Although the event is still more than a month away, UFC 172 is shaping up as another excellent pay-per-view card for the organization. It seems that Zuffa really is beginning to put a priority on well-constructed numbered events. Despite complaints from every direction that the amount of cards has decreased the quality of the product, that seems to apply more to the free televised cards and fight pass offerings, as PPVs have been pretty solid for the most part. Obviously the big attraction on this card is Jon Jones (19-1) defending his light heavyweight title for the seventh time against Glover Teixeira (22-2). Teixeira brings a 20-fight winning streak to the cage in Baltimore, and as much as people want to look past this bout for Jones, it is a dangerous bout. The line for this fight has been out ever since Jones got the decision over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September, and despite the amount of time it has been on the market, the line is remarkably close to where it opened. Currently, Teixeira is a +475 underdog (bet $100 to win $475), which is exactly the price he opened at. Jones is a -650 favorite (bet $650 to win $100), which has only tightened up a bit from the opening price of -735. The co-main event is likely to produce a light heavyweight title challenger within the next 18 months, as Phil Davis (12-1) faces the returning Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson (16-4) in a very interesting bout. The remainder of the PPV card features no fighter who currently sits worse than 11th in the UFC’s official rankings. Jake Ellenberger (#5) and Tarec Saffiedine (#9) could produce a fun striking battle in the welterweight division, while #6 Luke Rockhold continues his bid for a UFC middleweight title shot against #11 Tim Boetsch. Finally, opening up the main card is a flyweight tilt between #2 Joseph Benavidez and #8 Tim Elliott. With such competitive bouts on paper, it will be interesting to see the position the public takes on these main card bouts. We won’t have to wait much longer to find out, as MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas released the opening odds for the UFC 172 main card at 5Dimes Sportsbook today. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (PPV, 10pm ET) Jon Jones -735 Glover Teixeira +475 Phil Davis -190 Anthony Johnson +150 Tarec Saffiedine -155 Jake Ellenberger +115 Luke Rockhold -600 Tim Boetsch +400 Joseph Benavidez -405 Tim Elliott +285 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Phil Davis is far and away the most effective wrestler that ‘Rumble’ has faced since he lost to Josh Koscheck all the way back in 2009, when he was still competing at 170lbs. Johnson has looked far better since moving to a more appropriate weight, but this still doesn’t seem like a great matchup for him. Davis is at disadvantage on the feet, but should be able to get takedowns, and I think he can sub Johnson here. I’d be surprised to see the the line move too far in any direction, since both fighters have gotten quite a bit of respect recently, but you never know. Jake Ellenberger has been around the top of the welterweight division for longer than Tarec Saffiedine and has a better resume, but I actually like Saffiedine in this fight. He’s the more technical striker, fights at a higher pace, and has the better cardio. Ellenberger is the better wrestler here, but Saffiedine has greatly improved his takedown defense and I think if Ellenberger simply tries to wrestle, he’ll be wasting his cardio. The best shot for ‘The Juggernaut’ is landing a big shot here, and I don’t think that happens often enough to back him. So Luke Rockhold completely dismantles Costas Philippou, and as a reward he gets a guy who Philippou had a dominant victory against. This is just a terrible matchup for Boetsch. His best asset on the feet is his kicing game, and Rockhold is a far better kicker. Rockhold is also the better wrestler, grappler, has more cardio, is more durable. This line is going to get bet up to the point where it doesn’t even add much to a parlay, and that’s pretty much where it should be. Another fairly clear fight is the flyweight opener. People often think of Tim Elliott as a long, rangy 125er, but he actually only holds a half-inch reach advantage over Joseph Benavidez. Coupled with the fact that Benavidez is the harder striker and has a speed advantage on the feet I see that aspect of the fight favoring him. The same goes for the grappling, Elliott has been able to outgrapple lower level flyweights, but Benavidez is the better wrestler and more dangerous with his submission game. This isn’t a blowout like Rockhold/Boetsch, but it clearly favors the Alpha Male product.