International Fight Week is here and its peak will be UFC 290, headlined by Alexander Volkanovski and Yair Rodriguez.

One title wasn’t enough for such a big week; there’s a second in the co-main event and it’s just as exciting. Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja will face off for the third time and now it’s for the highest stakes of all: the flyweight belt. Filling out the ‘international’ part of International Fight Week are some of the best fighters from Africa, Australia and New Zealand. None bigger than the fight between Aussie phenom, Robert Whittaker, and the South African powerhouse Dricus Plessis just before those titles are put on the line. Other men from those regions include Dan Hooker, Jimmy Crute, Cameron Saaiman and Shannon Ross.

That wasn’t enough for the UFC this week, they also brought some of their best rising prospects. None have been more anticipated than Bo Nickal, but Tatsuro Taira, Yazmin Jauregui and Vitor Petrino have all stood out. Finally, on a sadder note, we’ll also be seeing the retirement fight for the legendary Robbie Lawler. BLÜ provides his best bets for all of these matchups (plus more) below along with the Bet99 Sportsbook Odds.

To follow BLÜ’s Best Betting System, simply put 1.00 Units on each of the bets below unless otherwise specified. When these bets are combined with the Sniper Pick and the parlays below, profits can be maximized and losses can be minimized. Nothing is ever a guarantee, but BLÜ’s goal is to bring consistent profit to the viewers over the long term and constantly refine his system.

Due to the unpredictable nature of betting sites like Bet99 and the sport of MMA, odds will likely change throughout the week and may be unavailable for some of these bets at the time this article is posted. This also means that BLÜ may opt to swap a couple of these bets out on Friday night for others in order to maximize profit. The results of BLÜ’s Best Bets will be covered on ‘BLÜ’s Best Bets’, live on BLÜ’s Twitter (BLBEARD2), the Area 51 Sports Network Twitter (Area51SportsNet) and on YouTube (BLU-FC) next Wednesday at 4:00 PM (PST).

BLU’s Prelim Picks (Prelims begin at 3:30 PM PST)

Kamuela Kirk vs. Esteban Ribovics

BET99 Odds

Kirk:  +122    Ribovics:  -150

Over 2.5:  +150    Under 2.5:   -193

Although these two seem pretty evenly matched on paper, there are a couple of pretty significant factors in Ribovics’ favour. Ribovics is 11-1 with that lone loss coming in his last fight: his UFC debut. Normally that’s not a great sign, but that was against a VERY impressive Loik Radzhabov and he survived all 3 rounds and looked alright doing it. While Kirk has a UFC win, all of his previous fights have been at 145 pounds and he was already having some problems getting controlled and getting knocked out. Ribovics is simply much larger, more active and seems to be more well-rounded. With that size and power advantage, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a finish, especially given their past.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Esteban Ribovics at -150

Under 2.5 Rounds at -193

Shannon Ross vs. Jesus Aguilar

BET99 Odds

Ross:  +116    Aguilar:  -145

Over 2.5:  +110    Under 2.5:   -140

Ross has proven he’s got no quit in him, getting smashed by some pretty heavy hitters in the flyweight division. Aguilar isn’t that kind fighter, he’s a dangerous grappler and submission artist. Unfortunately for Ross, he’s been submitted multiple times in his career. What makes Aguilar even more convincing as a favourite is the fact that he had Tatsuro Taira, another submission ace fighting later on the card, stuck in a submission for a few minutes straight. Thanks to that, I have to believe Aguilar has a better chance of winning this fight.

