UFC Fight Night 61 Betting Odds

Mir BigfootComing off a weekend that saw one former UFC champion bounce back in a big way, another looks to do the same in hostile territory. Frank Mir makes the trek down to Brazil looking to put an end to his current four-fight losing streak against Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva — who is on a three-fight winless skid of his own. The event also features the usual array of Brazilian fighters, and surprisingly, no UFC newcomers. The co-main event is perhaps the most intriguing bout on the card, as Edson Barboza looks for his third straight win against Michael Johnson, who fights for the first time since March 2014 and seeks his fourth consecutive victory. The battle between these two strikers should prove to be more entertaining than Barboza’s last outing against Bobby Green, since he has a more willing partner in this case. TUF Brazil 1 winner Cesar Ferreira returns to fight in his home country, where he has gone 3-1 in the UFC. This time, he faces Sam Alvey who looks to upset another local favorite after taking out Dylan Andrews in Australia back in November. In the lightweight division, both Rustam Khabilov and Adriano Martins saw their momentum halted in 2014 by top 155lb contenders. Each man looks to build upon their otherwise spotless UFC resumes at the other’s expense in a bout that should determine some of the lower spots in the lightweight rankings. Rounding out the main card is top 10 bantamweight Iuri Alcantara — who squares off with Frankie Saenz — and the UFC’s foremost Argentinian, Santiago Ponzinibbio who will welcome prospect Sean Strickland down to the welterweight division. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for every fight on UFC Fight Night 61 today at Several Bookmakers. Check them out: ——————– MAIN CARD (Fox Sports 1, 8pm ET) Antonio Silva -185 Frank Mir +145 Edson Barboza -140 Michael Johnson +100 Cezar Ferreira -265 Sam Alvey +185 Rustam Khabilov -210 Adriano Martins +160 Iuri Alcantara -305 Frankie Saenz +225 Sean Strickland -210 Santiago Ponzinibbio +160 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Fox Sports 1, 6pm ET) Jessica Andrade -190 Marion Reneau +150 William Macario -230 Matt Dwyer +170 Tiago dos Santos -175 Mike de la Torre +135 TJ Waldburger -140 Wendell Oliveira +100 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Fox Sports 1, 5pm ET) Cody Gibson -265 Douglas Silva +185 Ivan Jorge -180 Josh Shockley +140 ——————– Brad`s Analysis: Michael Johnson has only lost in the UFC to fighters who have been able to outgrapple him, and I don`t see that changing in this fight. Edson Barboza is the more talented striker than Johnson, but his chin is always worrisome, and Johnson is close enough in the striking that he`s going to land at some point. When that happens, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Barboza throw on a pair of roller skates. On the other hand, if Barboza avoids the KO here, he likely takes a decison of his own, but I don’t anticipate Johnson just standing around letting Barboza do whatever he wants in this contest. ‘Mutante’ is another guy whose chin could let him down at any moment, and Alvey is the type of tough fighter who will hang around to give him a chance to make that happen. In the end, I see the size and skill discrepancy being a bit too big in this one for Alvey to overcome however. It’s hard to completely count him out because of those other factors, but that’s just enough to scare me off of a Ferreira play, not actually make one on Alvey. Rustam Khabilov gained a ton of respect from me in his bout against Benson Henderson, and I’ve always thought fairly highly of Adriano Martins. Unfortunately, I’m not sure this will result in the most pleasing fight to watch, as I see the end result being Khabilov struggling to get takedowns, but eventually securing them and winning a decision from top position. On the feet, Martins might have a slight edge, but it won’t be enough to overcome Khabilov’s grappling. I do see this fight going over though, and the line could be favorable since they only have one combined decision win on their UFC records. In spurts, Iuri Alcantara is one of the best bantamweights on the planet. Then he gets either dumb or tired (or both) and almost blows easily winnable fights. I could really see that happening again, although being in Brazil I think he’ll be able to hold off the rugged Frankie Saenz for a decision. Of course, Alcantara could come out and blast Saenz in 30 seconds, making this entire point moot. Still, I can’t help but feel that Alcantara has his typical early success, then begins to fade and Saenz stages a late comeback. Perhaps the Saenz +3.5 points handicap could be worth a small shot if you think he survives early. I expect some decent things from Sean Strickland at 170. He should be fairly large for the weight class, and he already has a good mix of striking and grappling at just 23 years old. Even though Ponzinibbio is the more dangerous one-punch striker in this matchup, I think Strickland can keep him on the end of his punches, and will win whatever grappling exchanges occur. As with all fighters dropping a weight class, keep an eye on weigh-ins, but I wouldn’t expect Strickland to have any problems. Marion Reneau had the most impressive UFC debut that I took absolutely nothing away from. I’m pretty sure my striking would have looked that sharp against Alexis Dufresne in that fight as well. With a much superior opponent on the horizon for her here in Jessica Andrade, things will be much more difficult for Reneau. Andrade can push forward using her strikes to set up takedowns, and is very strong in the clinch. I think she drags this fight to the ground early, and I want to see how Reneau reacts, because if she can hang in there Andrade will slow later in the fight. Whether it’s enough for Reneau to turn things around is the big question, and one that will likely keep me away from this bout entirely. Matt Dwyer must have done something to piss Joe Silva off. In his debut he gets Albert Tumenov, and now he faces William Macario. Not the greatest recipe for a guy with poor striking defense. Dwyer is simply outclassed on the feet here, and has never been much of a grappler. Macario should rebound nicely from his loss to Magny. After seeing his UFC debut, I expected much more from de la Torre in his last outing, but either he severely underperformed, or Mark Bocek is simply that faded as a fighter. Either explanation doesn’t give me any interest in playing him here even though I don’t think particularly highly of his opponent. Dos Santos is a decent(ish) striker, but his wrestling still leaves a ton to be desired, and I’m not sure his submission game is good enough to catch de la Torre like Brian Ortega was able to do. I’m really having a hard time picturing this fight playing out, and for me that just means stay away. I enjoy watching TJ Waldburger fight. He either does fantastic things with his submission grappling, or gets knocked out violently. That’s exactly how this fight will play out as well. Four of Wendell Oliveira’s eight losses have been by submission, while Waldburger has now been KO’d seven times in his career. I lean a bit towards Waldburger here, as I think his striking defense has improved in spite of recent losses, and Oliveira is prone to bouts of inactivity, but the sub prop for Waldburger and TKO prop for Oliveira are the clear choices here. If you can get either above +200, jump all over them. When I looked at Douglas Silva, I just don’t see a guy with UFC calibre skills. His striking is wild, and while it worked against lower level fighters on the Brazilian scene, I don’t see him having much success with it in the UFC. On top of that, his wrestling and grappling games are simply porous. Cody Gibson may get himself in a little bit of trouble if he hangs around on the feet, but he should be a vastly superior grappler here and that should carry him to victory. I generally dread Ivan Jorge fights, because they tend to be terrible displays of MMA. Lots of cage pushing and not much else. Josh Shockley doesn’t have great takedown defense, so Jorge may be able to garner a takedown or two here, but it’s not like he’ll accomplish much even if he does. I see a very tepid decision win for Jorge incoming.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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