While UFC 170 may have lost some luster when Rashad Evans was forced to drop out with a knee injury, it may have added some intrigue with last-minute fill-in Patrick Cummins being a huge underdog against Daniel Cormier. There’s also Ronda Rousey facing her biggest challenge yet while defending her UFC Bantamweight Championship against Sara McMann.
Let’s take a look at the odds for the main event:
Ladbrokes: McMann 15/4, Rousey 1/5
Bovada: McMann 13/4, Rousey 2/9
William Hill: McMann 7/2, Rousey 1/5
Even as the guy who wrote that no one will ever beat Ronda Rousey, I’m surprised at how lopsided the odds are in her favor.
I’ll go into much more detail in my actual UFC 170 preview, but in short, do I think that Rousey will win? Yes. Do I think she should be a 1/5 favorite? Absolutely not.
Here’s someone who is best at exactly the same area that Rousey has dominated her previous opponents. She also shares the same weakness when it comes to striking, since neither one has nearly the time in at standup fighting as they both do in grappling. So while I think Rousey deserves to be a solid favorite, I’d be very tempted to put a little money on McMann at 15/4 odds.
In the co-main event, late replacement Patrick Cummins takes on top five heavyweight-turned-light heavyweight Daniel Cormier:
Ladbrokes: Cummins 13/2, Cormier 1/12
Bovada: Cummins 7/1, Cormier 1/12
William Hill: Cummins 7/1, Cormier 1/14
I can’t imagine anyone putting money on Cormier other than as part of a parlay at these odds, no matter how sure a thing you may believe he is. I mean, putting up $1200 to win $100 in a sport like MMA where just about anything can happen? No thanks.
But what about Cummins? Is he worth a speculative play at 13/2? I would honestly almost say yes if McMann wasn’t a much better value at almost the same odds. The one thing that makes me pause before saying not to bet on Cummins is that Cormier himself is still very green. We’ve seen in recent fights that he has relied more and more on his base since upping the level of his competition, and now he’ll be facing someone who has the same base, even if not the same skill.
Plus, Cormier’s in a new weight class and cardio could become a factor. I think Cummins is a better choice if it’s a five-round fight instead of a three-rounder for that very fact, but I wouldn’t be made at you for tossing a little money in in case Cummins can steal a round early and take advantage of Cormier fading late.
The Smart Bet–
I think Rousey and Cormier are solid favorites, but the odds for the underdogs McMann and even Cummins make them intriguing possibilities. MMA is a crazy sport, and add in variables like judges and referees who occasionally forget how to do their jobs, and who knows? Elsewhere on the card, Demian Maia at 23/10 isn’t bad, but then again, Rory MacDonald is tailor-made to frustrate Maia, who has a history of trouble closing distance against solid strikers with good takedown defense. MacDonald’s jab makes it even harder for Maia, who is frustratingly patient and often has that quality work against him, as it did against Jake Shields. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Zach “Fun Size” Makovsky not only share great nicknames, but their designation as favorites that are decent plays at 10/13 and 4/7, respectively.