This weekend, the UFC APEX in Las Vegas sets the stage for UFC Fight Night 232 on Saturday, November 18. The main event bout is Brendan Allen vs. Paul Craig and it’s all set to take place on Saturday, November 18.
In the main event, two of UFC’s middleweight contenders, No. 10 ranked Brendan Allen (22-5) and No. 13 Paul Craig (17-6), are set to collide in a battle that promises to deliver a mix of strategy, skill, and raw power.
Allen, stepping into his first UFC main event, is riding a wave of momentum with five consecutive wins under his belt. Meanwhile, Craig, making his second appearance in the middleweight category, looks to build on the success of his divisional debut victory over André Muniz.
Read on as we dive deep into the latest betting odds, provide a detailed breakdown of the fight, and offer a prediction along with the best bet and pick for this thrilling matchup.
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Allen vs Craig betting odds
Brendan Allen’s a hefty betting favorite but this wasn’t always the case leading up to the UFC Fight Night 232 main event. Initial odds had Allen at closer to -275 with Craig around +200 but they’ve since changed dramatically as it seems money continues to come in on Allen.
Allen vs Craig breakdown
I’ve been all-in on Brendan “All In” Allen since his submission win over Kevin Holland, another fighter I’ve backed for years, in his UFC debut. I’ve been Allen in each of his 12 UFC fights and have cashed a lot of tickets thanks to his 10-2 UFC record.
What drew me to Allen is his knowledge of what he does well, his determination to impose his game plan, but also his willingness to make adjustments if an easier path to victory presents itself. All too often, fighters seem to predetermine how they plan to win a fight and continue to force that game plan in the cage even if it’s not working. Allen is not the best striker, grappler, or submission artist in the division. But, he can succeed in all facets of MMA and will often let the fight come to him, using his variety of skills to adjust mid-fight, even mid-round, depending on his opponent.
Allen is an offensively sound striker who uses an intelligent jab and knowledge of angles to cut opponents off and trap them against the cage. From there, Allen’s speciality is finding a safe way into the clinch where his natural strength and fundamental grappling allow him to pin opponents against the cage and land dirty boxing shots in tight. His goal is to drag opponents down from the clinch and either get on top to land heavy elbows or force his opponent to turn over and expose their back. If he gets an opening to get the back, Allen impressively takes the opening, gets his hooks in, and will quickly find the neck. 4 of his last 5 wins have come via rear naked choke following the above game plan. Because Allen’s striking defense is a bit lackluster and his movement is sometimes a touch slow, he tends to struggle against fighters with stout takedown defense and/or pressure-heavy striking. If an opponent can be the one who pushes “All-in” back and force Allen to be the nail in the fight, he struggles to get his game going.
Paul “Bearjew” Craig, on paper, should not be as good as he is. His striking offense is plodding and sloppy. His striking defense is a liability. His wrestling is non-existent. And most of his submission wins have come when he’s on his back and Craig comes from behind for the win. But, eventually, we just have to recognize that this guy, regardless of how he wins, continues to win. Craig is 9-6 in the UFC but is 5-2 since 2020 which includes wins over the ex-champion, Hill, and 2 other ranked or previously ranked fighters. Its ugly, its sloppy, and it often comes as a surprise; but, since 2020, Craig often finds ways to win. His whole game plan centers around baiting his opponent to enter his guard where he then tries to survive long enough for his opponent to make a mistake. His most common submission win is the triangle, which often comes as an opponent postures up in his guard to try and land fight ending ground and pound. Just as an opponent postures up to seemingly end the fight, that’s when Craig secures in his own finish. This survive and thrive style shouldn’t be as successful as it is but Craig has mastered it over the years. He knows his strengths and has found a way to make his weaknesses work for him.
Allen vs Craig prediction
While handicapping a fight comes down to how the skills and styles of the fighters match up, it is also important to consider the lines and the value within those lines. This line is out of hand.
In Allen’s last 3 fights- against lower ranked or unranked opponents- he was a -230, +190, and +100 respectively. Now, against the highest ranked and, arguably, toughest competitor of his career, Allen’s line has ballooned up to a -430. Now, the skill and style matchup in this fight does favor Allen. He is the pointedly better striker, is intelligent and dangerous on the mat, and has shown fight after fight that he continues to grow.
Meanwhile, Craig is an awkward and hittable striker, an excellent submission artist but poor wrestler, and often needs to capitalize on a mistake to win. All skill and style signs point to Allen staying smart and finding Craig’s chin. However, -430 is a steep price to pay.
This comes down to your philosophy as a better. Are you someone who decides who you think will win and then hunts for value through money lines, props, and parlay? Or are you someone who prefers to find value in incorrect or mispriced odds? I’m the former, I prefer to trust my scouting of fighters first and find value second. But, I do not blame anyone whose style is the latter and wants to take the undeniable value in Craig, likely Craig by submission. I, however, will back Allen because I think he’s simply the better fighter with more ways to win.
Next comes finding value. 5 of 6 of Craig’s losses have come via finish and 4 by knockout. But, Allen hasn’t secured a knockout since 2020 and that is his only one in the UFC. Therefore, I handicap Allen getting the finish and the type of finish- knockout or submission- to be near even in terms of probability.
So, my bet will be Allen by submission (+225) rather than Allen by knockout (+125) because the odds are better and I think either outcome is about as likely as the other.
Best Bet: Allen to win by submission (+225)