UFC Fight Night 27 Sneak Peek: Hatsu Hioki (-145) vs. Darren Elkins (+105)

Chad-mendes One of the best prelims on the UFC Fight Night 27 card is a featherweight fight between fringe top 10 fighters as Hatsu Hioki takes on Darren Elkins in a fight that has already drawn plenty of interest from sports bettors. The current betting line for this fight at 5Dimes Sportsbook sees Hioki as a -145 favorite (bet $145 to win $100), while Elkins is a +105 dog (bet $100 to win $105). MMA oddsmaker opened the line at -175 Hioki and +135 Elkins, meaning the betting public has so far supported Elkins, who will be fighting in his home state of Indiana. Although I think the world of Hioki and realize just how talented he is, I actually think the betting public is on the right track so far as I believe Elkins is the right side in this matchup. Here’s why. When Hioki signed with the UFC back in 2011, he was expected to be an instant title contender to Jose Aldo. But in his first Octagon fight at UFC 137 he barely snuck by George Roop and the UFC didn’t grant him a title shot because he wasn’t impressive. He bounced back with a dominant win over Bart Palaszewski at UFC 144 and earned a title shot, but he said he wasn’t ready and instead took a fight against Ricardo Lamas at UFC on FX 4. He lost a tight fight to Lamas and his No. 1 contendership in the process. He then lost another close one against Clay Guida at UFC on FOX 6, which means he enters this fight against Elkins on a two-fight losing streak and therefore with his back firmly against the wall. As we saw in both the Lamas and Guida fights, it’s clear that Hioki’s weakness is wrestlers and Elkins is one of the best grinders in the entire 145-pound division. Although I believe Hioki is the more talented fighter and the more well-rounded fighter, none of that will matter if he can’t stop Elkins’ takedowns, and considering guys with decent takedown defense like Steven Siler and Diego Brandao couldn’t stop them, then how is Hioki going to? It’s very possible the fight plays out similarly to the Hioki vs. Guida matchup, with Elkins in top control and with Hioki content to throw up triangles, and if that’s the case my money is on the guy on top, not the guy who is content to lie on his back and work subs. That’s why I like a small play on Elkins in this spot, both as a straight bet and as one of four legs in an underdog round robin. The fight will be close if it hits the cards and it could be a sweat, but at the end of the day I expect Elkins to be the one getting his hand raised, and at +105 I think there’s enough value here to warrant a play.

Written by Adam Martin.

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