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The tale of the tape – Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov
Height: 5′ 9
Reach: 6′ 2
Last UFC fight result: TKO win over Eddie Alarez at UFC 205, November 13, 2016.
Height: 5′ 10
Reach: 5′ 10
Last UFC fight result: Decision win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223, April 8, 2018.
Saturday night in Vegas is the setting for one of the biggest fights in UFC history as Conor McGregor returns to the octagon to face Khabib Nurmagomedov.
This is the first time in two years that McGregor has stepped into the octagon. It’s a long layoff for a man that was known for his frequency of fights across the first part of his career.
Across the other side of the mat is the undefeated Nurmagomedov, a grappling grizzly bear whose showreel contains some of the scariest victories you are likely to see. The man they call The Eagle has trademarked taking his opponents to the ground and bludgeoning them into oblivion.
Khabib has a strong list of opponents he has bested, but none of the vanquished compare to Conor.
Possessing knockouts over the then pound-for-pound best Jose Aldo, as well as a consummate professional victory over Eddie Alarez in his UFC lightweight debut, McGregor’s speed and accuracy with his striking is a thing of beauty.
It’s a true old school match up.
‘Conor KOs Khabib’ – Anthony Pettis
One man who’s no stranger to gold in and outside the UFC is Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis, and the veteran of the octagon is predicting a win for the Notorious One.
Pettis believes McGregor’s win over Eddie Alarez two years ago means more heading into Saturday night’s fight than Nurmagomedov’s victory over unranked opponent Al Iaquinta.
“I think Conor’s win over Eddie solidifies him more as champion more than Khabib beating Al,” Pettis said at a media event in Las Vegas on Tuesday promoting his fight with Tony Ferguson.
“That’s just facts. The belt is where it is, they had to do it for the business, they had to move it forward, but if it was true to the game, Conor would be the champion.”
When asked for a straight forward prediction to the fight, Pettis was anything but circumspect.
“I think Conor wins,” he said.
“Knockout. I don’t know what round.”
Pettis went on to say that Khabib’s record, while good on paper, is not nearly as impressive as Conor McGregor’s.
“Who’s he fought?” Pettis asked about Nurmagomedov.
“Who did Khabib win the belt against? He didn’t win the belt against the champion. We’re in a weird spot. He didn’t win the belt against a real champion. You look at the last 10 fights, there’s some good wins, some great wins. But he hasn’t fought the best in the division.”
Conor vs Khabib – who wins?
How can we go past the Champ Champ?
Conor McGregor has made it a habit to show up for the big bouts, and there’s no bigger fight in UFC history than this one.
While Khabib’s record is flawless, he has never fought someone with the same attributes as McGregor. Alongside his ferocious punching ability the fanfare alone has been enough to throw even the most battle-hardened opponents off their game entirely.
Much has been made about Khabib’s ability to take his opponents down and maul them but many are overlooking just how good Conor McGregor’s takedown defense is. Against Chad Mendes McGregor was able to win the fight after being taken down and he has improved immensely since that fight in 2015.
The longer the fight wears on the more it favours Khabib, but we don’t think it will last that long. We believe Conor ends this fight within the first three rounds.
Result: Conor McGregor wins via KO – $2.65 at Sportsbet
US-friendly online betting company Intertops has some great promotions surrounding the bumper MMA fight between Irish star Conor McGregor and the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas on Sunday.
McGregor, in one of the rare occasions in the octagon, will start the outsider with Intertops having him at $2.45 to defeat Nurmagomedov, who is unbeaten after 26 fights and is priced at $1.62 to continue his run.
READ MORE: MORE USA SPORTSBOOK OFFERS
Get your stake back – up to $100
Intertops is giving punters who lose a head-to-head bet on the super-bout up to $100 back as a free bet. To qualify for the bonus offer all you need to do is place a head to head bet of $50 or more. When the fight finishes will determine how much bonus you receive back with $10 awarded if it finishes in round 1, $20 in round 2 and right up to $50 for a round 5 stoppage. If the fight goes the distance punters will be awarded with the $100 maximum. This bonus is only available to US and Canadian residents.
Reduced Juice – McGregor v Nurmagomedov
The online sportsbook has also reduced its “juice” on this particular MMA fight which means that you can maximise your winning, while the betting site takes less than they normally would.
