Aldo, McGregor could be the biggest UFC fight ever
December 01, 2015 3:04 AM
by Vegas Runner
We are now less than two weeks away from the most highly anticipated mixed martial arts championship bout of 2015, and some would argue of all time.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena plays host to the UFC Featherweight Title unification bout between Jose Aldo (25-1) and Conor McGregor (18-2). At this moment both fighters carry UFC gold with Aldo the current champion and McGregor the interim strap holder.
This mega fight for featherweight supremacy was set to take place back in July as the main event for UFC 189 until an injury suffered by Aldo forced a postponement. The bout was only days away when the champion pulled out and McGregor went on to face Chad Mendes for the interim belt. Therefore on Dec. 12 the question will finally be answered as to who is truly the undisputed king at 145 lbs.
McGregor is currently favored to exit the Octagon with the crown as oddsmakers installed “The Notorious” as high as -195. Since then money wagered on Aldo has forced bookmakers to adjust the odds down to an average of -165, with the take back on “Scarface” +145.
Rest assured the bulk of the action has yet to reach the betting window as this title fight should ultimately result in one of the most heavily bet of all time. I’ll be breaking down the bout and sharing my opinion on which side offers value and whether I’ll be backing my opinion with my cash.
Now over the past few weeks there have been some major developments in the fight game as based on the betting line probability was defied on both, MMA and boxing.
It began at UFC 193 when challenger Holly Holm (10-0) shocked the MMA world by completely dominating before eventually knocking out champion Ronda Rousey (12-1). The former title holder was listed as high as a 20-1 favorite leading up to the bout, resulting to a big score for Holm supporters.
Most surprising was how onesided the fight ended up being as the new title holder doubled Rousey up in strikes landed and was even able to take the former champion down.
With so many ways to both win and lose a fight in mixed martial arts, that fight should hold as a reminder that there truly is no such thing as a lock. In fact, we as bettors will continue to find opportunities to get the best of it when the perception created by the media and others makes a fighter appear unbeatable.
Another perfect example of this took place over the weekend as a Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KO’s) suffered his first loss in over a decade. The former Olympic gold medal winner and undisputed world champion who held the heavyweight title of four sanctioning bodies was beaten soundly by Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KO’s).
The newly crowned WBA (Super), WBO, IBF, IBO, and Ring Magazine heavyweight strap holder entered the ring at nearly a 3 to 1 underdog against Klitschko but he was not to be denied as he too made it look easy.
Fury, only 27, won via unanimous decision which marked the first time in his professional career that the 39 year old Klitschko was beaten on the score cards. His previous three loses came by way of knockout prior to the late great Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Stewart taking Wladimir under his tutelage.
Stewart taught Klitschko how to use his 6’6’’ frame to fight tall and sured up his defense to limit his questionable chin from being tested much. That afforded his pupil the skill set to go on and become one of the most dominant heavyweights of all time.
Finally, these two so called “major upsets” should serve as an example for us bettors and fans alike to be cautious not to allow perception cloud our judgements. Although playing Monday morning quarterback may seem futile to some, doing so gives us a better understanding of what actually took place and what we may have missed. Because in both instances when you handicap the fighters without bias it almost seems obvious that the underdogs were “live”.
In the case of Rousey, it was no secret her main weakness was striking. She is considered one of the best grapplers and submission fighters within the UFC, and her judo is ultimately her greatest asset. But if anyone was going to beat her it was most likely going to be an elite striker. And there is no denying Holm, a former professional boxer who held many world titles fits that mold.
Then with Klitschko if we look closely at his past 6 bouts, we see that three opponents were able to last until the final bell. Wikipedia states the second longest reigning heavyweight champion is regarded as the hardest punching knockout artist in the division’s history.
More importantly, those previous six opponents were not considered top level fighters. Couple all of that with the fact the fight had been delayed due to an injury suffered by Klitschko and Fury at 6’9’’ would have a 3 inch height and 4 inch reach advantage, and all of a sudden it don’t appear to be as shocking as the play by play announcers were making it out to be.
Again, it’s easy to look back and see all of these factors and ask how so many of us missed them. But I believe it’s one of the most important exercises we bettors can do. Because in the land of where you have to lay 11 to win 10, the goal must be to continue learning from every winning and losing wager placed. One of the best ways to do this is by simply taking the time to handicap an event both before and after it takes place.
Vegas-Runner is a professional bettor/handicapper featured on CNBC, ESPN, FOX, Yahoo, CBS This Morning, The Herd, JT the Brick, & More. Follow VR on Twitter @Greek_Gambler, and at the home of the Animals, Phillygodfather.com. Contact Vegas Runner at VegasRunner@GamingToday.com.