UFC 166 Sneak Peak: Gilbert Melendez (-650) vs. Diego Sanchez (+475)

Diego Sanchez One of the most important fights on the entire UFC 166 card is a lightweight matchup between Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez. Over at Several Bookmakers, Melendez is currently a -650 betting favorite (bet $650 to win $100), while Sanchez is a +475 dog (bet $100 to win $475). The line opened at -380 for Melendez and +260 for Sanchez which means that so far the betting public has come in hard on “El Nino.” Although I think the world of Melendez as a fighter and think he should beat Sanchez, I believe the public has taken the line to no-bet territory and, crazily enough, I’m now considering a small bet on Sanchez given how good the odds are. Here’s why. I really think that Melendez should be the UFC lightweight champion of the world, as I had him defeating Benson Henderson 48-47 at UFC on FOX 7. Most other people I know and respect also scored that fight for Melendez. But for whatever reason, two of the judges didn’t and that scares me a bit. Why didn’t those two judges score the fight for Melendez? Why didn’t they give him the credit for winning the rounds he clearly won? To me, the judges are the scariest part about betting this fight against Sanchez. As much as I like Melendez, at -650 and knowing the judges might not totally love his style, I think this current betting line is the definition of a pass. As some say, don’t get caught speeding. It’s especially scary because we know that Sanchez, for whatever reason, is a judges’ favorite. We all know he clearly lost to Takanori Gomi at UFC on FUEL TV 8 earlier this year, but for some reason two of the judges gave it to Sanchez anyways. Against Martin Kampmann a few years ago, Sanchez got his face busted up and yet, guess what? He won a robbery decision against Kampmann. I’m not sure what the judges love so much about Sanchez — I guess it’s his aggressiveness and the fact he walks forward the whole time — but it’s clear that they do and it’s something that bettors absolutely have to take into consideration when betting for or against him. Against Melendez, I feel as though “El Nino” is going to be able to stuff “The Dream’s” takedowns and outbox him on the feet. But I have a feeling Melendez is going to be countering Sanchez the whole time, and as we have seen in many Leonard Garcia fights, the judges love to score rounds for the fighter walking forwards, even if they aren’t landing all their strikes. And in this particular match-up, I expect that to be Sanchez. I think Melendez and Sanchez goes to a decision, so I think the safest bet one could make here is taking the OVER 2.5 rounds total at -275. It’s half the price of Melendez, and if Sanchez gets a bad decision you’re in the clear. In fact, the threat of a bad decision is so much in this match-up that I’m really considering a flier not only on Sanchez at +475, but also on him winning a decision at +735. And it wouldn’t shock me if it cashes.

Written by Adam Martin.

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