UFC 249 Betting Pick: Greg Hardy vs Yorgan De Castro

We don’t have to wait much longer now for UFC 249!

This fight card has the potential to be the most violent in the history of MMA. For this reason, I had my reservations picking and betting on these scraps.

The more fighters’ trade, the higher the parody. We don’t like parody in this business but there are times we can make it work for us and not against us.

As I broke the fights down over the past week or two, they just started to fall into place for me. There is always the chance that we stink it up on Saturday.

It has been 7 weeks since we picked an MMA fight card. I think Cage Warriors was the last one and we succeeded there.

Don’t be fooled! Just because Greg Hardy and Yorgan De Castro are on the main card this weekend from Jacksonville, doesn’t mean this is a high-level heavyweight fight. It’s simply not.

I’m sure you guys would agree with me if you saw tape on these two.

Greg Hardy has received a tremendous push ever since he signed with the UFC back in January of 2019.

Not only have they featured the “Prince of War” on nearly every main or at least televised card ever since but they have mostly given him cans to crush.

Greg first fought on Dana White’s Contender Series in June of 2018 and returned to the show in August. He got a 1st-minute TKO win followed by a 1st-minute TKO loss. After one fight in a smaller organization, Hardy joined the big leagues.

  • After illegally kneeing Alan Crowder while he was a grounded opponent, Hardy rebounded from the DQ loss and finished his next two opponents with strikes in the first round.
  • More controversy was just around the corner, though. He was soundly defeating “The Combat Wombat” Ben Sosoli when Greg and his American Top Team corner SOMEHOW thought it was cool to hit the ol’ inhaler in between rounds.

Can’t make this stuff up, folks. The fight was ruled a no contest by the end of the night and if bettors had not cashed their winning slips for Hardy, they didn’t get paid.

Just 3 short weeks after inhalergate, Greg Hardy and his employers felt that the fighter needed retribution to his “fans”. That is in quotations because I don’t think Greg has any fans.

Fighting Alexander Volkov is a difficult task for anyone much less on just several days’ notice but Hardy gave it best nonetheless.

It wasn’t enough but Greg proved to himself, his employers, and some potential fans that he could stand in there and go the distance with a top 10 heavyweight. I expect to see a much-improved Greg Hardy this weekend.

His opponent, Cape Verde’s Yorgan De Castro, is 6-0 with 2 knockouts in 2 Octagon appearances.

One of those was on the Contender Series, though, so that doesn’t really count as a UFC fight and the next was a gift when Justin Tafa just took off running towards him. Yorgan did a great job hanging in there, clipping, and thus sleeping the Maori fighter.

Is De Castro another small but big enough step in the promotion of former NFL star Greg Hardy? Maybe. Let’s break down these betting odds and figure out how to put our money in the best position to profit on Saturday night.

Greg Hardy (-180) vs Yorgan De Castro (+168)

OVER 1.5 ROUNDS
-147
UNDER 1.5 ROUNDS
+133

Yorgan De Castro is not a very big guy for the heavyweight division. At just 6’ tall, he has a big ole belly and has even fought at 190 pounds.

Greg Hardy, conversely, is a true heavyweight and cuts a comfortable 15 pounds down to the limit of 265 from 280.
That’s nothing for a guy that heavy. A least a 15-pound cut is standard for a 135er and that is 10% of his or her body weight.

5 inches of height, 6 inches of reach, and 50 pounds give or take of muscle… That’s a big advantage. The frame difference is what seems to count more than anything in MMA.

Yorgan will have a quickness and a kicking advantage. The reach disparity will afford Greg the opportunity to counter De Castro’s leg kicks with punches.

With the exception of the Alexander Volkov fight, the UFC has always given Greg Hardy someone he can beat.

I am getting tired of saying “Who?!” every time I see Greg Hardy’s next matchup. Hey, I’m with you guys. I want to see him get temporarily flatlined out there as bad as the next guy.

There is no place in this world for men that hit women but I also believe in forgiveness and second chances. I don’t completely agree with how the UFC is going about this process.

Just let him fight Derrick Lewis and send him packing to Bellator. Until then, though, we can at least take advantage of the betting opportunities afforded to us in his fights.

As long as Hardy fights smart and he has definitely done so lately, he should be fine. I see him staying behind his jab and unleashing the right-hand counter whenever De Castro kicks or tries to close the distance.

It is safe to say, though, that Yorgan hits harder than anyone Greg has faced in the past.

I am picking Greg Hardy to win and most likely by a decision.

He isn’t the type to press for a finish. One could call it fighting scared but from a betting perspective, it’s fine with me if he doesn’t like taking unnecessary risks.

I’m not crazy about either the moneyline. These are low-level heavyweights and anything could happen.

The over 1.5 rounds is pretty tempting, though. Here is why: There is a reach disparity and it is in favor of a guy who does not like to press the action.

I think low kicks will be the best strategy for De Castro and if he can get Hardy to think he can push off that lead leg faster than he really can, then the right hand over the top will be there.

That strategy will take a bit, though. Also, De Castro is unproven on the ground and Greg is definitely big enough and athletic enough to get him down.

My Picks
OVER 1.5 ROUNDS

In Conclusion

These Greg Hardy fights have been a little tricky but with hindsight, I feel a little stupid.

We picked right in the Volkov fight and against the mighty Combat Wombat Ben Sosoli. I kept jumping the gun before that, though, as I thought: Okay, now they are going to let him get smashed. But no, they have all been cans.

De Castro is more dangerous than those cans but he still has glaring holes in his game and a belly that tells me there’s a lack of discipline and some laziness built in there.

I guess the bet on Hardy isn’t too bad. The (-180) was the best I could find on the net at 5Dimes. I won’t be terribly upset if that’s where you want to go.

The over bet in any heavyweight battle is always a bit of a sweat but I think these two match up perfectly for that one to hit.

Get your bets in now and enjoy the show Saturday night!

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.