UFC 173 Betting News and Notes

UFC 173 Betting News and Notes

UFC 173 Odds and Picks
By: Hugh Citron

LAS VEGAS -- Saturday night here in Las Vegas, UFC 173 features a bantamweight title fight between champion Renan Barao and challenger T.J. Dillashaw. Barao, one of my top-five pound-for-pound fighters in the world, is a huge 8-to-1 favorite to retain his title, with Dillashaw getting about 5-to-1 odds on the takeback.

In his most recent fight, on Feb. 1, Barao (32-1) destroyed Urijah Faber in the first round, marking the second time he has beaten Faber. Faber is head of the Alpha Male training center, where Dillashaw is a member.

Dillashaw (9-2) will get plenty of advice from Faber leading up to this fight, and while T.J. is a game fighter, he's in a little deep here against one of the great fighters in the game today.

Look for Barao to move up to 145 pounds once Jose Aldo, one of my other top-five pound-for-pound fighters, moves up to 155 pounds.


Saturday night’s undercard features a key fight in the light heavyweight division between undefeated Daniel Cormier and veteran Dan Henderson. Cormier (14-0), a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic wrestling team, is a prohibitive -850 favorite, with Hendo getting odds of about +550.

Since entering UFC, Cormier has easily beaten Frank Mir, Roy Nelson and in his last fight, Patrick Cummins in a one-minute KO (Cummins did take the fight on short notice). As long as Cormier fights smart and doesn't get caught with one of Henderson's powerful right hands – as Shogun Rua did in Henderson’s most recent fight – he should have little trouble winning.

A win here would most likely get Cormier a shot at the light heavyweight title later this year.

But once again, I can't recommend laying huge favorites in MMA fights, especially against a guy like Hendo who can end it with one shot. A big lean towards the favorite here, but the price is just too high and represents no value.

Also on the undercard, Robbie Lawler is a -220 favorite in a welterweight fight over Jake Ellenberger, who is priced at +180.

Lawler (22-10) earlier this year lost a unanimous but close decision to Johny Hendricks in a welterweight title bout that might have been the best performance of Robbie's career. In November 2013, he upset highly-regarded Rory MacDonald to get that title shot and has really improved his overall game.

Ellenberger (29-7) lost to MacDonald last July, and the lackluster performance set him back a bit. He had previously been on a nice role, and if this fight took place a year ago, the price would be flipped and Ellenberger would be the favorite.

So I'm going with the value play here and take Ellenberger to pull a mild upset over Lawler, who may have peaked in his last fight.

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Re: UFC 173 Betting News and Notes

UFC 173 Betting Notes
By Sportsbook.ag

Event: UFC 173
Date: May, 24, 2014
Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena
City: Las Vegas, Nevada

Renan Barao (34-1) vs. TJ Dillashaw (10-2)

Sportsbook.ag Line: Barao -800, Dillashaw +550

Renan Barao puts his title and long unbeaten streak on the line at UFC 173 on Saturday night as he squares off against TJ Dillashaw in Las Vegas.

There are many fighters that have gone on big-time winning streaks, but none have ever went on a tear similar to the one Renan Barao is on. Since losing his first professional fight in 2005, Barao has gone 35 consecutive fights without a loss (34-0, 1 NC). During that streak, he has outlasted some terrific fighters such as Urijah Faber (2 times), Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald. In his last fight on Feb. 1, he was able to knock Faber out in 3:42. While there was some controversy on whether or not the fight was called too early, there is no denying that Barao was in complete control of the match with a 37-9 striking advantage, including a 17-8 edge in significant strikes. Barao is a rare blend of speed and cardio, and can win a match in many different ways. For Dillashaw, he has a big opportunity in front of him. In his last fight against Mike Easton on Jan. 15, he was able to get an easy decision victory with an impressive 117-46 advantage in significant strikes. Dillashaw is seen a future star in this sport, but he will need to prove to the world that he is ready to take the next step. While Dillashaw is a talented fighter, he has not competed against anybody as good as Barao.

Of Barao’s 34 consecutive victories, 14 have come by way of submission, his preferred method of attack. But "The Baron" has shown throughout his career that he can win a match in many different ways though, posting 12 wins by decision and eight knockout victories. The Brazilian does not land as many significant strikes (3.7) as Dillashaw (4.8), but he does a terrific job of picking his spots. The 27-year-old Barao uses his strikes to not just knock his opponent out, but he has the ability to wear them down too. If he is able to establish the pace early in the fight, than he has a great chance to retain the belt. However, if he allows Dillashaw, who has an identical 5-foot-6, 135-pound frame, to gain some confidence early, then his opponent could pull off the huge upset.

