The UFC has put on four free events since the last time they were on PPV, but this Saturday night it’s back to the wallets for MMA fans. Luckily, UFC 172 features one of the best fighters in the world in Jon Jones, a credible challenger riding a huge winning streak in Glover Teixeira, and plenty of support on the undercard. The lines for five of the UFC 172 bouts were previously released at 5Dimes Sportsbook, with the Jones/Teixeira odds being out for nearly seven months at this point. Despite that length of time in the public’s hands, we’re still seeing movement in the line as money came in on the challenger recently to bring Jones down to a -500 favorite (bet $500 to win $100). Teixeira pays out at +400 (bet $100 to win $400) if he were to pull off the upset. Surprisingly, those aren’t the longest odds of the bouts released already. After reaching as high as -1850, Luke Rockhold has settled down to a still massive — but much more reasonable — -800. His opponent Tim Boetsch sits at +550. There are also odds on the Phil Davis/Anthony Johnson, Joseph Benavidez/Tim Elliott, and Danny Castillo/Charlie Brenneman bouts, which you can find at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Today, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas looked a bit further down the card to open the remaining betting lines for UFC 172. Due to some reshuffling of the event, Jim Miller will now be taking on Yancy Medeiros on the PPV portion of the card, while featherweights Andre Fili and Max Holloway will open the PPV. Take a look at the opening odds for those final two main card bouts, as well as four additional preliminary fights. ——————– MAIN CARD (PPV, 10pm ET) Jon Jones -735 Glover Teixeira +475 Phil Davis -190 Anthony Johnson +150 Luke Rockhold -600 Tim Boetsch +400 Jim Miller -190 Yancy Medeiros +150 Andre Fili -140 Max Holloway +100 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (Fox Sports 1, 8pm ET) Joseph Benavidez -405 Tim Elliott +285 Takanori Gomi -185 Isaac Vallie-Flagg +145 Jessamyn Duke -135 Bethe Correia -105 Joe Ellenberger -280 Wagner Rocha +200 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7pm ET) Danny Castillo -260 Charlie Brenneman +180 Chris Beal -185 Patrick Williams +145 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: These prelims certainly don’t have the appeal of the Fox card from last weekend, but fights looking good on paper doesn’t put money in a bettors pocket, so these bouts should provide opportunities all the same. Jim Miller is not a fighter I can trust with my money anymore. Despite picking up a first round submission against Fabricio Camoes in his last outing, I wouldn’t really say he looked good there. Camoes was landing early, and easily reversed Miller on the ground before succumbing to the submission. Against Medeiros, Miller won’t want to stand and eat shots for long, as the Hawaiian has big power. Miller will have the grappling advantage if this hits the mat, but I’m unsure if he can get it there since Medeiros showed some brief flashes of solid takedown defense and scrambling against Rustam Khabilov before breaking his thumb. I don’t know if I’ll be playing Medeiros here, but I know I won’t be playing Miller. Max Holloway versus Andre Fili seems just about perfect to open a PPV card. Interestingly, Holloway will be at a reach disadvantage for the second consecutive fight. Fili has more ability than Will Chope to make that reach advantage stick as well, but I imagine this will inevitably turn into two guys trading shots fairly evenly. I do give the slight advantage to Holloway, since his striking is a bit smoother and he has superior defense, but Fili’s aggression (which is why his defense lacks in the first place) could outweigh those advantages for Holloway. This is truly very close to a pick em fight, and unless I can pick something up with deeper tape study, I’ll just be sitting back and enjoying this one. Speaking of fighters who can’t be trusted anymore, Isaac Vallie-Flagg looked horrendous against Elias Silverio his last time out. His movement was non-existent and his speed resembled a 66-year-old more than a 36-year-old. Coupled with apparent back issues, I’m not sure how much longer he has in his career. On the other side of the coin is Takanori Gomi, who has looked good in his last couple performances, but there are a couple factors keeping me away from him here. First, he’s been out for over a year. Second, his three previous fights (all of his best UFC performances aside from the very early KO against Griffin) were in Asia. When he’s come over to the US — even prior to joining the UFC — he’s looked rather terrible. He should get the job done here against the more faded Vallie-Flagg, but “The Fireball Kid” is no spring chicken at 35 years old himself. This next one is interesting, as last time out I picked against Jessamyn Duke against Peggy Morgan (and was proved very, very wrong), and picked Bethe Correia to upset Julie Kedzie (and was right). I’m going to be reversing those roles and going with Duke here, as she really did impress me against Morgan. She will have a technical striking advantage to go along with a massive reach advantage in this bout, and I believe this bout stays on the feet for the duration. If the price stays near where it opens, I could be looking at a play in this bout. As always with women’s MMA bouts, the O2.5 is worth a good hard look as parlay material as well. It doesn’t look like these prelims are offering much in the way of plays that I like. I would assume that Joe Ellenberger beats up Vagner Rocha rather handily, but the fact that he hasn’t fought since December 2012 scares me off of any sort of big play on him. I may talk myself into putting Ellenberger in a small parlay regardless, as I just think he’s a bad matchup for Rocha, who shouldn’t be able to get takedowns and will be at a significant disadvantage standing. Rocha also took the fight on very short notice, so that could mitigate some of the disadvantage Ellenberger has from the layoff. Not a fight I’m necessarily waiting with baited breath to bet, but with so little other action I like on this card, it may end up being a play. The UFC seems to like Chris Beal, as after one win on the regional circuit following his stint on TUF, he got the call to fight for the promotion. I thought his hype on the show was a little bit overblown, and I expect the public to do the same with the betting line here. Patrick Williams is a former D1 wrestler (at Arizona State), moves well on the feet, and has good power. Beal was touted for his striking, but often he looks to control fights with his wrestling, and I don’t see him being able to do that here. I may end up picking Williams outright, but I won’t be going too big on the play because of it being the UFC debut for both men, and the unpredictability that comes with it.
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