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UFC Championship Odds: Who Will Have The Belts At The End Of 2021?

What a 2020 we all faced, and professional sports were not protected from the chaos that swept the world. However, while many want to put that year behind them, the UFC looks to build off what was actually a successful year. The promotion was the last to have an event before the sports world went dark due to the coronavirus pandemic but was also the first to come back and with exhilarating fights as well.

Of the UFC’s 11 men’s and women’s divisions, three crowned new champions in 2020: Deiveson Figueiredo (flyweight), Petr Yan (bantamweight) and Jan Blachowicz (light heavyweight).

However, 2021 is already shaping up to be a good one and we will see new champions by year’s end with the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov retiring and relinquishing his lightweight belt and Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight.

Online sportsbook BetOnline Sportsbook has released odds on who will be the UFC champions by the end of 2021, with three divisions having favorites who aren’t the current champion. Those individuals are Conor McGregor at +150 to be the lightweight champion, Israel Adesanya at +175 to be the light heavyweight champion and Francis Ngannou at +150 to be the heavyweight champion.

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Heavyweight Division Odds: Ngannou Favored, Jones Value Pick

FighterOdds
Francis Ngannou+150
Stipe Miocic+275
Jon Jones+350
Ciryl Gane+600
Curtis Blaydes+600
Jairzinho Rozenstruik+1200
Derrick Lewis+1600
Alistair Overeem+2000
Israel Adesanya+2000

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

The heavyweight division has been stuck in the mud in recent years with Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier completing their trilogy at the top that began in July 2018 and concluded in August 2020. Going over two years without a new challenger and having one fight a year for the title can really stall a division – to nobody’s fault either, with injuries and the pandemic playing major factors.

One of the scariest men on the UFC roster is perhaps Francis Ngannou, who fought Miocic for the championship in January 2018 but lost a unanimous decision and has been chomping at the bit to get another crack at the belt. Since that loss and an ensuing snoozer defeat to Derrick Lewis, “The Predator” has now rattled off four straight wins, all by knockout with the longest bout lasting 71 seconds – yikes.

Ngannou is now next in line to fight Miocic sometime in early 2021, with futures odds listing him as the -180 favorite in the rematch. If you believe Miocic can beat Ngannou again, his odds of +275 may be intriguing. However, I believe the new man in the division offers the best value.

That man is Jon “Bones” Jones, the former light heavyweight king and arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter. The 33-year-old has an impressive 26-1-1 record with that one defeat coming via a controversial illegal elbow in 2009, although his more recent fights have been much closer, with many believing he lost to Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes.

I’m more of the belief that he wasn’t motivated and was just going through the motions. Moving up to heavyweight and getting bigger and stronger with the chance of beating some big men should provide motivation for Bones. It is assumed his first bout at his new weight class will be against the Ngannou-Miocic winner and quite frankly I think he beats either one fairly easily.

Prediction: Jon Jones +350

Lightweight Division Odds: McGregor Favored, Makhachev Value Pick

FighterOdds
Conor McGregor+150
Khabib Nurmagomedov+250
Dustin Poirier+550
Justin Gaethje+550
Charles Oliveira+650
Tony Ferguson+900
Dan Hooker+1000
Carlos Diego Ferreira+1400
Paul Felder+1600
Islam Makhachev+2000

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

Perhaps the best and deepest division in the UFC is gearing up to be a wild one in 2021. It all begins on January 23 with UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor 2, which may or may not have the lightweight belt up for grabs. Originally, this was not going to be for a championship. However, current champ Khabib Nurmagomedov has since retired and a leaked tweet has come out that the title will in fact be awarded.

Conor McGregor is a sizable favorite in his rematch with Dustin Poirier, having knocked him out seven years ago in featherweight. I think “Notorious” will win again and obviously if the belt is on the line, then he would be the champ. If he remains active and engaged, there’s no doubt in my mind he can hold on to the strap until the end of the year.

All that said, and I do believe McGregor will be the champ, it’s hard not to take a stab at Islam Makhachev at +2000, though it’s perhaps a year too soon as a lot of things would need to go right for Nurmagomedov’s good friend to get a title shot in 2021. To start, Makhachev is only ranked No. 13 and hasn’t fought since September 2019. He was in line to fight Rafael dos Anjos in late 2020 but an injury sidelined him.

