Q & Anik is an article featured exclusively at MMAOddsBreaker.com that goes 5 rounds with UFC commentator Jon Anik offering his unique insight on some of the biggest UFC cards of the year. 1st Round Q: It’s disappointing that we won’t get to see Luke Rockhold face Chris Weidman in a rematch for the middleweight title at UFC 199. It’s also disappointing that Jacare Souza won’t get a title shot yet. Is Michael Bisping a worthy contender in your opinion, and do the betting odds properly reflect his chances to win the belt? There is no denying that Bisping is most definitely a worthy contender. He’s won three straight, capped by a recent win over one of the greatest of all-time in Anderson Silva. He has also put in the time in the UFC and been close before. I think eventually we will see a rematch between Rockhold and Jacare Souza, but Bisping certainly deserves this opportunity. As for what he can do with it, it’s a tall order. Rockhold might be the most well-rounded and talented MMA fighter I’ve ever seen. Beating him with a full camp is a huge ask. Beating him with less than three weeks to prepare is a monumental task. That said, Bisping is known for keeping himself in great shape, he can lean on his 25 fights of UFC experience and just try to make it ugly. He has the experience of fighting Rockhold before, so he can lean on that as well. The odds are wide, largely because Rockhold is just that good. But I expect Bisping to perform well. I just can’t advocate a play on him, given the matchup and the circumstances. 2nd Round Q: The co-main event at UFC 199 is the rubber match between bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, the only man to ever beat him nearly a decade ago. In a fight that has obviously taken a very long time to finally materialize since they coached against other on TUF Live in 2012, do you think the timing benefits Cruz or Faber more in the third meeting? I think the timing is really a wash, honestly. For Cruz, I do like the fact that he has now been able to put back-to-back training camps together for the first time in a long time without any issue. He is truly one of the hardest and smartest workers in the sport and one of the more inspiring professional athletes I’ve ever come across. And as Faber has said, he is a very frustrating guy to fight because of his awkward, unpredictable movement and all-around skills. All of that said, I am surprised that Cruz is as high as -700 in some places, even though I do favor him to win the fight. I can’t remember Urijah ever being in this +450 range, and you’re getting him at that price here against his arch rival. Faber is at the height of motivation. He is running before practice every day…he is literally in the shape of his life. And I also believe he has more power than Cruz and is the more likely guy to get the finish. But Cruz is in his fighting prime and seemingly getting better here in 2016, and I’m just not sure you can say the same about Faber. 3rd Round Q: Max Holloway looks to be the fastest-rising featherweight contender with eight straight wins since losing to Conor McGregor three years ago. Do you view Ricardo Lamas as his toughest opponent since McGregor, and do you think his size will ultimately be the difference? Ricardo Lamas is a tough fight for anyone in the UFC featherweight division, but Max Holloway’s current form makes him a tough guy to fade. With respect to Cub Swanson, Jeremy Stephens and Charles Oliveira, I do believe Lamas is the toughest fight for Holloway dating to his 2013 encounter with McGregor. Lamas has an extremely high fight IQ and plus skills in all areas of MMA. He can finish you with strikes or submissions. Still, Holloway seems destined to fight for the title. We have watched him grow up and evolve in the UFC and he has developed into a fighter that looks the part of future champion. His pace and pressure and accuracy are all something to behold and, to your point, he will have the reach advantage here. He leverages his length well, and I think Lamas will have a hard time getting into striking range consistently. This is a fascinating fight, and I’d imagine a lot of sharp bettors will see value on Holloway in the -250 range. 4th Round Q: Dan Henderson has dropped three of his last four bouts, including two of his past three via knockout since moving back down to middleweight. Meanwhile, Hector Lombard is trying to rebound from a TKO loss to Neil Magny in March. What do you expect to happen here, is there any way this one goes the distance? I’d be stunned if we get to the scorecards here. Hector Lombard is an extremely durable fighter, but no one is immune from that famed Hendo right hand. Still, I believe Lombard has more ways to win and will be buoyed by the fact that he doesn’t have to cut down to 170 pounds anymore. Lombard has underachieved in the UFC, but he is obviously the younger and seemingly fresher fighter here. He is also one of the few guys who can match Henderson in the power department. This is the first time I’ve heard Hendo actually hint at possible retirement, but that doesn’t mean his head is in the wrong place. He still trains like a prime fighter and the focus is still there. Unfortunately, the body has slowed down, and Lombard is the type of finisher who should be able to take advantage. I don’t think the judges’ scores will be needed to determine a winner here. Should be bananas as long as it lasts. 5th Round Q: Are there any other intriguing fights on the UFC 199 preliminary card we should be watching featuring underdogs with value? This card is fantastic. I can’t wait to see Brian “T-City” Ortega again, in what is a good test versus Clay Guida. In terms of betting value, I see some on undefeated lightweight James Vick. He’s in the +160 range versus Beneil Dariush. Dariush is a BJJ whiz and a much-improved striker, but Vick is quite well-rounded in his own right and has a great frame for the division. He also brings with him the confidence of an undefeated fighter. It’s a big spot for Dariush too on the heels of his loss to Michael Chiesa. There is no margin for error at lightweight, and I think you’ll see a huge effort from both guys. But this is closer to a Pick’em fight, in my opinion, than the current odds suggest. So I see some value with The Ultimate Fighter: Live alum Vick. Disclaimer: Mr. Anik is contractually prevented from wagering on UFC events. His opinions posted here are for information and entertainment purposes only.
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