UFC Fight Night 51 Fight Breakdown: Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Andrei Arlovski

Anthony-Johnson The main event of UFC Fight Night 51 is a five-round heavyweight contest between Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Andrei Arlovski. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Bigfoot is a -450 favorite (bet $450 to win $100) while Arlovski is a +360 underdog (bet $100 to win $360). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened Bigfoot at -260 and Arlovski at +180, and so far the betting public is all over Bigfoot in this matchup. While I do favor Bigfoot to win this fight, at the current line I would recommend passing for a bet. Here’s why. Bigfoot (18-5, 1 NC) is one of the top-10 heavyweight fighters in the UFC. The 34-year-old Brazilian is 2-2, 1 NC in the UFC with wins over Alistair Overeem and Travis Browne with his only losses coming to Cain Velasquez. He also has a No Contest against Mark Hunt which came in his last bout, 2013’s Fight of the Year in MMA. Bigfoot is a huge heavyweight with big fists and a lethal ground game. Once he gets his opponents to the ground, it’s tough for them to get up because he’s such a big guy and his ground and pound is deadly. On the feet he has solid kickboxing as he mixes in his strikes, but his defence is very poor and his chin is not good either. He’s definitely improved over the years but I’m wondering if he’s now a bit overrated because of his win over Overeem, which doesn’t look so impressive in hindsight. Still, this is the guy who TKOed Fedor Emelianenko, so you know he’s good. Bigfoot already fought Arlovski back in Strikeforce and he won the fight by decision, and since then he’s gone on to greener pastures in the UFC. Arlovski didn’t have much success in that fight but with his chin, Bigfoot is always at the risk of getting KOed, which is why I think the line is a bet excessive at this point, not to mention the fact we have no idea how he’ll look coming off of a PED suspension. Arlovski (22-10, 1 NC) is the former UFC heavyweight champion, and he recently made a successful return to the UFC with a split decision win over Brendan Schaub at UFC 174, although it was controversial. The 35-year-old Belarusian has solid kickboxing skills to go along with an underrated ground game and underrated wrestling. He’s actually done quite well as of late, going 7-1, 1 NC over his last nine fights to bounce back from a four-fight losing streak in Strikeforce and Affliction where he suffered three brutal knockout losses. And that’s the biggest problem with Arlovski, and always has been — his chin isn’t good, and it’s not going to get better at his age. That’s why the line is so high on Bigfoot here, because he’s a big guy with heavy hands and in a five-round fight can most definitely tag Arlovski. However, Arlovski has done a better job as of late of not getting hit and if he can avoid Bigfoot’s strikes he can make this fight interesting. Heck, he may even knock Bigfoot out. But based on how they have fought as of late, Bigfoot seems like he has more left in the tank and with the public unsure about Arlovski’s chin the line is sky-high on his opponent. I do lean Bigfoot here because I believe he should be the better overall mixed martial artist, and I think he should be able to catch Arlovski’s chin over the course of 25 minutes, but with his own chin being questionable I don’t think laying -450 is a good idea at all, so I recommend passing. In fact, it’s tempting to play Arlovski small just for value, but I’ll pass since I’m not picking him to win (although I don’t blame anyone for taking a stab at him as a value play). So I think overall this fight is a total pass — there are better spots on the card to make bets on, so look for those instead.

Written by Adam Martin.

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