Makhachev has a fight booked for March against Drew Dober that won’t shake up the rankings much but could put him in line for a late-year title bout. Assuming he beats Dober, perhaps gets an RDA-type opponent in July and then a top-five Michael Chandler or Charles Oliveira-type fight, then the path is there. In reality, I think it’s a year too soon but the odds are certainly intriguing, especially if UFC president Dana White wants to give Islam a push.

Prediction: Conor McGregor +150 (little sprinkle on Makhachev at +2000)

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Welterweight Division Odds: Usman Favored, Chimaev Value Pick

FighterOdds
Kamaru Usman+100
Colby Covington+300
Gilbert Burns+550
Khamzat Chimaev+650
Leon Edwards+800
Jorge Masvidal+900
Stephen Thompson+1000
Conor McGregor+1600

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

Another division that is set to kick off 2021 in a big way is the welterweight class as Kamaru Usman defends his belt vs Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 in February. With two former training partners colliding, some insiders believe Burns is a live dog in that bout and an intriguing option to be champ at the end of 2021 at +550.

However, I believe the Nigerian Nightmare retains his belt in that fight and defends it just one more time later in the year. We know that Colby Covington (+300) and Jorge Masvidal (+550) are likely to fight in late spring or early summer, which could set either man up for a rematch with Usman. Meanwhile, Stephen Thompson (+1000) has looked really sharp recently and could be a top-five win away from a dance with the champion as well.

But for me, I’m all aboard the Khamzat Chimaev hype train. “Borz” dismantled three opponents in 2020 while hardly breaking a sweat, landing him a big-name opponent in Leon Edwards – a bout that has been postponed twice now but is likely to occur in early 2021.

On a popular MMA podcast “Weighing In” in early 2020, former UFC lightweight title challenger Josh Thomson and former MMA referee Big John McCarthy discussed an unnamed fighter who wasn’t signed by anyone but could be champion that very day if the UFC grabbed him. They referred to the man simply by the nickname “Wolf” – and “Borz” translates to “wolf.”

If Chimaev runs through Edwards in early 2021, he likely gets Thompson in the summer. If he wins again, I think the UFC puts him in the Octagon against Usman.

Prediction: Khamzat Chimaev +650

My Predictions For The Rest Of The UFC Divisions

Men’s Flyweight Division Odds

FighterOdds
Deiveson Figueiredo-125
Brandon Moreno+350
Cody Garbrandt+450
Askar Askarov+600
Alexandre Pantoja+800
Manel Kape+900
Alex Perez+1000
Brandon Royval+1000
David Dvorak+1600
Joe Benavidez+1600
Raulian Paiva+1600
Tim Elliott+2000

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

Deiveson Figueiredo will beat Brandon Moreno in their rematch, which will likely take place in April or May. That would likely set up just one more fight for the champ later in the year, although if there are multiple challengers, we may see him fight three times in 2021. Cody Garbrandt (+450) could cause Figueiredo some issues but ultimately I think the “God of War” will retain his title throughout 2021.

Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo -125

Men’s Bantamweight Division

FighterOdds
Petr Yan+300
Aljamain Sterling+350
TJ Dillashaw+450
Cory Sandhagen+650
Rob Font+750
Cody Garbrandt+900
Henry Cejudo+900
Frankie Edgar+1000
Pedro Munhoz+1200
Deiveson Figueiredo+1400
Dominick Cruz+1400
Jimmie Rivera+1600
Merab Dvalishvili+2000

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

Champion Petr Yan will have his hands full with Aljamain Sterling and I think the winner of that bout will be the champ at the end of the year. Although there are some great contenders in the division, Aljo and Yan are the cream of the crop at this point and I think the current champ will have the slight edge in that fight. It should be a good one, but I like Yan to still be on top of the bantamweight division come the start of 2022.

Prediction: Petr Yan +300

Men’s Featherweight Division Odds

FighterOdds
Alexander Volkanovski+150
Max Holloway+275
Brian Ortega+400
Calvin Kattar+600
Zabin Magomedsharipov+700
Yair Rodriguez+900
Korean Zombie+1000
Jeremy Stephens+1400
Josh Emmett+1600
Sodiq Yusuff+2000

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

Boy, a real tough call here. Current champ Alexander Volkanovski beat and defended his belt vs Max Holloway in two very close and controversial decisions. New challengers await Volkanovski, starting with Brian Ortega, who looked incredible in his win over the Korean Zombie.

