UFC Fight Night 82: Betting Odds Preview

The former UFC 196 turned Fight Night 82 takes place this Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. A card that once featured a UFC heavyweight title fight has been relegated from PPV status after the cancellation of that bout. Instead, the card features Johny Hendricks and Stephen Thompson clashing with major welterweight division implications hanging in the balance. The co-main event is Roy Nelson vs Jared Rosholt (and yes, that pains me to say).

Main Event: Johny Hendricks vs Stephen Thompson

A win for Johny Hendricks would likely set up a trilogy fight between "Bigg Rigg" and Robbie Lawler with the welterweight title on the line. Hendricks is one of the premier fighters at 170 lbs with eight wins in his 10 fights since 2011, with those losses coming against Georges St. Pierre and Lawler. In his most recent outing, Hendricks won a boring affair against Matt Brown in which Bigg Rigg basically laid on him for 15 minutes.

There's no question that Hendricks' path to success is his wrestling. Hendricks is the best wrestler at 170 lbs with very few being able to stop him from gaining and maintaining control. Though his wrestling gets most of the attention, and rightfully so, Hendricks has done a good job at developing his striking game to set up his powerful overhand punches. Jab precision has been one of the keys for Hendricks as it has helped him immensely in being able to push inside his opponents reach, allowing him to go for a clinch or takedown. Don’t let his striking growth fool you, if Hendricks stands and bangs he will likely lose this fight.

Thompson may be the deadliest striker in the welterweight division with a barrage of kicks that can end any opponent’s night within an instant. “Wonderboy” is an agile fighter who excels at moving in and out to land strikes while constantly maintaining a healthy distance. Thompson was a ridiculous 57-0 in his kickboxing career before moving to MMA where he is now 11-1. Thompson has never faced a wrestler as good as Hendricks and if he is looking for the biggest victory of his career, he will need to be able to stuff Bigg Rigg’s takedown attempts. Wonderboy did a solid job at grappling in his last fight against Jake Ellenberger, but Hendricks is a major step up from Ellenberger.

Sportsbook has Hendricks as a -230 favorite with Thompson coming back at +180. Given his experience and ability to absorb punishment, it is understandable that Hendricks comes in as the favorite. However, in Hendricks' losses he was forced to stand and was subsequently outstriked. Thompson if far from out of this contest, but it will take a renewed emphasis on defensive wrestling to help impose his gameplan and pick up this victory.

Co-Main Event: Roy Nelson vs Jared Rosholt

Roy Nelson is closer to the end of his career than he is from the start. “Big Country” has lost five of his past six fights and is no longer looked at as a gatekeeper to the heavyweight division like he once was. Nelson continues to be a heavy hitting punching bag as his usual strategy of standing in the pocket and trading bombs has made him entertaining, but unsuccessful. That’s not to say that his right hand is any less dangerous as Nelson has won 13 of his fights by T/KO. Nelson is not a terrible grappler or wrestler, but he simply doesn’t try to use these tools offensively.

Jared Rosholt has quietly put up a good record in the UFC, as “The Big Show” is 6-1 since entering the company in 2013. Rosholt has not won in impressive fashion though as he has often been criticized for what can be described as a lay and pray tactic. There is also a distinct lack of finishing ability for a heavyweight fighter with five of his past six victories coming via the scorecards. The Big Show uses his D-1 wrestling pedigree to bring a fight to the ground, but has shown little killer instinct from there.

Nelson comes into this fight as a -165 favorite with Rosholt being posted at +135 per Sportsbook. Nelson deserves to be the favorite because of his finishing ability, but if Rosholt can get Nelson to the ground he will likely pick up a win based on suffocation. One thing I can be sure of — if this fight makes it to the third round it could go down as one of the worst rounds in recent memory.

The Rest Of The Main Card

Ovince St. Preux looks to get back on the horse as he faces off against Rafael Cavalcante. OSP is a little sloppy in the standup game, but has a powerful left that he likes to set up off the counter. St. Preux has an above average wrestling game that sets up his ground game. Cavalcante is 1-3 during his UFC tenure with two of those losses coming by stoppage. Cavalcante has shown great grapping abilities; he has a BJJ black belt, but also has a suspect chin. St. Preux comes into the fight as a big -360 favorite.

Joseph Benavidez is one of the best flyweights in the world and comes into this fight on a four-fight winning streak since losing to Mighty Mouse for a second time. Benavidez has a well-rounded skillset and is plenty capable of winning a fight in any facet. Zach Makovsky is a very technical fighter and though he lacks finishing ability, he normally puts himself in a good spot to win on the scorecards. Benavidez comes into this fight at -450, with his only losses in the UFC coming against Demetrious Johnson.

Misha Cirkunov makes his second appearance in the UFC after ending his first fight within the first round. Cirkunov has ended each of his past five fights within the first round. Alex Nicholson will be making his first appearance in the UFC after rattling off five consecutive stoppage victories in the regional scene. This fight has zero value with Cirkunov a -800 favorite.

At one point Mike Pyle was a respected fighter, but “Quicksand” is just 1-3 in his past four fights with two of those bouts seeing him finished within the first five minutes. Sean Spencer is 13 years Pyle’s junior, but “Black Magic” lacks finishing ability. Spencer comes in as the -155 favorite.

UFC Fight Night 82: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
  • Johny Hendricks -230
  • Stephen Thompson +180
Odds as of February 2 at Sportsbook
  • Roy Nelson -165
  • Jared Rosholt +135
  • Ovince St. Preux -360
  • Rafael Cavalcante +270
  • Joseph Benavidez -450
  • Zach Makovsky +325
  • Misha Cirkunov -800
  • Alex Nicholson +500
  • Sean Spencer -155
  • Mike Pyle +125
  • Josh Burkman -165
  • K.J. Noons +135
  • Derrick Lewis -115
  • Damian Grabowski -115
  • Ray Borg -300
  • Justin Scoggins +230
  • Noad Lahat -325
  • Diego Rivas +250
  • Mickey Gall -500
  • Mike Jackson +350
  • Artem Lobov -125
  • Alex White -105