Exotic & prop bets markets
When Conor McGregor fights the media is never short of headlines and his latest bout is no exception, with Intertops opening a range of prop bet or exotic markets. These include whether McGregor will turn up to the octagon with a hand dolly or whether Russian President Vladmir Putin will accompany Khabib to the ring.
IT is already being touted as the biggest fight in MMA history, but the market has installed former lightweight champion Conor McGregor as the outsider heading into his return to the octagon.
The Irish superstar heads into his October 6 bout against undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov as a $2.45 outsider at Sportsbet to reclaim the belt he was stripped of in 2017.
The Dagestan destroyer Nurmagomedov is the short-priced favourite to defend his lightweight crown at the $1.55 quote.
Former middleweight champion George St-Pierre, arguably the sport’s greatest fighter of all-time, believes the undefeated Nurmagomedov holds all the aces ahead of their UFC 229 showdown.
“I believe Khabib has more chance to win that fight than Conor,” St-Pierre said at a press conference in Sydney to promote the Australian leg of his speaking tour.
“Conor has one way to win the fight — if he catches him on the way in, standing up.
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“Khabib has more chances to win. He can win by submission on the ground and he can win by ground and pound. If it goes to a decision the chances are very likely Khabib is going to win.
“I see more ways to win from Khabib than I see from Conor.”
Nurmagomedev is $4.50 to defeat McGregor via KO.
A former opponent of McGregor Dustin Poirier agreed with GSP’s assessment of the fight, but said that the Notorious one has a number of strengths heading into the high profile bout.
“He’s got great timing, great judge of distance,” Poirier said of McGregor.
“We’ll just see if the takedown defense holds up and the cardio holds up. That’s all he has to do.”
Poirier said McGregor will have plenty of opportunities to ice his opponent early.
“The openings will be there, but he just has to stand the test of the wrestling and the conditioning, the physical part that Khabib’s going to put on early in the fight.”
McGregor vs Nurmagomedov headlines UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, October 6.
This weekend the UFC travels across the world to the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan for Fight Night 75.
The main event pits two heavyweight against each other with former champion Josh Barnett (33-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC) squaring off against the season 10 winner of the Ultimate Fighter, Roy ‘big country’ Nelson (20-11 MMA, 7-7 UFC).
Josh ‘warmaster’ Barnett is no stranger to the land of the rising sun, having fought in their showpiece MMA organisation Pride.
Roy Nelson is trying to turn around a string of defeats which has seen the American lose four of his last five bouts, including a brutal knockout via Australia’s Mark Hunt.
A Loss here would surely spell the end of the 39-year old Nelson’s career.
Josh Barnett: $1.36
Roy Nelson: $3.06
The road to Saitama Super Arena, Japan
With question marks already lingering on both fighters, a loss here could see the victor make one last push at glory and the loser retire into the sunset.
Former UFC champion Josh Barnett is no stranger to the ravishes of time, having fought professionally in 40 fights across his career.
The mental and physical battles of his career has taken a toll on the 37-year-old American, but he finds a way to forge on.
“At the highest level, when you really need to push yourself, it’s hard on you. It really is,” Barnett said of the grind to get himself in fighting shape.
“And if you do it long enough, you start to accumulate bumps, bruises, injuries over time. It’s inevitable.”
As his career has rolled on, Barnett has realised just how important the preparation for a fight is, not only tactically, but physically and mentally too.
“That’s why you need training camps. To ease yourself into these things. And as you get older, myself included, you have to learn to train smarter,” Barnett said.
“Not necessarily running your head into the wall over and over and over.
“When you were 20 you might have been able to put your head through it,”
“When you’re almost 40, you may put your head through it, but the rest of you is going to say ‘I’m glad you did that but that’s all we’ve got for today.’ And you’re going to be hurting for a while.”
It has been a 22 month break for Barnett since his last bout, a knockout loss to Travis Browne.
The battering he took has given the former champ greater perspective, especially in his planning for his post-fight career.
It looms as a huge fight for Nelson.
The man they call big country has struggled as of late, losing four of his last five bouts.
In a competitive heavyweight division, Nelson will struggle to return to the upper echelons of the sport if he is to lose to Barnett in Japan, something he will have to be acutely aware of.
The 39-year old American said in the lead up though, win, lose or draw he will be proud that he always stayed true to himself.
“The biggest one is just me going out and giving a 110 percent of what’s me, what’s my personal martial arts skills. Not nothing extra, no extra supplements or anything like that,” Nelson said.
