UFC 166 Opening Betting Odds

UFC 166The UFC’s high profile fall schedule keeps moving along as UFC 166 features a Heavyweight Title main event. After meeting for the first time less than two years ago, fans will be treated to the trilogy match between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos in Houston, Texas. The dominance of these two men over the rest of their division has put the organization in a tricky spot, as this seems a touch quick for them to be fighting for the third time already. However, as evidenced in their other bouts, nobody else seems to be able to give either man an honest challenge. Personally, I look at this as the third chapter in a five or seven fight series rather than the culmination of a trilogy. The lines for this contest have been out for quite some time, as Velasquez opened as a -180 favorite (bet $180 to win $100) with dos Santos a +140 underdog (bet $100 to win $140) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. More action has come in on Velasquez since that time, as he is now a -240 favorite with the comeback on dos Santos at +200. One other line has made its way to the public on this card as well, and that is the battle between two former Lightweight Title challengers as Gilbert Melendez opened a -380 favorite over Diego Sanchez (+260). The public snatched that line up, and the price on Melendez is now a steep -610, with Sanchez being available at +425. Today, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas added to those lines, as the five fight PPV main card now has complete lines at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Check out the lines below (new additions in BOLD): ——————– UFC Heavyweight Title Cain Velasquez -260 Junior dos Santos +180 Daniel Cormier -380 Roy Nelson +260 Gilbert Melendez -380 Diego Sanchez +260 Shawn Jordan -135 Gabriel Gonzaga -105 John Dodson -280 Darrell Montague +200 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: A couple tricky fights in the new bunch, and one that’s quite simple to decipher. Let’s start with the easy one. Roy Nelson is in for a rough, rough night against Daniel Cormier. Cormier has a good striking game which is more technically sound than Nelson’s, and that goes along with vastly superior cardio and wrestling. Essentially, this fight is every Roy Nelson fight; if he lands a huge punch in the first three minutes he can win, if not it will get ugly for ‘Big Country’ and Cormier may even become the first person to stop Nelson in the UFC. The third Heavyweight bout on this card is a bit trickier to call in terms of the winner, but the value may not lie in picking a side here. In a combined 44 professional MMA bouts, Gabriel Gonzaga and Shawn Jordan have gone to decision four times total. Between them, they have one decision win out of 30 career victories. Chances are this fight is not going the distance, but it could just be a matter of who lands first. I said following Gonzaga’s win over Ben Rothwell earlier this year that I was going to stop picking and/or betting against him when he takes on non-top 10 fighters, and Jordan falls into that category, but Gonzaga’s iffy chin and tendency to fall in love with his striking after scoring KO wins has me hesitant to bet him outright here. From the biggest weight class to the smallest weight class, UFC 166 marks the debut of the man who was the best Flyweight outside of the organization since the division was started. Darrell Montague is getting a fitting test in his UFC debut since most outlets had him ranked as one of the top 10 125ers in the world. This could be a case where he’s biting off a bit more than he can chew, especially in his UFC debut. John Dodson has come the closest of anyone to dethroning Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, and may have the most devastating combination of speed and power in the division. What gives me pause about betting Dodson here is the same thing that I worry about whenever he’s facing a high volume striker, his inactivity. Dodson has a tendency to give rounds away by allowing his opponent dictate the fight, and that could be a recipe for a loss in this one. I’ll be thinking about it a bit more, but would definitely be looking to play the Montague points handicap at the very least.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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