Like Barao, Dillashaw has also shown the ability to win a fight in many different ways. His 10 career wins are broken down as three knockouts, three submissions and four decisions. He has been a pro only since 2010, but has gone 5-1 since losing a title bout to John Dodson on Dec. 3, 2011. When you look at the statistics for Saturday's fight, Dillashaw has the advantage on paper in most categories with the biggest advantage in takedowns with a 3.04 takedown average and 2.28 submission average, which are considerably higher than Barao's 1.59 takedown average and 0.87 submission average. Dillashaw also lands 4.8 significant strikes per minute (3.7 for Barao) and is much more accurate at 49%, compared to 36% for his opponent. Both fighters do a tremendous job of defending against the takedown though with Dillashaw at a perfect 100%, while Barao is at 95%. The 28-year-old Dillashaw is a talented young fighter out of Sacramento, CA, that has a chance to be a star in the sport, but it is unknown whether or not he is ready for a fight of this magnitude.

Light Heavyweight Bout - Daniel Cormier (14-0) vs. Dan Henderson (30-11)

Sportsbook.ag Line: Cormier -750, Henderson +525

Daniel Cormier looks to establish himself in the light heavyweight class as he goes up against a legend in Dan Henderson at UFC 173 in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Cormier let it be known that he did not want to compete in the heavyweight class anymore, as he is a good friend of Cain Velasquez. Now he has his sights set on Jon Jones, and a win against Henderson would be a great start to earning his desired matchup with the light heavyweight champion. Cormier is coming off a dominating victory against Patrick Cummins at UFC 170 on Feb. 22, knocking him out in just 1:19. He was one of the quickest fighters in the heavyweight class, but now he is one of the strongest fighters in the light heavyweight class. Cormier is a big, explosive athlete that has the ability to dominate a fight in many different ways, and will need to use his versatility against one of the best fighters in the history of the UFC. After three straight losses, Henderson got back on the winning track with a victory against Mauricio Rua on March 23. While the 43-year-old Henderson is certainly not the fighter he once was, this is a guy that is respected by everybody in the UFC world having fought 10 current or former UFC champions in his career. As game as Henderson will be for this match, which could be his final fight ever, Cormier is the superior athlete.

Of Cormier’s 14 career victories, eight have come by knockout. He also has five decision wins and just one by submission. He is a terrific striker that uses his punches to either deliver the vicious knockout, or to wear his opponent down in the later rounds. He will have a huge advantage in this department on Saturday, landing 4.13 significant strikes per minute, compared to just 2.45 for Henderson. While they are both very close in accuracy of those strikes landed (49% for Cormier, 48% for Henderson), Cormier is a much better strike defender at 71% compared to 50% for Henderson. His quickness will play a big role in this match, as he will be able to hit Henderson and get away before his opponent is able to respond. The 35-year-old Cormier, whose 5-foot-11, 205-pound frame is the same as his opponent, has let it be known why he wants to be in this weight class, and this is a must-win if he is going to quickly emerge as a top contender in the class. However, if he comes into the fight overconfident, Henderson could have another great night in the Octagon.

Like Cormier, Henderson has won a lot of his matches by knockout and decision. He has 30 wins coming into this match, with 14 wins by both decision and knockout. His other two wins have come by way of submission. Henderson has gone up against some of the best fighters in his career, competing against the likes of Jon Jones and Anderson Silva, and beating such big names likes Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort.  While Henderson does not average as many takedowns (2.04 for Cormier, 1.68 for Henderson), he is much more accurate when attempting those takedowns at 55%, compared to 44% for Cormier. This is a very difficult matchup for Henderson, but there is no denying that he will be ready for this fight.

Welterweight Bout - Robbie Lawler (22-10) vs. Jake Ellenberger (29-7)

Sportsbook.ag Line: Lawler -210, Ellenberger +170

Robbie Lawler looks to bounce back from a tough loss as he goes up against a very talented fighter in Jake Ellenberger at UFC 173 on Saturday night.

Lawler earned the nickname “Ruthless” in large part because of his ability to turn any fight into an all-out brawl. In his last match on March 15, he lost to Johny Hendricks in an interim welterweight title bout by way of unanimous decision. That was a very competitive fight (significant strikes were 158 to 150), and that match showed how talented Lawler is. A win in Saturday's fight would put him right back at the top of the ladder for another title bout. However, it will not be easy against a talented fighter in Jake Ellenberger. Like Lawler, Ellenberger is coming off a tough defeat in his last match, as he lost to Rory MacDonald by unanimous decision on July 27, 2013 at UFC on FOX 8. That match was nearly 10 months ago, and Ellenberger should come into this match healthy and ready to go.

