Bisping heavy favorite against Henderson at UFC 204

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Middleweight champion Michael Bisping has motivation and a home nation crowd as he makes his first title defense against Dan Henderson at UFC 204 on Saturday.

The confrontation in Manchester, England, seems tailor-made for Bisping, who has a chance to avenge a 2009 knockout defeat against Henderson. The 37-year-old Bisping, who has never lost a fight in his native Great Britain, is listed as a -235 favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Henderson, age 46, is a +185 underdog.

Bisping will enter the cage after getting more prep time than he had ahead of his surprise knockout of Luke Rockhold at UFC 199. As the younger fighter, he should have an edge in stamina against Henderson. Henderson still has his strong right hand, but might have trouble frequently setting it up against a good defensive wrestler in Bisping.

In the co-main event, middleweight Gegard Mousasi is an overwhelming -335 favorite against +255 longshot Vitor Belfort on the UFC betting lines. Both are strikers, but Mousasi has the technique to maintain his guard, which could defuse Belfort’s potential for the knockout. Belfort’s last six fights have all ended by KO or TKO.

Ovince Saint Preux is listed at -155 against slight +125 underdog Jimi Manuwa in their light heavyweight bout. Saint Preux turned a lot of heads by going the distance with Jon Jones at his last fight in late April, while Manuwa is more of a mystery since he has not fought in more than a year. Saint Preux will be out for a quick finish and a statement win, but that might backfire against Manuwa, who has had 13 of his 15 pro wins via knockout.

Stefan Struve is a -185 favorite against Daniel Omielanczuk, who has a +150 payout for a victory in their heavyweight bought. Struve is an intimidating seven-footer whose reach with both his fists and feet is inimitable. Struve is the higher-volume striker, but the six-foot  Omielanczuk is the more accurate of the two. With the full-foot disparity in height, it’s Struve’s bout to lose.

Featherweight contender Mirsad Bektic is listed at -700 against late substitute Russell Doane, who is set at +450. Bektic is 10-0 since turning pro in mid-2011. Doane is a substitute for a substitute (replacing Jeremy Kennedy, who replaced original opponent Arnold Allen) who is almost moving up a weight class to fight on short notice. Stranger things have happened, but that’s hardly a favorable situation for a fighter.

Conor is back: UFC says McGregor will fight Oct. 6 in Vegas

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Conor McGregor will return to mixed martial arts on Oct. 6 in Las Vegas with a bout against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The UFC dramatically announced the matchup Friday to close a news conference promoting the slate of fight cards for the rest of 2018.

McGregor won the featherweight and lightweight championships during his meteoric MMA career, but he hasn’t fought in the UFC since taking the lightweight belt from Eddie Alvarez in November 2016.

McGregor hasn’t competed at all since losing his incredibly lucrative boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August 2017.

McGregor also has resolved his legal troubles after throwing a hand truck at a bus containing UFC fighters last April. Nurmagomedov was the intended target of his misbehavior after a previous spat between the fighters’ camps.

T.J. Dillashaw Slim Favorite Against Cody Garbrandt on UFC 227 Odds

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The betting lines are tight for the rematch between T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt, even though the outcome was as clear-cut as it could be the first time around.

Dillashaw is a -120 favorite with Garbrandt coming back at -110 on the UFC 227 odds in a bantamweight title matchup that is the co-main event for the night, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The rivals will square off at Staples Center in Los Angeles exactly nine months to the day since their title bout at UFC 217, when betting underdog Dillashaw won by a second-round knockout.

Dillashaw’s many virtues include premier footwork and being hard to hit, and he likely has the edge in grappling over Garbrandt, who will be conceding a 1½-inch disadvantage in reach. Garbrandt is also a top striker with knockout potential, but given that neither man has been in the Octagon since their title encounter, it’s hard to see how he flips the tactical edge that Dillashaw exhibited last November.

It seems eminently possible that the fight could be a rehash, albeit a more a drawn-out one, as Dillashaw’s other four title fights have all gone at least four rounds.

The co-main event of UFC 227 might be more of a matter of “how he wins” than “who wins?” as Demetrious Johnson (-500) takes on Henry Cejudo (+350) in his 12th title defense as flyweight champion. The value on Johnson is to be found in the method-of-victory props, where it is worth noting that four of his last seven victories have come via submission.

Cejudo, thanks to a decent wrestling base, should put up enough resistance to make Johnson work for a few rounds.

Thiago Santos (-375) is a ranked middleweight while Kevin Holland (+285) is a newcomer to the UFC in a matchup that was added to the main card just days ago. The heavy-footed Santos has had issues against technical fighters that work to take away his biggest weapon, but Holland is also a kickboxer first, who is jumping up a notch in competition.

Santos is coming off of a loss but his last four victories were all by technical knockout.

Renato Moicano (-375) would seem to be on more of an upswing than Cub Swanson (+285) entering their UFC 227 featherweight matchup, having gone 3-1 in his last four fights (all wins by decision) while Swanson has lost two in a row. However, Swanson is a high-volume striker who has a puncher’s chance for the betting-line upset, provided he can keep the fight standing and prevent Moicano from getting the fight on the ground and utilizing his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skillset.

And Polyana Viana (-225) is heavily favored against J.J. Aldrich (+175) in a matchup between two promising women’s strawweights. Viana has finished nine of her 11 pro fights in the first round, but is facing a step up in competition. Aldrich, whose last four fights have all gone the distance, is very capable of taking a victory by 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