Unlike most MMA fight cards, there are differing opinions from bettors at Several Bookmakers and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook on both the main and co-main events for Saturday’s UFC 188 in Mexico City. Usually the Friday night before a Saturday Pay-Per-View card, the favorites in the biggest bouts have already seen their prices reach over-inflated levels from the opening numbers before settling down leading up to the fights. That is not the case for UFC 188, with heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (13-1) seeing very little line movement upwards at Several Bookmakers, going from a -475 favorite (bet $475 to win $100) against interim title holder Fabricio Werdum to -500, compared to the SuperBook, where he actually dropped from -500 down to -440 as of Friday night. Maybe bettors fear the long layoff for Velasquez, who has not fought in almost two years. Or maybe some just like Werdum. The co-main event between top lightweight contenders Gilbert Melendez (22-4) and Eddie Alvarez (25-4) is a similar story. Melendez has risen slightly at Several Bookmakers (-165 to -170) while falling at the SuperBook (-175 to -160). The obvious correlation to make between these two high-profile bouts and where people are wagering on them is that bettors offshore like the favorites and in Vegas they prefer the underdogs. But that is not the case throughout the rest of the UFC 188 card, with Several Bookmakers seeing bigger moves offshore on three dogs – Angela Hill, Efrain Escodero and Gabriel Benitez – than in Vegas at the SuperBook. In fact, the lines on Escodero (+135) and Benitez (+210) had not moved at all at the SuperBook as of Friday night. The biggest move on the betting board though is on unbeaten flyweight prospect Henry Cejudo (8-0) against veteran Chico Camus (14-5, 1 No-Contest). Cejudo won a gold medal for the United States in wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and he is viewed by many as a future No. 1 contender who could face 125-pound champ Demetrious Johnson for the title belt within a year. Several Bookmakers opened Cejudo at -475, but he has skyrocketed to -1250 there and is not much lower at the SuperBook, sitting at -1200, although the number was released twice as high on him there at -950. UFC commentator Jon Anik said there’s a reason he believes Cejudo is getting so much love despite facing a tough opponent in Camus. “It’s interesting, Henry Cejudo I think a lot of us expect that certainly by this time next year, he will have been in a title eliminator-type spot if not in a title fight by that point in time,” Anik said. “Some people are looking at this as an eliminator of sorts because none of the other flyweights have really staked their claim to a flyweight title shot, whether you’re talking about John Dodson or Jussier Formiga. None of them have really had that performance that just sort of ends the conversation as to who could be next. “So I think there’s a chance if Henry Cejudo is as dominant as he looks on paper (at -1200), he might end up fighting himself into a title shot here before we close the book on 2015. He’s the guy who I think actually has the most pressure on him. Chico Camus is no slouch. I thought he looked outstanding in his last fight against Brad Pickett. It’s a potentially dangerous fight for Cejudo, but if he comes through as many expect him to, I think that could really bolster the division, and he could be looking at a title shot.” Following is a complete breakdown of the betting moves offshore and in Vegas for every bout on the UFC 188 card…
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Click here for a sortable UFC 188 Betting Moves chart.