The UFC returns to Rio tonight with a lot of big fights that feature a lot of Brazilian fighters who will have the fans 100% in their corner. We’ve seen that in fights down there that the hometown fighters fair really well and it’s usually a bad night if you are an American. That doesn’t mean that fighters from the United States always lose in Rio but it’s worth noting when looking at betting lines.
One of my favorite plays of the night is Nate Marquardt vs Vitor Belfort. Both men are legends in the sport, however, both are also approaching their expiration date. At 38 Marquardt’s best days are likely behind him and Belfort, 40 has lost three straight by KO if you count the overturned loss to Kevin Gastelum earlier this year. The over/under is 1.5 rounds and I think the fight will end in the first round. Belfort’s chin is gone and we’ve seen from his last few fights that his strategy is now to blitz his opponent and hope for the early knockout. Belfort hasn’t gone past the first rounds since 2013. When you have two older fighters in a fight the over rarely hits. 1.5 rounds may not seem like a long time but to Belfort’s chin that’s not much at all. Take the under and enjoy counting your money you just won.
At +145 Marquardt is a very live dog. If Belfort doesn’t catch him early I believe “The Phenom” gets knocked out. If Marquardt doesn’t let the hostile crowd get to his head I think he wins this one easily. Take Marquardt and hope he lands with a big right hand on the chin of the UFC legend.
Luan Chagas is coming off a loss to Erick Silva earlier this year but in a matchup with Jim Wallhead he is a pretty big favorite at -260. Still at 23 years of age I’d lay the juice since he’s facing a 37 year old has a lot of miles on him. Always go with the younger fighter when their opponent is over 35 years of age. A 37 year old fighter may as well be 50 when he’s facing a quick, explosive 20 year old. Take Chagas.
Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo is a coin flip fight. Aldo at -145 is worth a look but I think the real value is in the over/under. Everyone thinks this fight is going to a decision. Oddsmakers have set the over/under at 4.5 rounds. That’s insane. Anything can happen in a fight. Someone could get cut and the doctor stops the fight. An injury can happen. Holloway could catch Aldo and win by TKO. At +155 you have to go with the under and hope for a finish. There’s too much value there to not jump on it. Take the under.