Luke Rockhold is coming into UFC 221 pretty pissed off. Not only does he want this belt back but he’s really irritated by the fact that Yoel Romero missed weight. Romero came in at 187.7 last night in his second attempt after coming in at 188 at the official weigh ins.
Rockhold has only fought once since losing to Michael Bisping in 2016. The former champ dominated David Branch last September forcing the former two division WSOF champ to to tap to strikes in the second round.
Yoel Romero hasn’t fought since losing the interim middleweight title to Robert Whittaker last September. Coming into the fight he was undefeated in eight straight fights in the UFC. Whittaker wore down “The Soldier of God” and went on to win a decision.
When handicapping this fight one thing jumps out at me: Romero’s age. He’s 40 years old. Anytime I bet on a fight I never put my money on a guy in his 40s who is facing a fighter in his early 30s. I think Romero has a chance but if he doesn’t finish Rockhold early it’s going to be a long night for him. At -160 you will have to lay $160 to win $100 but I think Rockhold is the play here, especially after Romero missed weight.
Another play I like is Curtis Blaydes vs Mark Hunt to go under 1.5 rounds. Blaydes is 26 facing a 43 year old Hunt. Like I said earlier, always bet on the younger fighter. I’m not willing to lay the money on Blaydes to win but I don’t see the fight making it out of the first round. Heavyweights have a tendency to throw down and not try to take into the deep waters. I’m thinking Blaydes catches Hunt early and that’s why I think t +185 it’s worth the money to put it on the under 1.5 rounds. You can almost double your money if the fight finishes in the first seven and a half minutes.
The last play I like is Mizuto Hirota vs Ross Pearson going under 2.5 rounds. Ross Pearson normally take a fight the distance but he was knocked out in the second round in his last fight last June. Hirota is 36 years old and also hasn’t fought since last June. I’m thinking with both of these guys having been in some wars over the years in their thirties that this fight may not go the distance. Considering the under is at +240 I think it’s definitely worth looking at.
The only other fight I have interest in is Jake Matthews vs Jingliang Li. At +130 Matthews is worth a look as a live dog but I’m not sure I want to pull the trigger on it. I see the fight going to a decision but I don’t want to put down $170 to win $100 since the over is -170. I think it will be a close decision and Matthews could get the upset.