Paul Craig vs. Johnny Walker is the opening fight on the main card for UFC 283 betting on Saturday, January 21.
This should be an interesting matchup between a pair of Top-15 light heavyweights who have opposing styles and can't seem to find consistency. UFC odds opened with Walker as a -150 favorite and have grown to -190, with Craig coming back at around +160.
Here are my best free Craig vs. Walker picks and predictions for January 21 from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Paul Craig vs Johnny Walker fight odds
Paul Craig vs Johnny Walker method of victory odds
|Method of Victory||Paul Craig||Johnny Walker|
|To win by KO/TKO||+1,100||-135|
|To win by Points||+1,100||+750|
|To win by Submission||+300||+1,400|
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook on January 20, 2022.
Paul Craig vs Johnny Walker picks
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Paul Craig vs Johnny Walker betting preview
Paul "Bearjew" Craig is the former BAMMA World Light Heavyweight Champion and is currently No. 9 in the UFC light heavyweight rankings.
Craig is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Volkan Oezdemir, where he was stuffed on all 15 of his takedown attempts and picked apart on his feet.
That snapped a four-fight winning streak for the 35-year-old, who is one of the most dangerous grapplers in the division. Of his 16 career wins, 13 have come by way of submission and he recently finished Jamahal Hill, who is fighting for the 205-pound belt on this card.
Walker is the No. 12 ranked light heavyweight contender and is coming off a first-round submission victory against Ion Cutelaba. That was a surprising display from Walker who is a knockout specialist but relied on his grappling to make three submission attempts vs. Cutelaba.
That win snapped a losing skid for Walker who entered the UFC with plenty of hype with three-straight victories by first-round knockout. He went through a rough patch after that and suffered a slew of lopsided defeats including a pair of bouts where he was stopped in the opening round himself.
The 30-year-old is a long and rangy striker who throws punches and kicks from a variety of angles and is extremely dangerous with his knees and elbows.
Paul Craig vs Johnny Walker tale of the tape
|Paul Craig||Johnny Walker|
|205 lbs||Weight||205 lbs|
|76 inches||Reach||82 inches|
|16-5-1 (3 KO)||Record||19-7 (15 KO)|
Paul Craig vs Johnny Walker UFC prediction and best bet
Our prediction is compiled from the analysis of the fighters and is an indication of who we are leaning with to win this bout.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this fight or where the most value lies, and is where we would put some of our bankroll behind.
The odds for this matchup seem heavily based on the previous performances of each fighter. Before Craig's most recent loss, he had gone 5-0-1 in his previous six fights, with four first-round finishes that all earned a Performance of the Night bonus.
Before Walker's recent victory, he had gone just 1-4 in his last five fights, and in the lone fight he won during that stretch, he was knocked down twice in the opening round.
Walker is a dynamic striker who could starch Craig early but he also has poor fight IQ and a questionable chin, which makes it just as likely that he'll get finished himself. This fight is more of a toss-up than these moneyline odds would suggest, which has me leaning toward Craig at plus money.
Prediction: Paul Craig moneyline (+170 at bet365)
Best bet: Craig by submission
Craig is kind of a bizarre fighter, in that always seems to be losing his fights until his opponents make one mistake and he's able to sink in a submission.
Craig isn't the best offensive wrestler but if he's able to survive an early onslaught from Walker, he should be able to get this fight to the mat since Walker has a mediocre 58% takedown defense.
Walker's recent submission victory could give him a false sense of confidence and make him more likely to engage with Craig in grappling exchanges.
With 10 of Craig's last 12 wins coming by way of submission, there is plenty of value in backing this prop at anywhere near 3/1 odds.
Even those two recent victories, which didn't end with a submission, ended due to Craig's elite grappling. He took Shogun Rua's back and pummelled him until he tapped and he dislocated Hill's elbow but needed to unleash a flurry of strikes to officially end the fight.
Pick: Paul Craig by submission (+340 at PointsBet)