Brendan Allen will face off against Paul Craig in the main event for UFC Fight Night betting tonight from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
This is an intriguing fight between a pair of Top-15 middleweights looking to make moves in what has become a wide-open division. UFC odds opened with Allen as a -275 favorite but money has since come in on him, moving his betting line to -400 while Craig comes back at +300.
Here are my best free UFC Fight Night: Allen vs. Craig picks and predictions for November 18.
Allen vs Craig fight odds
Allen vs Craig method of victory odds
|Method of Victory
|To win by KO/TKO
|To win by points
|To win by submission
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook on November 15, 2023.
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Allen vs Craig picks
Fight prediction: Allen ML
While both of these fighters are excellent grapplers, Allen is the far more well-rounded fighter since he has leveled up his striking over the last couple of years. Craig is a plodder with slow hands and mechanical striking while Allen is quicker, has tighter boxing, and possesses excellent body kicks.
Allen is also significantly younger, is on a five-fight winning streak, and has compiled an 11-2 record in the UFC with one of those defeats coming against current champ Sean Strickland. Craig has moved down in weight class at the age of 35 and not only does he have six lopsided defeats in the promotion, but several of his victories were Hail Mary submissions in fights he was losing.
I'm favoring Allen to secure the victory in this match. However, with the betting handle causing his odds to shift from -275 to as high as -440, I'm exploring other options for betting value. This is especially true when you take into account Craig's knack for turning potential defeats into upset victories, as evidenced by several instances on his resume.
Prediction: Allen moneyline (-400 at bet365)
Fight best bet: Fight to end by submission
Allen's shortest method to win prop is to win by KO/TKO, but he has just one win by knockout in his last 15 fights. Although Craig has been starched four times in his career, he's shown better striking defense over the last few years and is used to eating shots from heavy hitters at 205 pounds.
I don't expect Allen to win by KO/TKO here, but I also don't see this fight going the full 25 minutes since both of these guys are finishers. Instead, I expect one of these fighters to rely on their submission games to get a victory here.
Often when two BJJ specialists face off against each other, their grappling is neutralized and the fight stays standing up. Don't expect that to be the case in this matchup since both fighters have shown a willingness to engage on the ground with other grapplers in the past.
In fact, both Craig and Allen have recent victories against high-end grappler Andre Muniz, and they both had takedowns and submission attempts against Muniz (although Craig ultimately won by ground-and-pound while Allen sank in a rear-naked choke).
Allen's last three wins have been by submission while 13 of Craig's 17 career victories have come by sub. That doesn't include an impressive TKO victory against former light heavyweight champ Jamahal Hill, where Craig dislocated Hill's elbow with an armbar.
Pick: Fight to end by submission (+140 at FanDuel)
Not intended for use in MA.
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Allen vs Craig betting preview
Brendan "All In" Allen is the No. 10 ranked middleweight contender and is on a five-fight winning streak after submitting Bruno Silva in the first round in June. Allen is just 27 years old but has been fighting professionally since 2015 and has plenty of experience with 27 career MMA fights under his belt.
The former LFA middleweight champ has gone 11-2 in the octagon with seven of those wins coming by way of submission. He has elite wrestling and grappling ability, but has also improved his stand-up over the last couple of years and has developed a diverse striking arsenal.
Paul "The Bearjew" Craig is coming off his middleweight debut where he defeated Andre Muniz by TKO in July. A former BAMMA light heavyweight champion, Craig went just 3-4 in his first seven fights in the UFC but claimed a Performance of the Night bonus in each of those victories.
Craig went on a run after that, going 5-0-1 in his next six bouts before suffering back-to-back defeats against Volkan Oezdemir and Johnny Walker. After that knockout loss to Walker, he decided to drop down to middleweight where he didn't look drained on the scales, and impressively finished Muniz as a +180 underdog.
Craig has a massive frame for this division and while he lacks speed and fluidity in his striking, his elite grappling is a game-changer. He won a gold medal at the British Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2015 and boasts 13 career wins by submission.
Allen vs Craig tale of the tape
|22-5 (5 KO)
|17-6 (4 KO)
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