UFC 172 Fight Breakdown: Joseph Benavidez (-380) vs. Tim Elliott (+315)

benavidez The main event of the UFC 172 preliminary card is a three-round flyweight bout between Joseph Benavidez and Tim Elliott. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Benavidez a -380 favorite (bet $380 to win $100) while Elliott is a +315 underdog (bet $100 to win $315). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Benavidez at -405 and Elliott at +285, meaning the betting public has kept the line relatively steady. I understand why the line has kept relatively steady as I believe Benavidez is the likely winner and that’s why he’s close to a 4-to-1 favorite here. Benavidez (19-4) is one of the top contenders in the UFC flyweight division. The 29-year-old Team Alpha Male product has good wrestling, great submissions, and he also has knockout power on the feet. Overall he’s 6-2 in the UFC with wins over Eddie Wineland, Darren Uyenoyama, Jussier Formiga, Ian McCall, Ian Loveland and Yasuhiro Urushitani, and the only losses coming to divisional kingpin Demetrious Johnson. His only other two career losses, by the way, came as a 135er against former bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz. In Benavidez’ last outing this past December at UFC on FOX 9, the former WEC star was knocked out cold for the first time in his career by Johnson, a shocking loss all things considered. That KO loss is likely the reason why there hasn’t been too much action on Benavidez in this spot, because if this fight with Elliott happened before the second Johnson fight I think Benavidez would be an even bigger favorite. You have to consider where Benavidez’ head is at now following that surprising knockout blow, but based on the styles he is a clear favorite over Elliott this weekend at UFC 172. Elliott (10-4-1) is a solid flyweight fighter who has put together a decent 2-2 record together inside the Octagon with wins over Louis Gaudinot and Jared Papazian and the only losses coming to top-five ranked John Dodson and Ali Bagautinov. A big 125er, the 27-year-old is a solid wrestling who has a very awkward style on the feet which makes him hard to finish. This week he even admitted to basing his standup off of Dominick Cruz’ old attack, and that’s a great comparison if you’ve seen both men fight. Still, Elliott doesn’t really excel in one area of the game and without an elite skill it’s doubtful he’ll ever be a true contender at flyweight. Against Benavidez, Elliott has no clear path to victory so look for him to try and confuse Benavidez on the feet with his herky-jerky movements just like he did in the fights with Dodson and Bagautinov, and hope for the best when the judges’ decision is read by Bruce Buffer at the end of 15 minutes. I believe Benavidez should be able to dictate where this fight takes place and that edge should guide him to victory. Although Elliott has a tricky style to deal with, I think Benavidez can use his wrestling in reverse to keep the fight standing and on the feet I think he should be able to do enough to at least earn a decision on points, if not score a knockout win. Although I do like Benavidez here, I believe the fight is likely more competitive than the -380 line suggests and as such I can’t really recommend laying the juice on Benavidez here, although I can’t really argue if you want to put him in a parlay. However, I do like the prop here on the fight going the distance at -150. Both these guys are pretty tough to finish and a lot of flyweight bouts go the distance, so I do think there’s some decent value on that prop and I think that’s the best play to make here, if any.

Written by Adam Martin.

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