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UFC 117 Odds: Silva vs. Sonnen Betting Preview

Take a look at any mixed martial arts rankings of the Top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world and most if not all of them will have UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at No. 1. “The Spider” has won 12 fights in a row – last loss in January 2006 to Yushin Okami - and all 11 of his UFC bouts.

His bout against Chael Sonnen is the main event at Saturday’s UFC 117 from Oakland, Calif. Silva (26-4-0) enters off an odd unanimous decision victory over Demian Maia at UFC 112. It was odd because while Silva did land plenty of punches and kicks, he spent most of the bout dancing around the Octagon and taunting Maia rather than actually engaging him.

UFC president Dana White was furious and threatened to release Silva from the organization if he had similar antics in his next bout, which of course is this one. Silva has never been an underdog at Bodog's sportsbook during his 11-fight UFC career, and he is currently -525 against Sonnen after opening at -450, where he stayed until recently.

Because Silva is usually so heavily favored, bettors tend to parlay him with other bouts to increase the payout of the wager. And that has been the case here, so even though Sonnen is getting the slight majority of action on the line we moved Silva to -525 after last week’s UFC on Versus 2 as 53% of all the parlays are still live after that event.

No. 1 middleweight contender Sonnen (24-10-1) is on a three-fight winning streak, the last victory coming at UFC 109 with a unanimous decision over Nate Marquardt. Sonnen’s last loss came to the same Maia whom Silva just toyed with. But Sonnen also beat Okami at UFC at 104 – in fairness, Silva didn’t technically get beaten by Okami (he has never officially lost in the Octagon) but was disqualified because of an illegal kick.

And Sonnen has been talking trash for months about Silva. “I've beat the champion of every company except for the UFC," said Sonnen, a very skilled wrestler who could have the advantage on the ground. "I've accomplished far more in this sport than Anderson Silva.” And: "I just don't like him. That's it," Sonnen said. "I don't offer an apology and I don't need to give an explanation. We can't all get along. I'm going to take his belt on [Saturday] and Dana's going to fire him on [Sunday]."

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Silva, who has drawn some criticism in his career for lacking passion, has kept mostly quiet but promises to bring his “A game” on Saturday. Sonnen is currently at +350, but he is getting approximately 55 percent of the handle to Silva’s 45 percent on the line on that fight; the main event is drawing better than 31.30 percent of the total betting handle for the entire UFC 117 card.

Sonnen is used to being an underdog because he has been at Bodog's sportsbook in each of his four previous UFC fights and in six of his seven total fights offered at the site. But Sonnen has paid out nicely for players during his three-fight winning streak, going off at +375 against Marquardt, +250 against Okami and +185 vs. Dan Miller at UFC 98. Of course Bodog's sportsbook will offer several props for UFC 117 – those will be available on Thursday.

The “who will win Fight of the Night” generally is the most-bet prop with about 50 percent of the total prop action. And as of this writing one of the undercard fights is actually seeing more total action than Silva-Sonnen if you throw out parlay action. That would be Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch, currently with Alves at Even and Fitch at -130. This bout accounts for 31.76 percent of the total card. Alves, who hasn’t fought since losing to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 100 last July, is getting 57.30 percent of the total handle.

Alves (16-6-0) lost to Fitch via TKO back at UFC Ultimate Fight Night 5 in the summer of 2006. Fitch (22-3-0) hasn’t been beaten since also losing to St. Pierre, that at UFC 87 by unanimous decision.

Because bettors seem to think should be a very competitive fight, it is drawing more two-sided action than Silva-Sonnen.