UFC On FOX 8 Sneak Peek: Rory MacDonald (-225) vs. Jake Ellenberger (+185) Jul 27, 2013

Rory MacDonald

Next week’s UFC card is co-headlined by a fight that may very well could determine the next No. 1 contender in the welterweight division.

In the co-main event of UFC on FOX 8, Canadian Rory MacDonald looks to continue his march up the welterweight ladder when he takes on Jake Ellenberger, who himself is closing in on a title shot. The current betting odds for the match at 5Dimes Sportsbook sees MacDonald as a -225 favorite (bet $225 to win $100), while Ellenberger is currently a +185 underdog (bet $100 to win $185).

It’s a very interesting matchup and one that’s extremely hard to predict because both fighters match up fairly well against one another and there’s multiple paths to victory for both guys.

When MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas first opened the odds for this fight, he opened MacDonald at -170 and Elleberger at +130. At that line, I was having a hard time making my pick but ultimately I sided with MacDonald at the slight juice and passed on the dog money on Ellenberger.

But as the public took the line up over the last couple of months, I started thinking that maybe the value was on Ellenberger. And when the line hit +195 recently, I was just about ready to switch my pick and take a stab on the dog.

However, before I made my bet on Ellenberger I watched some tape on both fighters, and after doing so I believe the big dog money on Ellenberger may be a trap here.

Yes, Ellenberger is an absolute powerhouse and has the power to knock out anyone in the UFC welterweight division. But other than his power, he really doesn’t bring that much to the table. That’s not to say he doesn’t have solid wrestling or ground and pound — he definitely does — but he has shown little in the way of BJJ, he tends to gas out after the first round, and, as Martin Kampmann proved last year, he can definitely be knocked out himself. So unless he can get that first-round TKO on MacDonald (a definite possibility, to be sure), he’s going to be in trouble against the younger, better conditioned MacDonald.

Although I feel that MacDonald is overrated — he’s currently in the top 5 of the UFC’s official rankings, which is ridiculous in my opinion, although I feel as though he’s about No. 10 — I do see the talent in him that everyone else sees. He’s young, strong, explosive, has powerful takedowns, his striking is at another level now, and he trains with the best welterweight on the planet, Georges St-Pierre, on a daily basis. Basically, he has a lot going for him, and in my opinion, he has more ways to beat Ellenberger than Ellenberger has to beat him, as while Ellenberger can win by TKO or decision, MacDonald can win by TKO, decision, AND submission.

At the same time, though, even though I feel that the +185 on Ellenberger is a trap, -225 is quite the price to pay for MacDonald. At the current lines, I believe this fight is a total pass, but if late steam comes in on Ellenberger on fight day and I can get MacDonald at the -170 he opened up, I might actually make a play on “Ares,” as, after doing all of my research, I think he wins this fight next weekend at UFC on FOX 8, and I think he does so in impressive fashion.

Written by Adam Martin

Mixed martial arts journalist. Host of The Parting Shot Podcast with James Lynch. Lead writer for MMAOddsbreaker.com and columnist for MMARatings.net. Also a Social Mediaist for The Toronto Star.

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