UFC 208 is upon us and there is a lot of intrigue surrounding some of the big stars on the card as to whether or not they can return to greatness. Anderson Silva and Holly Holm were on top of the world a few years ago but now they both find themselves needing a win tonight to get the respect they lost after some tough losses. Both are underdogs tonight in Brooklyn but both are excellent values if you want to bet on the fights tonight.
Last week at UFC Fight Night 104 the underdogs came through big as heavy favorites Dennis Bermudez, Alexa Grasso, Ovince St. Preux and Anthony Hamilton all lost. In a fist fight you have a 50/50 shot at winning and a 50/50 shot at losing and favorites aren’t always a lock to win. Tonight there are some hefty favorites and there is a lot of value in the underdogs in fights that are much closer than they appear on paper.
Anderson Silva is +135 against Derek Brunson, Brunson is eight years younger and usually you want to avoid taking betting on an older fighter in this situation. However, Silva isn’t getting dominated in his old age. He went three rounds with Daniel Cormier in July and probably should’ve beaten Michael Bisping too. Brunson has heavy hands and has a background in wrestling. However, he also has a history of getting knocked out by dynamic strikers like Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero. I definitely agree that Brunson should be able to beat Silva but I think “The Spider” has a shot in this one. I also think the UFC brass thinks Silva can win too because Brunson isn’t a guy they can build around. If they were going to feed a legend to someone to help elevate it would be someone younger like Uriah Hall, Kevin Gastelum or Luke Rockhold. That’s why they picked Brunson over them. The UFC can still make money with Silva but they need him to win a fight before they can put him back in the main events and potentially fighting for a title again. Silva wasn’t brought in for Brunson, Brunson was brought in for Silva.
It’s not a lock but Silva is worth a look at +135.
Another underdog worth a look is Jared Cannonier against Glover Teixeira. Quietly Cannonier is 9-1 with two straight wins in the UFC. If he gets past the former #1 contender he’s suddenly in the rankings and in line for a bigger fight this summer. He’s also five years younger than his opponent and has less wear and tear on his chin. Glover has 30 fights under his belt and it’s starting show as he’s gone 3-3 in his last six fights. I don’t think Cannonier is a sure fire winner but there is value there at +195.
The best value on the card is Jim Miller at +360 against Dustin Poirier. While Poirier might be the flashier, more dynamic fighter Miller is more well rounded. Poirier will have the advantage standing but Miller is a better grappler and wrestler. I see this being a tough and gritty fight which favors Miller. I think it goes to a decision and Miller gets the upset win.
Roan Carneiro at +275 is worth a look against Ryan LaFlare. LaFlare is 12-1 with his only loss coming to Damian Maia. Carneiro is a wily vet who is a tough out against anyone in the UFC. Due to being such a heavy underdog I think Carneriro is worth the play since I think the fight is a coin flip.
Nik Lentz at +255 is also worth a look against. Islam Makhachev. Makhachevec’s record is inflated due to fighting chumps in Russia. He is a submission machine and is rightfully the favorite but Lentz is always a tough matchup for anyone due to his solid wrestling game. I see this one going the distance and going either way. With that being said, Lentz is a solid play.
The biggest underdog on the card is Ulka Sasaki at +500. Japanese fighters haven’t traditionally done well in the octagon so I’m reluctant to go all in on him. However, he has gone 2-2 in the UFC and is five years younger than his opponent, Wilson Reis. I think Reis is the favorite in the fight but with such an inflated line a small play is warranted since it could result in a big payday. By putting $20 on Sasaki you could win $100 if he wins.
I hate bet against Ian McCall but he’s nine years older than Jarred Brooks. Brook is the favorite at -125 but I’d lean his way if betting the fight.
I would stay away from Germaine De Randamie vs Holly Holm as there really is no value in the line with Holm +105. I think the fight is a coin flip and no worth betting.
I’d also stay away from Tim Boetsch vs Ronaldo Souza. Souza is a big jump up in competition for “The Barbarian” and at -535 there’s no value in the play.