The opening odds for several UFC main event fights have been released recently by the offshore sportsbooks. Here they are, along with my initial thoughts on these five-round fights.
UFC Fight Night 133: JDS vs. Ivanov
Saturday, July 14 at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho
Junior dos Santos -120
Blagoy Ivanov -120
Initial thoughts: Dos Santos (18-5) is the former UFC heavyweight champion and has a brilliant record inside the Octagon at 12-4, but he’s fallen on hard times as of late as he’s lost two of his last three fights by knockout, including a TKO loss to Stipe Miocic the last time he competed. JDS also missed a year of his career due to a USADA investigation and will be coming off of a long layoff for this bout. Ivanov (16-1, 1 NC) won five-straight fights in World Series of Fighting/Pro Fighters League and was the champion there before getting out of his contract and signing with the UFC. He has only lost once in his entire career back in Bellator to Alexander Volkov, who is making waves in the UFC right now. Although JDS is a legend of the UFC, I just don’t trust his chin at this point of his career, and I think Ivanov is a guy who has a lot of upside as a big puncher with good grappling skills, so I tend to side with Ivanov as the dog.
UFC on FOX 30: Alvarez vs. Poirier 2
Satrday, July 28 at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta
Dustin Poirier -145
Eddie Alvarez +105
Initial thoughts: Poirier (23-5, 1 NC) is 15-4, 1 NC overall in the UFC and is undefeated over his last four fights with a brutal knockout win over Justin Gaethje in his last outing. Poirier has quickly turned into a legitimate lightweight contender and is one of the most dangerous men in the division right now. Alvarez (29-5, 1 NC) is 4-2, 1 NC in the UFC and is also coming off of a knockout win over Gaethje. Alvarez is one of the best lightweights of all time and although he’s lost a couple fights in the UFC he’s been able to bounce back nicely and re-emerge as a true title threat. This is going to be an amazing fight between two of the best lightweights in the world. The first time these two met, back at UFC 211 last year, they fought to a No Contest in a crazy fight. This time around, there’s probably another stoppage coming, albeit with no controversy. It’s a tough fight to call as both guys are so dangerous, but considering Poirier is the younger fighter and also considering how amazing he looked against Gaethje, I can see why he opened as a slight favorite here.
*BONUS* Upcoming Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Semifinal: Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen
Fedor Emelianenko -300
Chael Sonnen +220
Initial thoughts: Emelianko (37-5, 1 NC) is 1-1 in Bellator and recently knocked out Frank Mir in the quarterfinals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. His knockout loss to Matt Mitrione is concerning but he’s still a very dangerous fighter. Sonnen (31-15-1) is 2-1 in Bellator and defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the quarterfinals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. We all know Sonnen is a top-shelf wrestler, but he used his striking to beat Jackson and it was good to see that evolution to his game. But it’s hard to ignore all the times he’s been finished in MMA. Although Sonnen’s win over Rampage shouldn’t be undersold, what Emelianenko did to Mir was really impressive, and he should be able to find a way to finish Sonnen in this fight and head to the finals.