“Just, what can I do as a man, as a person. Just go out there against the best fighters in the world and see where I stand.”
“That’s what I want. The other one is just being able to provide for my family, and try to be the best husband and father that I possibly can.”
Who will win and why:
Winner: Josh Barnett – $1.36
Method of victory: Josh Barnett by submission – $3.75
What round will the fight end?: Round 3 – $7.00
Both fighters are in the twilight of their respective careers which makes this match up a very intriguing bout.
The man they call big country has shown little growth over the course of his career, but even in the latter stages of fight life, he still possesses knockout power.
Barnett has a lot more strings to his bow, as evidenced by a career victory record that has seen the 37-year old submit and knockout opponents.
Another component that will play in Barnett’s favour is the 22-month layoff.
For a veteran who is feeling the wear and tear of a 40 fight career, the time off for the former champ will be hugely beneficial.
The best bet of the fight is the over/under round market, with over 1.5 rounds at $1.61 with Sportsbet.
If Barnett is able to avoid the knockout blow from Nelson early in the contest the man they call warmaster has the ability to finish big country in a multitude of ways and should prove too much his 39-year old opponent.
Other fights on the card:
Shinsho Anzai ($1.90) vs. Roger Zapata ($1.90)
Naoyuki Kotani ($3.09) vs. Kajan Johnson ($1.37)
Nick Hein ($1.30) vs. Yusuke Kasuya ($3.56)
Keita Nakamura ($2.86) vs. Li Jingliang ($1.43)
Mizuto Hirota ($1.33) vs. Teruto Ishihara ($3.34)
Katsunori Kikuno ($2.86) vs. Diego Brando ($1.43)
Takeya Mizugaki ($1.43) vs. George Roop (2.86)
Kyoji Horiguchi ($1.27) vs. Chico Camus ($3.80)
Gegard Mousasi ($1.19) vs. Urijah Hall ($4.75)
THE fight the UFC world has been waiting for is finally here.
Ronda ‘rowdy’ Rousey defends her bantamweight title against the undefeated Brazilian Bethe ‘the pitbull’ Corriea in what is, without question, the most anticipated women’s UFC bout in the sport’s history.
Both fighters have been outspoken in their distaste for one another, adding extra incentive for both women to maintain their unblemished records in the octagon.
The shots fired in the weeks and months leading up to the Sunday, August 1 showdown in Rio de Janeiro have been unprecedented, which is saying something considering the UFC is a sport that actively encourages trash talking!
The fight, which was confirmed in March of this year, takes place in Correia’s home country of Brazil and has the potential to be one of the biggest UFC title matches of the year.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight title
Ronda Rousey (11-0)
Bethe Correia (9-0)
Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia fight odds:
Odds courtesy of WilliamHill.com.au
Ronda Rousey – $1.06
Bethe Correia – $8.50
The road to UFC 190:
The ubiquitous Rousey has appeared in movies, on TV shows, WWE events and graced magazine covers in the lead up to the big fight in Rio.
The casual MMA watcher could be forgiven for mistaking Rousey’s self-promotion as nonchalance, but her last two fights suggest she could not be in better form going into UFC 190.
April 11 2014, Rousey defended her title against Canadian Alexis Davis, winning the fight via knockout just 16 seconds into the bout.
Rousey’s last fight, February 28th 2015 at UFC 182 saw the lady they call ‘the arm collector’ decimate her opponent in a brutal fashion, forcing American Cat Zingano submit after just 14 seconds.
The win handed the champion her 11th straight win and the record for fastest win in UFC championship history.
Bethe Correia, who does not hold worldwide appeal that the hugely popular Rousey possesses, has been relatively unsighted other than the mandatory UFC media commitments.
The woman they call ‘the pitbull’ has overcome several big tests in her UFC career, specifically in her last two bouts.
At UFC 172 Correia defeated American Jessamyn Duke by unanimous decision, despite having a significant reach disadvantage.
Her last fight, August 30 2014 at UFC 177, Correia escaped a submission attempt early in the bout to record a TKO victory midway through the second round against American Shayna Baszler.
Both women are undefeated coming into the match up.
Rousey has displayed the ability to win both via submission and as a result of a knock out in her bouts, while Correia has only tasted victory on the back of a points win or via TKO.
