We are just over a week away from UFC 170: Rousey vs McMann which will be Rousey’s fourth title defense since entering the UFC and second in as many months. The main event is intriguing as it features two Olympic medalists, but still requires a bettor to lay 4 to 1 on the champion. Full odds for the card likely won’t be out for a week or so, but with the first 3 fights on the board, we are ready to give you our picks! Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Reed Kuhn’s Fightnomics and to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
In the main event, as mentioned, Ronda Rousey will defend her women’s bantamweight crown against the undefeated Sara McMann. McMann, at 7-0 has already defeated one of the elder stateswomen in Shayna Baszler. Her lone UFC win came over Sheila Gaff via TKO, but it was more of a position TKO as she was able to get Gaff in a crucifix and was reigning down shots on her defenseless opponent. Rousey is also undefeated at 8-0, but has faced the better competition in defending her Strikeforce (formerly) and UFC women’s titles. Impressively, all 8 of Rousey’s wins have come inside the distance via arm bar, but she has also shown a (slightly) improved striking game, that while not devastating, is good enough that she can survive for the short periods of time her fights remain on the feet. Unfortunately, the stats for this fight don’t mean much as we only have 1 fight worth of data on McMann. For that reason, we are unable to predict this fight using our model. At just over 1.25 to 1, Rousey may be worth adding to a parlay, but considering 7 of her 8 wins have come in the first round, a bet on the under 1.5 rounds likely holds more value. We placed a 1.5 unit bet on the under 1.5 rounds at 2.40 to 1.
In the co-main event, we will see Daniel Cormier fighting for the first time at light heavyweight as he takes on long time standout, Rashad Evans. Evans is a former light heavyweight champ and enters the fight on a 6-2 streak with losses to the champ, Jon Jones and a lacklustre unanimous decision loss to Rogerio Nogueira. His most recent win was a dominant TKO win over Chael Sonnen (who later revealed he had surgery the day before the fight). Cormier enters the fight at 13-0, but the big question mark is how he will perform as a light heavyweight after being a heavyweight for his entire career. So far in the UFC, Cormier has simply leaned on his opponents against the cage for the most part, leading to two decision victories over Roy Nelson and Frank Mir. Amusingly, the line on this fight to be over 1.5 rounds is 1.41 to 1. There is no way in hell a light heavyweight over line should ever be that low. Problem is, both guys have been decision machines in recent performances and even though the under sits at 2.85 to 1, it’s basically unbettable. Unfortunately (because we like seeing boring fighters lose and we find Cormier incredibly boring), our model has Cormier as a pretty heavy favourite. At 1.37 to 1 the value just isn’t there for a straight bet. We will see how the line moves as the fight approaches and consider putting Cormier in a parlay with an appropriate second leg.
In the middle of the main card, welterweights Rory MacDonald and Demian Maia will collide. MacDonald was Georges St Pierre’s hand picked successor, but unfortunately lost to Robbie Lawler at UFC 167 via split decision and lost his opportunity to succeed the former champ. At the tender age of 24, MacDonald is already 6-2 in his UFC career and will likely receive his opportunity to fight for gold at some point in his career. Before the Lawler loss, MacDonald had won 5 in a row and looked to be well on his way to a title shot. Demian Maia has seemingly been in the UFC forever. He is the UFC’s 6th ranked welterweights and is likely a guy the UFC hopes will lose because if he isn’t able to lock in a submission, his style is relatively boring. For a great example, look at his UFC 112 performance against Anderson Silva where he was unwilling to stand with the champ and would wait for the referee to force him to stand up before making his way off the mat. Since entering the welterweight division though, Maia is 3-1 with wins over Jon Fitch, Dong Hyun Kim and Rick Story. His lone loss was a close split decision to Jake Shields at UFC 156. Our model has MacDonald as a decently big favourite to take the victory in this fight, but like Cormier, we will hold off and watch the line movement and consider putting him in a parlay later in the week. If you haven’t checked out Reed Kuhn’s Fightnomics it is packed with ridiculous amounts of MMA stats and is just $10 or so if you buy the Kindle version on Amazon.
We will be back later this week with our full predictions and bets for UFC Fight Night 36: Machida vs Mousasi and likely early-mid next week with our full predictions for UFC 170!
Under 1.5 rounds Rousey/McMann. 1.5 units at 2.40 to 1