UFC 173 Fight Breakdown: Renan Barao (-710) vs. TJ Dillashaw (+575)

ufc-london The main event of UFC 173 is a five-round title fight between UFC bantamweight champion Renan “The Baron” Barao and TJ Dillashaw. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Barao as a -710 favorite (bet $710 to win $100) while Dillashaw is a +575 underdog (bet $100 to win $575). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Barao at -425 and Dillashaw at +305, and the betting public is all over the champ Barao in this one, taking the line way up. I agree with the movement in Barao’s favor as I’m picking him to defend his title. Here’s why. Barao (32-1, 1 NC) is, simply put, one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. The Brazilian is riding a 33-fight unbeaten streak into this matchup against Dillashaw, including a 7-0 mark inside the Octagon which includes wins over Urijah Faber (twice), Eddie Wineland, Michael McDonald, Scott Jorgensen, Brad Pickett, and Cole Escovedo. The 27-year old is an extremely dangerous fighter in every aspect of the game. He has vicious knockout power on the feet, terrific submissions if the fight hits the ground, and the wrestling ability to dictate where the fight takes place. He also has excellent defence and is rarely put in trouble on the feet or on the mat in his fights. Barao is overall an amazing mixed martial artist and has the potential to go down as one of the best of all time when it’s all said and done, and in this matchup against an overmatched opponent in Dillashaw, the high line for Barao makes sense. Dillashaw (9-2) was a contestant on TUF season 12 and since debuting in the UFC he’s gone 5-2 overall with wins over Mike Easton, Hugo Viana, Issei Tamura, Vaughan Lee and Walel Watson and losses to John Dodson and Raphael Assuncao. The 28-year-old is a fantastic wrestler with improving striker just like his teammate at Team Alpha Male Chad Mendes, but unlike his teammate he uses a more varied striking attack which includes kicks in addition to punches. He is also a great submission fighter and has scored three wins via submission in his career to date. He’s one of the most quickly-improving talents in the UFC’s 135lb divisions, but the promotion rushed him into this matchup against Barao and the fact he’s such a big underdog is justified, and he will likely have to fight a perfect fight in order to get the upset win as on paper his opponent has him beat in nearly every facet of the game. Although Dillashaw is an improving talent, I believe Barao is improving even more rapidly and I believe in this fight he will show the world why he’s one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on the planet and by far the best bantamweight out there with a devastating stoppage victory over the challenger Dillashaw. I really like Barao in this matchup and even at -710 I feel he is worth putting into a parlay. However, I like the total of UNDER 4.5 rounds even more, and that’s only -170. There is almost assuredly going to be a finish in this fight and at only -170 for a stoppage from either man, I think that’s the best bet to make in this spot.

Written by Adam Martin.

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