Vitor Belfort is once again being underrated by the betting public.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion takes on former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC on FX 8 in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil Saturday. Sportsbooks currently have Belfort priced as a +105 underdog while Rockhold is coming back as the favorite at -125.
Even if Rockhold is the “sharp” side in this fight, I’m shocked the public is on him. MMA Oddsbreaker opened up Belfort as a -140 favorite, with Rockhold a +100 underdog, so it wasn’t the oddsmakers who have shifted the line in Rockhold’s favor. It seems as though the public doesn’t have a lot of respect for Belfort.
Of Belfort’s last eight fights, he was the favorite to win four times. Of those eight bouts, Belfort won six of them and the only two losses were against the No. 1 and No. 3 pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. A closer look at the numbers reveals just how undervalued Belfort has historically been.
In Belfort’s fight against Michael Bisping, a fight which Vitor won via head kick KO, he closed at only -121, which was an absolute steal. Against Anthony Johnson, who missed weight by 12 pounds, Belfort closed at -125. Again, a steal.
Against Yoshihiro Akiyama he closed at -320, but Belfort won the fight via first-round KO and probably should have been priced closer to 4-1 or even 5-1. Against Rich Franklin, Belfort closed at +125 and won by first-round KO, which was ridiculous value. Against Matt Lindland of all people, Belfort closed at +145 and won by first-round KO. Again, ridiculous value on the MMA veteran.
Finally, against Terry Martin, Belfort closed at -280 and won by second-round KO. Considering Martin had no real path to victory for that fight, it’s hard to believe Belfort wasn’t at least -400.
Those are his six wins in his last eight fights and he was a favorite in four of those bouts. Like I mentioned earlier, Belfort was an underdog to Silva and Jones and lost both fights. But, keep in mind, he was a big underdog in each and nearly submitted Jones with an armbar in the first round of their UFC 152 encounter despite moving up a weight class and taking the fight on very short notice.
Belfort’s MMA record of 22-10 is nothing to write home about. But consider that all 10 of his career losses have come to some of the sport’s all-time greatest fighters: Silva, Jones, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture (two times), Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem (two times), Tito Ortiz, and Kazushi Sakuraba. And then consider that half of those losses came by decision.
It’s hard to believe Belfort is the underdog to Rockhold this weekend. Belfort will have the hometown advantage, he will have the power advantage, and he’s allowed to use TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy), which seems to have really given his game a boost. Rockhold will have the advantage in leg kicks, height, cardio, and youth, but do those advantages really warrant him being a favorite over Belfort? I don’t think so.
Check out MMAOddsbreaker.com for more betting info on UFC on FX 8 and find the latest MMA odds here.