Full betting odds were released Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook for UFC Fight Night 11. Now, MMAOddsBreaker.com’s Brad Taschuk takes an early look at each of the biggest matchups, and how the lines stack up.
Kevin Lee (-120) vs. Michael Chiesa (-120): This is a tough fight to bet, and I can’t blame anyone for passing on it. I had severely downgraded my opinion of Lee following not only the Santos loss, but also the Escudero fight. It’s clear that he’s evolved as a fighter since then, however, and we have to remember that he’s still only 24 years old with limited high-level training under his belt. I can’t picture the Lee of old coming back and finding a way to beat Trinaldo in his last outing, but he did. I also believe Trinaldo is more the type of fighter he will struggle against than Chiesa, as Trinaldo was able to match his strength, defend his takedowns, and do damage on the feet. In this fight, Lee will be pushing forward on the feet and likely landing the bigger shots, he should control the clinch, and outside of a Russian who doesn’t fight, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find another fighter as dominant on the mat. Given the last few sentences, its safe to assume I lean towards Lee in this fight — and I am — but it only takes one momentary lapse for Chiesa to activate his Hippie Hobo Magic, end up on your back, and choke you out. Plus, he’s already done that against a higher level of competition than Lee has faced. Am I convinced Lee can remain mistake free for 15 minutes in order to avoid that? Not at -120, I’m not. Even the +180 on Chiesa by Sub isn’t enough for me to take a swing on the other side.
Johny Hendricks (-245) vs. Tim Boetsch (+175): This is a fight where Hendricks backers should be happy that there is still some inherent bias for fighters moving up weight divisions. That’s the only reason I can see this line being as close as it is. Hendricks is a far more technical striker than Boetsch, he’s the better wrestler despite being smaller and is more durable than Boetsch (especially at this point of their careers). Boetsch is 3-5 in his last eight fights, with all five losses coming via stoppage, and all three wins by TKO. I’d be surprised if Boetsch is able to become just the second fighter to stop Hendricks, and even though Hendricks hasn’t scored a stoppage win since 2012, that seems like the most likely result to me.
Dennis Siver (-180) vs. BJ Penn (+140): Penn facing a 38-year-old who is declining physically and coming off of a long layoff is much more appropriate, but I’m still not hopeful for him to have success here. On the mat, he’s much better than Siver, but his ability to get the fight to the mat against a strong opponent has to be questioned, and I don’t think Penn is faster than anyone on the feet at this point. Siver notching another victory with the spinning back kick that was so effective for him early in his career wouldn’t be nearly as shocking as it would be sad.
Justine Kish (-180) vs. Felice Herrig (+140): Ashley Yoder might not be as well known, but I feel like she is a more dangerous grappler than Herrig, and that puts Kish in a good spot here. Kish will certainly be the better striker here, and should be able to avoid some of the compromising positions Yoder was able to put her in. That all adds up to a Kish decision win in my books.
Erik Koch (-265) vs. Clay Guida (+185): While I understand Koch opening as a decent favorite in this bout, I feel like the line has gotten a bit out of hand. For a guy who has been in the WEC and UFC for as long as Koch has, Guida would still represent his best career win (LW Koch beating BW Assuncao loses a bit of lustre given the size disparity). However, the reason for that has often been Koch’s subpar striking defense, which shouldn’t cause too much of a concern for him here, but Koch has shown lapses in his takedown defense on occasion as well, which would definitely hurt him against Guida’s wrestling and control. All-in-all, Guida at +280 isn’t a terrible play, and Guida by Decision at the opening price of +425 (it has since dropped to +250, because… math) was even more tempting.
Josh Stansbury (-130) vs. Jeremy Kimball (-110): There’s really no reason for Kimball to be fighting at 205 pounds, and that’s the biggest reason I favor Stansbury in this fight. Nothing about Stansbury’s game has jumped off the page at me during his UFC tenure, as he’s won a bout based on his opponent gassing horribly, and lost to an undersized light heavyweight when that didn’t happen (while he got fairly tired in that bout himself). I could see Kimball surviving early and then turning the tables on Stansbury, but I’m just not sure he can overcome the physical differences here. This is a pure pass for me.
Carla Esparza (-230) vs. Maryna Moroz (+170): Moroz doesn’t have the punching power to scare Esparza, and she’s far too willing to play from her back. That formula adds up to Esparza spending about 14 of the 15 minutes of this fight in top position, avoiding armbar attempts and earning a judges’ decision.
Marvin Vettori (-210) vs. Vitor Miranda (+160): The opening price of -210 for Vettori was already bordering on too high for me. I get that he’s young and has some decent upside, but Miranda is a significantly better striker and has shown flashes of solid takedown defense. Even more than that, Vettori hasn’t consistently pursued takedowns (despite showing decent aptitude at obtaining them), and continuing that trend here would be a big mistake. That said, +305 on Miranda to be able to keep this standing or Vettori to not pursue takedowns seems inane to me, and I’ll be taking the shot.
Tony Martin (-130) vs. Johnny Case (-110): Martin will win the first round here, but the real question is what happens after that. Is Martin’s seemingly improved cardio actually improved? Or will he gas and get beaten up by Case, probably getting stopped in the second or third round? Since this has moved back near a Pick’em (after Martin getting as high as -210), I’m thinking it’s either a pass or a live betting opportunity, but if the line gets back towards that 2-to-1 spot for Martin, Case deserves a look as a dog. I’m also interested in the “Fight Doesn’t Go Distance” prop at +165, as both of these guys have high finishing potential in this matchup.
Darrell Horcher (-260) vs. Devin Powell (+180): Whoever is out there parlaying Horcher from -260 to -400, good for you for having confidence in your reads. I don’t know how you’ve arrived at that conclusion based on how difficult CFFC footage is to find, but what I’ve seen doesn’t indicate that Horcher should be a dollar bigger favorite than Drakkar Klose was. Powell probably isn’t long for the UFC, but at +325 against another low-level UFC opponent, it’s a shot I’m willing to take.
Tim Means (-260) vs. Alex Garcia (+180): If Garcia’s cardio was more reliable, I’d say he takes Means down for 15 minutes and wins a decision. However, it seems more likely that Means gets back to his feet at some point in the second or third round and puts a finishing flurry on a tired Garcia who isn’t able to defend himself. Those specific round props could be an interesting look, but based on the current lines I’m thinking the Over 1.5 is the best play, as Garcia will find that early success.
Jared Gordon (-140) vs. Michel Quinones (+100): Gordon is another CFFC vet who is still pretty hard to gauge, but he seems to have a pretty well-rounded game. I think his ability to mix up his game will be his best asset against a talented striker in Quinones, who struggled in his lone Bellator appearance when he faced a strong wrestler in Brandon Girtz. While Gordon isn’t that level of straight wrestler, he can be effective by timing his takedowns effectively. Either way, whoever wins this fight will likely need the full 15 minutes to earn the victory.
Dominick Reyes (-275) vs. Joachim Christensen (+195): The UFC is really trying to rush Christensen out of the organization. He’s only been with the UFC for eight months, and this will be his fourth fight. His struggles have come more against submission artists than strikers due to his durability, so he presents an interesting test for Reyes, who hasn’t been in deep in any of his fights and hasn’t faced any good competition at this point. Reyes still needs to be favored because of his athletic and striking advantages, but I can’t see myself parlaying him.
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