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UFC 199: Betting Odds and Predictions

The UFC will see two titles on the line when they set up shop at The Forum in Inglewood, California for UFC 199. Luke Rockhold will aim to defend his newly won UFC Middleweight Championship against Michael Bisping in the main event, while the co-main event will feature the rubber match between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber for the 135 lbs crown.

Luke Rockhold (-850) vs Michael Bisping (+525)

Luke Rockhold will close as one of the biggest favorites in UFC history when the Octagon door closes Saturday night. Rockhold is coming off a dominating victory over Chris Weidman, and he thoroughly beat Michael Bisping two years ago. To pile on even more, the Brit enters the fight on short notice.

Rockhold is a phenomenal fighter in every aspect of the game. The San Jose native holds a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and has picked up 60 percent of his career victories via submission. However, his kicking-based offense has become the real catalyst to his game plan, as he tends to set up his submissions with heavy strikes.

Rockhold has underrated wrestling that he uses defensively to set up his ever-growing striking attack. His scrambling ability makes him extremely dangerous when in close, and he specifically excels when fighting against the cage.

Bisping is a volume-based striker who excels as the fight wears on. The Brit is 12-4 in his career when a fight goes past the second round and he is one of the few fighters who statistically lands more significant strikes as a bout moves on. He excels when he can pop in and out of the pocket by landing a few shots then resetting on the outside.

If Bisping stands a chance – which most people don’t believe he does – he will need to weather the early storm. However, Bisping has openly said that his cardio will not be at its usual level with the fight coming up on short notice. That is a major concern for a fighter that depends on wearing down his opponent.

Rockhold is alone at the peak of the middleweight division. His athleticism and well-rounded skillset make it difficult to imagine many fighters defeating him. Bisping was in Toronto filming a movie and not in the gym ahead of this fight. We saw this fight two years ago and it wasn’t pretty. Don’t expect much of a difference.

PICK: Luke Rockhold (-850)

Dominick Cruz (-600) vs Urijah Faber (+400)

This rivalry has been brewing for nearly a decade. Urijah Faber beat Dominick Cruz way back in 2007 in WEC – though at that time Faber was on the top of his game while Cruz was somewhat green compared to today and was basically fed to ‘The California Kid.’ ‘The Dominator’ took a unanimous decision victory over Faber at UFC 132, which makes this rubber match incredibly important to both fighters’ careers.

Cruz’ unique footwork and movement in the cage make him one of the most difficult fighters in the world to deal with. He uses this entirely unique style to dominate fights in the standing game by confusing his opponents and outpointing them. The Dominator also sports some of the best wrestling within the division and above average BJJ skills.

It is hard to find many knocks on Cruz, but his lack of punching power does not inspire confidence. His general lack of finishing ability could very well come back to bite him someday as the longer you spend in the Octagon, the more time you have to lose.

Faber is almost as well-rounded as Cruz. Faber’s striking game is a tad predictable, as it’s based heavily on advanced basics, but he has way more power than Cruz on the feet. The California Kid’s grappling and submission skills make him one of the greatest fighters to ever compete in the lighter weight classes.  

There is no doubt that Faber is closer to the end than the start of his career, and at 37 years old he has seen his power and chin deteriorate over the past several years. Luckily, a relatively light puncher in Cruz shouldn’t expose his chin.

This fight should be much more competitive than the odds suggest, but Cruz losing this would be a huge shocker to most. He is the younger and faster fighter and this fight should play out a lot like their second meeting. Faber will land his shots, but Cruz will almost certainly outpoint the Team Alpha Male Leader.

PICK: Dominick Cruz (-600)

Max Holloway (-325) vs Ricardo Lamas (+250)

Max Holloway will look to extend his winning streak to nine straight when he takes on Ricardo Lamas.

Holloway is a special talent who joined the UFC in 2012 at the ripe old age of 20. Ever since joining the UFC, the Hawaiian is 11-3. 

There is no doubt that Holloway’s meat and potatoes is his striking game. Boxing heavily influences his base stance and his technical proficiency makes him a difficult fighter to deal with. However, Holloway continues to add flashier strikes – particularly a spinning back kick – to his arsenal to keep his opponents guessing.

