- What: UFC 297
- Who: Arnold Allen vs. Movsar Evloev
- Date: Saturday, January 20, 2024
- Location: Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Time: Early Prelims (6:30 p.m. ET) Prelims (8:00 p.m. ET) PPV Card (10:00 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Early Prelims (ESPN+), Prelims (ESPNews), Main Card (ESPN+ Pay-Per-View)
The first UFC pay-per-view event of 2024, UFC 297, takes place at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on January 20, 2024. The ESPN+ streaming pay-per-view card sees UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland defending his title for the first time since he took the belt from Israel Adesanya at UFC 293. Strickland faces No. 2 ranked UFC 185-pounder Dricus du Plessis. The opening fight on the PPV portion of the card sees Arnold Allen vs. Movsar Evloev in a featherweight scrap. Here is some information on Allen and Evloev before we discuss the betting breakdown for the UFC 297 PPV card.
Arnold Allen (19-2) is the No. 3 fighter in the official UFC featherweight rankings. He saw his 12-fight winning streak end in April when former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway defeated him via decision.
Movsar Evloev (17-0) is the No 9 ranked UFC 145-pound fighter. The former M-1 Global bantamweight champ is a perfect 7-0 in the UFC. He is coming off a May decision win over Diego Lopes.
UFC 297 PPV: Arnold Allen vs. Movsar Evloev betting picks
Arnold Allen betting breakdown
Arnold Allen is a top-notch striker with a lot of power, which is evident by his seven career knockout wins, which include his March 2022 first-round knockout of Dan Hooker, which earned Allen a “Performance of the Night” bonus. He displays good footwork and has fast hands to go with his power. As for his grappling, Allen can mix in takedowns when he needs to, but he is primarily a striker despite his brown belt ranking in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
One thing to watch in this fight is Allen’s takedown defense. The 29-year-old has gotten much better in stopping takedowns as he’s progressed in his career, and he has stopped 15 of 15 takedown attempts since he last surrendered a takedown in 2018 when Mads Burnell went six-for-12 in takedown attempts against Allen. Why is that something to watch? Because his opponent at UFC 297, Movsar Evloev, is a takedown machine, landing an average of 4.71 takedowns per 15 minutes in his UFC career and attempting many more than that.
Movsar Evloev betting breakdown
Movsar Evloev has striking skills but has not earned a knockout since 2018. Evloev’s striking is there to set up his takedowns and grappling. Evloev had more than six minutes of control time in each of his past three fights, plus he picked up 22 total takedowns in those outings.
Evloev’s striking ability and willingness to wrestle in the open make him a dangerous foe. Many MMA fighters look to get their opponent to the cage before working takedowns. Evloev does not do that. This means he’s always a threat to go for a takedown. He has phenomenal chain wrestling, and although he struggles to keep fighters on the mat, he never gives up on his wrestling attacks.
This is the toughest fight of Evloev’s career and will indicate how high his ceiling is under the UFC banner.
Best Bets: UFC 297 PPV card – Arnold Allen vs. Movsar Evloev
This is a tough fight to pick. Suppose Allen’s takedown defense can withstand the pressure of Evloev’s chain wrestling. In that case, there’s a strong chance the betting underdog can pick up the win, but that’s a big ask considering he’s attempted an average of 12 takedowns in his past three outings, while Allen has only faced one takedown attempt in his past four bouts. For those who believe in Allen’s takedown defense, he presents good betting value to gain the upset.
My betting pick is to go with the betting favorite, Evloev, to succeed with his takedowns and keep Allen on the mat enough for him to rack up control time and score points with ground strikes. The betting pick is for Evloev to beat Allen by decision at UFC 297.
Best UFC 297 betting pick: Movsar Evloev to beat Arnold Allen by decision.
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