Another big card of fights coming up as we offer more UFC tips, this time as we look at the big card that includes Luke Rockhold vs Michael Bisping and Dominick Cruz vs Urijah Faber. Read on for our UFC 199 betting tips.
The story of 2016 has been injury forced withdrawals from the UFC’s biggest fight and that trend continued when former champion Chris Weidman, who was looking to avenge his first lost had to pull out with a neck injury. However the silver lining here is that fan favourite and the man often regarded as the best fighter to never get a title shot, Michael Bisping finally gets his shot at UFC gold. Rockhold and Bisping have fought once before in Sydney, where Rockhold floored Bisping with two perfectly placed kicks and then choked him out with one arm. However both combatants have commented that an unintentional headbutt from Rockhold completely changed the dynamic of that fight. Since losing to Vitor Belfort, Luke Rockhold has won 5 straight fights (with 5 finishes) in the middleweight division that culminated in him winning the title at UFC 194. He is an athletic striker with a diverse arsenal but his two favourite weapons are a counter right hook and a brutal left body kick. Where he really excels is on the ground, Rockhold has one of the most dangerous top games in all of MMA. Rewatching his title fight with Weidman it was amazing how easily he controlled and punished a division 1 wrestler on the ground and if this one hits the mat it won’t be long before Bisping is forced to tap. He also trains out of AKA alongside Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez and Khabib Nurmagomedov so there’s no chance he comes into this fight underdone. At 6”3 he is massive for the division and will hold a big physical advantage over his opponent.
Englishman Michael Bisping has been on the cusp of three UFC title shots only to fall out the final hurdle against Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen. A 10 year veteran of the UFC and the ultimate fighter 3 winner, Bisping has earned his title shot with three consecutive victories including an entertaining decision against the greatest middleweight of all time, Anderson Silva. Bisping is an in/out boxer. He plays at range with a jab and seizes on opportunities with accurate combinations. He isn’t a power striker, tending to outwork and frustrate opponents. In recent years he continues to add in more kicks, which help to win points on the judges’ cards. He has great defensive grappling and wrestling. Throughout his career he has been very hard to take down and usually pops right back to his feet if his opponent is able to land a takedown. Bisping has a great gas tank, he is able to push the pace for all 5 rounds, hopefully the short notice won’t effect this too much. Most importantly Bisping is game, he has waited his entire career for this and I have no doubt he will give everything he has to be the one leaving with the belt around his waist.
Prediction: Based purely on skill, Rockhold is a deserving massive favourite. Add into that Bisping taking this fight on short notice and the fact Rockhold steamrolled him just two years ago do not bode well for the Englishman. If Bisping is going to win it will be by outpointing over 5 rounds which means he has to survive 5 rounds with a bigger stronger opponent who has a far larger offensive arsenal. Historically Rockhold is a slow starter and tends to spend the first round or so getting his timing and distance right. He will eventually takeover and should get the finish, but Bisping will not go quietly into the night. Luke Rockhold rd 3 submission.
The batamnweight title will also be on the line this Sunday and Dominick Cruz is not only looking to defend his belt, but also avenge his only career loss, a submission defeat to Uriah Faber in 2007. Cruz was the inaugural batamnweight champion and is undefeated in the UFC. He was stripped of the title due to multiple injury layoffs and has only fought twice since 2011. If not for the injuries Cruz would be in the discussion for pound-for-pound best and even holds a victory over current pound-for-pound number one Demetrious Johnson. Cruz is the Floyd Mayweather of MMA, he is defensively minded and is able to punch without being punched. Cruz’s striking game is all about constant unorthodox movement and silky footwork. When you think he think he’s going to Zig, he zags and when you think he’s going left, he goes right. Along with Demetrious Johnson, he is one of the hardest fighters to hit. Despite his unusual movement, Cruz maintains perfect balance and is always correctly transferring his weight through punches. On top of expert striking, Cruz is also a sensational wrestler. He fluidly transfers from striking to grappling and while it’s rarely his go to gameplan he always has his wrestling skills to fall back on if the fight isn’t going as planned. He is also an incredibly cerebral fighter, you can tell just watching him in his role as prefight analyst, how good he is at breaking down opponents.
Urijah Faber is an MMA pioneer, especially when it comes to the lighter divisions. This will be his 4th UFC title fight and he has seen everything MMA has to offer. Faber is very well rounded; he has good striking, wrestling and nasty chokes. While Cruz is best from the outside, Faber prefers to get in close and does his best working from the clinch or exchanging in the pocket. He throws most strikes well and uses them to hurt his opponent or mask his explosive double leg takedown. On the ground he excels in the transitions; he is excellent at taking the back and has a patented guillotine choke. He is also well rounded defensively, but has always had a problem checking leg kicks and I expect Cruz to exploit this. He is known as a cardio machine and has one of the better chins in the division. He has only been finished 3 times in 41 professional bouts and has never been submitted.
Prediction: If Faber is going to win this one he must close the distance and put Cruz in uncomfortable positions and catch him in a transition. If Cruz is able to get into his groove, he will pick Faber apart on the feet and add in some takedowns to solidify rounds on the judges’ cards. Simply, this one comes down to Cruz is very hard to beat and Faber is very hard to finish, so I can’t see this one going any other way then a one-sided Cruz decision. Dominick Cruz 49-46 decision.
