(The UFC 164 marketing strategy summed up in less than 30 seconds.)
By Dan “Get Off Me” George
This Saturday night, Zuffa brings us perhaps the most anticipated title rematch in lightweight history when Benson Henderson attempts to remove a stain from his soul against the man responsible for leaving said stain, new/interim #1 contender Anthony Pettis. The preliminary portion of the card may not boast many recognizable names (which is a nice way of saying it’s garbage-ass) but the PPV lineup is a veritable potpourri of grizzled veterans and surging prospects, with a little bit of something for everyone both new and old to MMA.
So come along as we head to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and highlight the undercard bout you stand the best chance of banking on as well as all of the main card bouts for UFC 164: Henderson vs Pettis II. All lines courtesy of BestFightOdds, per usual.
Soa Palelei (+175) vs. Nikita Krylov (-210)
The heavy-handed Australian comes in as the +180ish underdog against Ukrainian (is game to you?) submission specialist and -200 favorite Nikita Krylov. Palelei has a chance to payout early in this fight if he is able to use his striking effectively, but the 16 year age gap between the fighters may prove the difference if Krylov’s is able to sustain the early onslaught from Soa. With this in mind, Palelei has been submitted once in his career and 7 out of his last 8 wins (Well, 6 out of 8. Bob Sapp no longer counts.) have come in the first round. +180 for Palelei is an underdog worth taking.
Both fighters are coming off tough losses to high-level competition and will be looking to use the other as a stepping stone back to the short list of top contenders at featherweight. Fighting out of his home town, Koch is the -150 favorite to the +130 Poirier and this line should come closer to even odds by fight time. Poirier has a three inch reach advantage and Koch has battled some injury issues which showed in his second round battering at the hands of Lamas back at UFC on FOX 6. +130 for Poirier to win based on the better price and the fact that he has less question marks hanging over his head going into this fight.
Ben Rothwell is the +100 underdog to -130 Brandon Vera, who is returning to heavy weight after losing while trying to put his mouth piece in against Shogun at UFC on FOX 4. Vera is the right favorite and should be fast enough to get in and out against Rothwell in the early stages of the fight, which should wear out Big Ben as the fight unfolds. If Rothwell cannot find a way to pressure Vera against the cage and put “The Truth” on his back, he may be at the mercy of a technically sound striking clinic. Vera to avoid the takedown and best Rothwell in the stand up game -130.
-465 for Mendes to have his hand raised at the end of this fight is perhaps worth placing in a parlay, but +115 that Mendes has to win by decision is a compelling prop bet when looking at his opponent. Clay Guida may not be the most threatening fighter out there, but he has fought and survived against top lightweights who pose similar skill sets to that of Mendes. Guida is a survivor and while he may get Clay Guida’d by Chad, he should be able to stay out of range (like he did against Maynard) on the feet and out of trouble on the mat (like he did against Bendo) to avoid losing inside the distance. Mendes to win via decision +115.
Josh Barnett’s biggest win since 2007 is against Sergei Kharitonov, which really does not inspire confidence when you examine the Warmaster’s steady diet of out grappling one-dimensional competition as of late. Frank Mir is closer to Daniel Cormier than the rest of Josh’s more recent opponents and while he may get put on his back, he is surely going to be difficult to stop from there. +130 that fight goes to decision is where the safest option may be — Barnett is not known for his GnP KO’s or being the victim of a TKO or submission lately. +130 fight goes to a decision.
The bookies firmly believe that lighting will not strike twice. If you look into the prop bets, Pettis is currently +300 to win by decision, but they are far less certain when it comes to whether or not Pettis will be able to win the lightweight title in his home town. Benson Henderson has bounced back well from losing his WEC belt, going on to win the UFC lightweight belt (a.k.a the one that matters) and successfully defending it 3 times now.
Many presume the kick heard round the world was what won Pettis the first encounter, but re-watching this fight, (despite being thoroughly entertained) it is rather evident that Pettis is just as fast as Bendo and the clear cut stronger striker of the two. Henderson may have an advantage in having fought 5 rounds for 4 straight fights now, but Pettis has never showed cardio as an issue in the past and beat Bendo on the cards after five rounds. Pettis at even money to become the new champ and +300 that Pettis wins (in hometown on the cards)…..+500 for the bold ones who think the decision will be unanimous.
-Mendes + Vera
-Mendes + Pettis
Parlay 3 (underdog parlay)
-Palelei + Poirier
-Mendes wins via decision
-Barnett/Mir fight goes the distance
-Pettis wins via decision
Please share your thoughts on who you like CP nation. Enjoy the fights and may the winners be yours!