Who will win and why:
Winner: Ronda Rousey ($1.06)
Method: Rousey by submission ($1.45 at Sportsbet.com.au)
Total rounds: Under 1.5 ($1.30)
Finally the match up that has been hyped for seemingly the entire year is here, but the question remains: can Correia actually match it with Rousey?
The answer will be revealed on Sunday, but to the keen observer it looms as a no.
‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey has displayed unprecedented dominance throughout her UFC career, and has ended fights in less than 20 seconds in the octagon via submission and TKO.
No one has truly troubled the Bantamweight champion at this stage, which is evidenced by the fact that only one fight in her 11 bout career has gone past the first round.
At the age of 28, Rousey is already considered the greatest female MMA fighter of all time.
Bethe ‘the pitbull’ Correia may be undefeated and while she holds an impressive record, it does not read as notably as her opponent.
Unlike Rousey, Correia has never finished an opponent in the opening round, with six of her nine bouts going to the judges’ scorecards to determine the winner.
While Correia has looked imposing in her last two fights, she does not possess the weapons Rousey does in terms of ending a fight – both the ability to submit and knock out an opponent.
Correia has talked a big game coming into Sunday’s bout but when it comes down to fighting in the octagon it is a matter of if not when Rousey ends the fight.
While she intimated she wants to make Correia suffer, a first round finish again looks the most likely.
Expect Ronda Rousey to lock in the arm bar and make Correia tap in the opening round.
What the fighters say
While feuds can sometimes come across as fabricated in the UFC, the lead up to UFC 190 has been truly spiteful.
Neither fighter has been shy in expressing their opinion on the other; with Bethe Correia in particular not mincing her words when speaking about reigning champion Ronda Rousey.
“I want to knock her out, show to everyone that she is a lie.” Correia said.
“I want to humiliate her and show the world she has no MMA.”
Correia took the trash talk to a whole new level several weeks prior to the fight, with many questioning whether the undefeated Brazilian crossed a line with her comments.
“Under pressure, she is proving weak … She is not mentally healthy, she needs to take care of herself. She is winning, so everybody is around her cheering her up,
“When she realizes she is not everything that she believes she is, I don’t know what might happen.
“I hope she does not kill herself later on (laughs).”
Correia took back her comments upon reflection but the damage was done.
Rousey, who lost her father at the age of eight to suicide, made it clear via twitter the woman they call the ‘pitbull’ stepped out of line.
“Suicide is no joke or selling point. My father will be with me the day I hand you the comeuppance you deserve.” Rousey tweeted.
Ronda Rousey was much more measured in her comments to the media regarding her opponent.
Comparing herself to Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, Rousey believes she can draw inspiration from the heroics of the Italian Stallion.
“There is this young, up-and-coming Brazilian chick with an undefeated record that beat two of my friends and has been trying to rub it in my face.” Rousey said.
“I want to go and fight her in Brazil and beat her in her hometown.
“That would be the best way I could really feel like I’ve vindicated my friends, to go to her hometown and beat her in her hometown and be total Rocky IV on it.”
Rousey’s unblemished record is untouchable across all divisions, weight classes and both genders in the UFC, and she had an ominious message for Corriea heading into Sunday.
“If I beat you quickly, that’s me at my nicest and most merciful,” Rousey said.
“That means you get to go home unscathed with a paycheck. If I make the fight last longer, that means I don’t like you and I want you to go home looking different than the way you walked in.
“I don’t like this chick.”
Other fights on UFC 190:
Guido Cannetti ($3.30) vs. Hugo Viana ($1.32)
Vitor Miranda ($2.15) vs. Clint Hester ($1.32)
Leandro Issa ($2.75) vs. Iuri Alcantara ($1.43)
Nordine Taleb ($2.70) vs. Warlley Alves ($1.43)
Rafael Cavalcante ($2.20) vs. Patrick Cummins ($1.65)
Neil Magny ($2.30) vs. Demien Maia ($1.60)
Jessica Aguilar ($3.95) vs. Claudia Gadelha ($1.24)
Antonio Silva ($2.45) vs. Soa Palelei ($1.53)
Stefan Struve ($1.53) vs. Minotauro Nogueira ($2.50)
Reginaldo Vieira ($3.20) vs. Dileno Lopez ($1.32)
Giaico Franca ($1.60) vs. Frenando Bruno ($2.30)
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira ($2.45) vs. Mauricio Rua ($1.53)
IN THE world of Mixed Martial Arts, the UFC fight between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor this Sunday afternoon was set to be as big as Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, but the sporting gods wouldn’t allow it.
Instead, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo pulled out, citing rib injuries, and now hard-talking Irishman Conor McGregor ($1.57 at Sportsbet.com.au) will face off for the interim title against Chad Mendes.
UFC #189 has lost some of the trash-talking hype that surrounded the title fight, but fans will still get to see two accomplished fighters go to battle for the title.
Not only do fans and punters get a cracking title fight, but the under-card has sparked plenty of excitement.
Welterweights Robbie Lawler and the unassuming Rory MacDonald will fight in the co-main event where current #2 ranked MacDonald is looking to take the belt away from Lawler.
The Canadian has attracted plenty of money with bookmakers and many have touted him as the next big thing in the UFC.
Other card fixtures feature Dennis Bermudez vs. Jeremy Stephens, Gunnar Nelson vs. Brandon Thatch and Matt Brown vs. Tim Means.
McGregor vs. Mendes
Conor McGregor – $1.57 at Sportsbet.com.au
Chad Mendes – $2.42
Chad Mendes might be stepping in for the injured Jose Aldo, but he is ranked higher than McGregor and deserves his chance at the title.
The 30-year-old has plenty of experience in the UFC cage with 14 fights for 12 wins and two losses, as opposed to Conor McGregor’s five unbeaten fights inside the UFC Octagon.
Mendes is the more professional of the two fighters and he has clocked over 120 minutes inside the cage, compared to McGregor’s 29 minutes, but that’s not always a good statistic.
McGregor earned his title fight by way of knockout. The Irishman has won four of his five UFC wins via knockout and he does it in emphatic fashion.
He’s hard-nosed and likes to get the job done with power and style, two things Mendes will be hoping not to see this Sunday at UFC #189.
You only have to watch McGregor’s fight to see how much of a physical presence he has and that’s why punters have made him the favourite – not to mention his eight inch reach advantage.
We were surprised the 26-year-old was paying over $1.50, so include that option in your UFC multi-bets.
We’re expecting McGregor to finish this fight in the fourth or fifth round after wearing down Mendes with his vicious leg kicks.
McGregor is $1.62 at CrownBet.com.au to win via KO or on points and we think that is good money. For a little more value, take McGregor to win in Round 3 and 4 at odds of $10 and $18 respectively.
Tale of the Tape:
Age – 26
Weight – 145
Height – 5’9″
Reach – 74″
Stance – Southpaw
Pro record – 17-2
UFC record – 5-0
Finish rate – 80%
UFC minutes – 29
Last fight – 174 days
Age – 30
Weight – 145
Height – 5’6″
Reach – 66″
Stance – Southpaw
Pro Record – 17-2
UFC record – 12-2
Finish rate – 50%
UFC minutes – 139
Last fight – 98 days
Lawler vs. MacDonald betting
The title challenger Rory MacDonald has always been a popular figure in the UFC and he has been one of the best supported fighters in the market to date.
The young 25-year-old Canadian is either loved or hated by fans, but betting would suggest their has been plenty of love for MacDonald who is looking to become a complete fighter.
MacDonald doesn’t rely on one strength and considers himself as having a great all round style. His statistics would attest to this with a KO percentage of 38.9, submission of 33.3 per cent and a decision rate of 27.8 per cent.
On the other side of the coin, Robbie Lawler relies heavily on his ability to score via knockout. The veteran at 33-years-old has won by knockout in seven of every 10 fights, with submission victories coming only 4 per cent of the time.
This is where MacDonald will have the advantage over Lawler and the bettors can see the young star take the UFC Welterweight title this Sunday.
Rory MacDonald – $1.57 at Sportsbet.com.au
Robbie Lawler -$2.28
The odds are short for MacDonald, but we can’t see him being defeated in this fight. He has a great fight plan and it would take a surprise knockout from Lawler to cause an upset.
Bermudez vs. Stephens odds and tips
Dennis Bermudez is a success story coming out of the Ultimate Fighter T.V show and he holds favouritism over the experienced Jeremy Stephens.
Bermudez has a record of 15-4 with 46 per cent of his wins coming via decision, but he is growing in this division and bettors are confident he can come away with the win.
We’re not sure he matches up well against Stephens who likes to attack from the word go – 69.6 per cent of wins coming by knockout.
Stephens has the experience edge with a 23-11 record and his reach advantage could play a big part in this fight as the 29-year-old has a 71 inch reach compared to Bermudez’s 66 inch reach.
Dennis Bermudez – $1.52
Jeremy Stephens – $2.53 at WilliamHill.com.au
We are going to go against the bookmakers and suggest taking Stephens to win by knockout or by points decision at $2.88 with WilliamHill.com.au.
He will be looking to score quickly and this could catch Bermudez by surprise – the Stephens to win by KO at $5 is another value option.
UFC 189 multi-bet
We are very confident that Conor McGregor will get the job done at $1.57 and we’re equally confident that Rory MacDonald can boost the multi-bet payout a touch higher.
Add in some value with Jeremy Stephens at $2.53 and also throw in Brandon Thatch at $1.57 against Gunnar Nelson in the fight prior.
Earlier on the card we will see Matt Brown take on Tim Means and Brown looks good multi-bet value at $1.52. In the fight before that, John Howard could cause a minor upset of Cathal Pendred and the money is too good to pass up.
McGregor – $1.57
MacDonald – $1.57
Stephens – $2.53
Thatch – $1.57
Brown – $1,52
Howard – $2.07
$10 bet at Sportsbet.com.au returns $192.60
UFC FIGHT night 70 comes to Hollywood, Florida, with one of the more compelling middleweight fights the sport has seen in some time.
Lyoto ‘the Dragon’ Machida (22-6, UFC: 14-6) faces off against Yoel ‘Soldier of God’ Romero (9-1, UFC: 5-0).
The fight could propel the 37-year old veteran Machida back into the UFC title frame, or give the 2000 Olympic silver medallist Romero a shot at the gold he so desperately craves.
The match is over five rounds and will propel the victor into the middleweight title frame whilst condemning the loser to mediocrity in the division.
Machida is currently the favourite with online bookmaker Sportsbet at $1.55, while Romero is the outsider at the generous odds of $2.46.
Lets check out some of the statistics heading into the fight as well as some of the other odds and markets on offer.
The road to UFC fight night 70
Both men have a point to prove in this match up.
Lyoto Machida was completely outclassed by Luke Rockhold in his last fight, but one positive for the Dragon was his conditioning and his style held up well. There were no signs of wear and tear on the veteran.
Machida has a fantastic bounce back record in the UFC, with knockouts the likes of C.B. Dollaway, Mark Muñoz, Ryan Bader and Randy Couture proof that a loss reignites the hunger in the Dragon.
Yoel Romero is on a five-fight win streak, and while he has only been in the sport professionally for six years and in the UFC for two, he has quickly risen up the ranks to be the sixth in line in the middleweight division.
Romero’s career in the UFC has not been without its controversy, with the infamous ‘stoolgate’ fight against Tim Kennedy hanging over the Cuban’s head.
The man they call the Solider of God was visibly rocked by Kennedy, especially in the later stages of the second round, but utilised a ‘dirty old trick’ – as described by UFC President Dana White – to buy himself more time between rounds to re-energise.
The plan succeeded and Romero was victorious, but serious questions now linger over the 38-year-old’s conditioning and more specifically his ability to see out rounds as the fight progresses.
With a five round fight against the supremely fit Machida scheduled, can the Soldier of God match it with a man that knows what it takes to go the distance?
While it is unlikely the winner of this fight will get the next shot at the title after Weidman/Rockhold, the victor here is likely to face off against No. 2 Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza.
What they say
Both fighters have kept relatively quiet by UFC standards in the lead up to the fight, but Machida did have an interesting take on his opponent going into the weekend’s bout.
“Even though he’s a wrestler, he knows how to fight standing up,” Machida said.
“He knows how to keep the distance. But I believe in myself and my background in karate. I have a better chance than him and will be prepared on Saturday.”
The man they call the Dragon has also addressed the question marks surrounding the quick turnaround and the surgery which was required after his loss to Rockhold.
“It’s a great opportunity for me. I like to be busy and fight many times a year and showcase all my potentials,” Machida said.
“I had hand surgery after the fight. They took some fragments out. I returned to training in three weeks. I had a great camp. I’m ready to fight now.”
Yoel Romero has shown an enormous amount of respect for his opponent in the lead up to their pivotal clash, but does not lack confidence going into the biggest fight of his short UFC career.
“The importance of this fight is the middleweight belt … we all want the belt,” Romero said.
“I’m just going to try to give my best and Lyoto will try to give his best.”
The Soldier of God’s message was clear going into Sunday.
“I cannot stop and think about what he will do,” he said.
“I only know what I have to do … I will not give up on victory.”
The big questions heading into the main event
Machida, a future UFC hall-of-famer, is in the twilight of his career.
With just a two month turnaround after his crushing defeat at the hands of middleweight number one contender Luke Rockhold, a defeat here could spell the end for the Dragon.
Machida’s short turnaround, in addition to an injury to his right hand that required surgery post-fight, may mean the Dragon is not 100% fit for this contest.
Yoel Romero is a relative newcomer to the sport, with a professional record of just ten fights, with a 5-0 record since joining the UFC.
Half of Romero’s fights have gone into the third round – and he has won all five – the lingering question though is can the Soldier of God go the distance over five rounds?
Stylistically, Machida has the definite advantage over Romero, given his ability to find space and defend takedowns, so Romero’s best shot is to end the match early to negate the Dragon’s superior conditioning and experience.
Who will win and why
Winner:Loyoto Machida ($1.55)
Method:Machida by KO or submission ($2.40 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Total rounds: Over 2.5 ($1.80)
In terms of favourable match ups, this is one Machida would have wanted.
Despite Romero’s wrestling background, he has been hesitant in the octagon to take his opponents down, preferring to use his standing game to bludgeon his opponents.
Romero’s best bet is to use his straight left to his advantage and try and deliver some big blows to the Dragon, but it is easier said than done landing shots on the wily veteran.
Expect the Dragon to weather the early storm then use his superior technique and aerobic base to pick apart the Soldier of God.
Either way, it is hard to see this one going the full five rounds. Either Romero ends it very early, or Machida gets the win before the fifth.
Tip: Machida to win in round three – $12 with Sportsbet.com.au
Other fights and markets for the night
Danny Martinez ($1.71) vs. Sirwan Kakai ($2.14)
Steve Montgomery ($1.69) vs. Tony Sims ($2.18)
Leonardo Silva ($1.67) vs, Lewis Gonzalez ($2.22)
Alex Oliveria ($1.22) vs. Joe Merritt ($4.35 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Hacran Dias ($1.50) vs. Levan Makashvilli ($2.62)
Thiago Santos ($1.49) vs. Steve Bosse ($2.65)
Antonio Carlos Junior ($1.47) vs. Eddie Gordon ($2.71)
Santiago Ponzinibbio ($2.86) vs. Lorenz Larkin ($1.43)
PLENTY of sport about this weekend.
We’re going to try and pick out a few of the best bets in a Saturday special to see if we can turn a little into a lot with a multi leg wager.
Let’s see how we go.
MMA – Bellator 138: Ken Shamrock to defeat Kimbo Slice @ $3.05
NRL – North Queensland Cowboys to defeat Canberra Raiders @ $2.05
AFL – North Melbourne to cover the line of -13.5 against Greater Western Sydney @ $1.92
MMA: Bellator 138 – Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock
Saturday, June 20, 10am AEST, Scott Trade Centre, St Louis, Missouri, USA, watch on Spike.com.
Prediction: Ken Shamrock wins ($3.05)
Bear with us here.
Kimbo Slice is a monstrosity, but have you seen Ken Shamrock these days?
Watch this youtube clip of a guy who is 51 years young and you tell us he can’t beat Slice.
Have a look at those arms!
They’re ready to break something.
It’s the good old fashioned slugger Slice, 41, versus the technically talented veteran, dubbed ‘The Most Dangerous Man in the World’.
Shamrock clearly needs to avoid Slice’s devastating stand up game, otherwise it will be lights out, but it’s clear he is the more technically gifted fighter.
Does 10 years between two geriatrics make a difference?
Slice is a monster on the street and he doesn’t lose those fights, but stepping into the MMA competition is a lot tougher.
With no ground game to speak of, he has to rely on his striking game and that could play into the hands of Shamrock.
The MMA legend will do everything he can to use his brilliant grappling and submission game to end this fight. And he’s at juicy odds.
Neither of these men have fought in MMA competition since 2010.
If this gets up, your multi is looking real juicy.
NRL: Canberra Raiders vs. North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday, June 20, 2015, 3pm AEST, TIO Stadium, Watch on Fox Sports
Prediction: North Queensland Cowboys win ($2.05) with Sportsbet
Yes, several of North Queensland’s stars were in action in State of Origin two last night and Canberra have won their last two clashes in the capital – and 13 of 17.
But the Cowboys are on a 10 game winning streak and will be keen to test their mettle against the surprise packet Raiders.
We’re always on the look out for better than evens on teams in the top four.
Yes the Raiders are seventh, they’re at home and they’re coming off a crushing win over the Newcastle Knights, 44-22, but they haven’t been competitive against sides in the upper echelon, going 2-5 against the top eight, losing to St George Illawarra twice and suffering defeat at the hands of the Brisbane Broncos, the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters – all in the top five.
We’re on the Cowboys’ bandwagon after their inspiring come from behind 36-30 win over Parramatta last time out.
They have a guy called Johnathan Thurston who is a virtual lock-in for the Dally M and many believe is the best player in the game.
We reckon he will lead his charges to victory in the capital, despite having to back up from Wednesday’s Origin game with less than three day’s break and the trip from Melbourne to the capital.
He’s been joined on the team sheet by fellow Origin reps Matt Scott, James Tamou and Michael Morgan. It will be interesting to see what coach Paul Green decides to do with those boys.
The Cowboys have been tough on the road, doing what they’ve had to do to eke out wins, with five in a row coming by less than 10 points.
It doesn’t matter how you win, as long as you do it.
Cowboys by a try.
AFL: Greater Western Sydney vs. North Melbourne
Saturday, June 20, 2015, 4.40pm AEST, Spotless Stadium, Watch on Fox Footy
Prediction: North Melbourne Kangaroos at the line of -13.5 ($1.92) with Sportsbet
BIG Greater Western Sydney ruck man Shane Mumford is out for the season with an ankle injury.
Key Defender Joel Patfull is gone for a long time with a punctured lung and wrecked ribs after a sickening clash with a team mate against Collingwood on the weekend.
Captain Phil Davis won’t play for two months after ruining his ankle in the same match and spritely running man Stephen Coniglio has also gone down for two to three weeks with a shoulder injury.
And the Giants were absolutely smoked by 48 points by the Magpies on the weekend, 18.11 (119) to 11.11 (71).
It’s ugly viewing for the Giants, who started the season brightly and still sit fifth with a decent 7-4 record.
But they’re a young side who was always going to hit the wall, even without the injuries and we’re writing them off.
Against the Pies, things were looking ok until the injuries killed them, with four guys unable to finish the game. Davis was doing a stand up job on Pies spearhead Travis Cloke, who, in the end, finished with five goals – four of those after the GWS captain went down.
Taylor Adams killed the Giants with 36 disposals and Dane Swan did as Swanny does with 30.
Giants midfielder Dylan Shiel continued his brilliant season with 34 possessions and tough man Callan Ward had 30, but Cam McCarthy, with four goals, needed more support up front from the likes of Jeremy Cameron, who had just six disposals for the match.
It’s not like we trust North Melbourne by any stretch of the imagination, after they followed up a hard fought win over the West Coast Eagles with a gallant, but ultimately futile effort against Sydney at Etihad Stadium, 14.7 (91) to 10.15 (75).
But surely they can hit the road and cover a measly 14 points against a club missing half of its side, including its two best defenders and its number one ruckman.
Expect Todd Goldstein to have a field day and give the North Melbourne midfielders plenty of first purchase on the footy.
Against the Swans, North gave it everything, but they just were not good enough to with stand a four goal night from Lance Franklin and 33 touches from Luke Parker.
The possession count was very low for the Roos, with Ben Cunnington the highest earner with 23 and veteran Brent Harvey had 22. The improving Sam Gibson was the only other player to reach 20 touches.
They’ll need more contributors in this one, but North have long been down hill skiers, so there should be plenty of perceived stars ready to come out of the wood work and feast upon the Giants.
They must win this game and win it well if they want to induce any kind of fear in sides in the top eight. Hard to believe they’re sitting 12th with a five and six record, but they’re only one win out of sixth spot. They have work to do and it has to start here.
The Kangaroos have never lost against the Giants, the four games between these two sides yielding wins by 129, 28, 86 and 75 points, respectively.
We’re going to go with history and we reckon this one will be a similar spanking and the line should not be a worry.
We’re going to call it the bet of the weekend, but we’ve been burnt by North before.
Don’t let us down.