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Hunt’s Odds Against Lesnar Drop Ahead of UFC 200 Main Event

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With Jon Jones booted from UFC 200 over a potential doping violation, Brock Lesnar’s comeback fight against Mark Hunt has become the main event on the card that is set for Las Vegas on Saturday.

Lesnar’s star power and return to the Octagon for his first match since 2011 offers a lot for the curiosity seeker, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out for bettors. Hunt is now a -175 betting favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com after opening at -136.

While Hunt is the world’s No. 8-ranked heavyweight, his style falls in the range of the type of striker whom Lesnar often struggled against before leaving UFC to go back to wrestling for almost five years.

Lesnar’s odds have risen to +145 from +121. One read into that could be that oddsmakers are trying to ply bettors to make the higher-paying play, but at the same time Lesnar’s athleticism makes him a hard-to-resist underdog. Hunt will need to prove that he has upgraded his ground game from absolute liability to passable.

Whether Dana White makes good on his vow to find a suitable opponent to take Jones’ spot against Daniel Cormier, the card is still deep.

The odds for featured featherweights Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar’s hotly anticipated UFC 200 rematch, which is for the UFC’s interim 145-pound belt, have flip-flopped all week. Edgar, who has won his last five fights, is the slight -120 favorite. Aldo, who won in the rivals’ first matchup, is listed at -110.

While Aldo is maintaining that Edgar hasn’t changed since that 2013 fight, Edgar’s recent body of work shows that he has made great strides as a striker.

Women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate is a big -260 betting favorite at the sportsbooks against challenger Amanda Nunes, who is a +200 underdog. Tate is a grinder with a strong track record of frustrating and fatiguing opponents, which should mean that Nunes’ chances of a technical knockout should be far and few between.

Cain Velasquez will be at a six-inch height disadvantage against Travis Browne in their heavyweight match. Velasquez is the -305 favorite, since he has proven himself to be as indefatigable as a 245-pound heavyweight can get in UFC.

Browne is listed at +245. At 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, Browne is a potent striker. Of course, he needs to be on his feet to do that and Velasquez uses his wrestling skills to deny opponents that luxury.

Nunes, Pennington carry conflicting betting trends into UFC 224

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All of Amanda Nunes’ wins in her homeland have ended early, but challenger Raquel Pennington has a history of going the distance.

Women’s bantamweight champion Nunes is a -900 favorite on the UFC 224 odds with Pennington coming back at +550, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.  The card is set for Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday.

Nunes is 7-1 when she fights in Brazil, while Pennington is fighting in the country for the first time. Although Pennington has only been stopped once in 22 pro and amateur fights, Nunes’ home-soil advantage could be crucial. Nunes did require a decision during her most recent title defense against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 215 in September 2017.

Bettors looking for value in method-of-victory props will have to decide whether they believe Pennington can duplicate and improve on the techniques Shevchenko employed, or whether Nunes learned some lessons from that fight about being the aggressor with her powerful striking game. If the latter theory pans out, there’s a good chance of a Nunes knockout.

In the co-main event, Ronaldo (Jacaré) Souza (-135) has a three-inch reach advantage over Kevin Gastelum (+130) in a matchup of Top 5 middleweights, as well as home-soil advantage. Souza rates the edge in power and versatility, which might make him too much for Gastelum to handle, setting the table for a submission.

That said, Gastelum’s speed and accurate striking does make it tempting to back him for the win, knowing full well that it’s not the percentage play.

Up-and-coming Mackenzie Dern (-265) takes on Amanda Cooper (+225) in a grappler vs. striker matchup between two women’s strawweight competitors who are each somewhat experienced. Dern has had three of her six wins via submission, which is coincidentally how Cooper has sustained all three of her losses.

Those trends should carry over, presuming that Dern has continued to upgrade her technique in order to get the match to the ground.

John Lineker (-250) is favored against Brian Kelleher (+195) in a bantamweight bout between high-volume strikers. Six of Lineker’s last nine fights have gone to a decision and that trend could continue if he focuses on using his punching power to wear Kelleher down early and get a lead on the judges’ cards. For Kelleher, the matchup might be too big of a step up in caliber.

And Lyoto Machida (-260) is favored against Vitor Belfort (+200) in a middleweight bout between two aging Brazilian fighters, the latter of whom has said this will be his last fight. Stylistically, Machida likely has the edge due to his abilities as a counter-striker, which should enable him to weather the anticipated early onslaught from Belfort, who is 0-4 in his last four fights as the underdog. Machida’s most likely path to victory is through a decision.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

 

Floyd Mayweather to start MMA training ‘soon’

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Floyd Mayweather beat Conor McGregor in the boxing ring back in August. Now, Mayweather is eyeing a turn in the octagon.

The 41-year-old Mayweather, who retired from boxing following his win over McGregor, confirmed to TMZ Sports that he would “soon” begin training with UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley.

Mayweather thinks it will take him less than a year to acclimate to MMA.

“Even if it takes six-to-eight months, whatever it takes, we want to make sure that everything is done correctly, is done the right way,” Mayweather said.

Mayweather doesn’t believe his skill-set will require extensive improvement. He graded his wrestling skills as “probably a seven” out of 10, but he could “take it up to a nine if possible.” His real weakness is kicking, which Mayweather graded as just a four. But his hand game? “On a scale of 1-10, it’s 100.”

Mayweather was hesitant to say who he would face in his MMA debut, though he was asked directly about a rematch with McGregor.

“I really don’t know,” he said. “We can’t say. That’s why I pause, you know?  I can’t really say, you know? I have to talk to my team, speak with my father and then see how it’s gonna play out.”

Like his boxing match with McGregor, Mayweather and his team want “the right numbers and we would make it happen.”