One of the main card bouts at UFC 185 is a three-round heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Roy Nelson. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Overeem is a -210 favorite (bet $210 to win $100) while Nelson is a +175 underdog (bet $100 to win $175). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Overeem at -190 and Nelson at +150, and overall the betting action has favored Overeem. This is a heavyweight fight that could realistically go either way, so at the plus money I have to side towards Nelson as the dog. Here’s why. Overeem (38-14, 1 NC) is 3-3 in the UFC with wins over Stefan Struve, Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir and losses to Ben Rothwell, Travis Browne and Antonio Silva. The 34-year-old Dutchman has been competing in the sport for 15 years and has pretty much fought everyone there is in the heavyweight division, and also many light heavyweight fighters as well. Overeem is just a devastating fighter and a finisher. On the feet he has 16 knockout wins and has an excellent muay Thai attack that allows him to finish fights with punches, kicks, or knees. He also has extremely good wrestling for the heavyweight division and an underrated submission game, as he has 19 tapout wins in his career. However, while he is a finisher, he himself can be finished and overall his nine knockout losses are the most any fighter on the entire UFC roster has suffered in their career. And that’s a huge concern going up against a power puncher like Nelson. Ever since Overeem got caught for PEDs in 2012 he hasn’t been the same fighter and at this point of his career, it’s extremely difficult to pick him against anyone with knockout power, and since the majority of the heavyweight division’s fighters possess major power, it makes betting on Overeem very difficult going forward. Nelson (20-10) won TUF 10 and has since gone onto post a 7-6 record in the UFC with wins over Stefan Struve, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Cheick Kongo, Matt Mitrione, Mirko Cro Cop, Dave Herman and Brendan Schaub — all by knockout — and losses to Mark Hunt, Daniel Cormier, Stipe Miocic, Fabricio Werdum, Frank Mir and Junior dos Santos. All of his losses except for the Hunt fight came via decision and overall his chin is one of the best ever in the sport. However, after seeing him get knocked out by Hunt you have to wonder if his chin is finally starting to go at the age of 38. I think the book is out on Nelson at this point of his career. He’s great in the first round and can finish anyone, but after that his poor conditioning kicks in and his opponents get a huge edge as he begins to fade. However, going up against a guy who also had bad cardio in the form of Overeem certainly makes this an intriguing matchup, and with Nelson’s knockout power combined with Overeem’s weak chin, Nelson absolutely is a live dog because of the matchup. Overeem is the more skilled and more varied striker, but I don’t know if it will matter. With the current state of his chin, literally any hard punch from anyone in the division that hits him right on the button can put him out, and we all know Nelson is an extremely heavy, accurate puncher, especially in the first round. I don’t think Overeem is going to be able to get Nelson down and control him, and I think Nelson is going to be able to keep this fight standing and land a huge punch on Overeem early in the fight to win by knockout. I think at the current odds of +175 there is enough value on Nelson here for a bit, but Overeem is obviously a talented fighter so don’t go too crazy betting against him. But at the plus money I think Nelson is the right side for a bet here.
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