UFC 198 Opening Odds Breakdown: Fabricio Werdum vs Stipe Miocic

WerdumMiocicEvent: UFC 198 Date: May 14, 2016 Location: Curitiba, Brazil Venue:  Arena da Baixada Broadcast: Pay-Per-View 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 was supposed to be a rematch against Velasquez but an injury has allowed Stipe Miocic to take the former champion’s place. An injury to Werdum forced this bout to be pushed back a couple months to May. UFC Heavyweight Contender Stipe Miocic A Golden Gloves winner and Division I wrestler, Stipe Miocic (14-2) may be the darkest horse in the UFC heavyweight division. He’s been around the Octagon for over five years, amassing an 8-2 record over that time span that includes the the likes of Gabriel Gonzaga, Roy Nelson, Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski, the latter two fights being especially dominant in fashion. Miocic is a well-rounded fighter and he does not get nearly as much credit as he deserves He has fantastic wrestling, very technical boxing, and knockout power that stuns most fighters. He uses his range well and doesn’t put himself into too much trouble. We saw in his fights against Fabio Maldonado and Arlovski that he can knock people out so don’t sleep on his power. During his time in the Octagon, the only losses he has are to Stefan Struve early in his UFC career and former champ Junior dos Santos. Miocic showed against JDS that he has the heart, the chin, and the skills to go toe-to-toe with one of the best in the world for 25 minutes, and he’ll look to do the same when he takes on Fabricio Werdum. After initially accepting a bout against Werdum on short notice to try to save the original UFC 196, he’ll now be given a full training camp to battle Werdum instead. Opening UFC Heavyweight Title Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Werdum a -225 favorite (bet $225 to win $100), with the comeback on Miocic at +175 (bet $100 to win $175) at Several Bookmakers. Werdum has the edge in experience, diversity of striking and submissions, and he’ll need to utilize each and ever advantage if he wants to be victorious. Miocic will be a threat with his high pace, high volume combined with crisp boxing and constant pressure standing, in the clinch and potentially with takedowns. Werdum has defeated better opposition, but he’s also 38 years old, five years older than his opponent. Werdum will also be fighting on his home turf, but Miocic has won two of his last three bouts in hostile territory. While Werdum is the deserved favorite, this past weekend’s UFC 196 event proved no champion or top UFC star is safe.  

Written by Brian Hemminger

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