Lomachenko steps back into the ring to defend titles
April 13, 2019 7:00 AM
by Alan Berg
Sometimes chaos can create something beautiful.
Thanks to the madness of the UFC Lightweight division, Khabib Nurmagomedov wanting time off, Conor McGregor doing who knows what, Dana White found a fantastic fight to hold the division over for now.
Top contender Dustin Poirier takes on UFC Featherweight champion Max Holloway for the UFC Interim Lightweight title Saturday at Atlanta. But the chaos doesn’t end there. Kelvin Gastelum knows that word well, traveling all the way down to Australia last February for a title shot against Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. However, fate intervened as Whittaker was rushed to the hospital the night before unable to defend his title.
The main event that night became Israel Adesanya vs. future Hall of Famer Anderson Silva. Adesanya won an easy decision and now Gastelum vs. Adesanya battle for the UFC Interim Middleweight championship.
Holloway-Poirier is a rematch of Holloway’s first UFC fight in 2012, a first-round submission loss. Since then Holloway became the Featherweight champion and is currently on a 13-fight win streak. Poirier has won eight of nine since losing to McGregor in 2014.
Currently, Holloway is a -200 to -220 favorite to avenge the loss, with the takeback on Poirier at +170 to +190. It’s hard to bet against Holloway with the path he has been on. Holloway just destroyed Brian Ortega last time out, who was about as polished a prospect as we have seen. The price seems a little high for Holloway but not enough for me to warrant backing Poirier. I will look for the round prop in this one. UNDER
Gastelum has won five of his last six to earn his title shot, while Adesanya might be the fastest rising prospect in UFC. Adesanya has lightning fast strikes and tons of kickboxing experience but the one question is can he handle a wrestler? Lucky for him that’s not Gastelum’s game which is why Adesanya is a -160 to -175 favorite with Gastelum at +140 to +150.
This is another fight that is tough to call as it will likely be the first guy to land something solid wins the fight. With Adesanya’s inexperience, the price is high for me. But if twisting my arm, I would back him at the -160 price. However, I think the better move here is to also take the total, my expectation is this will not go the distance. UNDER
Lomachenko title defense
Not to be outdone, one of the most exciting pound-for-pound fighters in boxing, Vasyl Lomachenko, steps back into the ring Friday on ESPN+ to defend his WBA, WBO and The Ring Lightweight titles against Anthony Crolla.
It’s of course another repeating cycle of his opponent not being near the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s class. Lomachenko walks in a -7000 to -8000 favorite while for the bravest of boxing bettors out there can get a 18-1 or 20-1 ticket on the Crolla upset.
Now I am never going to recommend betting a fighter at -7000, but Lomachenko is a lock and should probably find a way on your daily Friday parlay to boost the odds a couple bucks. However, I also don’t recommend doing many parlays. The total sits at 9.5 with heavy juice on the under at -250 to -270.
Lomachenko is a can’t miss fighter, so rather than betting this one, just enjoy the show he is likely to put on ESPN+.
Crawford, Canelo around the corner
As mentioned, Lomachenko is defending The Ring Magazine title, a publication that has him currently ranked as the No. 1 Pound-for-Pound fighter in all of boxing.
However, two other well known stars are now just weeks away from their own respective title bouts.
Terence Crawford (No.2 P4P) defends his WBO Welterweight Title vs. former champion Amir Khan on April 20 on the first ever Top Rank ESPN Pay Per View from New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Crawford is a sizable favorite but not Lomochenko-esque at -1500 to -1600, takeback +850 to +900 on Khan. Check out next week’s issue for a preview of that title matchup.
Also entering the squared circle soon, is mega star Canelo Alvarez (No.3 P4P) on May 4th in Las Vegas.
Canelo will defend his WBC, WBA and Ring Middleweight titles in a unification bout with IBF Middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs.
The fight is available on DAZN, a sports streaming app available on all major streaming devices. The best part, it’s a monthly service like Netflix, cancel when you want. So instead of paying $69.99 for Crawford-Khan, it’s $19.99 for Canelo-Jacobs.
We will have a two-issue preview of Canelo-Jacobs. Stay tuned.
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