This weekend, the UFC will hold one of their most stacked events to date with UFC 211 taking place in Dallas, Texas. The card is absolutely loaded with a pair of title fights at the top of the card as Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight title against Junior dos Santos and Joanna Jedrzejczyk looks to defend her strawweight title for the fifth time against Jessica Andrade.
But that’s not all.
A welterweight fight with title implications will take place between the surging Demian Maia and Jorge Masvidal while Frankie Edgar will look to turn back the challenge of upstart Yair Rodriguez.
UFC 211 has a ton of intrigue for MMA fans but there’s also value to be found for the gambling community.
For starters, the heavyweight title fight is an interesting one. The last time these two met in 2014, dos Santos won a hard-fought unanimous decision victory. Since then, their careers have gone in different directions. Miocic kicked off a streak of four straight wins while claiming the UFC heavyweight title along the way. As for dos Santos, he was knocked out by Alistair Overeem but bounced back with a victory against Ben Rothwell in April. But because their initial battle was so close, the line between the two has become quite the interesting one. Miocic originally opened up as a -161 favorite but now finds himself in a near toss up with the line shriveling up to a -125. Meanwhile, dos Santos currently sits as a +105 underdog at 5Dimes.
Although the heavyweight title has become an oversized hot potato, the fact remains that Miocic has been on a surge and should be a bigger favorite than he is. If their last battle was any indication, Miocic clearly put the MMA world on notice with his performance and has followed through with four consecutive knockout victories against quality opposition. Another indicator is how they fared against a common opponent in Alistair Overeem. Miocic put away Overeem inside of a round at UFC 203 last September while dos Santos was brutally knocked out in December of 2015 by the same opponent.
There’s simply no way you should avoid taking Miocic at those odds.
In the case of Jedrzejczyk vs. Andrade, the line has also sank for Jedrzejczyk at -150 after starting at -175 while Andrade is currently a +130 underdog. While Andrade has looked great since debuting at strawweight three fights ago, the champion is going to hold a significant height and reach advantage as well as being a more polished striker with excellent conditioning. As long as Jedrzejczyk can survive the initial onslaught, she should be able to control a fading Andrade with her wicked standup as the fight drags on. It could be a tough go for the champion but the value is on her side at -150.
Another line that comes off as surprising is Rodriguez vs. Edgar. Currently, Edgar is a narrow favorite at -125 while Rodriguez is at +105. The line is a bit of an eyebrow raiser considering that Rodriguez hasn’t faced anybody close to the caliber of Edgar in his career. He is unbeaten during his UFC tenure but when the most significant name on your resume is B.J. Penn, there have to be questions. Meanwhile, Edgar has proven to only be vulnerable against champions. All four of losses since 2012 have come against two opponents: Benson Henderson and Jose Aldo. And both were title fights. He’s proven to be nearly invincible otherwise with victories over Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens, among others. An argument can be made about Edgar’s age (35) but until it can be proven that he’s showing signs of slowing down, we’ll have to side with Edgar here.
All in all, there are some intriguing lines here but your best bet is going with favorites with very narrow lines in Miocic (-125), Jedrzejczyk (-150) and Edgar (-125).