The UFC’s next foray on to pay-per-view has probably done more pre-orders than UFC 174 did in total numbers. The middleweight bout between reigning champion Chris Weidman and former light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida is stellar and has had people anticipating it as the first big event of the summer. Weidman opened as a slight -150 favorite (bet $150 to win $100) with Machida the +110 underdog (bet $100 to win $110), but early action has pushed Weidman to -200 at 5Dimes Sportsbook. In addition, Ronda Rousey keeps her blistering fight schedule going as she will be competing for the third time in eight months, taking on the only fighter to match her win total in the UFC, Alexis Davis. Davis is the most accomplished grappler that Rousey has faced, so we may get an opportunity to see more of the striking the champion displayed in her last bout against Sara McMann. Once again Rousey opened as a massive favorite at -735 with Davis at +445, and once again the betting public has bet the only female champion the organization has ever known up, as she now sits at -900. The rest of the PPV isn’t as compelling, but as has been evidenced many times lately, the top of the card is what sells the card, so the organization is doing the smart thing here to expose some lesser known fighters on the paid portion of the card, while using a fighter like Urijah Faber to draw fans in on the free preliminary card. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for the three remaining main card bouts at 5Dimes Sportsbook today. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (PPV, 10pm ET) UFC Middleweight Title Chris Weidman -150 Lyoto Machida +110 UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title Ronda Rousey -735 Alexis Davis +445 Stefan Struve -140 Matt Mitrione +100 Uriah Hall -425 Thiago Santos +305 Marcus Brimage -140 Russell Doane +100 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: The three remaining bouts really aren’t inspiring much anticipation in me, but they could provide some interesting opportunities. It’s crazy that despite being out of action for nearly a year and a half, Stefan Struve is still only 26 and has already competed in the UFC 13 times, going 9-4. Those nine wins have come in a variety of methods, with four TKOs, four submissions, and one decision. The worrying part about Struve however (other than the layoff) is his striking defense. He’s been knocked out in all four of his UFC losses, and that’s exactly the threat Matt Mitrione brings to the cage. Struve is the more skilled fighter overall, but Mitrione is more dangerous on the feet, and between Struve’s poor wrestling and willingness to strike, that’s probably where this one will take place. Give me Mitrione, although the threat of a Struve sub is a bit worrying. It’s hard to have any sort of faith in Uriah Hall after repeated disappointing performances in the UFC so far, but one body kick against an out-of-shape Ronny Markes doesn’t have me sold on Thiago Santos just yet. Santos may be Hall’s equal on the feet, but Hall is the better wrestler and grappler should he feel threatened on the feet here. Given Hall’s predilection to avoid violence inside the octagon thus far, that’s the likely route I see him taking to victory in this spot. -425 is a bit high to trust Hall with, but if Santos gets some respect coming off the win over Markes, I could see him being a viable parlay leg. Marcus Brimage is another fighter coming off an extended layoff, as he hasn’t competed since April 2013, when he was made to look foolish by Conor McGregor. Russell Doane doesn’t present that kind of threat on the feet, but he is capable with his striking and very good on the ground — as he showed in submitting Leandro Issa in his UFC debut. Given the upward trajectory of Doane (and his entire Hawaiian team, for that matter) and the unknowns that Brimage brings to the cage after his extended layoff and brutal KO loss, I could see the Hawaiian moving his UFC record to 2-0 here.
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