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.

 

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