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UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Lee Betting Odds and Predictions

Edson Barboza looks to punch Paul Felder during their lightweight mixed martial arts bout

The UFC heads back to Atlantic City, New Jersey with an explosive card topped by an awesome lightweight main event between Edson Barboza and Kevin Lee. Looking at this card, I can’t help but be excited for the possible underdog value for bettors.

You may be wondering why I expect Saturday to go to the dogs. Well, here is my quick-hit breakdown and predictions for the entire main card of UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Lee.

2018 Prediction Record To Date
Straight UpPicking FavoritesPicking Underdogs

Edson Barboza vs Kevin Lee

Edson Barboza (+125) is a physical specimen who is easily one of the most explosive in the UFC. The striking expert wants to work at a distance in the striking game, which allows him to use some of the deadliest kicks in the game today. The biggest issue has always been pressure. Barboza’s striking game requires space, and someone who can keep him trapped can get after him. That being said, his footwork and speed make that a difficult task for opponents.

Kevin Lee (-155) is a young, athletic fighter who wrestled at the collegiate level. Wrestling remains Lee’s most important skill set, as “The Motown Phenom” wants to pressure his opponent against the fence and land an explosive takedown. Lee does a good job at clamping down on an opponent once he gets them down but can rely more on athleticism than technique at times. His striking game is meat and potatoes – but Lee uses it well.

Lee is a pressure fighter, which has historically been Barboza’s issue. However, Lee has a bad tendency to shoot for a takedown without setting it up, which could lead to another highlight-reel KO from Barboza. I lean toward the latter.

Prediction: Edson Barboza (+125) via knockout

Frankie Edgar vs Cub Swanson

Frankie Edgar (-240) has a game that revolves around his ability to move. Consistently amazing footwork allows Edgar to get into range, throw a quick combination and get out before most opponents can ever react. This footwork also allows him to position himself to shoot in for the takedown. His combination of technique, speed and quickness makes him one of the best wrestlers at featherweight. Once in top control, Edgar passes with relative ease and has some seriously underappreciated ground and pound.

Cub Swanson (+190) has a smooth and fundamentally sound striking base, but he supplements that with some flashy techniques. Swanson loves to remain unpredictable in the striking game by constantly feinting and faking. When you boil it all down, “Killer Cub” is a volume-based boxer who will throw some good kicks to mix it up. Swanson’s wrestling isn’t especially great, but he has no problem whatsoever fighting from the ground due to his BJJ black belt.

There are questions about Edgar given he is coming off a quick turnaround and the first knockout loss of his career. However, the first time Edgar and Swanson fought, it was pretty one-sided in favor of Edgar. There is no reason to think that changes.

Prediction: Frankie Edgar (-240) via decision

Justin Willis vs Chase Sherman

Justin Willis (-340) may not look to be a high-level fighter on the surface but don’t let his girth fool you. “Big Pretty” is a talented boxer and wrestler who – unlike most heavyweights – possesses great defense. Willis does a great job at dictating the space of a striking battle thanks to his power and unusual speed for the division. He can throw naked takedowns, which is a concern, but his explosiveness is usually good enough to have it pay off.

Chase Sherman (+260) is basically a banger. “The Vanilla Gorilla” enters that Octagon looking for a slugfest, meaning he almost always takes hits to give hits. Sherman has big power in his hands with 10 of his 11 victories coming via knockout. This aggressive style has made him incredibly difficult to take down, allowing him to continue his brawling tendencies.

Both guys like to stand and strike. However, Willis is the more patient striker and possesses a more well-rounded skill set. The blueprint to beat Sherman is already out there and Willis has all the pieces to implement that strategy.

Prediction: Justin Willis (-340) via decision

David Branch vs Thiago Santos

David Branch (+150) is a grinder who looks to break down his opponent over time, with his suffocating physicality being his hallmark. He has a black belt in BJJ under Renzo Gracie, which he will use, but he won’t put himself in a bad position to chase submissions. Branch tends to be low output in the striking game – though he does possess some decent power – preferring to stick on the outside and work his jab and leg kick.

Thiago Santos (-185) is one of the pound-for-pound hardest hitters in the UFC. Typically, Santos wants to keep a fight at range so he can properly utilize his lethal kicking arsenal but he has plenty of power in his hands to do damage if an opponent presses the action. The Brazilian is not going to be confused for a wrestler but has better than average takedown defense to keep the fight standing.

Santos has the ability to end this fight at any moment and it’s not a good sign for Branch that the Brooklyn native likes to keep the striking battle at range. However, Branch is an experienced fighter who understands how to get inside on an opponent and work his stellar grappling.

Prediction: David Branch (+150) via submission

Aljamain Sterling vs Brett Johns

The luster has worn off Aljamain Sterling (-120) but he is still an interesting prospect in the division. It seems like Sterling is never going to be anything special as a striker, as he more or less throws light strikes from distance. But the former collegiate wrestler is an excellent takedown artist and has a real knack for getting an opponent’s back. And you can never underestimate a grappler trained under Matt Serra.

Brett Johns (-110) is first and foremost a grappler who looks to utilize his black belt in judo to take opponents down and grind them out. Once he attains top control, the Welsh fighter works a steady pace – both in terms of strikes and submission attempts. Johns has serviceable striking but there is no doubt it is a secondary skill set to his grappling – plus, he has yet to be truly tested in a striking battle.

Sterling’s takedown defense has never been great but it also seems like he will willingly go to the ground as well. Johns will relentlessly pursue the takedown and is very heavy once he gets top control. I expect the Welshman to grind out a win.

Prediction: Brett Johns (-110) via decision

Jim Miller vs Dan Hooker

Jim Miller (+265) is a dangerous, jack-of-all-trades type of fighter. He will stand and bang with an opponent, utilizing his vicious left kick that can cut down an opponent, while demonstrating good movement. Miller was also a collegiate wrestler and holds a black belt in BJJ, so when he wants to grapple, he is a handful.

Dan Hooker (-350) has found his home since returning to lightweight, winning his last two fights via stoppage. Hooker isn’t the fastest or most athletic fighter you will ever see but he does a good job using his lanky frame to chip away at his opponent from distance. His grappling game is rather rudimentary but he does have a knack for catching his opponent’s neck and locking in the submission.

I know Miller is coming off three straight losses but those came against some top-flight talent in the weight class. Maybe I’m remembering the good old days for Miller but I think he has the diverse skill set to win this one.

Prediction: Jim Miller (+265) via decision

UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Lee Betting Odds
  • Edson Barboza +125
  • Kevin Lee -155
Odds as of April 20 at Bovada
  • Frankie Edgar -240
  • Cub Swanson +190
  • Justin Willis -340
  • Chase Sherman +260
  • David Branch +150
  • Thiago Santos -185
  • Aljamain Sterling -120
  • Brett Johns -110
  • Jim Miller +265
  • Dan Hooker -350
  • Ryan LaFlare -160
  • Alex Garcia +130
  • Siyar Bahadurzada -120
  • Luan Chagas -120
  • Corey Anderson -140
  • Patrick Cummins +110
  • Leslie Smith +135
  • Aspen Ladd -165
  • Merab Dvalishvili +120
  • Ricky Simon -150
  • Tony Martin -250
  • Keita Nakamura +195