Much like the first prelim, these two have grabbed a lot of finishes and have also both been finished. That leads me to believe we’ll likely see a finish here as well.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Jesus Aguilar at -145

Under 2.5 Rounds at -140

Cameron Saaiman vs. Terrence Mitchell

BET99 Odds

Saaiman:  -567    Mitchell:  +400

Over 1.5:  +133    Under 1.5:   -172

This was a VERY last minute change of opponents for Saaiman, expecting to fight a MUCH higher level opponent. Mitchell has only really fought on the Alaskan regional scene except for a 30 second KO loss on The Ultimate Fighter in 2016. With Saaiman being a pretty impressive, dangerous striker, I’d be shocked if Saaiman didn’t get an early finish. To bring those odds down, I’ll be taking the KO prop bet given those gaps in striking.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Cameron Saaiman by KO at -167

Under 1.5 Rounds at -172

Vitor Petrino vs. Marcin Prachnio

BET99 Odds

Petrino:  -250    Prachnio:  +200

Over 1.5:  +105    Under 1.5:   -134

At one point, Prachnio was knocked out in the 1st Round of three fights in a row. He’s now taking on a powerhouse with multiple early KOs. Given Petrino’s edges in skill, power, speed and age, this is looking pretty rough for Prachnio. To help lower those odds, we’ll take a Petrino KO and the Under 1.5 betting lines.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Vitor Petrino by KO at -138

Under 1.5 Rounds at -134

Edgar Cháirez vs. Tatsuro Taira

BET99 Odds

Cháirez:  +650    Taira:  -1100

Over 1.5:  +108    Under 1.5:   -137

There’s a reason Taira is at -1100 right now; he’s huge, has cardio, decent striking and some of the best grappling in the division. Although I believe Cháirez should be given a bit more respect than +650, I can’t argue the fact that he should be an underdog here. He’s been submitted a couple of times outside the UFC and lost on the Contender Series while Taira is an undefeated submission ace. With that, we’ll have to lower those odds again and pick Taira to win in the 1st Round and picking his favourite method to win: a submission.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Tatsuro Taira in Round 1 at +100

Tatsuro Taira by Submission at -240

Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield

BET99 Odds

Crute:  -140    Menifield:  +114

Over 2.5:  +200    Under 2.5:   -260

This is actually a rematch of a fight that just happened earlier this year and ended in a majority draw. In that fight we saw an insanely tough Crute take a LOT of damage, really putting on a show for his fellow Australians. Ultimately it ended in a draw due to a point deduction from Menifield. Since this fight isn’t in Australia, Crute took a beating about 6 months ago and Menifield lost due to a point deduction, Menifield is clearly a live dog.

It’s a tad strange that the Under 2.5 is favoured when there was a decision in their last meeting. Considering there was no finish last time, you have to take advantage of the +200 line.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Alonzo Menifield (The Underdog) at +114

Over 2.5 Rounds at +200

Yazmin Jauregui vs. Denise Gomes

BET99 Odds

Jauregui:  -400    Gomes:  +300

Over 2.5:  -158    Under 2.5:   +122

Jauregui has been one of the most impressive young prospects of the last couple years. Gomes has looked okay as well, but Yasmin has dropped all of her UFC opponents so far, looking like one of the most dangerous female strikers on the roster. To take advantage of the odds, we’ll have to get more specific and go for a Jauregui KO. Since Gomes is tough and will likely employ a lot of grappling, we’ll balance that out by taking Over 2.5 at -158.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Yazmin Jauregui by KO at +166

Over 2.5 Rounds at -158

Robbie Lawler vs. Niko Price

BET99 Odds

Lawler:  +190    Price:  -240

Over 2.5:  +133    Under 2.5:   -172

With this being Lawler’s retirement fight and with Price looking somewhat flat recently, I have to side with the former champ and underdog, Robbie Lawler. It’s also interesting that the Under 2.5 is favoured when both of these men are so durable. That gives us two pretty clear picks for this matchup.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Robbie Lawler (The Underdog) at +190

Over 2.5 Rounds at +133

Main Card (7:00 PM PST)

