UFC Heavyweight Title Opening Odds Breakdown: Werdum vs. Velasquez 2

Werdum VelasquezEvent: TBA Date: TBA Location: TBA Venue: TBA Broadcast: TBA UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum Since June of 2010, Fabricio Werdum has been best known as the first man to legitimately defeat Fedor Emelianenko. His second run in the UFC may have changed that perception however. He has gone 6-0 since returning to the Octagon in 2012, and perhaps even more surprisingly, he has as many TKOs as submissions during that span. After victories over Roy Nelson, Mike Russow, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Travis Browne, the Brazilian was named a coach of ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America’ and granted a title shot against Cain Velasquez to take place in Mexico City. Unfortunately, Velasquez was injured in the lead-up to the bout and Werdum instead faced Mark Hunt for the interim heavyweight title. Werdum won that bout via second round TKO, and a unification bout with Velasquez was scheduled for UFC 188, once again in Mexico City. In a career-defining performance, Werdum battered the champion with his striking and eventually forced a sloppy shot which he capitalized on with a guillotine choke to become the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion. His first defense of the title with be a rematch with Velasquez which has yet to be given a date or location. UFC Heavyweight Contender Cain Velasquez Cain Velasquez has been pegged for stardom from the time he debuted in MMA back in 2006, and his career has largely gone as planned. Velasquez made it to the UFC after just two bouts, and became the UFC heavyweight champion before he had ten bouts on his record. Following a quick knockout loss to Junior dos Santos on the UFC’s first Fox card, Velasquez reclaimed his title and defended the belt twice. His combination of smothering pressure striking, wrestling, and seemingly limitless cardio had many thinking he was unbeatable by the present crop of heavyweights in the sport. Unfortunately for Velasquez, he seems to be somewhat injury prone, and has experienced 13- and 20-month layoffs over the past five years. Those two absences have been followed by his only two professional defeats, the aforementioned loss to dos Santos, and an absolute drubbing at the hands of Fabricio Werdum in June 2015. The former ASU Sun Devil will have a chance to avenge his loss to Werdum much like he did against dos Santos when the two meet again for the UFC heavyweight title. Opening UFC Heavyweight Title Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Velasquez a -160 favorite (bet $160 to win $100), with the comeback on Werdum at +130 (bet $100 to win $130) at Several Bookmakers. The first meeting between these two was viewed in several different ways. Some saw a dominant performance from Werdum while others saw the extended layoff and altitude wreck havoc on the normally unstoppable Velasquez. The truth, as always, probably lies somewhere in the middle. Personally, I feel that Werdum’s edges in striking and on the ground will still be present even if Velasquez is more physically prepared this time around, and as such I favor him to retain his title, although not as dominantly as he captured it. While many have reacted to this fight in less than ideal fashion, it is still the best heavyweight bout the UFC can make right now, and the intrigue of how the styles will play out after both fighters have had a chance to make adjustments will create plenty of interest come fight time.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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