UFC 159 Opening Betting Odds

UFC 159Fresh off a fantastic card on Fox, the UFC returns this coming weekend with one of the sport’s biggest stars, Jon Jones, defending his UFC Light Heavyweight Title. While much has been made of how deserving challenger Chael Sonnen is, the fight will go down this Saturday night from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey regardless. The line has been released for the main event since late last year, and almost nobody is giving Sonnen a chance. Jones opened as a -600 favorite (bet $600 to win $100), with Sonnen a +400 underdog (bet $100 to win $400), and things have only gotten longer from there. As it sits right now on Several Bookmakers, Jones is a -900 favorite, and the comeback on Sonnen is +600. The next three fights on the card have all had odds released as well. On the MMA Oddsbreaker show, we opened lines for Michael Bisping/Alan Belcher and Phil Davis/Vinny Magalhaes, and Roy Nelson/Cheick Kongo has already hit the books. Today, MMA Oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the lines for the the remaining bouts on the card over at Several Bookmakers. Here they are: ——————– MAIN CARD UFC Light Heavyweight Championship (c) Jon Jones -975 Chael Sonnen +675 Michael Bisping -180 Alan Belcher +140 Roy Nelson -230 Cheick Kongo +170 Phil Davis -280 Vinny Magalhaes +200 Jim Miller -305 Pat Healy +225 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (FX) Erik Perez -190 Johnny Bedford +150 Ovince St. Preux -175 Gian Villante +135 Sara McMann -535 Sheila Gaff +355 Rustam Khabilov -310 Yancy Medeiros +230 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook) Leonard Garcia -160 Cody McKenzie +120 Nick Catone -130 James Head -110 Kurt Holobaugh -140 Steven Siler +100 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Even though I’m likely in the minority, the juiciest line here in my eyes is Johnny Bedford being an underdog to Erik Perez. Due to the UFC’s desire to tap into the Mexican market, Perez has received a great deal of hype and favorable matchmaking, which has made him look spectacular as he’s beaten the dregs of the Bantamweight division. Bedford is by far the biggest test of Perez’s career, and is the epitome of his nickname “Brutal”. He puts opponents through the ringer in his fights, and I see him being able to do the same to Perez here with his size and wrestling. My hope is that the public will take this line even further in Perez’s direction, but they can be hard to gauge at times. I know Rustam Khabilov looked amazing in his UFC debut, as he threw Vinc Pichel around like a nerf football, but I think there’s some danger in the line being this long. It’s hard to pick or bet Medeiros because he’s coming off of such a long layoff and going through a massive transformation in weight, but he’s proven to be a dangerous striker in the past against bigger fighters. Coupled with Khabilov having a history of grinding out decisions rather than dispatching opponents like he did to Pichel, there could be ample opportunity for Medeiros to land the one shot he needs to change this fight. At this point I’d stay away entirely, but if Khabilov starts creeping up to 4:1 territory a play on Medeiros could be warranted. The remainder of the lines are interesting, but difficult to bet. Jim Miller should win a decision over Pat Healy, as he is equal or better in every area, but it’s difficult to lay this kind of price against Healy. Ovince St. Preux has faced the higher level of competition in the past, but matches up very equally with Gian Villante. Both guys are serviceable wrestlers, have some power standing, and struggle with their cardio. Sheila Gaff is either going to knock Sara McMann out before she gets taken down for the first time, or have a very, very difficult time winning this fight. McMann is probably going to be a parlay staple for many, but Gaff’s power is enough to keep me away here. Both Leonard Garcia/Cody McKenzie and Nick Catone/James Head scream “stay away”. Garcia should beat the ultra limited McKenzie, but the guillotine combined with Garcia’s lackluster takedown defense is enough of an equalizer to keep bettors honest. Catone and Head are just very closely matched fighters in almost all areas. Head is probably better offensively, but Catone has more staying power in fights, which negates that advantage. Finally, I have some interest in the line on Steven Siler. Holobaugh put on a surprising performance against Pat Healy in January, but I think that may have had to do with Healy’s discontent with not getting a title shot. Looking back through Holobaugh’s fights coming up, I think Siler may have a striking advantage although the Strikeforce import has the power on his side. This fight should play out on the feet, and I see Siler outworking Holobaugh for the victory. The line doesn’t offer enough value to bet it yet though.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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