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UFC 98 odds - Evans, Machida clash in battle of undefeated fighters

Posted by Jack "The Hammer" Howard on 4/25/2012 10:11:27 AM

Follow the link for up-to-date UFC 102 odds and coverage.

UFC betting

UPDATE: Latest UFC odds

RASHAD EVANS +160
LYOTO MACHIDA -200

MATT SERRA +240
MATT HUGHES -300

FRANK EDGAR +220
SEAN SHERK -280







The current UFC odds prove fans’ confidence in the sportsbook favorites is still growing. Lyoto Machida is a -200 favorite against light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, suggesting that, despite his recent accomplishments, Evans still hasn’t won over MMA betting fans. If he can somehow upset Machida, the best technical fighter he’s ever faced, the sky’s the limit for Evans.

Poor Matt Serra. The current UFC lines suggest bettors don’t think he has a prayer against Matt Hughes. The truth, though, is that Serra’s welterweight title win in his first matchup with Georges St-Pierre looks more and more like a fluke as time passes by. Serra struggles against big fighters, and Hughes still looks primed to manhandle his nemesis.

Frank Edgar’s fate should be the same as Serra’s, as heavy favorite Sherk should use his great size and wrestling skills to control the pace of the fight.

In injury news, Yushin Okami pulled out of his fight with Dan Miller due to a torn ligament and Chael Sonnen (21-10) will step in. Miller (12-1) often wins via submission and most of Sonnen’s losses are via submission (including his last fight against Demian Maia), so MMA betting fans should pick Dan Miller in this bout.

FIGHT BREAKDOWNS:

It wasn’t the MMA betting fight Dana White wanted, but it was the MMA betting fight the fans deserved. After Quinton Jackson lost his title shot due to injury, Rashad Evans will defend his UFC light heavyweight championship against Lyoto Machida, statistically the greatest defensive fighter in UFC history.  The possible standstill is White’s nightmare, but it’s a sportsbook matchup between the two best fighters in the weight class.

UFC 98 odds: Both champion and challenger are masters of defense

  • WHO: Rashad Evans vs Lyoto Machida / Matt Hughes vs Matt Serra
  • WHAT: UFC 98 betting
  • WHEN: Saturday, May 23 at 10:00 p.m. ET
  • WHERE: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • PICKS: Machida /Hughes

Evans vs Machida odds

“Sugar” Rashad Evans (18-0-1), the reigning champ at 205 pounds, spent most of his career as a UFC betting underdog. Many fight fans betting online were turned off by his constant dancing around the octagon without doing much and his overuse of wrestling skills to keep opponents pinned to the mat as the clock ticks down – better known as the “lay and pray” technique. There was no denying his great strength and wrestling skill, but MMA betting brass were skeptical about his ability to tangle with elite fighters.

Then it happened. At UFC 88, Evans floored Chuck Liddell with an unforgettable knockout and punched his ticket to stardom. Suddenly, he had true knockout power and had to be respected in online betting circles. He got his title shot against Forrest Griffin and totally outclassed him, showing outstanding evasion skills before wrestling Griffin to ground and hammering his way to a TKO victory.

Evans will put his title and undefeated streak on the line against another undefeated fighter: the unorthodox Lyoto “the Dragon” Machida. Like Evans, Machida is a polarizing fighter in that his strange, defensive style is written off as “boring” by some MMA betting fans. A Shotokan Karate master, his bizarre, upright stance makes him impossible to hit – so impossible, in fact, that no fighter gets hit less per strike attempt. His counterpunching style frustrates opponents and sets Machida up for precision strikes, and he’s been very successful doing it, having beaten big names like Rich Franklin, Tito Ortiz and, most recently, Thiago Silva.

JACK’S PICK: Whereas Evans has fought good defensive fighters before, Machida is out of his wheelhouse; he’s used to hanging back against aggressive fighters and pouncing on their mistakes. Some fans wonder if Machida can muster enough offense to win, particularly if the powerful Evans wrestles him to the ground. However, many MMA betting fans forget that Machida did in fact destroy a similar fighter to Evans, Tito Ortiz, last year. Machida is the superior striker and will be the best technical fighter Evans has ever faced. Bet on Lyoto Machida to catch Evans off guard and hurt him like no fighter has in his great MMA career thus far.

Hughes vs Serra odds

After what seems like an eternity, the Hughes vs Serra line is finally here and it’s the ultimate grudge match. Coaching opposing teams on “the Ultimate Fighter 6,” welterweight legend Matt Hughes (43-7) developed a bitter feud with mouthy, scrappy Matt Serra (16-5).The versatile former champions are in the twilight of their careers and this UFC betting tilt is more about pride than moving back up the ladder.

JACK’S PICK: If Hughes watched any video of Georges St-Pierre’s manhandling of Serra last year, he’ll be sitting pretty. He’s the bigger man, just as GSP was, and he can dominate the fight by getting Serra to the ground. Even though Serra is a Jiu-Jitsu guy, he can still be overpowered, so bet on Hughes. He’ll be extra hungry, as he has suggested that this will be his last fight.

Other UFC 98 lines

Sean Sherk (37-3-1) vs Frank Edgar (9-1): The Muscle Shark has a lot to prove after getting a decision many people felt he didn’t deserve in his last fight. Edgar hasn’t beaten any big-time talent, so he’ll be in over his head. Bet on Sherk to wrestle his way to victory.

Yushin Okami (24-4) vs Dan Miller (12-1-1): Miller’s situation is similar to Edgar’s: whom has he really beaten? The accomplished Okami seemed to leave his power overseas, but he’s still a solid technical fighter with some notable victories in his career. Bet on Okami to outlast and outstrike Miller in this one.

For more sports betting lines and MMA betting, bookmark the Betting Edge at betonline.com.

Jack "the Hammer" Howard is new to the MMA handicapping game, but his roots in the sport run deep. He enjoyed a brief amateur career in mixed martial arts and also has some boxing experience under his belt, making him an authority on the subject. Thoughts or questions?

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