Robbie Lawler Following a string of injuries to next weekend’s UFC on FOX 8 card, a number of key matchups on the card were changed. Robbie Lawler, who was originally scheduled to fight former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine and then Siyar Bahadurzada on the main card, will now take on Bobby Voelker in a fight that I believe Lawler should be a big favorite in. Although Voelker is a solid fighter who is generally durable, has decent power in the standup and has an underrated ground game, Lawler is one of the best in the world at 170 pounds and, unlike Voelker, he’s had plenty of time to prepare for a fight next weekend. Voelker, on the other hand, was supposed to fight James Head at UFC on FOX Sports 1 2 near the end of August, and so he’ll be at a preparation disadvantage against Lawler, who has been training for this card since the original fight with Saffiiedine was announced in April. Had both Lawler and Voelker had an equal training camp, I believe this fight would be a lot closer, but with Lawler having much more time to prepare and with him coming into the fight with more momentum after his KO win over Josh Koscheck, this is his fight to lose. The current betting line at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Lawler as a -280 favorite and Voelker as a +240 underdog. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened the line up at -350 Lawler and Voelker at +250, but the public has so far liked Voelker more, which is very surprising to me considering he lost a decision to Patrick Cote in his Octagon debut at UFC 158. I was one of the few people on Voelker in that fight with Cote, and, like many, I believe the Quebec judges robbed Voelker of the decision win, something which UFC president Dana White personally told me he agreed with in the post-fight media scrum at UFC 158. Apparently the public is also convinced that Voelker beat Cote, and that’s why they have bet on him thus far. But although Cote and Lawler have a similar stand-and-bang striking style, Lawler has a lot more power than Cote and he also has a huge wrestling edge on Cote. So if the best Voelker could do against Cote was fight to a competitive decision, I just don’t see how he beats Lawler next weekend. Now obviously Voelker could surprise everyone and hey, who knows, Lawler was knocked out by a Nick Diaz jab nine years ago at UFC 47. But other than that, “Ruthless” has shown an iron chin in his career. Voelker, on the other hand, has been knocked out twice, both times in the first minute of a fight, once by Kevin “The Fire” Burns and once by someone named Victor Moreno. That’s not good. The UFC must have felt bad for Lawler that he kept having his opponents switched on him and wanted to give him another striker in the form of Voelker so the fans get a show, as both fighters are known for their exciting fights. But he’s better in every area of the game and, honestly, I believe Lawler is extremely undervalued here at -280. In fact, I believe he should be closer to -450 in this fight, indicating that there’s value on the favorite here. I will be playing Lawler next week in at least a parlay and possibly even straight, even though I never usually do that with decent-sized favorites. But at -280 I believe Lawler is one of the better bets at UFC on FOX 8 and that’s why I’m absolutely recommending a bet on him.


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