MMA Betting Futures: UFC Title Fights

| September 26, 2013 | 10:40 am | Reply

Urijah Faber MMADid you bet Jones at -900 against Gustafsson? Were you sweating bullets for 25 straight minutes because of it? Title fights are lucrative for betting, but with so many X-factors involved in world-class preparation, you can find yourself on the wrong side of the value easily. With a lull in the action and plenty of title fights already announced or hinted at, we can spend a little time running some numbers and getting up to speed on the title picture, from a betting perspective.

Below we’ll look at my own comparison betting odds (or CBOs) for title fights looming on the horizon.  This is a hallmark of smart wagering, as having your own ducks in a row before looking at lines helps you keep your own perspective fresh and allows you to find the value in a fight easily as soon as the line hits.  If you want to follow along on current lines released before this article, click here for UFC betting lines at so you can see what the bookies have already put up and know what to work on first.

Bantamweight Title CBOs:

Barao -200 vs. Cruz +160

Barao -350 vs. Faber +250

Barao -170 vs. McDonald +135

The future title bouts of the division are in question, but one thing is for sure: Barao is king. The decision to strip Cruz of his title will be made at the first of the year, and with Faber fighting McDonald in December, this seems to be the more likely trifecta of fighters who will face Barao next.

With Cruz, ring rust would be issue number one with the champion unifying the title, and while a 100% Cruz could out point Barao, I can’t imagine he’s at 100% after so much time away. A lack of finishing skills will be a major detriment to Cruz as he needs to remain perfect for 25 minutes, but Barao needs one shot to end the fight.

Against Faber, I don’t see anything changing from their last outing to this one. While Ludwig is helping as far as MMA functional muay thai, the gap between Barao and Faber on the feet can only be bridged so far. With Faber having more and more miles on his body and being stylistically impotent against Barao, this one plays out in similar manner to the first, hence the heavy line on Barao.

McDonald has the best shot at Barao within the division due to his highly technical approach, but Barao found his way around that with crowding and takedowns into side control. The lack of an elite camp hurts McDonald’s chances of adding new elements to his game that would allow him to overcome Barao and he remains an underdog in their second encounter because of this.

Featherweight title CBOs:

Aldo -185 vs. Swanson +145

Aldo -140 vs. Mendes +110

Aldo -400 vs. Lentz +300

It seems like Swanson may get his shot at the title here, though with the fickle matchmaking at Featherweight, it’s impossible to say for sure.

Swanson poses an interesting test for Aldo this time around, as I don’t see there being another eight second KO here. Swanson has always had an unorthodox approach, but after years of diligence, he’s managed to put all the pieces together into an effective fighting style. Aldo is all form and no flash though, which is exactly what defeats wide angled attacks and movement patterns used to Swanson, making this one I have to put Aldo is a firm favorite in.

The most interesting match-up may be born from Mendes vs. Lentz though, as Mendes will look for his own rematch. Having gone back to his MMA roots, Mendes has let go of his blanket-like wrestling offense and opted for a heavy boxing approach, allowing him to finish his last four opponents since the loss to Aldo. If Mendes comes in without fear of Aldo and keeps forward pressure on, he has the power and snap in his punches to potentially fall the champion or set up takedowns that would allow him to attack Aldo’s gas tank in a high-paced fight. Aldo’s counters are on point and I’d give him a slight edge here, but Mendes could well be a live dog if this fight becomes a reality.

Against Lentz, we see a fight very similar to Aldo vs. Mendes 1. Lentz is a grinding wrestler that is rarely denied a takedown, but Aldo’s fast feet and takedown defense make this a nightmare matchup for Lentz. Short of a desperation takedown and fast sub, I can’t see Lentz pulling this off and Aldo is a heavy favorite in my CBOs because of this.

Daniel Cormier UFC on FOX 7

Is Cormier the man to beat UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones?

Light Heavyweight Title CBOs:

Jones -185 vs. Gustafsson +145

Jones -200 vs. Teixeira +160

Cormier -150 vs. Jones +120

It was a hell of a lot closer than the -900 line bettors made it, as Jones and Gustafsson put on one of the best fights of the year. Despite what you think of the decision, Jones walked with his belt still around his waist, but the title picture has changed because of the competitive nature of the bout and people’s call for a rematch.

Though the fight was close and actually played out in the way it was billed, I don’t see a rematch going as well for Gustafsson. We’ve seen that neither fighter has real dynamite in their strikes, though Jones’ elbow attacks seemed to have the best effect and he was closer to a finish than Gustafsson at several key moments.  It was the takedowns that Jones couldn’t get and where he’ll make adjustments in the gym, working on his shot and ankle picks to circumvent Gustafsson’s surprising clinch wrestling defense.  It’s a matter of both men making improvements and Jones having the better intel this time to make the best decisions needed to win again.

Teixeira is a different animal all together, but the more we’ve seen of him, the more he seems to be beatable. An ultra can crusher, Teixeira is bold in the face of danger, throws massive power punches, and is incredibly strong, yet his defense is porous at best. If Bader and Te-Huna can land flush and hurt Teixeira, Jones can do the same, and all from a safe distance. While the idea that Teixeira will walk him down creates interesting scenarios, this is really the story of many Jones fights, where he has to avoid smaller power strikes to win. So far, so good for the champ, and I feel comfortable at -200 that he can retain his title.

Cormier isn’t so easy to deal with. Against Gustafsson, we saw Jones’ shortcomings in the clinch and that he could be taken down. The thing that sealed the deal for Cormier in my mind was Jones reaction off his back, which was a series of confused thrashing movements. This showed he’s not the bottom game technician I suspected he might be and doesn’t make his look viable against Cormier. Yes, there’s a massive reach advantage for Jones, but with Cormier working with Cain Velasquez daily and having all the answers once he’s inside, I think he stands the best chance of getting an upset. Chin for chin and power for power standing, Cormier has this, and his only major question mark will be his gas tank. Call me crazy, but you know where my money is if this fight comes to fruition.

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Category: Betting, Exclusive, MMA, Opinion, UFC

Mike Hammersmith (Featured Staff Writer)

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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