Lyoto Machida is back from an 18-month suspension for banned substances, but what does he have to offer the sport at 39 years old? We’ll find out this Saturday, when he headlines UFC Fight Night 119 opposite No. 7 middleweight Derek Brunson in an important divisional clash.
The welterweight co-main event between Demian Maia and Colby Covington carries heavy title implications, as Maia is one fight removed from a failed title challenge. It’s also an awesome style matchup between legendary BJJ artist and a red-hot wrestler.
Also on the card: a bantamweight tilt between fringe top-10 fighters Rob Font and Pedro Munhoz, a lightweight scrap between lightweight veterans Francisco Trinaldo and Jim Miller. Rounding out the main card are middleweight slugger Thiago Santos and bantamweight body shot extraordinaire John Lineker.
Let’s take a look at the UFC odds at BookMaker.eu and break down your best betting options.
Lyoto Machida +135 vs. Derek Brunson -165
Over/under 2.5 rounds, over +135, under -155
Will Brunson Brawl?
We’ve seen a few iterations of Brunson: the early version was a rugged wrestler with hellacious GNP. Then he morphed into a brawl-or-nothing guy and racked up KOs. More recently, we’ve seen a patient counterstriker. If Jackson-Wink could somehow merge all three of these versions together, Brunson would likely be a top-5 guy.
Machida is too good to charge forward against, but Yoel Romero, Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold proved that he can be taken down and pounded out. Brunson’s got that skillset in him, and he’s the type of explosive, powerful athlete that the 39-year old Brazilian struggles against. If he fights smart, this is his fight to lose.
We lean Brunson in this matchup, though I wouldn’t lay down too much on his price. There’s a big chance that Machida’s movement frustrates him to the point of haymaker mode, in which case “The Dragon” will pick him apart.
Our Pick: Small bet on Brunson to win at -165
Demian Maia +140 vs. Colby Covington -180
Over/under 2.5 rounds, over -230, under +180
Smother May I? No You May Not.
I wouldn’t blame you if you think Maia does his usual impersonation of a backpack and glue himself to Covington’s torso for the better part of three rounds. But Covington’s mix of elite wrestling, frantic pace and bottomless cardio makes him a tough dude to get down. Plus, Maia is 39 and facing a guy 10 years younger. As Jorge Masvidal and Tyron Woodley proved, if Maia has to stand, he’s outta luck.
We love the fact that Covington is an underdog right now. As much as we love Maia, this is a bad matchup for him.
Our Pick: Covington to win at -180
Pedro Munhoz +145 vs. Rob Font -185
Over/under 2.5 rounds, over -145, under +125
Font and Center
At 30 years old, Font looks like he’s turning the corner as a fighter. His kickboxing is fully developed, unearthing potent KO power over the past two years, and he’s always been a savvy submission wrestler to boot. However, if he doesn’t improve on his tepid 20% takedown defense, he could get rolled up by Munhoz, who is a very good grappler. Font needs to keep this on the feet where he has the biggest advantage.
It’s tough to pick a winner in this matchup – they’re similarly ranked for a reason. Instead play the rounds over here, as both men have never been finished.
Our Pick: Over 2.5 rounds at -145
Francisco Trinaldo -190 vs. Jim Miller +150
Over/under 2.5 rounds, over -220, under +180
With over 20 years of pro fighting experience combined, Trinaldo and Miller should feature plenty of high-level exchanges. Each fighter has distinct edges in different skills, with Trinaldo’s powerhouse kickboxing giving him a striking advantage, while Miller’s grappling is superior to the Brazilian’s. And when it comes to experience, Miller has fought a much better level of competition, but Trinaldo has been the hotter fighter recently.
Another difficult fight to pick a winner here, but we like the price on Trinaldo. Miller will struggle to get the athletic Brazilian to the ground, and will take a ton of damage trying to do so.
Our pick: Trinaldo to win at -190
Thiago Santos -135 vs. Jack Hermansson +105
Over/under 1.5 rounds, over +100, under -120
Let’s Play Tag
These two guys are gonna touch each other up. Santos’ standup isn’t pretty, but the man hits hard: 10 KOs in 15 career victories is no joke. While not flashy, the Brazilian certainly can be explosive, evidenced by his spinning wheel kick KO of Jack Marshman. Hermansson hits heavy too, but he relies much more on speed, defense and volume.
A long, rangy fighter, Hermansson should be able to outmaneuver and outstrike Santos. Lay the price on the Swede.
Our pick: Hermansson to win at +105
John Lineker -450 vs. Marlon Vera +325
Over/under rounds: coming soon
At 24, Ecuadorian Marlon Vera made a few big jumps up the bantamweight ladder, TKOing the veteran Brad Pickett and subbing the underrated Brian Kelleher in his past two fights. But going from those guys to a killer like John Lineker is asking a bit much. Just sit back and enjoy watching a slugger like Lineker land thudding body shots all day.
There’s a chance that the young Vera keeps rapidly improving, but Lineker has been beating guys like John Dodson, Michael McDonald and Rob Font. He’s an easy pick.
Our pick: Parlay Lineker to win at -450