UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris Odds and Best Bets

Predictions and betting picks for UFC Fight Night, featuring Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris in the main event.
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The UFC will cap off the last leg of the organization’s three fight cards in an eight-day span on Saturday night, as heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris will headline UFC Fight Night live from Jacksonville, Florida. Expect a pretty emotional build up to the main event, as Harris makes his triumphant return after tragedy late last year. 

Harris’ step daughter went missing and was found dead a month later as a result of a gunshot wound. The matchup with Overeem was originally scheduled for last December, but was appropriately put on hold to allow Harris the much-needed time to be with family and cope. After Harris and his manager let the UFC know he’d be ready in March or April, the company rescheduled his original matchup with Overeem to headline the Jacksonville card. So here we are.

With a win, #8 Overeem (45-18) or #9 Harris (13-7) will look to climb into the top 5 of the division, looking to get that much closer to title eliminator contention, with hopes of being in conversations once the Miocic/Cormier/Ngannou dust settles.

Co-headlining the event, women’s strawweights Angela Hill (12-7) will take on #6 Claudia Gadelha (17-4). Gadelha will look to make it two in a row with a win, while Angela Hill (who probably would have fought on all three cards this last week if they let her) looks to make it four wins in a row in the span of eight months.

Sprinkled across the event are a handful of UFC veterans and some familiar names to fight fans. There are 11 fights in total, all with fairly tight betting lines.

TIME: SATURDAY 05/16/2020 at 6 P.M. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN
VENUE: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena
LOCATION: Jacksonville, Florida
MATCHES: 11

MAIN CARD:

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 265LBS

#8 ALISTAIR OVEREEM 45-18 VS #9 WALT HARRIS 13-7

WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT BOUT 115LBS

#6 CLAUDIA GADELHA 17-4 VS ANGELA HILL 12-7

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT 145LBS

#15 DAN IGE 13-2 VS #11 EDSON BARBOZA 20-8

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT 185LBS

ERYK ANDERS 13-4 VS KRZYSZTOF JOTKO 21-4

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT 145LBS

#14 SONG YADONG 15-4-1 VS #15 MARLON VERA 17-5-1

PRELIMS:

WELTERWEIGHT BOUT 170LBS

MATT BROWN 22-16 VS MIGUEL BAEZA 8-0

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT 185LBS

ANTHONY HERNANDEZ 7-1 VS KEVIN HOLLAND 16-5

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT 145LBS

GIGA CHIKADZE 9-2 VS IRWIN RIVERA 9-4

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT BOUT 125LBS

CORTNEY CASEY 8-7 VS MARA ROMERO BORELLA 12-7

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT 145LBS

DARREN ELKINS 24-8 VS NATE LANDWEHR 13-3

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 265LBS

RODRIGO NASCIMENTO 7-0 VS DONTALE MAYES 7-3

Harris decisively TKO/KO’d his last two opponents in under a minute. Can he return from tragedy and stop “The Demolition Man?”

The night has been built around Harris’ return to fighting after the tragic loss of his step daughter late last year. Both the UFC and ESPN have rallied around the heavyweight, and put together packages highlighting his journey back to the octagon. Oddsmakers are backing him as well, as he opened as a slight favorite and continues to be the favorite as bettors placed their wagers all week.

Recency bias could play a slight factor, as staring across from him will be Overeem, who we most recently remember as getting finished very late in the 5th round against Jairzinho Rozenstruik last December. We’ve seen the finish of that fight several times as of late, as Rozenstruik promos were pumped out like crazy building up his match against Francis Ngannou a week ago. Rozenstruik then lasted all of about 20 seconds before being knocked out in scary fashion. If Overeem avoids that last shot in his fight against Rozenstruik, or the ref allows it to go another four seconds, Overeem takes the win without question, as he picked apart the former 76-8 kickboxer across for five rounds.

Heading into Saturday’s main event, Overeem is slated against another dangerous striker in Harris. Harris boasts a record of 13-7, which isn’t overly impressive, though all 13 of his victories have come by way of TKO/KO finish.

I can see why oddsmakers see a position on Harris as the favorite, with the knockout ability against the 63-fight vet who’s taken his share of damage over the years, including his last nine losses coming by way of KO/TKO. But I have to like the value on Overeem as a dog.