Ellenberger has 29 wins in his career, with 20 of them coming by way of knockout. The former U.S. Marine also has six wins by decision and three by submission, and is 12-3 in his past 15 matches. "The Juggernaut" Ellenberger's big advantage in this match will be his grappling game, as he is a great wrestler going back to his days at D-II powerhouse Nebraska-Omaha. He has a takedown average of 2.69, compared to only 1.12 for Lawler. He is not only great taking his opponent down to the mat, but he also does a great job of defending against the takedown with a 93% takedown defense, compared to 65% for Lawler. This is a big opportunity for Ellenberger, but he has to come out and fight his style. If he gets tricked into throwing punches with Lawler, he could be in big trouble.

Of Lawler’s 22 career victories, 18 of them have come by way of knockout. He also has three wins by decision and only one by submission, but he has 12 first-round finishes in his career. Lawler will have a big advantage when it comes to landing significant strikes, landing an average of 3.29 per minute compared to only 2.47 for Ellenberger. Lawler is also more accurate with his strikes (43%) than his opponent (40%) and holds a one-inch height advantage at 5-foot-11. Lawler does a terrific job throwing his punches, but he also has the ability to do major damage with a leg kick. While this is a big opportunity for Ellenberger, the 32-year-old Lawler is actually in the better position to get a title bout. Ellenberger has shown he can knock his opponent out, but a brawl will be just what Lawler really wants. While this is not the main fight on the card, this has the makings of Fight of the Night consideration.

Other UFC 173 Bouts

Featherweight Matchup
Sam Sicilia -170
Aaron Phillips +140

Welterweight Matchup
David Michaud -145
Jingliang Li +115

Lightweight Matchup
Anthony Njokuani -215
Vinc Pichel +175

Lightweight Matchup
Al Iaquinta -400
Mitch Clarke +300

Bantamweight Matchup
Chris Holdsworth -340
Chico Camus +260

Lightweight Matchup
Tony Ferguson -300
Katsunori Kikuno +235

Lightweight Matchup
Mike Chiesa -150
Francisco Trinaldo +120

Lightweight Matchup
Jamie Varner -185
James Krause +150

Bantamweight Matchup
Takeya Mizugaki -170
Francisco Rivera +140

Check out more UFC Betting Odds at Sportsbook.ag!

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Re: UFC 173 Betting News and Notes

UFC 173 Preview
By Brian Edwards

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Las Vegas and the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a 12-fight card Saturday night. In the UFC 173 main event, Renan Barao (32-1-0-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) will defend his bantamweight belt against T.J. Dillashaw.

Most betting shops have the champ installed as an expensive -800 favorite (risk $800 to win $100), while Dillashaw is a +550 underdog (risk $100 to win $550). The total for 'over/under' wagers is 4.5 rounds (-180 to back the 'under', +150 for the 'over').

Barao has been laying waste to the 135-pound division since entering the promotion. The Brazilian hasn't tasted defeat in nearly a decade and is off his second win over Urijah Faber by first-round knockout at UFC 169.

Dillashaw (9-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is a 28-year-old wrestler who fights out of the Team Alpha Male camp in Sacramento. He has won five of his last six fights with the lone defeat coming by split decision against Raphael Assuncao last October.

Prediction: Barao is clearly too expensive to bet at the enormous straight price. I think he wins a unanimous decision, but he could get the finish. If you win most of your bets going into the main event, maybe take a shot at the 'over' for the decent payout? I'll probably be on the sidelines for this one.

In the co-main event, Daniel Cormier (14-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) will put his unbeaten record on the line against Dan Henderson. The winner will most likely get the next crack at the light heavyweight belt against the winner of Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson.

Most books are listing 'DC' as a -900 'chalk,' with 'Hendo' available for a +575 return (risk $100 to win $575). The total is 2.5 rounds ('over' -140, 'under' +110).

This will be Cormier's second fight in the 205-pound loop. He was scheduled to make his light-heavyweight debut against Rashad Evans, but 'Suga' had to pull out due to a knee injury less than two weeks before the fight. Therefore, the UFC pulled former Penn St. wrestler Patrick Cummins off the street and into the Octagon.

Cormier needed only 79 seconds to earn a first-round KO over Cummins at UFC 170. Prior to the win over Cummins, Cormier beat Frank Mir and Roy Nelson in a pair of heavyweight scraps. Before joining the UFC, Cormier won the Strikeforce heavyweight strap thanks to wins over Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva and Josh Barnett.

