UFC Fight Night Betting: Machida, Anders Battle in Crossroads Fight

UFC Fight Night Betting: Machida, Anders Battle in Crossroads Fight article feature image

Jason Silva / Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports

Brazilian legend Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and American Eryk Anders meet in a crossroads fight for both men in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Belem, Brazil, this weekend.

Former Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Anders swapped the shoulder pads for four-ounce gloves and chased his dream in MMA — and on Saturday night he looks set to deliver a breakthrough performance.

Anders will headline a UFC event in only his third fight, and he’s been handed a golden opportunity to catapult himself into notoriety in the UFC’s middleweight division.

Former light heavyweight champ Machida was once the MMA puzzle the world’s best fighters struggled to solve. But it seems that the top fighters now have the solution to the Brazilian’s elusive karate-based style.

Machida has lost his last three bouts (all by finish), and four of his last five. The biggest concern here is the apparent issue with the Brazilian’s punch resistance; he was cleanly knocked out by both Yoel Romero and Derek Brunson in his last two outings.

The four names he’s lost to — Brunson, Romero, Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman — are all top-flight competitors in the UFC’s middleweight division. But a loss to Anders may mark the end of Machida as a legitimate threat at 185lbs.

On the flip side, victory for Anders would give him the biggest win of his career. He’s currently 10-0, but he hasn’t faced anyone remotely in Machida’s class.

It’s an acid test for both men. Does Machida still have it, or is Anders a legitimate prospect at 185lbs? The odds suggest the latter. Anders is a 3-1 favorite.

THE PICK: Machida has been stopped by KO in both of his last two bouts, and that worries me. Anders has legitimate knockout power — just ask another Brazilian veteran, Rafael Natal, whom Anders starched in his UFC debut. I’ll take Anders via KO/TKO @ -175 (William Hill).

Also on the card…

Welterweight striker Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means is best priced at -178 (Pinnacle) to defeat Brazilian Sergio Moraes, but the +265 on a Means victory by KO/TKO looks like outstanding value.

Also worth a look is the +215 (5Dimes) on lightweight Desmond Green upsetting Brazilian Michel Prazeres via decision. Green is a solid operator whose work rate should make the difference over Prazeres en route to a three-round verdict.

Damir Hadzovic is the betting underdog, but his more aggressive style means the +216 (SportBet) on a straight-up win looks like decent value, and the +425 (5Dimes) on a Hadzovic KO/TKO victory could be the value pick of the night.

Photo Credit: Jason Silva / Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports