UFC Fight Night - Arlovski-Barnett Closer Than The Odds Suggest

Andrei Arlovski

Jason Lake

Thursday, September 1, 2016 1:18 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016 1:18 PM GMT

Josh Barnett is a –150 favorite on the UFC odds board for Saturday's main event against Andrei Arlovski. Which of these ancient warriors will stand tall in Hamburg?

We've got a soft spot for Josh Barnett here at the home office. Maybe it's because he's from the Pacific Northwest; maybe it's the time he spent in PRIDE, and in pro-wrestling. But we're also talking about someone who plays Magic: The Gathering, and says his favorite movie is Blade Runner – the director's cut, of course. One of us. One of us.

But does Barnett deserve to be a –150 favorite in among top sportsbooks this Saturday when he meets Andrei Arlovski at Fight Night 93 in Hamburg? The UFC odds have been steaming away from Barnett since he opened two months ago at –210. This looks like a close matchup on paper between two former Heavyweight champions at the tail end of their respective careers. Let's investigate, shall we?
 

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Your Dreams Were Your Ticket Out
These gentlemen have racked up a lot of miles over the years. Barnett (34-8 lifetime, 6-3 UFC) took the Heavyweight title from Randy Couture back in 2002 but was stripped after a failed drug test. Arlovski (25-12, 1 NC, 14-6 UFC) beat Tim Sylvia for the interim title in 2005, got promoted to undisputed champion, and lost the title back to Sylvia in 2006. They both left the promotion after their title runs before returning a few years ago.

Barnett almost certainly took more abuse than Arlovski while they were away. He went to Japan and won the Pancrase Openweight Championship, then fought in K-1 and PRIDE (losing all three of his fights against Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic), along with multiple appearances for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Those guys don't play patty-cake, by the way. Arlovski, one year younger at age 37, fought mostly in the U.S. for Affliction, Strikeforce and World Series of Fighting, with mixed success.
 

 

Apollo Gogo
If you focus on their recent runs in the Octagon, Arlovski seems like the easy choice for your UFC picks. He did lose his last two fights, to Stipe Miocic (–245) and Alistair Overeem (–280), but those are two very tough opponents; Miocic is about to defend his newly-won title against Overeem at UFC 203. Before that, Arlovski won four straight fights, including a Fight of the Night performance against Travis Browne (–525).

Barnett is also coming off a loss, tapping out for the first time in his MMA career when Ben Rothwell (+105) slapped on a “gogo” guillotine choke back in January. But when he faced Browne (+120) at UFC 168, Barnett got tagged with a series of elbows and was knocked out in a minute flat. Not a pretty sight.

The transitive law doesn't necessarily apply in MMA, given the importance of styles clashes. But these recent results still point at the underdog as a value pick in this situation. If you're taking Arlovski, grab him now before the rest of that value disappears, like tears... in... rain.

Free UFC Pick: Arlovski +130
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
Record: 8-1 ML, 1-1 Totals, 9-3 Props (+10.74 units)

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