How long can one man withstand the weight of his mixed martial arts (MMA) crown?
After three consecutive title defenses, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion Ben Henderson is sent to face the man who handed him his most devastating defeat, Anthony Pettis, who is fresh off a demolition of mutual rival Donald Cerrone.
"Smooth" and "Showtime" will duke it out in the main event of UFC 164, which goes down this Saturday night (Aug. 31, 2013) in Pettis' home town of Milwaukee, Wisc., at BMO Bradley Harris Center
In addition, former UFC Heavyweight champion and Pride FC standout Josh Barnett will return to the Octagon after more than a decade away, taking on Frank Mir in a clash of two of the premiere grapplers in the sport.
The pay-per-view (PPV) card is stacked top-to-bottom, both in fights and in opportunities to make a little scratch on the side.
Follow me for a closer look at the odds behind UFC 164: "Henderson vs. Pettis 2:"
UFC 164 Odds For The Under Card:
Jamie Varner (-145) vs. Gleison Tibau (+105)
Pascal Krauss (-185) vs. Hyun Gyu Lim (+145)
Tim Elliott (-160) vs. Louis Gaudinot (+120)
Kyung Ho Kang (-210) vs. Chico Camus (+160)
Al Iaquinta (-245) vs. Ryan Couture (+175)
Nikita Krylov (-180) vs. Soa Palelei (+140)
Jared Hamman (-125) vs. Magnus Cedenblad (-115)
Thoughts: On a card headlined by a rematch of one of the greatest fights in World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) history, it seems a former champion isn’t getting quite the respect he deserves -- Varner should be far more than -145 against Tibau.
As I mentioned, I like Tibau -- the gigantic plodding bulldozer is an archetype I greatly appreciate, as evidenced by my admiration of George Foreman and Pacific Rim’s Cherno Alpha. He just consistently struggles against people he can’t comfortably take down. Even Kurt Pellegrino, a decent -- but badly outsized-wrestler -- gave Tibau far too much trouble. Varner’s wrestling should be more than adequate to give Tibau fits and his heavy right hand should be an excellent weapon against the massive southpaw. It wouldn’t even surprise me too much if Varner’s blast double puts the Brazilian on his back.
Varner should win this comfortably; bet appropriately.
In addition, I don’t see the logic behind Krylov being a favorite over Palelei. I understand that his record is gaudy, but he’s much less tested than "The Hulk," is giving up quite a bit of weight and is in my opinion inferior both in wrestling and striking. Plus, if I’m not mistaken, this is Krylov’s first fight outside of Europe and only his second outside the Ukraine.
Palelei looks like a tasty underdog to me.
UFC 164 Odds For The Main Card:
Ben Henderson (-120) vs. Anthony Pettis (EVEN)
Josh Barnett (-175) vs. Frank Mir (+155)
Chad Mendes (-450) vs. Clay Guida (+360)
Erik Koch (-150) vs. Dustin Poirier (+110)
Brandon Vera (-140) vs. Ben Rothwell (+120)
Thoughts: This may just be my blind hatred of all things Mir talking, but Barnett strikes me as a horrible match up for Francisco. For some reason, even if he doesn’t get taken down, Mir’s brain stops working if his back touches the fence. Watching him just stand there and get roughed up by Shane Carwin and Daniel Cormier was kind of pathetic. Barnett has the strength, cardio, and grappling fearlessness to get in Mir’s face all night and either grind him down against the fence or take him to the mat, where I’m certain he can handle himself.
"The War Master" is your parlay anchor for the evening.
Koch might also be worth something because his takedown defense should be more than sufficient to make this fight a stand up affair, where his technique is a step above Poirier’s. Therefore, a mid-sized bet on him wouldn’t be out of place.
UFC 164 Best Bets:
- Single bet: Jamie Varner-$50 to make $34.48
- Single bet: Soa Palelei-$60 to make $84.00
- Parlay: Josh Barnett and Jamie Varner-$30 to make $49.50
- Parlay: Josh Barnett and Erik Koch-$25 to make $40.50
UFC 164 boasts a title fight, three Top 10 match ups and a throwdown between legendary Heavyweight sluggers. Not bad at all.
See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC 164: "Henderson vs. Pettis 2" results this weekend, which is as good a place as any to talk about all the action inside the Octagon, as well as what you've got riding on the sportsbook.