UFC 146 betting preview: Can dogs keep cashing in heavyweight title fights?

Favorites in UFC heavyweight title fights have burned many bankrolls over the last two years.

Underdogs are on a four-fight win streak in heavyweight championship bouts, heading into Saturday’s title fight between champion Junior dos Santos and Frank Mir at UFC 146 in Las Vegas. Not since Brock Lesnar came back to submit Shane Carwin at UFC 116 - 30 numbered UFC events ago - has a heavyweight champion kept his belt and cashed tickets for bettors.

“I think that’s just random,” MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas told Covers. “I think Junior dos Santos will put a stop to that. I think that streak comes to an end.”

If dos Santos can’t knock out Mir, then it’s time to officially consider the possibility that a curse is attached to the heavyweight title belt and bet the underdogs for the rest of eternity.

This matchup is custom-made for the champion to shine in his first title defense. The odds reflect as much, as dos Santos is posted around -500 with Mir coming back at +350.

“I can’t recommend people lay 5-1,” Kalikas said, “but I don’t think Mir is worth a bet, honestly. He’s going to have to get this fight to the ground to be successful, and I don’t see that happening.”

But plenty of public bettors do. The line has stayed steady for the most part since Kalikas opened it because more straight tickets are on Mir. UFC 146 is shaping up beautifully for many sportsbooks. They aren’t worried about exposure on Mir because the co-main event features a matchup with a favorite just as hefty.

Cain Velasquez enters as a -450 favorite over Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, posted at +300. The excessive number of two-fight parlays pairing dos Santos and Velasquez makes a Mir victory far less dangerous for bookmakers.

“People that don’t know much about MMA are going to take a shot on the dog to cancel out the parlay money,” Kalikas explained. “The casual sports fan that’s starved for action is going to like the high price.”

It’s hard to blame them considering recent events. The dreaded “unstoppable” word was thrown around for both Lesnar and Velasquez before their reigns came to inglorious ends.

The upheaval has given the heavyweight division an inaccurate reputation as the most unstable class in the UFC. The big guys have more power - the sentiment goes - so the results tend to be more random and more dependent on one strike.

But truthfully, the upset rate in the heavyweight division is no greater than the smaller weight classes in the UFC. The surprises have just come at the top, making them more memorable.

The underdog success shouldn’t last past this weekend. Like the Macarena and rat tails, the run by underdogs in heavyweight title fights is a trend born to die.

UFC 146 leans

Junior dos Santos (-500) vs. Frank Mir (+350)

Kalikas wisely suggests checking out the price on dos Santos to win inside the distance on fight day. It’s a nice way to back dos Santos while trimming off a small amount of juice.

Cain Velasquez (-450) vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (+300)

The only interesting question here is whether Silva can last longer than he did against Daniel Cormier, Velasquez’s teammate, last year. Cormier knocked out Silva in 3:56. Give me the under with a motivated, healthy Velasquez.

Roy Nelson (-225) vs. Dave Herman (+175)

Herman claims he barely trained for this fight after taking it on short notice. Nelson claims he emptied his bank account in order to get the best preparation for UFC 146.

Stipe Miocic (-160) vs. Shane del Rosario (+130)

I hate to uncharacteristically take all the chalk, but that’s where the value rests this weekend. Miocic has a higher upside than del Rosario, who hasn’t fought in 14 months after suffering severe injuries when struck by a drunk driver.

Stefan Struve (-120) vs. Lavar Johnson (-110)

Shop to find Struve by submission at +110 or Even money for the best bet on the card.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

share SHARE rss RSS FEED email EMAIL print PRINT
Hide All Responses

Posted by NickCapone
4 years ago

Mir will not last 1 round with Dos Santos power..If Struve gets it to the ground which i think he will ,its all over. With that said im going with a Struve-140/-500 Dos Santos Parlay for even money. p.s Valasquez won 7 fights in a row and finished 6 of them. he is far from over rated

Posted by Raines
4 years ago

FRANK MIR in a upset. :) Can't wait.

Posted by rickyn
4 years ago

let me get this one straight after posting CAN DOGS KEEP CASHING IN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE FIGHTS- you proceed to pick every favorite in every heavy weight fight REALLY? here we go now dos santos "should win easily" but theres NO VALUE at 5-1 cain velasquez is OVER RATED he hasnt really beaten anyone- noguieira is over the hill and lesnerd is over rated and punch shy silva is huge has faced tougher competition and is a top knotch bjj fighter who beat a cain clone in fedor- cain doesnt hit as hard as his training partner daniel cormier- IF cain does win it will be by decision NOT KO or sub struve is way too prone to getting knocked out to bet on when hes fighting a guy who has big time knock out power- dont be surprised if struve gets ktfo- if pee wee actually fights as if he gives a shit he could take a decision from an over rated out of shape roy nelson could roy land his infamous haymaker hell yes but i'm givin that a 5% chance lets see whos picks are closer

Posted by sharpstick
4 years ago


Posted by tmurda666
4 years ago

do you still think cain is over-rated? he won by tko in the 1st round... struve dominated, and possibly broke lavars arm... how about big country? is he still over-rated & out of shape? he did drop pee-wee with that 5% haymaker... now, im wondering whos picks were closer?

Posted by tmurda666
4 years ago

/ Stefan Struve / Shane del Rosario / Roy Nelson / Cain Velasquez / Junior dos Santos /
You are currently not logged in.
Login | Signup | Help
You must be logged in to post a comment.

Top Response

Posted by tmurda666
4 years ago

"do you still think cain is over-rated? he won by tko in the 1st round... struve dominated, and possibly broke lavars arm... how about big country? is he still over-rated & out of shape? he did drop pee-wee with that 5% haymaker... now, im wo..."