Bellator 179 Opening Betting Odds
For the third time in their last four events, Bellator will head across the Atlantic to set up shop in Europe. While Ireland, Italy and Hungary have already played host to events for Bellator thus far this year, Bellator 179 this Friday (May 19, 2017) will emanate from London, England and the SSE Arena. As may be expected given the location, the card features some of the top English fighters in the promotion, as Paul Daley, Liam McGeary and Linton Vassell are all competing on the main card.
Daley will serve as one half of the main event, and he'll be joined in the cage by the debuting Rory MacDonald. The Canadian is one of the biggest free-agent signings among a glut of talent that has come over from the UFC recently. We've seen other UFC imports struggle in their transition, however, as Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson have both dropped bouts somewhat unexpectedly. Given some of the battles MacDonald has gone through in his career, an early decline could be a concern for him, but he is clearly the more well-rounded fighter in this bout.
The co-main event is in the light heavyweight division and features former champion McGeary, who faces his first real test since dropping his belt to Phil Davis last November. Long cited as the one big concern in his game, McGeary was soundly out-wrestled for 25 minutes by Davis in that bout. While his opponent here, Linton Vassell, doesn't have the same type of pedigree as Davis, he has proven an effective top position grappler, and this will gauge if McGeary has taken any steps in the right direction.
Michael Page was also supposed to be featured on this card, but a late knee injury saw his bout with Derek Anderson scrapped. That leaves heavyweights Cheick Kongo versus Augusto Sakai as the only other competitive bout on the main card. This was originally planned for Bellator 150, but an injury to Sakai saw it bounced from that card. It will be one day short of a year by the time Sakai actually steps foot in the cage, and 18 months since he last picked up a win. Winning has not been a problem for Kongo, who has had his hand raised in four straight -- all by decision -- over the past two years.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting odds for these three Bellator 179 fights today at 5Dimes Sportsbook, but you can check them out here first...
|Rory MacDonald -305||Over 2.5 -130|
|Paul Daley +225||Under 2.5 -110|
|Liam McGeary -260||Over 2.5 -140|
|Linton Vassell +180||Under 2.5 +100|
|Cheick Kongo -210||Over 1.5 -190|
|Augusto Sakai +160||Under 1.5 +150|
Brad's Analysis: While MacDonald is clearly the more talented fighter here, I have definite concerns about him. First, we've seen several fighters who have moved from the UFC to Bellator almost perform as though they've been demoted to the minor leagues. Generally those fighters are older, so it could just be that they are on the decline in their careers, but it could be the motivation to succeed in Bellator isn't as driving. If that's the case for MacDonald, and he starts to eat some shots from Daley early, he could go into the shell we saw against Stephen Thompson. However, it's more likely that even if MacDonald does take some damage, he's still able to get the fight to the ground where he has a massive advantage over Daley. It will be interesting to see how the public moves this line, but I have a hard time imagining it'll be enough in MacDonald's favor that I'm compelled to play Daley.
This one won't require nearly the same type of inflated line for me to make a play. I was never really impressed by McGeary during his run to the Bellator title. He faced a lot of weak competition and scored stoppages over them, but got taken down far too much along the way. I scored the fight against him in his title-winning performance, and his only successful defense was against a 40-year-old Tito Ortiz. I believe that if Vassell doesn't get clipped early, this is actually his fight to lose. He's a better wrestler than McGeary, and good enough from the top to avoid McGeary's submission attempts. We've seen Vassell slow down late in fights, but this being three rounds definitely favors him. While the opener is enough for me to take him, I think the public will be backing McGeary, so I'll hold off before jumping in on this one.
If this fight happened back at Bellator 150, I might have been inclined to pick and/or bet Sakai. However, when you go to a draw with Dan Charles, my opinion of you can't help but change. Kongo is as consistent as they come, and while the threat of him getting clipped is always there, he's done a much better job of managing his chin at this level of competition (his last TKO loss was in his last UFC bout, over four years ago). I think that's the case once again, and Kongo clinches and wrestles his way to another decision victory.
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