UFC Picks: Renan Barao vs. T.J. Dillshaw UFC 173

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 6:05 PM GMT

UFC 173 features a bantamweight title match between reigning champ Renan Barao and gritty grappler T.J. Dillashaw.  Let’s peruse the UFC odds in this and one other match to be hosted on May 24that the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Renan Barao (32-1, 8 KO’s, 14 Subs) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (9-2, 3 KO’s, 3 Subs)
When UFC head shot caller Dana White vacillates between naming you the best, or second best, pound-for-pound fighter in the world you know life is good. And that’s exactly the public deliberation or debate White has had concerning Renan Barao vis-a-vis UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones. Barao will attempt to live up to those lofty expectations when he takes on former NCAA Division 1 wrestler T.J. Dillashaw.

Barao lost his professional debut but that’s the lone blemish on an otherwise stellar record. The 27-year-old Brazilian has a winning streak that spans nine years and his dominance at 135 pounds is undisputed. He is a BJJ black belt but to categorize him as strictly a mat tactician is doing him a disservice. He has eight KO’s to his credit and features a devastating arsenal of Muay Thai which complement his long limbs and kicking power ala training partner and UFC Featherweight king Jose Aldo.

Dillashaw takes this fight after originally preparing for Takeya Mizugaki. However, after the main event between Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida was cancelled due to injury and Barao’s original opponent Raphael Assuncao also bowed out due to injury, Dillashaw was hastily summoned to fight for the bantamweight strap in what has now become the main event. Dillashaw last saw action after decisioning Mike Easton on January 15th. Now he will face a different and no doubt more ferocious breed of cat when he locks horns with Renan Barao.

Though Dillashaw may be the fourth ranked bantamweight in the world, he is light years removed from the speed and skill of the champ. Dillashaw makes his bones on the mat but that won’t cut it with a fighter of Barao’s pedigree. Dillashaw’s three submissions have all come via rear naked chokes but those were executed on fighters that are not in the same hemisphere as Barao. Perhaps Dillashaw will get lucky and land a clean punch but if he decides to go to the ground with Barao, he will find himself buried in a hurry. He’s got two shots to win this fight – slim and none – and Slim just left town

UFC Picks: Use Barao -700 in a parlay at WillaimHill.com.

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Daniel Cormier (14-0, 8 KO’s, 1 Sub) vs. Dan Henderson (30-11, 14 KO’s, 2 Subs)  
Dan Henderson had lost three fights in a row which is normally the prerequisite to getting your ticket punched out of the UFC, and in the case of 43-year-old Henderson, most likely into retirement as well. But he staved off his execution by stunning Shogun Rua with a TKO early in the third round and giving him one more chance to shock the world again.

Daniel Cormier ascended to the major leagues of MMA less than three years ago when he defeated Jeff Monson in his Strikeforce debut. At age 35, Cormier’s window of opportunity is coming much later than most fighters who make their bones and capture titles in their 20’s and early 30’s. But the stocky light heavyweight who has dropped down from the heavyweight division has devastating punching power to complement his long-as-your-arm freestyle wrestling resume. 

While I agree Henderson is ready to be put out to pasture and probably will be after serving as fodder for Cormier’s anticipated title match with Jon Jones, I believe he’s got a fighting chance in this one. Cormier recently feasted on a UFC debutante by the name of Patrick Cummins who had only four professional MMA fights under his belt and was clearly a fight intended to pad his resume. Yet, he has won decisions over the likes of Frank Mir, Roy Nelson and Josh Barnett in the heavyweight category. But Henderson can still bring it even at his advanced age and if Cormier gets sloppy, he will find himself asleep in a hurry. 

After reviewing the UFC odds, I am looking at this strictly as a value bet because Cormier will most likely prove too strong and powerful for the 43-year-old version of Dan Henderson. Therefore,

UFC Picks: Tread lightly and play Dan Henderson +690 at WilliamHill.com.

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