A clash of heavyweights going in different directions headlines the UFC’s invasion of Halifax, Canada when the surging Derrick Lewis faces the struggling Travis Browne.
UFC Fight Night 105 features several crossroad fights for established UFC stars, which presents some interesting lines when it comes to betting. Let’s take a closer look at the card and which fights have betting value.
Starting with the main event, Browne enters this fight going 2-4 in his last six fights. The once-promising heavyweight contender has been backsliding for the past three years with losses to Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum (twice) and Andrei Arlovski. With the exception of Arlovski, you arguably couldn’t lose to a better crop of heavyweights. However, there is speculation that the 34-year-old’s best years are behind him and a clash with Lewis is one that will be used to prop up The Black Beast as the next heavyweight title contender.
With that in mind, Lewis is currently as much as a -115 favorite. Meanwhile, Browne started as a +110 underdog but the line has shifted to pick ‘em at many sportsbooks. It makes sense considering that Lewis hasn’t defeated the same level of competition as Browne has competed against. Of his five recent wins, only Roy Nelson has been ranked close to the top five in the past few years. And even Nelson was on the downside of his career.
Obviously, with a line this narrow and so much up in the air, betting on either fighter is something you can’t pull off with confidence. Even the lines on the over/under are just too narrow to place a wager on. This is one fight I’d stay away from considering we have no idea how Lewis’ conditioning will be versus Browne’s chin.
One fight that has a relatively surprising line is the clash between Johny Hendricks and Hector Lombard. Both fighters have had their respective issues at welterweight and will meet as middleweights in the co-main event. Since dropping his welterweight title to Robbie Lawler, Hendricks has been in a free fall of sorts. His struggles with weight have only magnified his Octagon issues as he’s lost three in a row and five of his last seven. Lombard hasn’t fared much better with losses in his last two fights against Dan Henderson and Neil Magny. However, the fact that Hendricks enters the fight as an underdog (opening up at +120) is a little surprising. Perhaps it is because this will be his first fight as a middleweight while Lombard has experience competing at 185. But I’d like to think that Hendricks should have the edge, as he’s looked better than Lombard in recent fights. Lombard lost his last two fights by knockout while Stephen Thompson is the only fighter to stop Hendricks.
There’s been a lot of talk about Hendricks being a small middleweight, which is true. But Lombard is also a small middleweight so any physical disadvantages will be nullified for this fight.
Given the fragility of Lombard’s chin and his whirlwind offense, I’m leaning heavily toward Hendricks and the under, which can be found at +170 at 5Dimes. It’s highly likely that
Hendricks will look to ground Lombard and win by any means necessary. But there’s always the possibility with Lombard’s solid takedown defense that these two opt to keep the fight standing. If that happens, somebody is likely taking a canvas nap.