(Just then, in mid-thai clinch, Anderson Silva realized that hurting people no longer gave him any pleasure. He could not help but be overcome by the meaninglessness of it all, and he resolved that he would find a way to remain champion without ever harming another human being again. And the people, he felt certain, would love and cherish him forever…)
If you want to know how much of a difference oddsmakers think the move up in weight will make on UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva, you need look no further than the general consensus formed by the betting lines. No one has Silva as anything less than a 3-1 favorite at the moment, with one even tagging him a 5-1 favorite. Is it weird that online bookmakers aren’t even giving Forrest Griffin, the former UFC light heavyweight champ, a decent chance to send “The Spider” back to his own division? Maybe. But we should also remember that these are the people who handicap fights for a living. And they seem to be predicting a serious ass-whipping.
The most favorable lines on the internet come to us courtesy of BestFightOdds.com:
B.J. Penn (-228) vs. Kenny Florian (+215)
Anderson Silva (-345) vs. Forrest Griffin (+301)
Amir Sadollah (-115) vs. Johnny Hendricks (+104)
Ricardo Almeida (-145) vs. Kendall Grove (+139)
Josh Neer (-195) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (+190)
Aaron Riley (-150) vs. Shane Nelson (+140)
Tamdan McCrory (-175) vs. John Howard (+174)
Thales Leites (-330) vs. Alessio Sakara (+325)
Matthew Riddle (-150) vs. Dan Cramer (+153)
George Sotiropoulos (-380) vs. George Roop (+260)
Danillo Villefort (-180) vs. Jesse Lennox (+170)
- Okay, it seems a little crazy to say that Forrest Griffin’s chances against the middleweight champ are about as good as Alessio “No Jiu-Jitsu Please” Sakara’s chances are against submissions ace/guard flopper Thales Leites. We might put Griffin somewhere closer to a +250 dog, but I guess that’s just like arguing over prices with a hooker: no matter what you settle on, she’s still a hooker. It’s hard to see him winning, size advantage aside. Silva isn’t any easier to hit just because you’re carrying extra weight, and he’s still going to be ninja-like in his sporadic, though effective attacks.
But the odds are so tempting that this is the kind of bet I might cash in my change jar to make, just on the off-chance that something crazy happens. I’m picking Silva to win, but the $12.71 I got from the CoinStar dispenser in the supermarket might land on Forrest anyway.
- I like Kenny Florian and his gentleman fighter routine as much as anyone, and hell, he’d even make a great champion with his willingness to actually stay in the division and not pursue beatdowns outside his weight class. But try as I might, the only way I can envision him winning this fight is either via cuts or some seriously bad game-planning/preparation/execution on Penn’s part. Say what you will about B.J.’s conditioning when he can show up in the high 160’s, but at 155 he’s usually in much better shape. I’ll take Penn, but I’ll save it for the parlay.
- Elsewhere on the card, Johny Hendricks is a slight underdog against Amir Sadollah, but I don’t see why. Not only has Amir not competed in over a year, even in victory he seemed vulnerable to a good wrestler smart enough not to leave his limbs in no man’s land. Put me down for $20 on Hendricks. And while you’re up I’ll take another one of these delicious vodka tonics. Thanks so much.
- Other underdogs worth a glance are Kendall Grove, Kurt Pellegrino, Shane Nelson, John Howard, and Jesse Lennox. Of those, Pellegrino is the best pick. I’m still not sold on him as a mover in the lightweight division, but he’s good enough to justify some action at nearly 2-1 odds against the inconsistent Josh Neer. Neer’s a tough fighter who doesn’t quit, but he’s also not terribly bright. He can be outsmarted and outworked in the cage, even if he won’t give in to his opponent any more than he will to the cops trying to pull him over on a DUI stop (zing!). My bet: $10 on Pellegrino.
- Don’t Bet Against: George Sotiropoulos. Remember when he was a promising member of the TUF 6 class? No? Well that’s because you huff paint on the weekends, and we warned you about that, didn’t we? The rest of us recall that he was on his way to the finals before getting caught by Tommy Speer after an accidental eye poke. He’s still a solid fighter, and definitely has the skills to beat the George Roops of the world.
Official Cage Potato Parlay: Penn + Hendricks + Riddle + Sotiropoulos. Boom! Fuck you, pay me.