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Tom Nolan comes back from the brink to score maiden UFC win

UFC fight night odds update

Aussie battler Tom Nolan needed a win at UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Murphy on Sunday (AEST).

The 24-year-old had earned his spot in the world’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion courtesy of a stellar performance on Dana White’s Contender Series 2023. However, his debut at the UFC didn’t go to plan, with Nolan getting knocked out a minute into his first fight in January.

Squaring off against Victor Martinez in the final bout of the prelims in Las Vegas, Nolan was an odds-on favourite with all top UFC bookmakers. Things almost went horribly wrong, though, with the man they call ‘Big Train’ having to pull off a miraculous escape.

Nolan rocked early but survives in style

It’s safe to say there were a few surprised faces when, just a minute into Nolan vs Martinez, the former was reeling. Bet365 had him at just -175.44 to claim his first UFC win, and this was expected to be a straightforward result.

Nolan had been dominating the opening exchanges. After landing a spinning backfist, he was executing a series of kicks to Martinez’s head, when the American caught him with a body-blow and right-hook combo.

The shots floored Nolan, and Martinez was able to get him in a compromising position on the mat. Blows were rained down, and it looked like a 0-2 start to the Aussie’s career was imminent.

However, Martinez was not able to maintain a good enough lock on Nolan, giving him the opportunity to escape back to his feet. Gifted a second chance, the favourite did not waste time.

When they next came together, he delivered a vicious high knee to the head, buckling Martinez. A flurry of strikes to the head followed, and just like that, the referee was on him and Nolan had his first win in the UFC.

UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Murphy main card follows the odds

Nolan’s victory was the first of many that went the way MMA bookies were predicting on Sunday.

Adrian Yanaz was heavily tipped to defeat Vinicius Salvador, and he secured a first-round knockout. Themba Gorimbo had the edge against Ramiz Brahimaj, and he came away with a decision victory. Khaos William and Lerone Murphy also prevailed, denying Carlston Harris and Edson Barboza, respectively, as bookmakers expected.

In fact, just the one main card fight ended in an upset — Angela Hill vs Luana Pinheiro. Brazil’s Pinheiro was a -500 favourite to win, but Hill pulled off a second-round mounted guillotine choke to come away victorious.

The next betting action on the UFC is just around the corner, with UFC 302 looming in a fortnight.

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