UFC 199, set for Saturday night at the Forum in Los Angeles, features a pair of heavy favorites in the two co-main events. This doesn’t making the card too enticing from a betting perspective, as gamblers have a choice of laying huge odds with the chalk, or taking a swing for the fences with underdogs most people don’t believe have much of a chance of winning.
In the headliner, it’s middleweight champion Luke Rockhold laying about -850 odds against Michael Bisping. The challenger, offered at about 6/1 odds, was put on the card on short notice, as Chris Weidman pulled out of the fight on May 17.
Bisping (28-7) has pretty much admitted the short prep time won’t bode well for him, as his cardio won’t be at its usual level. Not a good thing for a fighter who gets better in the later rounds – he is 12-4 when a fight goes past the second – especially when he’s up against a brawler of Rockhold’s caliber.
The only loss Rockhold (15-2) has suffered since splitting the first two fights of his career came via first-round KO defeat to Vitor Belfort in May 2013. Since then, he has won five straight, including a second-round submission of Bisping in November 2014.
In addition to being easily the better fighter on paper, Rockhold, a San Jose native, will have a big home crowd advantage over his British opponent.
In the preceding bout, bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is a -600 favorite over Urijah Faber, who is available for about 4/1 odds.
The crowd figures to be evenly split for this one – Cruz is from San Diego, Faber from Sacramento.
This is a rubber match between Cruz and Faber. Faber (33-8) won the first meeting via first-round submission back in March 2007. That’s the last time Cruz (21-1) lost. He’s won 12 straight since then, including getting revenge over Faber via five-round unanimous decision at UFC 132 in July 2011. He beat Demetrious Johnson in October 2011, before a knee injury sidelined him. Since returning, he knocked out Takeya Mizugaki in the first round in September 2014 and took the title from T.J. Dillashaw in January of this year.
Despite his underdog status, Faber has far more punching power than Cruz, who does not pose much of a knockout threat against tonight’s opponent. Faber also has plenty of wrestling ability should the fight go to the ground. The knock against Faber: he is 37 years old and well past his prime.
UFC 199 picks
We’re not too into laying prices as big as the favorites are priced at tonight. We’re also not into losing our money. Quite a predicament we find ourselves in.
We do give Faber some kind of chance against Cruz, so that underdog is worth a small wager. At 4/1, Faber is way undervalued, so we’ll take a shot on him for a nice payday.
Should we be fortunate enough to win, maybe we’ll take a small slice of our earnings and roll it into the 6/1 dog in the feature, but that’s a just-for-fun sort of play. It’s hard to see Bisping beating Rockhold tonight, so it might be one to sit back, relax and just watch.