After watching that epic preview for the third fight between Junior Dos Sanots and Cain Velasquez, you’ve gotta be pumped about the main event coming in a couple weeks from now. From top to bottom, UFC 166 is a solid pay per view offering and we will be able to predict 8 total fights. Four of those fights will be on the main card, and with full odds just released in the past couple days, we will bring you those picks in this article. The fights will go down in front of some lucky patrons at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. As mentioned in our UFC Fight Night 29 early predictions article, we have a parlay that includes the main event of that card (Maia vs Shields) and a couple additions from this card.
The main event of this card, as everyone already knows, is a heavyweight showdown between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. This bout marks the trilogy in the series, with all 3 being for the UFC World Heavyweight Championship. Both men have claimed injuries in their past losses, Dos Santos claimed overtraining affected his performance at UFC 155 and Cain claimed to have an injured rotator cuff in his loss to Dos Santos at the inagural UFC on Fox event back in November, 2011. Whichever story you believe is up to you, but we believe we will see something more similar to the UFC 155 bout than the Fox 1 fight. Current odds have the champ as a heavy favourite as he sits around 1.44 to 1. The challenger (Dos Santos) sits around 3 to 1. Our model has Cain as the big time favourite to take the victory. Rather than betting straight up on a Cain win, we included him in a parlay with Maia (from UFC Fight Night 29) and Gilbert Melendez (who we will discuss next). We placed a 1.5 unit bet on this parlay at 2.27 to 1. In addition, we placed a 1 unit bet on Velasquez to finish Dos Santos at 2.35 to 1.
Square in the middle of the main card will be a lightweight bout between one of the divisions best, and one of the divisions longtime veterans. Strikeforce crossover, Gilbert Melendez will take on UFC vet Diego Sanchez. This fight is important for Melendez to establish himself as a top tier UFC lightweight after losing (via split decision) to former lightweight champ, Benson Henderson. Prior to that loss, Melendez basically ran through every opponent under the Strikeforce banner and was begging for a better level of competition. Sanchez, on the other hand, has had an up and down UFC career. His career long win streak sits at 6 and that came immediately after defeating Kenny Florian to take the TUF 1 crown. Realistically, we don’t have to dig into this fight too much deeper than Melendez is a consensus top 5 lightweight in the world while Sanchez is not even a top 10 lightweight. A straight bet on Melendez at 1.20 to 1 or so would probably have a positive long term outcome. Instead of the straight bet though, we are adding Melendez combining Melendez with Maia and Velasquez to form the parlay mentioned above.
The co-main event of this card is another heavyweight bout between #2 heavyweight Daniel Cormier and #9 heavyweight Roy Nelson. Cormier’s lone victory since joining the UFC came over #7 heavyweight, Frank Mir. He also defeated #6 heavyweight Josh Barnett and #4 heavyweight Antonio Silva while fighting in Strikeforce. Nelson comes off a very disappointing effort against Stipe Miocic which was most likely the result of a grueling schedule of 2 fights in under 2 months. We expect to see a stronger Roy Nelson at UFC 166, but it will still not be enough to knock off the olympic level wrestler, Daniel Cormier. The under 1.5 rounds on this fights has climbed to near ridiculous levels. It now sits at 3.5 to 1. Unfortunately, Roy Nelson is a guy who has only been finished once in his 8 career losses, and Daniel Cormier has a habit of going to the judges, especially when fighting top competition. Our model has Cormier as a huge favourite to take the victory in this one, but 1.19 to 1 and with Roy Nelson’s knockout power, it is not a gamble we are willing to take.
In our final main card pick, and the third heavyweight fight of the main card, Gabriel Gonzaga takes on Shawn Jordan. Jordan is the favourite, currently sitting around 1.4 to 1. Gonzaga on the other hand is a slight dog at 2.85 to 1. We agree with the oddsmakers on this one. Gonzaga has a weak chin, with 6 career knockout losses. In addition, he has decent striking and decent wrestling, but Jordan is likely better in both areas. Our model has Jordan as the slight, but not huge favourite to taste victory. We will hold off on placing a bet, but if the line on Jordan to get the finish comes out and is well above 2 to 1, we will likely place a bet. In addition, the under 1.5 line currently sits around 2 to 1 and is pretty attractive at that level as both guys tend to finish or be finished before the mid point of the second round.
Maia, Velasquez, Melendez over Shields, Dos Santos and Sanchez. 1.5 units at 2.27 to 1
Velasquez to finish Dos Santos. 1 unit at 2.35 to 1
Cormier over Nelson
Jordan over Gonzaga
Here are the best odds as they sit currently: