Q & Anik is an article featured exclusively at MMAOddsBreaker.com that goes 5 rounds with UFC commentator Jon Anik offering his unique insight on some of the biggest UFC cards of the year. 1st Round Q: You conducted a poll on Twitter earlier in the week asking how people would bet Conor McGregor for his lightweight title fight against champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. Most said they would take T/KO at plus-money according to the results of your poll, but do you personally feel that’s the best value bet in this bout? Or do you think Alvarez is undervalued as the more experienced and stronger fighter? Anik: If you are betting the McGregor side and a T/KO prop is available, I think there is probably more value there in the plus-money range as opposed to playing Conor around -150 just to win. I’m excited to see what McGregor can do in the weight class that is ubiquitously regarded as the best one for him. I thought the price on him would be a touch steeper, to be honest, so I wouldn’t say Alvarez is undervalued. Alvarez certainly has ways to win, and I think the fight should be competitive. Eddie’s confidence has never been higher, and Mark Henry deserves a lot of credit for that. Strategically, you can be sure they will have done their homework. They’ve gotta wrestle and make McGregor work. If Alvarez gets McGregor down, I’ll be curious to see the scrambles and transitions. The fight could hinge upon whether or not McGregor can get up without absorbing too much damage or draining his tank. And I believe, as many do, that the longer the fight goes, the more it favors Alvarez. On the feet, Eddie is accurate, powerful, and most importantly, still improving. But McGregor’s control and understanding of distance is truly elite and he is only now entering his fighting prime. I think you’ll see betting action on both sides. 2nd Round Q: The welterweight title fight between challenger Stephen Thompson and champ Tyron Woodley in the co-main event at UFC 205 is also a bit odd in the sense that Thompson opened as such a solid favorite against Woodley. Thompson continues to pick up steam with more money coming in on him — do you see that changing? Are the oddsmakers and bettors right, and what are your thoughts on the matchup? Anik: I know both guys well, which makes it difficult to even lean. That said, I’m surprised Tyron Woodley bettors haven’t brought this back to Earth a bit. I called Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson’s last three fights, and I understand just how good he is. We’ve never really seen a striker quite like him…just listen to the way other UFC fighters talk about his striking acumen and distance management. He is special, and I do think he deserves to be favored to win the UFC welterweight title this weekend. But Woodley was +166 at last check, which is absurd. When I tweeted the odds on Tuesday, he chimed in with ‘Get that easy money’. Woodley, of course, knows it won’t be easy. He works as hard as any fighter in the game and recognizes what’s in front of him. Woodley does everything well, and his camp believes past Thompson opponents haven’t taken advantage of mistakes nor picked up on certain tendencies. We’ll see if Woodley can capitalize. Amazing championship fight. 3rd Round Q: Joanna Jedrzejczyk is the biggest favorite on the UFC 205 betting card as she looks to defend her women’s strawweight title for the fourth time when she faces Karolina Kowalkiewicz. With such a lopsided betting line, how would you rate the chances of a finish by Jedrzejczyk and/or an upset win by Kowalkiewicz? Are there any props you would look at that might have more value? Anik: Good question. If you’ve never seen her fight live in person, Jedrzejczyk is like nothing you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s like a movie, the way she sticks and moves and gets stronger and better every time she gets hit. She is one of the best strikers to ever put on the UFC gloves. She believes in herself, but also isn’t satisfied. Her move to American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida is a big storyline going into this fight. A Kowalkiewicz win would rank up there with the biggest upsets in UFC history. I say that not because she doesn’t have the skills to test Jedrzejczyk, but more so because she’s been in the promotion for less than a year. She already has three UFC wins and has beaten elite opposition. Kowalkiewicz is undefeated and certainly durable. But you can argue that Jedrzejczyk is due for a finish. Her last two wins were by unanimous decision, but she beat the living hell out of her opponents. If you’re looking for action on that side, I think a T/KO prop is interesting, -380 is prohibitive for a lot of bettors. 4th Round Q: There are so many more outstanding matchups both on the main and preliminary cards at UFC 205. Which one(s) are you looking forward to the most as a fan besides the three title fights and why? And if you could wager on any fighter to win in NYC, who would it be? Anik: Was really too bad to see the Rashad Evans-Tim Kennedy fight go away earlier this week. I was really looking forward to that one. I’m excited to see them close the Octagon door behind Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens. We will learn a lot about what Edgar has left, which could be a lot, and just how high the ceiling is on Stephens 2.0. Stephens comes from an outstanding camp and is coming off a win over Renan Barao. He has as much power as any featherweight in the world, and I’m curious to see how he performs on the biggest stage of his career. Picking one fight on this card is tough. I’m really looking forward to the fight between Donald Cerrone and Kelvin Gastelum. Don’t ask me to pick a winner. I would also say I think Chris Weidman is going to be a really hard man to beat in that building Saturday night. Yoel Romero has advantages in the fight and is truly elite. But Weidman has led the New York charge for the UFC on the fighter side, and a big moment for him almost seems inevitable. We’ll see. 5th Round Q: Are there any live underdogs at UFC 205 in your opinion, or is it better to just parlay a few bigger favorites instead? Anik: Loaded questions this week! I want to keep my job! I will say this. Joanna Jedrzejczyk is an absolute superstar, and I think she might have the most to gain by fighting on a Conor McGregor-led Pay-Per-View. And I think there is a great chance you see a finish in all three title fights. Enjoy the biggest card in UFC history. Disclaimer: Mr. Anik is contractually prevented from wagering on UFC events. His opinions posted here are for information and entertainment purposes only.
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