Brendan Allen

The UFC Fight Night 240 main event is a rematch between Brendan “All-In” Allen and Chris “Action Man” Curtis. Their first matchup was three years ago, and Allen has had six impressive wins since. However, in that first matchup, Allen won a close first round only to get caught clean and knocked out in round two.

Betting Odds

  • Brendan Allen: -220 (BetUS)
  • Chris Curtis: +180 (BetUS)


Allen has improved drastically since that KO loss, namely in his ability to execute his game plan early and often. Allen is a competent striker who can land punches and kicks from range with some power and precision, but his striking isn’t overly electric or athletic. Instead, Allen’s striking is solid enough to create openings and opportunities for where he really shines: grappling.

Allen is a fundamental, strong, and relentless grappler. He can excel in the clinch with dirty boxing, thudding elbows, and a fluid ability to transition to his opponent’s back. In fact, he went for a backpack position against Curtis in their last fight but Curtis shucked him off. Moreover, Allen is even more dangerous on the mat, both on open canvas and against the cage. He is a strong grappler who can still flow with his opponent. He mixes in ground and pound with submissions smoothly.

“All In’s” ultimate goal is to damage his opponent enough for them to make a mistake, expose their back, and then take the neck. 5 of Allen’s last 6 wins have ended by rear-naked choke. Where Allen struggles is in the traditional wrestling department and with his striking defense. While Allen is an excellent grappler, his ability to execute a takedown without the aid of the clinch or cage is inconsistent. He’s improving in this regard, but fighters with stout takedown defense have been able to stuff or scramble their way to safety. More concerning, though, is Allen’s takedown defense. He is hittable on the feet, and while he has reliable durability, he has shown that he can get rocked and even finished.

Curtis, taking his schoolyard taunting and whining out of the equation, is an undeniably tough fight for anyone in the middleweight division. He is deeply experienced, has reliable cardio, proven power, and resolute takedown defense. Curtis tends to struggle with two types of archetypes.

First, and most notably seen in the UFC, are fighters with patient range striking and constant lateral movement. Most successfully implemented by Hermansson against Curtis, “Action Man” significantly struggles with cutting off the cage and tracking down an opponent who keeps moving on the outside rather than trading with him in the pocket. Trading with Curtis in the pocket is a dangerous endeavor considering his tight boxing, thudding power with his short shots and hooks, and durable chin. As dangerous of an in-the-pocket boxer that Curtis is, he hasn’t shown an ability to create the pocket exchanges himself, he needs a willing dance partner. And, when he doesn’t get one, he tends to lose.

The second fighter Curtis struggles with is a strong wrestler and grappler. Curtis fights with a wide boxing stance and keeps his weight low, his form plus his natural strength and experience make him someone who is challenging to take down. However, once down, Curtis struggles to get back up to his feet. He can be controlled for long minutes of the fight, or even full rounds. We haven’t seen this happen in the UFC, yet, but he also hasn’t faced any strong wrestlers and grapplers outside of his first fight with Allen.


To get out in front of it, my bias in this fight as a fan is likely coloring my perspective. Allen is one of my favorite fighters on the roster, while Curtis is someone who, each time he negatively reacts to adversity, falls lower and lower on that list. That being said, I can objectively see that the odds in this fight are too wide.

Curtis won the first matchup; and, while Allen has undoubtedly improved since, still has the takedown defense and power to cause “All-In” all kinds of problems. Allen should win this fight if he can stay disciplined or successfully wrestle, but I’m not confident enough in him doing so for 25 minutes to warrant a bet at his price tag. Instead, my favorite play is o2.5 rounds.

Both men are durable, both men have the skills to force their opponent to fight with their second or even third best approach, and, being a rematch, both men shouldn’t rush into anything too quickly. I expect this fight to start slow and stay close unless Allen can get Curtis down. Even if he does, Curtis has only been submitted once in his career so I think he can survive on the mat.

Best Bet: o2.5 rounds (-190 at BetUS)

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