Bo Nickal vs. Val Woodburn

BET99 Odds

Nickal:  -2500    Woodburn:  +1000

Over 1.5:  +300    Under 1.5:   -434

Woodburn is coming in against the highly-touted Nickal on less than a week’s notice. There’s no doubt Nickal is going to win, barring a miracle for Woodburn, which means we have to get creative to find some good bets. We’ve seen Nickal’s grappling ability in the UFC, but most people haven’t seen his striking. However, if you HAVE, he’s also got an incredible KO outside of the UFC thanks to his striking. With Woodburn’s submission defense, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Nickal opt for a KO instead. Also, since Woodburn is undefeated, maybe he’ll be Nickal’s toughest fight to date, lasting into the 2nd Round.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Bo Nickal by KO at +214

Bo Nickal in Round 2 at +350

Dan Hooker vs. Jalin Turner

BET99 Odds

Hooker:  +233    Turner:  -300

Over 1.5:  -116    Under 1.5:   -110

At weigh-ins friday, Turner missed weight and really didn’t look too great. It’s uncommon to rely solely on things like this, but it’s certainly not a good omen when this was already a close fight. Hooker is on the rebound and looks like a new man while Turner is already looking defeated. That said, they’re both durable guys, with it set at Over/Under 1.5, we have to take the Over 1.5.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Dan Hooker (The Underdog) at +233

Over 1.5 Rounds at -116

Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis

BET99 Odds

Whittaker:  -375    DDP:  +280

Over 2.5:  +128    Under 2.5:   -163

Whittaker has cemented himself as the clear number 2 man in the middleweight division. That said, when he gets hit clean, it doesn’t always end well for him. Normally that’s okay, but DDP has been able to hit everyone clean so far and will risk anything to get it done. With DDP carrying knockout power into all 3 rounds, why not take a chance on the underdog?

With Whittaker’s usual style, he almost exclusively ends his fights with decisions. Although DDP almost always grabs a finish, Brad Tavares managed to withstand the onslaught a couple years ago. May as well take a stab at Over 2.5.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Dricus Du Plessis (The Underdog) at +280

Over 2.5 Rounds at +128

Co-Main Event (Flyweight Title Fight)

Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja

BET99 Odds

Moreno:  -213    Pantoja:  +171

Over 3.5:  163    Under 3.5:   +128

These two have fought twice already and Pantoja has won both times. That makes it strange that Pantoja is an underdog this weekend. In spite of that, especially in a 5 round fight, it makes sense that Moreno is the favourite given his recent fights with Figueiredo. With Pantoja always employing such an aggressive and dangerous grappling style, he’s always live for a submission win. On the other hand, if Moreno can withstand the grappling, Pantoja is going to have a tough time keeping up with the striking. With both of these being such likely outcomes, may as well put a small bet on both.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Alexandre Pantoja by Submission at +375

Brandon Moreno by KO at +200

Main Event (Featherweight Title Fight)

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Yair Rodriguez

BET99 Odds

Volkanovski:  -400    Rodriguez:  +300

Over 4.5:  -110    Under 4.5:   -117

With multiple wild KOs and subs, Yair is most definitely one of the biggest challenges Volkanovski has faced in his UFC career. While that’s true, Volk has consistently been one of the smartest, most dominant fighters on the roster, never really even getting hurt in the vast majority of his fights. It’s because of the fight IQ, durability and consistency that I will always pick Volkanovski. In order to lower those odds, we have to go to Volk’s standard method of victory: a dominant 5 round decision.

Statistically speaking, it’s VERY rare for a 5 round fight to end in the 5th round. That makes the Under 3.5 betting line much more enticing than the Under 4.5. It also means if Volk gets an early win or Yair shocks the world, we’ll still cash in.

BLÜ’s Best Bets

Alexander Volkanovski by Decision at +105

Under 3.5 Rounds (Odds Unavailable at time of post)

Parlay Opportunities

The Triple Play

Cameron Saaiman + Tatsuro Taira + Bo Nickal (1.00 Units at -299)

The Grand Slam

Cameron Saaiman + Bo Nickal + Vitor Petrino + Yazmin Jauregui (0.50 Units at +114)

The Sniper Pick

Cameron Saaiman at -567 for 6.00 Units