UFC's return moves to Las Vegas for the start of a busy period of fights. Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse discusses the Woodley v Burns betting...
"The path to this bout has been a difficult one for the UFC but it will prove worthwhile when the two warriors face-off"
Tyron Woodley v Gilbert Burns
Live on BT Sport
Mixed Martial Arts action returns to our screens this weekend as Dana White's Ultimate Fighting Championship stages their fourth show following a dramatic fightback from lockdown. Once again, each of the bouts will be decided behind closed doors, with the BT Sport cameras in attendance.
There was uncertainty in the build up to fight night as organisers battled to bring the sport back to Las Vegas after staging three cards in quick succession at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. It had been feared we'd be left without a show this weekend, but White is nothing if not determined to return MMA to the schedule.
Woodley returns to action
Tyron Woodley faces Gilbert Burns in a fascinating top of the bill clash, with the main event taking place in the early hours of Sunday morning UK time. Thirty-eight-year-old Woodley is one of the top fighters in the welterweight division, but this will be the American's first outing since suffering a defeat to Kamaru Usman in Las Vegas last March. Not only did The Chosen One end on the wrong side of a points decision on UFC 235, the result also cost him his title.
The Missouri born wrestler's record now stands at 19 wins against four defeats and one draw. Seven of his previous victories have come by knockout, with the same number on decision and five by submission, proving him to be a genuine all-rounder, comfortable with all aspects of the sport. Of his four losses, three have come via the judges scorecard, the spare a knockout reverse to Nate Marquardt back in 2012 on a Strikeforce card.
Taking a closer look at his recent form and 5ft 9inch Woodley has lost only one of his last eight, a run stretching back to 2014. In that time, three wins have been by submission with two of those coming in the former champion's last four. The current betting on the Betfair Exchange has Woodley trading at 1.618/13 favourite. Another points cheer is 3.39/4 against the 2.6813/8 for a KO.
Burns on a five-fight winning run
Burns may enter as the betting underdog for this clash, but he will step into the octagon as the busier fighter of the two in recent times. The talented 33-year-old Brazilian was born in Rio de Janeiro but is now fighting out of Florida. A former lightweight with a strong Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu style, he is a man enjoying some of the best form of his career.
Durinho is on a five-fight winning run and has appeared no less than four times since his opponent was beaten for the title. Will that sharpness give him the edge in this fight, or will the rest see Woodley come back refreshed and ready to make up for lost time? Viewers will get a definitive answer to that question this weekend. The form of Burns means it would be foolish for bettors to take him lightly.
Burns last loss came against Dan Hooker when KO'd back in 2018 on UFC 226. Since then he has rhymed off five eye-catching wins, with three of those coming by decision - including two of his last three. Despite arriving with confidence onside, Burns is an attractive 2.68/5 to move his professional record to 19-3. Another points cheer is 5.85/1.
Don't expect a fast start from either
The path to this bout has been a difficult one for the UFC but it will prove worthwhile when the two warriors face-off, each confident of gaining the win and pushing their careers forward to bigger and better things. This will be about getting back to winning ways for Woodley, but he must impress if he wants to narrow the gap between himself and the UFC title.
The favourite will be keen to work himself into the contest, so an explosive start isn't expected. Woodley has scored one KO win since April 2018. Woodley has knocked out one opponent since 2014, pushing us towards the American to win on points.
Woodley by decision @ 3.39/4