Q & Anik is a new article featured exclusively at MMAOddsBreaker.com that goes 5 rounds with UFC commentator Jon Anik offering his betting tips and picks on some of the biggest UFC cards of the year. 1st Round Q: Lyoto Machida seems to be a bit of an underrated opponent here against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman considering he has loads of championship-level experience at light heavyweight as the former UFC champ at 205. While he may not be as explosive or dangerous as Vitor Belfort, could his skills and fighting style turn this into an ugly brawl that actually gives him a better shot to win and steal the title belt from Weidman? Anik: I don’t know that there’s a more unique challenge in all of Mixed Martial Arts than Lyoto Machida. I was certainly of the belief – given Vitor Belfort’s current form – that he maybe had the better chance to finish Chris Weidman. And in terms of both of those matchups, I think a Vitor finish is probably the more likely scenario. But man is Machida underrated. I mean, this is a guy whose résumé is as good as anyone who has ever stepped foot in the Octagon. You can already call him a future Hall of Famer. Even with two wins over Anderson Silva, I don’t know that you can call Chris Weidman a future Hall of Famer just yet. I still think when it comes to Weidman, there are still some unknowns. Yes, he beat Anderson Silva twice. I think that matchup in a lot of respects was custom-made for him. I just feel like Lyoto Machida has twice as many pro fights, he has fought everybody, and here this weekend he is trying to become the third man in UFC history to win a title in two different divisions. He’s been in there with the best 205-pounders in the world and had great success whether it’s Rashad Evans or Jon Jones, the list goes on and on. If I’m looking for advantage for Lyoto Machida, I would point to all of the high-level experience. In speaking with Lyoto Machida about a month ago in Los Angeles, that is something he derives great confidence from, and I don’t blame him. I think his speed, and the way he uses his speed, and his deceptive striking is something that is really hard to simulate in the gym. I definitely think Machida is being undervalued by oddsmakers. 2nd Round Q: You can bet women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey anywhere between -850 and -1400 right now against Alexis Davis. Would you consider her the biggest sure thing in MMA right now, and can anybody out there beat her? Anik: I consider her the most dominant champion in all of Mixed Martial Arts right now. The only two women who really have a chance are Cyborg, who is outside the promotion, and Cat Zingano, who is still on the mend. I sort of feel like the time to beat Ronda Rousey might have been six months to a year ago. As she continues to round out her striking game and as her confidence continues to spike, I think it’s a really big ask for any of these women. I don’t think you’re going to match Ronda in the mental department. She’s mentally tougher than anyone else, she’s more competitive than anyone else. She is a special, elite athlete. I really feel like we’re witnessing history right now, 9-0, 8 submission wins, and then comes out and just bludgeons her last opponent (Sara McMann). I actually have agreed to get a tattoo if Alexis Davis wins. I don’t have any tattoos, and I didn’t know how else to prove my point of Ronda’s greatness and her dominance. Brian Stann gets to choose the tattoo. I’m hoping that he’ll be tame and allow me to pay tribute to my daughters or something like that. What he doesn’t know is that I’m going to use white ink, so it’s not going to be anything, even if he wants it on my forehead, that’s going to ruin my television career. We were just having a conversation, and I get very spirited when I talk about Ronda because I do believe, like Dana White does, that she’s the biggest superstar in Mixed Martial Arts whether the Pay-Per-View numbers back that up or otherwise. It’s going to be amazing if and when she does go down because it’s going to take a special performance. 3rd Round Q: Heavyweight Stefan Struve has not fought in more than a year since breaking his jaw in a knockout loss to Mark Hunt. He also was diagnosed with a heart condition after that fight, putting his MMA career in jeopardy. How does the 7-foot “Skyscraper” match up with Matt Mitrione, and would you be concerned as a bettor putting money on him? Anik: I wouldn’t be hesitant to bet on Stefan Struve based on the layoff. This is a guy who is just obsessed with Mixed Martial Arts. I remember back at UFC 146, he said he wanted to be the first fighter in UFC history to get to 50 UFC fights. He just lives and breathes this stuff. So I really don’t worry about any rust. I think really the focus for him is doing what everybody has wanted him to do for years, that’s to use his reach, to use his jab and use his knees. The last time our UFC matchmaker Joe Silva ran into Stefan Struve, he said, ‘I’m glad that you’re healthy, but I don’t want to see you back in the Octagon until you’re going to use your reach and start using those knees. Guys with that type of length and that type of power need to obviously use it to their advantage, and I think that’s been a huge focus for Stefan Struve. I really think it’s a good stylistic matchup for him. 4th Round Q: Urijah Faber vs. Alex Caceres is a monster mismatch from a betting perspective with Faber sitting as a -1000 favorite. What about this bout intrigues you, and is Caceres worth a wager as a large underdog? Anik: I’m of the belief that Faber might even be a bigger lock than Ronda Rousey. I would probably tie him to every parlay I was placing on fight night. I guess I just feel like there’s just a huge discrepancy when it comes to the strength and obviously the level of high experience, title fights, on and on it goes. Caceres deserves this fight, I talked to his coach John Crouch, and I think they’re cautiously confident. They have a very specific gameplan as to how they beat Urijah Faber, and certainly a lot of that involves avoiding the canvas and being put on their back. I just think it’s a physical mismatch, I really do. And I also feel like it’s a bad time to be fighting Urijah Faber, who’s really disappointed with that second opportunity against (former bantamweight champ) Renan Barao. That came on the heels of what I really thought was one of the performances of the year in 2013 against Michael McDonald. 5th Round Q: Are there any other fights on the UFC 175 card and/or specific fighters that you can’t wait to watch? Anik: I’m excited to see what Thiago Santos can do against Uriah Hall because I was there when he finished Ronny Markes as I think the biggest underdog on the card. But I think Uriah Hall has sort of gotten over the hump, so I think you’re going to see him make a statement and potentially finish Thiago Santos. I look for a finish in that fight, I look for a super urgent Uriah Hall, and you’ll see him maybe start to return to some of that Ultimate Fighter form. Rob Font making his debut on the undercard against George Roop, there’s a big discrepancy in experience here obviously. But I’m excited to see what he can do, maybe he’s worth a look. I also liked what I saw out of Russell Doane his last time out, so I’m curious to see if he can keep it going against Marcus Brimmage at close to EVEN money there. I have high hopes for Russell Doane at 135 pounds. Disclaimer: Mr. Anik is contractually prevented from wagering on UFC events. His betting tips and picks posted here are for information and entertainment purposes only.
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