Henderson (30-11 MMA, 7-5 UFC) ended a three-fight losing streak by knocking out Shogun Rua in the third round of their rematch in Brazil on March 23. Rua was dominating in the first two rounds and nearly finished Henderson, but the 43-year-old former Olympic wrestler landed a vintage right-hand 'H-Bomb' that floored Rua. Henderson pounced and finished the fight with additional strikes.

Prediction: I think Cormier most likely wins, but I'd probably bet Henderson as a +500 underdog or better against a lion. Hendo's one-punch KO power is worthy of a small wager on the underdog here.

In the welterweight division, 'Ruthless' Robbie Lawler and Jake 'The Juggernaut' Ellenberger will collide in the third fight on the pay-per-view card. Most spots have Lawler as a -230 'chalk,' leaving Ellenberger as an underdog in the +180 range. The total is 2.5 rounds (-110 either way).

Lawler (22-10-0-1 MMA, 7-4 UFC) is coming off a 25-minute slugfest against Johny Hendricks, who won the vacated 170-pound belt by unanimous decision in an epic thriller. Both fighters stood in the pocket and banged away for the first 4.5 rounds. Hendricks narrowly won Rounds 1 and 2, but Lawler clearly took Rounds 3 and 4 and nearly finished 'Bigg Rigg' on multiple occasions.

In the fifth and deciding stanza, Hendricks scored a takedown midway through the round and kept top position for the remainder of the bout. Lawler earned the title shot by winning his first three fights in his second tour of duty in the UFC. He beat Josh Koscheck, Bobby Voelker and Rory MacDonald.

Ellenberger (29-7 MMA, 8-3 UFC) is coming off the most disappointing performance of his career last summer against MacDonald, who won a unanimous decision in a snoozer. Both fighters talked trash galore going into the bout, but they were both reluctant to engage for the entire 15 minutes.

The winner of this bout will be in the mix for a title shot at 170.

Prediction: I like Lawler to prevail. The price is a little expensive, though, so I prefer a play on 'under' 2.5 rounds at the -110 price. I think Lawler wins by second-round KO.

The first two fights on the pay-per-view card feature 'Jamie Varner (-190) vs. James Krause (+155) and 'Takeya Mizugaki (-165) vs. Francisco Rivera (+140).

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Re: UFC 173 Betting News and Notes

UFC 173 Betting: Public all over big fave Barao
By MMAOddsbreaker.com

The main event of UFC 173 is a five-round title fight between UFC bantamweight champion Renan “The Baron” Barao and TJ Dillashaw.

The current betting line for the fight lists Barao as a -710 favorite, while Dillashaw is a +575 underdog. Oddsmakers originally opened up Barao at -425 and Dillashaw at +305, and the betting public is all over the champ Barao in this one, taking the line way up.

Barao (32-1, 1 NC) is, simply put, one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. The Brazilian is riding a 33-fight unbeaten streak into this matchup against Dillashaw, including a 7-0 mark inside the Octagon which includes wins over Urijah Faber (twice), Eddie Wineland, Michael McDonald, Scott Jorgensen, Brad Pickett, and Cole Escovedo.

The 27-year old is an extremely dangerous fighter in every aspect of the game. He has vicious knockout power on the feet, terrific submissions if the fight hits the ground, and the wrestling ability to dictate where the fight takes place. He also has excellent defence and is rarely put in trouble on the feet or on the mat in his fights.

Barao is overall an amazing mixed martial artist and has the potential to go down as one of the best of all time when it’s all said and done, and in this matchup against an overmatched opponent in Dillashaw, the high line for Barao makes sense.

Dillashaw (9-2) was a contestant on TUF season 12 and since debuting in the UFC he’s gone 5-2 overall with wins over Mike Easton, Hugo Viana, Issei Tamura, Vaughan Lee and Walel Watson and losses to John Dodson and Raphael Assuncao.

The 28-year-old is a fantastic wrestler with improving striker just like his teammate at Team Alpha Male Chad Mendes, but unlike his teammate he uses a more varied striking attack which includes kicks in addition to punches. He is also a great submission fighter and has scored three wins via submission in his career to date.

He’s one of the most quickly-improving talents in the UFC’s 135lb divisions, but the promotion rushed him into this matchup against Barao and the fact he’s such a big underdog is justified, and he will likely have to fight a perfect fight in order to get the upset win as on paper his opponent has him beat in nearly every facet of the game.

Although Dillashaw is an improving talent, Barao is improving even more rapidly and in this fight he will show the world why he’s one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on the planet and by far the best bantamweight out there with a devastating stoppage victory over the challenger Dillashaw.

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