Mixed martial arts will be on display in Sydney, Australia this Saturday for UFC Fight Night 121. Heavyweight Mark Hunt (13-11-1), who was born in New Zealand and currently resides in Sydney, was scheduled to fight in the main event until he was pulled by the promotion.
The UFC cited “medical concerns” as the reason and it appears Hunt’s first-person article in Players Voice may have sealed his fate. Hunt stated, “I’ve still got my senses,” but then went on to chronicle many of the physical problems that continue to worsen over time. From an inability to sleep, to stuttering, slurring, and issues with memory, Hunt has even brought on a lawsuit against the UFC.
Therefore Hunt’s scheduled opponent Marcin Tybura (16-2), will now be facing former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1) in the main event. Odds makers installed the Brazilian as a -350 betting favorite, with the take-back on Tybura as high as +300. The over/under for total rounds is currently 2.5, with the over a slight favorite.
For Werdum, this bout marks his shortest turn around for a fight since signing with the UFC. The former title holder just competed on Oct. 7 at UFC 216, beating Walt Harris (10-7) in the very first round by submission. That victory came on the heels of a majority decision loss to Alistair Overeem (43-15-0-1) back in July of this year. In short, Werdum will be entering the Octagon for the third time in less than five months.
Werdum is arguably one of the most accomplished Brazilian Ju Jitsu practitioners in the heavyweight division, having won six of his last eight fights. Tybura, after losing his UFC debut he went on to win three straight bouts, including has last one in June against Andrei Arlovski. The Polish heavyweight is an extremely balanced fighter, appearing comfortable whether striking or grappling.
Tybura is also a very dangerous striker, who like most heavyweights packs plenty of power. But it’s his speed when striking that seems to be his greatest asset when standing. Statistically he’s been able to land 51% of strikes, while avoiding an impressive 64% from his opponents. More importantly for his fight with Werdum, Tybura has successfully defended against 80% of his opponents’ take down attempts.
Werdum’s win probability would need to hover around 80% against Tybura for the -350 betting line to be warranted and regardless of outcome, I just don’t believe it’s an accurate reflection of the true odds. Taking the “value side” doesn’t guarantee a winning bet.
Pick: Tybura +350