Lamas is a talented wrestler – a D-III All-American – and he uses those skills to grind out his opponents. The Chicago native does prefer to push his opponent against the cage with his ever-increasing striking game to initiate a clinch and work the takedown from there.

During Holloway’s career there have been question marks around his wrestling ability, but he has been growing defensively in that regard. Lamas has the skills to exploit this potential hole in Holloway’s game, but that will require getting a hold of his opponent. Holloway’s fight IQ and movement should ensure that he can avoid the takedown and keep this fight standing.

PICK:  Max Holloway (-325)

Dan Henderson (+300) vs Hector Lombard (-400)

The UFC trots out the senior circuit when 45-year-old Dan Henderson takes on 38-year-old Hector Lombard.

Despite being one of the most important figures in the history of MMA, Henderson is barely a shell of his former self. The former Pride Middleweight and Welterweight Champion is just 2-6 in his past eight fights with the past four losses coming by stoppage.

Age has rendered most of Henderson’s techniques largely useless at this point in his career. He is unable to wrestle the same way that once made him a deadly opponent and his chin is quickly deteriorating. Hendo still has the ‘H-Bomb’ – his massive overhand right – but that is about it at this point.

Lombard looked like a monster in the first round of his last fight – against Neil Magny – but he gassed after that and got pounded into oblivion for the rest of the fight. So, why not jump up a weight class and add another 15 lbs of muscle – that makes sense.

The Cuban has ridiculous power in his hands and is one of the biggest knockout threats in the UFC. Lombard is also a former Olympian in Judo and he has a second-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

If this fight makes it out of the first round I will be shocked and likely bored. Neither of these guys will be able to handle going 15 minutes. Lombard just has way too many tools in his arsenal to expect Henderson to compete. However, if there is one long shot to take on the main card it is probably Hendo with his one-punch KO power.

PICK: Hector Lombard (-400)

Dustin Poirier (-225) vs Bobby Green (+175)

Dustin Poirier looks to continue his impressive run since returning to lightweight, but faces a stiff test in Bobby Green.

Poirier found his home by moving back to lightweight following a solid run at featherweight. Since coming back to 155, ‘The Diamond’ is 3-0 with two first-round stoppage victories.

The long time American Top Team member is well rounded and has the ability to end a fight in most facets of the game. His aggressive, versatile striking style can cause problems for his opponents to deal with. Poirier is also adept at working on the ground and has an ability to use unique submissions.

Poirier is not a great wrestler – he is competent – but grappling with him is problematic because he has no problem fighting from the ground. We have seen that Poirier can be overly aggressive, but he has been doing a better job keeping that in check.

Green is a forgotten man in the lightweight division after dealing with injury issues over the past few years. He is 8-1 in his past nine fights with the loss coming against Edson Barboza, who is now the trendy name in the division.

Green has excellent boxing ability with incredibly fast hands and great head movement. That is both his strength and his weakness, as he doesn’t throw kicks and can be exploited in that aspect of the striking game.

This bout has not been getting a lot of attention on such a big card, but this could be an exciting brawl. With neither man sporting great wrestling ability, I imagine this fight stays standing – which makes me lean Poirier. His versatility in the standup game should be the deciding factor.

PICK: Dustin Poirier (-225)

UFC 199 Betting Odds: Inglewood, California

Odds as of June 1 at Bovada

  • Luke Rockhold -850
  • Michael Bisping +525
  • Dominick Cruz -600
  • Urijah Faber +400
  • Max Holloway -325
  • Ricardo Lamas +250
  • Hector Lombard -400
  • Dan Henderson +300
  • Dustin Poirier -225
  • Bobby Green +175
  • Brian Ortega -270
  • Clay Guida +210
  • Beneil Dariush -190
  • James Vick +155
  • Jessica Penna -155
  • Jessica Andrade +125
  • Cole Miller -190
  • Alex Caceres +155
  • Sean Strickland EVEN
  • Tom Breese -130
  • Jonathan Wilson -225
  • Luiz Henrique +175
  • Elvis Mutapcic -130
  • Kevin Casey EVEN
  • Polo Reyes -120
  • Dong Hyun Kim -110

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