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UFC 216 Betting Odds and Predictions

The Octagon sets up shop in Las Vegas for UFC 216 on Saturday, October 7. The card is headlined by a pair of championship bouts, as Tony Ferguson challenges Kevin Lee for the interim lightweight title and Demetrious Johnson looks for his record-breaking 11th consecutive title defense vs Ray Borg.

Obviously, the two championship bouts get the rub but heavyweights collide in a nice appetizer when Fabricio Werdum and Derrick Lewis meet.

Tony Ferguson vs Kevin Lee

Tony Ferguson (-260) is one of the most unique fighters in the UFC. He is lethal in all aspects of the game but it’s how he blends those together and how he moves from one aspect to another that makes him so difficult to deal with.

“El Cucuy” is deadly at every distance in the striking game. He generally prefers to keep a bit of distance behind a crisp jab and kicks, waiting for his opportunity to work his way inside. Once in close, Ferguson might have the deadliest elbows in the game today, as he will throw them from angles that an opponent simply never sees.

If the fight goes to the ground, you will see even more unique movement from Ferguson. The 33-year-old trains with Eddie Bravo at 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, a school that emphasizes creativity and inventiveness. This is most noticeable with his use of the d’arce choke, something that is rarely pulled off successfully in MMA.

Kevin Lee (+200) is a little more meat-and-potatoes than his opponent. “The Motown Phenom” is all about controlling his opponent and grinding them into a fine dust.

Lee’s striking game is built to complement his grappling skills. That’s not to say they are not good, but his standup game is a piece of a specific puzzle he is trying to assemble inside the Octagon. Everyone talks about Lee’s natural gifts (strength, speed, length) but he is a technically sound striker who is more than capable of landing smooth combos.

Lee wants to close the distance and start grappling, though. He is a powerful wrestler and uses a wide variety of takedown attempts. His explosiveness makes him great at hitting double legs in space but he does his best along the cage. Once on the ground, Lee clamps down on his opponents and suffocates them. The power in his hands always has opponents worried but it’s Lee’s ability to get a hold of the neck that makes him truly scary.

Ultimately, I think Ferguson is a more well-rounded fighter at this point in his career and his unique style should cause problems for Lee. When you add Lee's weight cutting issues, that only bolsters the idea that he could get finished early. 

Prediction: Tony Ferguson (-260)

Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg

What can I say about Demetrious Johnson (-1200) that hasn’t already been said? “Mighty Mouse” is the most complete mixed martial artist on the planet and is excellent in every area of the game. When striking, Johnson’s game is built around phenomenal footwork and aggression. His work in the clinch is masterful and he is equally able to open his opponent up for strikes or a double-leg from this position. If Mighty Mouse is on top, he has vicious ground and pound and passes guard with ease.

Ray Borg (+700) is athletic, quick and hungry. He tends to camp out at a distance until he can explode inside behind some hard punches or shoot for a takedown. That being said, because he can sit outside a bit, his activity can leave something to be desired. “The Tazmexican Devil” is a grappler first and foremost. He is fast and technical in terms of his grappling and has great timing for landing takedowns. Once on the ground, he is more of a grinder who looks to initiate scrambles where he can capitalize on his opponent’s mistakes.

I’m not going to say Borg has no chance. He is an elite scrambler and Johnson had some interesting scrambles with Tim Elliott. However, Mighty Mouse is simply the best and he should easily make history Saturday.

Prediction: Demetrious Johnson (-1200)

Fabricio Werdum vs Derrick Lewis

Fabricio Werdum (-270) is a well-known submission ace. “Vai Cavalo” is one of the best BJJ practitioners in MMA history and moves more smoothly than a man his size should once on top. Werdum has spent a lot of time working on his striking and has developed a nice game built around his jab and aggression. Once he gets an opponent at range, Werdum moves forward behind combinations until he can initiate a fantastic clinch.

Let’s not dance around it: Derrick Lewis (+210) is here to knock somebody out. “The Black Beast” has some of the heaviest hands in MMA and uses the threat combined with his physicality to walk down his opponent. The goal for Lewis is to get his opponent’s back on the cage where he can trap him and wing bombs. He will land some opportunistic takedowns along the cage and once he gets on top, he will rain bombs.

Werdum has worked a lot on his striking over the years but he still has bad tendencies. If pressured, he can stand still and wing punches or sometimes he gets overly aggressive and leaves himself open to being countered. That is a recipe for disaster against Lewis.

Prediction: Derrick Lewis (+210)

Mara Romero Borella vs Kalindra Faria

Mara Romero Borella (+175) will make her UFC debut on short notice, replacing Andrea Lee. The Italian has only fought once in North America, a split decision over Milana Dudieva at Invicta FC 24. Borella would prefer to be grappling, either working in the clinch or maintaining her heavy top control. In the striking game, she has a nice right hand but is too tentative and can telegraph her shots.

Kalindra Faria (-225) is the inaugural Titan FC women’s bantamweight champion after picking up a decision over Carina Damm last year. Faria has fought some of the best female fighters in the world – though she did lose to all of them. Though she is well versed in various fields of MMA, Faria is at her best when she is moving forward behind a barrage of punches.

This was supposed to be a showcase for Lee but the UFC decided to keep it on the main card after she dropped out for some reason. I give the edge to Faria.

Prediction: Kalindra Faria (-225)

Beneil Dariush vs Evan Dunham

Beneil Dariush (-225) has always had some fantastic submission skills but it has been the growth in his striking that has made him a top-tier fighter. Dariush has become increasingly aggressive in the standup game and will walk forward until he can initiate the clinch. Once in the clinch, Dariush loves digging knees into his opponent — he’s a black belt in Muay Thai — before shooting an opportune takedown and dominating on the mat.

Evan Dunham (+175) is an active fighter who has some diverse striking attacks that he sets up with volume. Dunham wouldn’t be able to land these combinations without his ability to cut off the cage and trap his opponent. He is also a black belt in BJJ and is extremely dangerous on the ground. He generally grinds out his opponents with his work rate and pace.

Whichever fighter can set the pace and be the one walking forward will likely win this bout. Dariush has proven that he is comfortable walking forward against absolutely anybody and Dunham doesn’t have the one-hitter quitter power to make him pay.

Prediction: Beneil Dariush (-225)

UFC 216: Ferguson vs Lee Betting Odds

Odds as of October 7 at Bovada

  • Tony Ferguson -260
  • Kevin Lee +200
  • Demetrious Johnson -1200
  • Ray Borg +700
  • Fabricio Werdum -270
  • Derrick Lewis +210
  • Mara Romero Borella +175
  • Kalindra Faria -225
  • Beneil Dariush -225
  • Evan Dunham +175
  • Tom Duquesnoy -175
  • Cody Stamann +145
  • Lando Vannata -210
  • Bobby Green +170
  • Pearl Gonzalez +140
  • Poliana Botelho -170
  • Walt Harris -340
  • Mark Godbeer +260
  • John Moraga +400
  • Magomed Bibulatov -600
  • Thales Leites +145
  • Brad Tavares -175
  • Matt Schnell -120
  • Marco Beltran -110

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