UFC Fight Night Comes Saturday, but Not for Ontario Bettors

UFC Fight Night is on for tomorrow in Orlando, FL, and a stellar lineup will see Stephen Thompson facing Kevin Holland in the welterweight division. That’s just one of the many fights available to bettors, unless they live in Ontario, Canada.

Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson delivers a kick to Belal Muhammad in their fight a year ago. Thompson is back in the UFC octagon on Saturday against Kevin Holland. (Image: Zuffa)

Thompson (16-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) will seek to break a losing streak of two consecutive losses at UFC Orlando. Those came against Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad, two experienced heavyweight prospects. In both cases, Thompson was brought down by superior wrestling from his opponents. He’s not going to make that mistake again, and has been practicing his wrestling techniques ahead of the match.

Tomorrow’s preliminary and main cards are jam-packed with bouts in all categories. However, fight fans will be disappointed to learn that Derek Brunson and Jack Hermansson won’t be doing battle, as Brunson is out due to injury.

Thompson Expecting Trouble

39-year-old Thompson, who has also appeared in the Netflix show Cobra Kai, has been in combat sports almost his whole life. He was an accomplished kickboxer before transitioning to the MMA. There, he quickly rose in the ranks. Although he missed two opportunities to claim the welterweight gold, he is always a favorite succeed.

The two fights he lost against Burns and Muhammad, came only because his opponents outmaneuvered him, not necessarily because they dominated him. His only KO was in March 2019, when he lost to Anthony Pettis.

After losing two consecutive fights, Thompson really needs to win this fight against Holland (23-8 MMA, 10-5 UFC). He already threatened to retire once before returning for tomorrow’s match. Unfortunately for him, DraftKings has Holland in front at -170 to his +145.

If he loses, that could be the end of his career. However, perhaps being able to walk out with actor and musician Jack Black will pump him up and lead him to a win.

Holland, a seven-year vet, is extremely versatile. He prefers to attack with his legs, but also knows when to through in some jabs to catch his opponents off guard. One solid hit finding its target, and it’s all over for Thompson.

Also on tap for tomorrow, Marcelo Rojo, one of Argentina’s premier MMA fighters, returns to the UFC octagon. He’s coming into a tough match against an undefeated MMA fighter, Francis Marshall.

With two consecutive losses against Charles Jourdain and Kyller Phillips, “El Pitbull” will be in charge of welcoming Marshall to the UFC. Rojo will have to appeal to his greatest experience against the undefeated 6-0 rival.

DraftKings gives this bout to Marshall at -155. Rojo is a little rusty, which is why he’s getting +135.

UFC Wins With LaLiga, Fails With Canada

LaLiga North America and UFC announced a promotional partnership this week. The arrangement will benefit both, providing opportunities to engage with fans through social media collaborations, on-site coverage, digital content creation, activations with athletes and more.

The creation of this partnership stems from an initial collaboration between the two as Spain’s current LaLiga season was getting underway. UFC fighters Brandon Moreno and Ilia Topuria inaugurated the partnership, traveling to Spain to watch a LaLiga match, meet with players from Valencia CF and Atlético de Madrid and create content. That content later made its way to the social media channels of LaLiga, the soccer clubs and athletic platforms in Europe and North America.

Recent concerns that match-fixing might be taking place in UFC have cost sportsbooks. Canada’s province of Ontario has temporarily suspended all sports betting on UFC fights, effectively immediately.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced the order yesterday. As the provincial gaming regulator, it has full control over all of the betting activity that takes place. It isn’t clear how long the suspension will remain in effect.

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