At last week’s UFC on FOX 22, bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz was working the FS1 desk when challenger Cody Garbrandt tuned in for a split-screen chat before their UFC 207 fight this week.
As expected, the pair started trashing each other. For five straight minutes. More than half of which was bleeped out due to words not suitable for television. As you can imagine, UFC betting is looking hot for this fight.
The Most Anticipated UFC Grudge Match
It was the latest chapter in a bone-deep blood feud between the two. Way back in September, I devoted an entire article on why this was the best current grudge match in the UFC.
From backstage confrontations, tattoo dissing on TMZ and jaw-breaking threats… no outlet or topic is off-limits. Not even absentee fathers in prison, which Cruz referenced by saying that Garbrandt had daddy issues and promising that he’d show him who his daddy was.
And now, they finally get to settle the score – with Cruz’s title on the line. Even if you’re one of those MMA fans that don’t get excited for the “little guys”, it’s hard not to be psyched about this bout. These two guys hate each other, are professional ass-kickers and get to legally assault each other for our enjoyment. What’s not to like?
Let’s break down the fight and your MMA betting options, courtesy of BookMaker.eu. Please note, the odds at BookMaker are udpated daily and subject to change.
Cody Garbrandt (+177) vs Dominick Cruz (-206)
Over/under 2.5 rounds, over -225, under +185
Fight Odds Analysis
In late October, Garbrandt opened as a +169. As of December 19, his money line stands at +180. During that time, Cruz has gone from -219 to -215. Obviously, most of the money has been on Cruz, as Cody Garbrandt’s odds have gone up 10 points over the past two months.
The over/under for this five-round title fight is split down the middle at 2.5 rounds, though the over is more than a 2-1 chalk at -225. Oddsmakers aren’t expecting a short fight, as the under is +190.
Cruz pioneered the evolution of stick-and-move style, fighting like a matador with hyperactivity disorder. He never stops moving, whether he’s leaning in to bait opponents or dancing out of range. This elusive technique makes him the most difficult fighter in the UFC to hit clean. It’s common to see opponents visibly frustrated after just two rounds of chasing him, which is why .
Now fully healthy after a slew of major knee injuries, Cruz looks even better than he did before. That’s a scary thought for the division, considering that he hasn’t lost since 2007 during a 13-fight winning streak. The most notable improvement is how he plants his feet when throwing punches, giving him far more pop than the potshots he used to take on the move.
But perhaps the biggest edge he holds over Garbrandt is in experience. Cruz has faced aggressive fighters like Cody in the past and is well prepared to make Garbrandt chase. Nobody has been able to figure out the puzzle that is “The Dominator”, and it’s difficult to believe that somebody as green as Garbrandt will be the first do so.
Just 25 years old, Garbrandt is already a stud. “No Love” is a flawless 10-0 with 9 KOs, with eight of those coming before the third round. His boxing is top-notch, a result of having trained with his uncle – an Olympic boxing alternate – since age 15. A 32-1 record as an amateur is all the proof you need.
But what really sets Garbrandt apart is his knockout power. There are few 135-pounders that hit has hard as the Team Alpha Male rep. In fact, it’s easy to argue that he’s the most dangerous puncher in the division. Against a fighter as hard to hit as Cruz, that killshot power can make all the difference.
Physically, Garbrandt is younger, faster and more explosive. He’ll need all of these athletic gifts to catch Cruz, a pure defensive specialist. Training with a strong stable of wrestlers, it’s likely that Garbrandt will be able to cancel out the takedowns of Cruz as well, keeping the fight on the feet where he is strongest.
UFC Betting Values
Cruz is a big favorite on this much-anticipated UFC fight card for a reason: Garbrandt simply isn’t ready for him yet. Give him a couple more years and he could definitely be a champion, but taking the belt from somebody as complex as Dominick is too much to ask, even for a guy that put the lights out so easily.
There are two safe plays in the UFC odds here: the first is Cruz to win straight up at -215, and the other is the over on 2.5 rounds at -225 – Cruz is notorious for fighting to decision. Let’s go with the better payout.
What are the top UFC fights to check out in 2017? Read Fights the UFC Needs to Crush It in 2017