Welcome once again to the MMA Plus UFC 207 Betting Guide where we run through each week’s UFC events to see where the best value bets are to line your pockets.
The UFC is back in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena where Ronda Rousey will make her long awaited return to the octagon to face current UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.
Also UFC Bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz faces hot undefeated prospect Cody Garbrandt in a highly anticipated fight for the belt. Look out for my “Red Pantie Night” tip of the week which highlights my best value bet that should deliver and shouldn’t be passed on.
Ronda Rousey (12-1) 5/7 vs. Amanda Nunes (13-4) 23/20 – UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title
After a crushing loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193, Ronda Rousey stepped away from the spotlight for over a year before now returning at UFC 207 where she will attempt to regain the Women’s Bantamweight title from current champion Amanda Nunes.
Brazilian Nunes won the title in July at UFC 200 against Miesha Tate and looked impressive on her way to finding the rear naked choke in the first round. This was the pinnacle of a career which has seen Nunes fight under both the Strikeforce and Invicta banners before finding her way to the UFC.
Her gas tank is questionable however and she has been known to run out of steam in her defeats, and even in victory against Valentina Shevchenko, she tired in the later rounds. Rousey will look to weather the Brazilian power puncher’s early storm and take over as the fight wears on.
If Rousey can get up close and get Nunes against the fence then she can score a throw or takedown easily with her Judo background and play to her own strengths on the ground. Although out for a year, Rousey is a world class athlete and has in the past seemed obsessed with being the greatest. Her 6-fight championship reign shouldn’t be so easily forgotten despite the previous loss and I like “Rowdy” to silence her critics and prove once again she is the greatest fighter in Women’s MMA history.
Tip: Ronda Rousey to win in Round 3, 4 or 5 at 19/2
Dominick Cruz (22-1) 10/23 vs. Cody Garbrandt (10-0) 37/20 – UFC Bantamweight Title
UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will look to defend his title against rising star Cody Garbrandt and although the young challenger has a puncher’s chance of finishing Cruz, my money will be on the champion.
Garbrandt has incredible punching power, however he has mainly displayed this on opponents who are happy to stand directly in front of him and trade shots in the pocket. That does not describe the champion as Cruz will use his unorthodox movement and speed to bait Garbrandt into making mistakes and then hit him from angles on the counter. With much higher level of experience and a highly rated Fight IQ, Cruz should have enough to keep Garbrandt chasing shadows all night.
Cruz may lack punching power but with him able to open up the challenger to clean shots, even with his underwhelming power, he may be able to catch Garbrandt unawares and put him on the mat. In the lead up to this fight, Cruz has engaged in a war of words with Garbrandt, who has shown how high on emotions he runs by storming out of this week’s press conference as well as trying to fight with Cruz in the backstage area during UFC 202 when the champion has got the better of him verbally.
Although “No Love” may one day become UFC Bantamweight champion, this is still the Bantamweight era of Dominick Cruz, and after victories over the best in the division including handing Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson his last defeat, Cruz will add another Team Alpha Male scalp to his collection at UFC 207.
RED PANTIE NIGHT UFC 207 BETTING TIP OF THE WEEK: Dominick Cruz to win by Unanimous Decision at 31/20
T.J. Dillashaw (13-3) 2/5 vs. John Lineker (29-7) 2/1 – Bantamweight
Although I consider T.J. Dillashaw to be the better and more technically gifted fighter of the two, the paths of victory for John Lineker can’t be ignored as “Hands of Stone” can continue his good run into 2017.
The Brazilian always has a chance of scoring a KO with tremendous power for the division and an ability to stand and deliver blows whilst shrugging off those coming his way. He will look to keep the pressure on Dillashaw and try to land his big shots as he closes the distance, his granite chin fuelling his wild brawling style.
Dillashaw has the better movement and will hold an advantage in the speed department over Lineker and the way he sets up his trademark head kick will ensure he lands his fair share throughout the fight. Training with Duane Ludwig at Team Elevation, the former Bantamweight champion will be confident in striking with Lineker but can’t be too cocky or may get caught out.
When facing John Dodson in his last outing, Lineker output plenty of volume but had a lot of trouble landing in a fight that many gave to his opponent. I can see a similar fight going down on Friday night but with Dillashaw playing matador with much better results and landing round winning takedowns when it matters.
Tip: T.J. Dillashaw to win by Decision at Evens
Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1) 5/7 vs. Tarec Saffiedine (16-5) 23/20 – Welterweight
Popular Welterweight Dong Hyun Kim will make his return to the octagon for the first time in over a year when he faces perennial mixed bag Tarec Saffiedine.
Saffiedine is one of the most baffling fighters on the UFC roster and never seems to get out of first gear. Preferring to stay on the outside using his reach to outpoint opponents, the Belgian lacks a killer instinct and has been tepid at times when he should have been going for the finish.
“Stun Gun” on the other hand is an exciting fighter who only loses to very top level opponents like current UFC Welterweight champion Tyrone Woodley and number one contender Demian Maia. Finishing over half of his 21 victories, the South Korean will look to take the fight to Saffiedine and be far more comfortable if the fight goes to the ground.
With Kim being the taller fighter and having a reach advantage over Saffiedine, I feel it neutralises his usual gameplan and will leave him all at sea. I expect the South Korean to have a field day with the hesitant “Sponge” and force him to panic which could allow Kim to take the fight wherever he chooses.
Tip: Dong Hyun Kim to win by KO/TKO or Submission at 39/20
Louis Smolka (11-2) 23/20 vs. Ray Borg (9-2) 5/7 – Flyweight
Louis Smolka will look to bounce back from his submission defeat to Brandon Moreno when he faces Ray Borg in the Flyweight division at UFC 207.
The Hawaiian likes to dive on grappling exchanges and has a very sharp BJJ game where he keeps busy and continues to look for submissions and transitions whilst maintaining position. Although he can be dominant on the ground, Smolka suffers from being a good all-rounder rather than great in any one area and this sometimes leaves him exposed against stronger and more naturally talented opposition.
Borg is a very athletic and powerful Flyweight who can score great takedowns at will and has good hands however after a second successive difficult weight cut, he may show some effects in the cage after weighing in at three and a half pounds overweight. If he tries to outwrestle Smolka, he will have to watch for how tricky his opponent can be in that area.
After going back and forth all week, I’ve decided to get behind one of my betting favourites in Louis Smolka. “Da Last Samarai” is available at odds against in this bout and I like the value even more when I take him to finish this fight inside the distance.
Tip: Louis Smolka to win by KO/TKO or Submission at 7/2
Johny Hendricks (17-5) 20/21 vs. Neil Magny (18-5) 20/23 – Welterweight
Continuing to miss weight and showing no signs of regaining the form he showed when at the top of the division, Johny Hendricks would have been a clear favourite in this fight not long ago but now looks like a shadow of his former self.
Losing the explosiveness and athleticism that made up a big part of his game, Hendricks doesn’t seem to have an answer in his previous fights against Stephen Thompson and Kelvin Gastelum to what’s going on with his skill set. Previously saying he would retire if he lost this fight, one has to question “Big Rig’s” motivation coming into this bout and unless he can produce a wrestling display of old or just one more nasty left hand, this could be his premature swansong for the Texan.
Losing only two of his previous twelve fights, people shouldn’t be so quick to write off Neil Magny after his loss to Lorenz Larkin last time out. The 29-year-old will have a massive 11-inch reach advantage coming into this bout and is significantly taller than his opponent. With his nice crisp jab and quick combinations, Magny must really fancy himself to come off better in the styles match-up and shouldn’t have a problem keeping Hendricks at distance.
All of this makes for a long night for Johny Hendricks fans so my money will be on Neil Magny doing what he does best.
Outpointing an opponent and getting the decision.