Overeem has the discipline, experience and proven track record in spots like this. He’s the former DREAM, Strikeforce, and K1 champ, and has faced many similar opponents along the way, and really should be heading into this one on a three-fight winning streak. He’s very aware that the “script” has Harris winning and getting on the mic to dedicate this one to his late step daughter, though he isn’t backing down and has vocalized his understanding of the emotions around this one and that it’s just business.

You’d have to think Harris is going to come out extremely fast (as he usually does), so Overeem will need to keep Harris at range right from the bell. If he’s able to do so, we could see Overeem put it into gear and begin to pick apart Harris as he did with Rozenstruik. Controlling the distance will be the x-factor.

Although we haven’t seen many fights during this no-crowd run get to the mat, if Overeem can get it there, we could see him finish this one in a similar fashion that Werdum did a few years back (armbar). Overeem is the far more technical fighter in all areas, and as mentioned has held titles in multiple organizations, while Harris’ greatest victory so far has been a split decision win against Andrei Arlovski, which was eventually overturned by CSAC to a no contest. A win Saturday night against his hero Overeem, coupled with the emotional, built up weight on his shoulders, would be by far the greatest moment of his career. Although I’m rooting for him, my Overeem wager will not be.

PREDICTION: ALISTAIR OVEREEM +120

A couple other quick takes:

  • Another play is the Eryk Anders vs Krzysztof Jotko matchup. Though touting a great 21-4 record, Jotko has been very inconsistent in there and really hasn’t beaten any big names. Not to say Anders has either, but he’s faced a higher tier/caliber of opponents along the way and has impressed while visibly improving his skill set. Jotko is a skilled fighter, though Anders' strength and ability to awkwardly land will pose a threat. Expect a chess match in there and take into consideration the OVER 2.5 rounds, as Anders has never been finished as a middleweight and Jotko’s has gone to the decision in nine of his last 10 victories. Jotko is also 0-3 when fighting in the states. PREDICTION: ERYK ANDERS +130
  • Don’t sleep on Darren Elkins vs. Nate Landwehr early on the undercard. Landwehr is the former M-1 Challenge featherweight champ, who’s more than willing to take damage to give a little of his own. After losing his UFC debut to touted prospect Herbert Burns in January, he’s looking to validate his spot on the roster, but will have to go through more damage, aka Darren “The Damage” Elkins, and this fight will be fireworks. Elkins was on a six-fight winning streak, until most recently dropping three in a row. You have to look at more than just the record, though. His three losses were against very respectable opponents in Ryan Hall, Ricardo Lamas and the current champ Alexander Volkanovski. In my opinion, Landwehr gets exposed in all three of those matches as well, probably more decisively than Elkins. Expect some back and forth excitement in this one, as styles make fights, right? But when I saw Elkins open at +110, I had to pull the trigger. PREDICTION: DARREN ELKINS +110
  • While Angela Hill has been extremely active as of late, I see Gadelha going back and forth with her on the feet for a bit, until taking her down and controlling some rounds. Gadelha is tough, she’s never been finished and both fighters are decision machines as of late. Hill has gone to the final bell in 10 of her last 13 fights, while Gadelha has done the same in nine of her last 10. PREDICTION: CLAUDIA GADELHA VIA DECISION -110 

QUICK PREDICTIONS ON THE MATCHUPS:

ALISTAIR OVEREEM defeats WALT HARRIS

CLAUDIA GADELHA defeats ANGELA HILL

EDSON BARBOZA defeats DAN IGE

ERYK ANDERS defeats KRZYSZTOF JOTKO

YADONG SONG defeats MARLON VERA

MIGUEL BAEZA defeats MATT BROWN

ANTHONY HERNANDEZ defeats KEVIN HOLLAND

GIGA CHIKADZE defeats IRWIN RIVERA

DARREN ELKINS defeats NATE LANDWEHR

CORTNEY CASEY defeats MARA BORELLA

RODRIGO NASCIMENTO defeats DANTALE MAYES

***

Last event prediction recap: 5-5

Fight card predictions overall: 152-82-6 (65%)

Targeted matchups (wagers): 57-20-2 (74%) [Avg. odds -109]

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