I think Zabit Magomedsharipov is the best value pick on the board at +700 but honestly, Max Holloway at +275 is my pick, assuming he gets through Calvin Kattar and then perhaps Magomedsharipov to set him up for the trilogy.

Prediction: Max Holloway +275

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Men’s Middleweight Division Odds

FighterOdds
Israel Adesanya-250
Robert Whittaker+350
Marvin Vettori+700
Jared Cannonier+900
Darren Till+1000
Paulo Costa+1200
Derek Brunson+1400
Khamzat Chimaev+1600
Kevin Holland+2000

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

There’s some uncertainty in this division with champion Israel Adesanya moving up to the light heavyweight division to challenge Jan Blachowicz. If Adesanya vacates his belt, I think Robert Whittaker at +350 will be the one holding the gold at the end of the year. That said, I think “The Last Stylebender” will still have his middleweight strap all year.

Prediction: Israel Adesanya -250

Men’s Light Heavyweight Division Odds

FighterOdds
Israel Adesanya+175
Jon Jones+300
Jan Blachowicz+400
Glover Teixeira+600
Aleksandar Rakic+650
Dominick Reyes+900
Magomed Akalaev+1000
Jiri Prochazka+1400
Thiago Santos+2000

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

With Jon Jones out of the division, many of the light heavyweight contenders can breathe a sigh of relief and may actually feel like they have a chance. Current champ Jan Blachowicz showed off his Polish power by stopping Dominick Reyes in their late 2020 title fight.

He now has his hands full with Israel Adesanya moving up a weight division and quickly becoming the favorite to have that belt at year’s end. For me, it’s a coin flip between Adesanya and Aleksandar Rakic (+650), who has a dance with former title challenger Thiago Santos in early 2021.

Prediction: Israel Adesanya +175

Women’s Strawweight Division Odds

FighterOdds
Zhang Weili+100
Rose Namajunas+300
Joanna Jedrzejczyk+400
Tatiana Suarez+600
Carla Esparza+800
Yan Xiaonan+800
Amanda Ribas+900
Marina Rodriguez+1000
Nina Ansaroff+1000
MacKenzie Dern+1400
Claudia Gadelha+2000

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

Last year, I wrote about Rose Namajunas coming back and winning the title. Well, the first part came true as “Thug” Rose returned to beat Jessica Andrade, but UFC president Dana White said in December 2020 that Namajunas doesn’t want to fight for a belt, although she would be my pick. With Tatiana Suarez’s future uncertain as she deals with a neck injury, it’s hard to see anyone other than Zhang Weili as champ at the end of the year.

Prediction: Zhang Weili +100

Women’s Flyweight Division Odds

FighterOdds
Valentina Shevchenko-600
Jessica Andrade+650
Zhang Weili+900
Cynthia Calvillo+100
Katlyn Chookagian+1200
Lauren Murphy+1200
Joanne Calderwood+1400
Vivianne Araujo+1600
Maycee Barber+2000

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

I think this is a pretty clear pick here. Valentina Shevchenko is second only to Amanda Nunes’ featherweight title odds as the biggest favorites on the list. “Bullet” is just in a class of her own in the flyweight division. Although Jessica Andrade (+650) will be a really good contender when the two collide in 2021, I can’t bet against Shevchenko.

Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko -600

Women’s Bantamweight Division Odds

FighterOdds
Amanda Nunes-400
Holly Holm+700
Aspen Ladd+800
Germaine de Randamie+900
Ketlen Vieira+1000
Irene Aldana+1200
Raquel Pennington+1400
Julianna Pena+2000

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

Women’s Featherweight Division Odds

FighterOdds
Amanda Nunes-1500
Megan Anderson+800
Felicia Spencer+1000
Norma Dumont+1600

Odds as of January 5 at BetOnline Sportsbook

I’m going to lump these two divisions together because the same woman reigns supreme over both. I really don’t see anyone in either division knocking Amanda Nunes off. Ketlen Vieira will be a good contender in the bantamweight division and if Megan Anderson can keep the fight standing, she might be able to keep Nunes at bay with her length, but I wouldn’t be confident betting on either woman.

Prediction: Amanda Nunes -400 Bantamweight, -1500 Featherweight