UFC Fight Night 36 Fight Breakdown: Lyoto Machida (-230) vs Gegard Mousasi (+190)

Gegard Mousasi The main event of UFC Fight Night 36 is a middleweight bout between former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi. It’s a five-round fight, and UFC president Dana White has already confirmed that if Machida wins, he will be next in line for a title shot at 185 lbs. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Machida as a -230 betting favorite (bet $230 to win $100) while Mousasi is a +190 underdog (bet $100 to win $190). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Machida at -265 and Mousasi at +185, meaning there has been action on both fighters as the line has continued to tighten up. I think the line on Machida is too high and I see value in the line on Mousasi, who I will be picking to get an upset victory. Machida (20-4) is the former UFC light heavyweight champion and he made a successful debut at 185 lbs. in his last outing, besting divisional standout Mark Munoz via highlight-reel head kick KO. The 35-year-old Brazilian is known for his incredible striking and knockout power, and he holds notable career victories over Rashad Evans, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Randy Couture, Ryan Bader, Dan Henderson, Tito Ortiz, BJ Penn and Rich Franklin. That’s about as good of a resume as any have in the entire sport, and many of those wins came via knockout. In addition to his deadly striking, Machida also possesses some of the most underrated wrestling in the sport. He is one of the most talented fighters out there. His only problem is that he isn’t active at times in his fights, and in recent years it’s cost him in decision losses to Rampage Jackson and Phil Davis. The Davis fight chased him out of the light heavyweight division and down to middleweight. While he had a strong divisional debut against Munoz, if he reverts back to his old style against Mousasi, he could be in trouble if the fight hits the scorecards. Mousasi (34-3-2) is the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion. He made a successful UFC debut last year with a decision win over Ilir Latifi in the main event of UFC on FUEL TV 9. The 28-year-old Armenian has an excellent MMA record and holds notable career wins over Mark Hunt, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Hector Lombard, Ovince St-Preux, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral. He is one of the most technical strikers in the UFC, using excellent jabs to keep the distance as well as mixing in many feints. And he’s a finisher, with 29 of his 34 wins coming via knockout or submission. Against Machida, Mousasi will attempt to keep the fight standing and outpoint or knock Machida out on the feet. I think it’s going to come down to Mousasi being able to outpace Machida on the feet, and as long as he doesn’t get taken down and outwrestled by Machida, he should be able to make it very close on the judges’ scorecards. This is likely to be a very technical affair between two high-level strikers, but ultimately I think that Mousasi will be able to outpace Machida on the feet and win a close and competitive decision on the judges’ scorecards. At +190, I will be making a small play on Mousasi, and the only reason it’s not bigger is because the fight is in Brazil and you never know with the judges down there. Even so, I think a bet on Mousasi is worth the risk as I peg this fight much closer to a Pick ’em without taking into account the hype behind Machida, and so at +190 I see value in the line. I also think the prop on Mousasi by decision, which is currently at +465, is worth a shot too.

Written by Adam Martin.

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