UFC On FOX 15 Opening Odds Breakdown: Luke Rockhold vs. Lyoto Machida

Lyoto Machida UFC On FOX 15: Machida vs. Rockhold Date: April 18, 2015 Location: Newark, New Jersey Venue: Prudential Center Broadcast: FOX UFC Middleweight Contender Luke Rockhold Luke Rockhold (13-2) came into the UFC as the final Strikeforce middleweight champion. He was a force in the San Jose-based promotion, winning all nine of his fights there, including defeating Jacare Souza for the middleweight title, and defending it against Tim Kennedy and Keith Jardine. Rockhold has sharp hands and a deep gas tank, which has allowed the 29-year-old surfer to overwhelm his opponents until they give up the rear-naked choke, a submission he’s won with four times. Overall, 10 of Rockhold’s 12 wins have been decided in the first round, as he has submitted seven of his opponents and knocked out three. When Strikeforce folded back in January of 2013, Rockhold anxiously awaited his opportunity to compete in the UFC, but his welcoming party was a spinning heel kick to the face courtesy of Vitor Belfort. Using that loss as motivation, Rockhold took out his frustrations against Tim Boetsch and Costas Philippou in his next two fights, finishing both men in the first round. With a two-fight win streak in his back pocket, Rockhold called out top contender Michael Bisping, and he submitted him with a guillotine choke for the biggest win of his career to date. Now the UFC has matched Rockhold against Lyoto Machida at UFC on FOX 15 and if Rockhold wins, he’ll be in line for a middleweight title shot. UFC Middleweight Contender Lyoto Machida Lyoto Machida (22-5) is now 36 years old and four years removed from his short-lived light heavyweight title reign. Since losing to Mauricio Rua in 2010, Machida has gone 5-4 inside the Octagon, losing to Rampage Jackson in a controversial decision, getting put to sleep by Jon Jones, losing to Phil Davis in another controversial unanimous decision in Brazil, and then getting defeated by decision by Chris Weidman at UFC 175. After a long career at 205lbs, he decided to move down to 185 in 2013. Machida was initially set to fight Tim Kennedy in his first-ever middleweight bout at UFC Fight night 30, but after Michael Bisping dropped out of his fight with Mark Munoz, Machida filled in against his training partner, and quickly knocked him out in the first round with a beautiful head kick. He then followed it up with a decision win over Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night 36 to earn a title shot, but was edged out by Weidman at UFC 175. But he bounced back from the Weidman loss with a brutal body kick knockout of CB Dollaway at UFC Fight Night 58, and now he takes on Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC on FOX 15 with a possible title shot on the horizon should he win the fight in impressive fashion. Opening UFC on FOX 15 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Rockhold a -140 favorite (bet $140 to win $100) while Machida opened at dead even +100 (bet $100 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers. This is an excellent fight that could end in any method for either of the fighters. Both men have awesome striking, great grappling, solid wrestling, top-notch cardio and good chins, and neither fighter has shown many flaws in their game. Rockhold has looked fantastic in the UFC, going 3-1 with two submission wins and a knockout victory, with his lone loss coming to a jacked-on-TRT Belfort. Machida, meanwhile, has gone 3-1 overall since dropping to middleweight with two knockouts and decision win with his only loss coming to Chris Weidman in an epic five-round title fight. So it’s very hard to pick this fight. Rockhold has the edge in age and size, but Machida is used to fighting bigger and younger fighters anyways, so it’s hard to say how much of an advantage those things will be for him. Machida is a bit older and smaller, but he has looked like a young man since moving to middleweight and it’s hard to see him losing to anyone but the champ. This is a close fight and that’s why the odds opened at a near Pick ’em, but we’ll see where the public takes them.

Written by Adam Martin.

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