UFC Fight Night 93 Opening Odds Breakdown: Josh Barnett vs. Andrei Arlovski

UFC Fight Night 93UFC Fight Night 93 Date: September 3, 2016 Location: Hamburg, Germany Venue: Barclaycard Arena Broadcast: UFC Fight Pass Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett Perhaps the longest tenured top 10 fighter in MMA, Barnett has been making waves since he debuted in the UFC back in 2001. A short-lived UFC title run due to a positive steroid test chased Barnett from competing in North America for much of the aughts. When he returned to compete in Affliction in 2008 and 2009, he was caught once again for steroids, this time causing an entire event and promotion to cease existing. Since 2011 however, Barnett has been competing in Strikeforce and the UFC without any drug related issues, racking up a record of 5-3 over that span. While age has turned ‘The Baby-Faced Assassin’ into ‘The Warmaster’, Barnett remains a legitimate threat any time a fight hits the mat, and has always been underrated in his kickboxing abilities. Still ranked 9th in a division with the longest shelf life in MMA, Barnett may still be able to work his way up to a title shot, much like Alistair Overeem after many had written him off. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski After a disappointing and disconcerting run in Strikeforce had many calling for Arlovski’s retirement, the former UFC heavyweight champion rebuilt himself by moving to Jackson-Winklejohn’s in Albuquerque, and facing some lower level competition. He lost only one of his next eight bouts (to Anthony Johnson), and found himself back in the UFC. After escaping with a split decision against Brendan Schaub, he knocked out Antonio Silva and Travis Browne (in a 2015 fight of the year contender) before taking a decision over Frank Mir. The four-fight streak had placed Arlovski in the unlikely position of UFC title contender again. He dropped a defacto number one contender’s bout to now heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic by TKO (his first such loss in five years), and followed that up with another TKO loss to Alistair Overeem in the main event of UFC Fight Night 87. Perhaps a last shot for Arlovski, he’ll take on Josh Barnett next in the main event of UFC Fight Night 93. Opening Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened Barnett a -210 favorite (bet $210 to win $100) with the comeback on Arlovski at +160 (bet $100 to win $160) at Several Bookmakers. That number was opened all the way back in June, and action steadily crept in on Arlovski to bring him as low at +120, and Barnett -140. During fight week, things have begun to move back in the original direction with Barnett sitting at -150 as of this writing. Given the style matchup, and how Arlovski’s fights have played out in his most recent UFC run when he hasn’t been able to get the early KO, this movement didn’t make much sense to me. Barnett has an historically stout chin, suffering just two TKO losses in his entire career, and that is Arlovski’s only path to victory in this fight. Perhaps 10 years ago, Arlovski would have been fleet of foot enough to avoid Barnett closing the distance, but 2016 Arlovski is relatively plodding. Plus, he has exhibited a combination of dreadful takedown defense and no ability to get back to his feet, which is perfect for Barnett’s patient top game. Even in the clinch, Barnett has a more diverse set of striking tools, and can wear Arlovski out should he not be able to get the takedown. Also, while Barnett is no Stipe Miocic or Alistair Overeem on the feet, he’s a capable striker who could finish Arlovski there as well. For a fight where one man has a path to victory anywhere the bout takes place, and the other has what would seem to be an unlikely path to victory, I see the current -150 on Barnett as a steal, and will be taking it before it moves back towards the original number.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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