At only 24 and already a veteran of 14 UFC fights, Hawaiian striking prodigy Max Holloway looks to continue his ascension to the top of the featherweight rankings with a victory over former title contender Ricardo Lamas. Holloway is an exceptionally talented boxer, equally happy out of either stance; he works the head and body with searing combinations. He has very good fundamentals and footwork which make him a very accurate striker and he has impressive striking defence numbers. He also a diverse kicking game and a signature spinning side kick. One knock on him is the lack of punching power, but his volume and accuracy have earnt a number of TKO victories. He also has impressive takedown defence, but is susceptible to being controlled on the ground as evidenced when Conor McGregor held him down for three rounds with a torn ACL. But Holloway is riding an 8 fight winning streak and must be close to earning a rematch with the featherweight champion.
Lamas is no stranger to hot streaks himself, he once strung together four straight UFC victories to earn a shot at Jose Aldo’s crown, where he lost a lopsided decision. A NCAA all American wrestler with a BJJ black belt, Lamas is predominantly a grappler. He has a good double leg and strong takedowns from the clinch. On the mat he has strong ground and pound and a powerful squeeze to force submissions. He has KO power on the feet, especially with counters. He is too hittable and inaccurate to win a point’s battle so will be looking for the power shots.
Prediction: If we are going to see an upset on this main card I think it comes in this fight, Lamas has the tools to dominate Holloway if he can get takedowns in the middle of the octagon. But Holloway has a huge advantage at distance and up against the cage in the clinch. This fight will probably look a lot like Holloways last fight, he will use his reach and technical superiority to keep his more powerful opponent at range and pick him apart from the outside. Lamas has always fallen short when taking that last step up in competition and in Holloway he is fighting one of the division’s very best. Max Holloway by 30-27 decision.
This bout brings together two Olympians, Dan Henderson a Greco Roman wrestler and MMA legend against Cuban-Australian Judo practioner who competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. A former PRIDE and Strikeforce champion who started his career in 1997, Dan Henderson is one of the oldest and most decorated fighters on the UFC roster. At 45, Henderson’s physical gifts are leaving him, but he still possesses the ‘H-Bomb’ an overhand right capable of starching any man. Never the most diverse striker, he is now very reliant on that one weapon and is moving noticeably slower and stiffer with each octagon appearance. Early in his career Henderson would rely on his wrestling to grind out decisions, but somewhere along the line he veered away from grappling and is now an out and out striker. He was once famous for having a near impermeable chin, but we are even starting to see cracks appear in that.
At his best, Hector Lombard is one of the scariest opponents the UFC can match you up with. He is lightening quick and has devastating KO power. On top of that he is nigh on impossible to takedown and has ferocious throws and trips of his own. However he is very inconsistent and tends to slow down significantly as fights go on. Lombard is also a small middleweight who has fought a lot of his career at welterweight, whereas Henderson is a big middleweight who has fought a lot of his career at light heavyweight (he also holds a win over HW great Fedor Emelianenko ). However I think this size discrepancy will just increase the significant speed advantage Lombard holds. It must also be noted that this is Lombard’s second fight since a PED suspension and while he looked good in the first round of his last fight, he quickly gassed and was soundly beat by Neil Magny.
Prediction: Unfortunately Henderson’s physical decline mean he is no longer able to be competitive with high level fighters and while Lombard is no spring chicken, he still appears to be in his physical prime. Henderson will have that right hand cocked and ready to fire, but a lack of options to compliment it mean it should be easy for Lombard to avoid. Lombard is tricky to bet; sometimes he comes at blazing looking for the quick finish and other times he seems hesitant to pull the trigger and is content to ride out a Judo based decision. Whichever tact Lombard chooses he should win this and win it comfortably. Hector Lombard by rd 1 KO.
The PPV will be kicked off with a bout between two lightweights on the cusp of breaking into the division’s top 10. Since his first round KO loss to Conor McGregor in 2014, Poirier has returned to the lightweight division and rattled off 3 impressive victories, highlighted by his dominate performance afainst top Irish prospect Joe Duffy. Fighting out of American top team in Florida, Poirier comes from a boxing background but has added an impressive submission game to his arsenal. His power punches are uppercuts and a right hook, be he throws most punches well and mixes in some damaging low kicks. He has significant defensive holes and doesn’t use a lot of head movement leaving him vulnerable to straight punches. He also enjoys getting into firefights, which can often be to his detriment. He has solid wrestling, but his aggressive chasing of submissions has left him open to sweeps and counters.
Like Poirier, Green is primarily a striker. He comes from a wrestling background, but has abandoned that in favour of stalking down opponents with his jab and low kicks. He was on an eight fight win streak before losing to Edson Barboza, but that fight was in 2014 and injuries have kept him on the sidelines since. He loves putting on a show for the fans and will often come forward with his hands down looking to entice his opponents into trading punches. He has a good chin and enjoys fighting in close, but can get a little sloppy and reliant on the one big punch. He rarely goes looking for the takedown, but uses great defensive wrestling and rarely gets held on the mat. On top he can be damaging and is good at transitioning to the back. Throughout his career has also been plagued by questions over his mental toughness, so you have to question where he head is after nearly two years without a fight.
Prediction: Poirier’s fight against Duffy really showed how much he has improved in recent years. Duffy is an excellent boxer and Poirier was able to give him everything he could handle on the feet and dominated whenever the fight hit the mat. That’s in stark contrast to Greene’s two year hiatus and I think he will have a fair bit of ring rust to shake off. Technically these two are evenly matched and I expect this to be closer than the odds suggest, but I think Poirier’s speed will be telling and he should find Greene’s chin often. Dustin Poirier by 3rd TKO.
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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