Tip: Neil Magny to win by Decision at 21/10
Alex Garcia (13-3) 4/7 vs. Mike Pyle (27-12-1) 29/20 – Welterweight
With two losses in his last three fights, Alex Garcia will desperately want to score an impressive win over grizzled veteran Mike Pyle at UFC 207.
Although not a world beater, “The Dominican Nightmare” is a talented fighter, and training with a good team like Tristar, will still be developing and improving between fights. Garcia has a lot of power in his hands but has a tendency to always shoot for a takedown when the opportunity arises. Although his skills could be described as rudimentary, he’s still a dangerous match-up for most of the Welterweight division.
41-year-old Pyle is quickly approaching the end of his career and this could well prove to be his UFC swansong. Unfortunately for Pyle, his chin retired years ago and after suffering some devastating knockouts, he always looks like he’s one clean hit away from going down.
The ageing veteran will be outmatched against a more explosive and bigger fighter in a much younger opponent in Garcia so unfortunately for fans of a fairy tale ending, I can see Pyle being less Cinderella Man and more Sleeping Beauty.
Tip: Alex Garcia to win by KO/TKO at 7/4 (William Hill)
Marvin Vettori (11-2) 23/20 vs. Antonio Carlos Junior (6-2) 8/11 – Middleweight
Currently on a six-fight win streak and after a good performance on his debut, Marvin Vettori will look to get another win against dangerous BJJ black belt Antonio Carlos Junior.
The 23-year-old Italian, who now trains at Kings MMA, has a good ground game and has secured eight of his eleven victories via submission. A positive coming from his camp is that Vettori was training closely with UFC Heavyweight Fabricio Werdum towards this fight and will now have a better grasp of the size disadvantage he faces.
Carlos Junior has fought at Heavyweight previously in his career and has a very big frame for a Middleweight. With his superior BJJ and being the more imposing fighter physically, the Brazilian could look to just shut down Vettori’s offence and has not been afraid to win ugly in the past.
As an underdog in this match-up, I still really like Vettori. I believe he’s the better fighter as long as the fight stays on the feet and will have an upper hand with his speed and mobility. The Brazilian has faded hard in fights before and I like the look of a late submission in this.
Tip: Marvin Vettori to win by Submission at 13/2 (William Hill)
Brandon Thatch (11-4) 8/15 vs. Niko Price (8-0) 31/20 – Welterweight
On a three-fight losing streak, Brandon Thatch is desperate for a win in this Welterweight bout with promotional newcomer Niko Price.
Thatch is big for a Welterweight and despite the three defeats, has shown the potential to be a very good fighter in the past. He can fade in the later rounds of the fight and this could possibly attributed to his known asthma condition.
In the footage available of Florida native Price, his approach is definitely that of a brawler who can be one dimensional however with an unblemished record, he may have felt no need to change or refine his game when it’s worked well for him so far.
This could be that wake up call for Price as if he wants to go in and brawl with Thatch, he is likely to get torched. The smart money’s on “Ruckus” getting the business done on the fourth time of asking and scoring a big knockout to remain in the UFC.
Tip: Brandon Thatch to win by KO/TKO at 11/8 (William Hill)
Tim Means (26-7-1) 10/11 vs. Alex Oliveira (16-4-1) 10/11 – Welterweight
Alex Oliveira returns to the Welterweight division after badly missing weight for his last fight and takes on tough veteran Tim Means.
“Cowboy” is the bigger guy in most fights at Lightweight and looks to get his opponents up against the cage and control them but it’s in that exact environment that Means thrives with his nasty fighting style and dangerous elbows. Also at a higher weight class, Oliveira may struggle to go with the same gameplan against Means who is the bigger fighter.
Although Oliveira is very strong, he will be outmatched by “Dirty Bird” in this fight and I expect a far from warm welcome back to the Welterweight division for the Brazilian.
Tip: Tim Means to win by Decision at 11/4
All odds for the UFC 207 betting guide are provided by Ladbrokes.com unless stated and are correct at time of writing.