UFC 163 Odds and Betting Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 8/1/2013
The UFC heads back to Brazil this weekend for UFC 163 on Saturday night. The hometown crowd will be thrilled because beloved featherweight champion Jose Aldo will be defending his title in front of his country mates. Originally he was supposed to face Anthony Pettis, but an injury forced Pettis out and Jung Chan-Sung into the bout. That’s a massive upgrade, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the challenger. Chan-Sung is known as the “Korean Zombie,” which is by far the best nickname in the sport. Just seeing that name on the posters makes me happy.
As we have come to expect lately, injuries have again been a big issue even beyond the main event. Josh Koscheck and Demian Maia were set to square off in a fight that would have been a great one, but Koscheck was injured, and Maia was pulled off the card. Phil Harris also had to back out, and he was replaced by Jose Tome, and Clint Hester was replaced by Thiago Santos against Cezar Ferreira. That’s four main card fights that were significantly altered by injury, and there are only five main card fights. Any attempt to argue that the UFC doesn’t have a serious problem with injuries that has to be addressed is worthless at this point.
Here’s how the main card breaks down (all odds are from Bovada):
Featherweight championship - Jose Aldo (-750) vs. Jung Chan-Sung (+450)
The Korean Zombie unquestionably wins the nickname contest — “Scarface” was a great movie, but it is an uninspired nickname. Unfortunately, though, that’s probably all that the Korean stands a chance of winning here. Chan-Sung is very exciting to watch, and he has some nice wins, including a dominating victory over Mark Hominick at UFC 140. He hasn’t fought since May of 2012, though, so rust is inevitable. Against any top fighter that would be a concern, but Aldo hasn’t lost since 2005, so he is far from just another fighter. The champ last fought a bigger fighter in Frankie Edgar and still came out with an impressive decision win. Chan-Sung is a gambler, so there is always a chance that he will take a risk that pays off. Far more likely, though, the champ will show off his advantages in pretty much every aspect of the fight and will wear down his opponent before securing another win. I wouldn’t consider betting the champ at odds like this — it’s just not worth the risk for the potential return — but I can’t justify backing the underdog, either. A seemingly unbeatable Brazilian champion has already been beaten once this summer, and I just don’t see lightning striking twice.
Pick: Jose Aldo.
Light heavyweight - Lyoto Machida (-350) vs. Phil Davis (+265)
Lyoto Machida keeps doing what he needs to do to get another title shot against Jon Jones, and yet here he is having to fight a different fighter again. He can’t be happy. He also knows that winning is the best way to get the shot he wants, so he will be motivated here — especially because he is fighting at home. Davis is a solid fighter, but Machida’s edge is significant, and he will come out on top.
Pick: Lyoto Machida.
Middleweight - Cezar Ferreira (-450) vs. Thiago Santos (+325)
Don’t worry, there are interesting fights coming up. This just isn’t one of them. It would not only be a massive upset for Santos to win, but it would be a big upset if he lasted past the second round. Heck, lasting through the first round would be a minor victory for the underdog.
Pick: Cezar Ferreira.
Middleweight - Thales Leites (-130) vs. Tom Watson (even)
I once thought that Leites had a very bright future in the UFC. Then he lost a title shot to Anderson Silva at UFC 97 in April of 2009, lost again in August of that year, and was cut loose from the organization. He has since traveled the world working his way back up to the big time. Now he is up against Watson, a fighter making his UFC pay-per-view debut after twice fighting on Fuel TV. This is a good matchup. Watson is more active, but Leites is more dangerous. After once being so close to the top, though, I expect the Brazilian to be hungry to take advantage of this opportunity and start the climb again.
Pick: Thales Leites.
Flyweight - John Lineker (-450) vs. Jose Maria Tome (+325)
Both of these fighters are aggressive and explosive. Tome is new to the UFC, though, and I find it hard to back a fighter like that in the best of circumstances — never mind when he is up against a very good fighter like Lineker. With a win here LIneker will really start climbing the rankings towards a potential title shot down the road. He’ll be hungry and ready.
Pick: John Lineker.
For each card I make a $500 bet. Typically, it is a parlay, and this card is no exception:
$500 parlay: Take Lineker, Leites, Ferreira, Machida and Aldo. Potential profit of $1425.56.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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