. The Brazilian absorbs an average of 5.15 significant strikes per minute, while the Irish fighter gets tagged 3.58 times during the same amount of time.
As for grappling, Luque lands 1.04 takedowns per 15 minutes of action, which is a lot more than Garry’s rate of .67 per 15 minutes. As for takedown defense, Garry has stopped 69 percent of the attempts against him, while Luque has thwarted 62 percent of his opponent’s takedown attempts.
Best Bets: UFC 296- Vicente Luque vs. Ian Garry
For those who think Ian Garry is more hype than substance, the best bet in this fight is to pick the betting underdog, Vicente Luque, to win via knockout. That’s a risky proposition, but it also comes with substantial betting value. That’s not my betting pick. My pick is that Ian Garry will use his length to keep Luque at distance and that he will find his way through the porous guard of his opponent to land quality strikes. I don’t think Garry will be able to knockout a tough veteran like Luque, but I believe he will pick up a decision win over Luque at UFC 296.
Best UFC 296 Betting Pick: Ian Garry to beat Vicente Luque via decision.
See below a list of reliable sportsbooks and choose the best one for you.